When I first began calling myself a Christian, at age 17, I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I was convinced (and still am) that it was the only true church upon the face of the earth, that the Lord guided it, that the Book of Mormon was true, and that we had prophets living today, leading and guiding us (as they did the weekend at the Church's General Conference).
When I first joined the church, all was not right in my life. I made great steps in correcting impure and unrighteous behavior. I was rewarded with outpourings of the Spirit, and when I returned, like a dog to his vomit, to my old behaviors, I felt, distinctly, the absence of the Spirit in my life. As time has gone by, and I've evened-out my behavior, I moderated my words, thoughts, and deeds, I find that I feel the Spirit less and less. In fact, the only time I can claim to feel the Spirit is when I've done something wrong, and I feel its absence. So, I'm wondering, does anyone else out there have this same experience? The more obedient to the Gospel and Commandments, the less I feel the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
I am reminded of Paul's 2nd epistle to the Corinthians, Chapter 5:
1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:
3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.
4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
Verse seven especially rams home the idea that we walk by faith. If I have constant feelings and spiritual outpourings, these might make my faith wane. It's a total spiritual Catch-22. I'm also reminded of Nephi's psalm. Here we have one of the most righteous men around, and he still calls himself "oh wretched man that I am." If the prophet is worried about his sins, how much more do I, Mac Williams, sinner extraordinaire, need to repent.
I'd love to know how others feel; of any denomination (or lack thereof).