Before I start this blog, I want to clearly state that I do not subscribe to any religion or firm belief structure. As I write about my experiences, I focus on what my perception of the events were at the time. I fully recognize that my perception may have been influenced by my past, bipolar or a number of other things. I keep an open mind, understanding that I will never have unadulterated answers to things spiritual in nature. I respect everyone’s right to believe as they do, but I request that my readers keep concrete opinions/beliefs to themselves.
Please avoid reading if you are triggered by religion or the supernatural.
Away we go…
“It’s Time.” The message I got from the Pendulum right after hearing the song, “When you were young” by The Killers. Maybe it was a coincidence or some cosmic joke but receiving a message to face my spiritual past from a song written and performed by a member of The Church of Latter-Day Saints, was anything but ironic. At the time, I had no idea that Brandon Flowers is Mormon. In fact, had my conscience mind been aware, I don’t believe I would have followed the Pendulum’s instructions to change my Pandora station to play The Killers that day. I have spent the majority of my adult life distancing myself from the Mormon religion, in which I was born and raised. Yet, there I was, teetering on the edge of reality, listening to an active Mormon rock star, while receiving messages about coming to terms with my religious beliefs. If I needed a recipe for psychosis, this was it.
In order to understand why opening the door of religion became dangerous for me, it’s important to look back.
Here’s a brief personal history for you…
I was raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Being a member wasn’t bad, but I wrestled with a lot of the teachings, and this often led to an internal war.
Even though I never believed the majority of the doctrine of the church, I continuously tried to prove its validity to myself. I went to extremes as a member. From not attending church, to serving a mission in one of the highest ranking baptizing missions in the world, I wrestled pretty consistently with trying to make it work for me. I wanted the religion to be true for a number of reasons, but I had core beliefs that didn’t line up with those of the church.
In 2002, I had my name removed from the records of the church. Leaving the church was bittersweet. On one hand, I was relieved that I could live my truth and finally feel free. On the other hand, I knew leaving would hurt my family, which I didn’t want to do.
A lot of people who have mental conditions, have had a difficult childhood. That is not the case with me. On numerous occasions, it was the love of my parents that kept me alive. Particularly, during my adolescent years when I was struggling with suicidal depression. When the world became too much, I often thought, “No. I can’t kill myself. It would hurt my parents, and even though no one else likes me, I know they love me.”
Making the final decision to leave the church, was one of the hardest things I’ve done. I did what I needed to do for me, but it still bothers me that it came at the cost of causing my parents pain. I would be remiss if I didn’t give my parents a tremendous amount of credit though. A lot of times in these types of tales, parents disown their children or decide not to engage with them further. Not my Mom and Dad. They have never cut the lines of communication with me and they continue to give me love and support.
There are two important things to know about my time as a member of the church. The first, is that I had no idea how many of its teachings were buried in the depths of my subconscious. I would learn, that things my conscious mind doesn’t believe on any level, seem to be wildly accepted by my subconscious mind. That is scary to me, because I have no control over what is embedded in me on that kind of level.
The most important thing to know, is that church doctrine, teachings and experiences, left me believing that I would never be good enough. Not for the church, not for a spouse, and especially not for God.
When I was a little girl, I remember being on my knees, praying that God would forgive Lucifer. It was a defining moment for me. I prayed to save Lucifer, but I immediately felt as if I asked something of God that I had no right to ask. Even though I had been taught forgiveness, this felt like it was off limits. I didn’t feel a sensation that God would forgive him, but that Lucifer being cast out was part of God’s divine plan and I should not question it. This made me feel weird about asking, and it made me feel weird about myself. How was I any better than Lucifer? We were both supposedly children of God, and I had different ideas than what I was being taught…so…were we one of the same?
Over the years, resentment towards God (or the deity I referenced as God) began to build. If God was loving and perfect, why wouldn’t he welcome all of his children home after they died? (I especially questioned this when it came towards my friends in the LGBT community and good members of society who didn’t subscribe to religion.) I had a lot of questions that hurt my soul. All of this began to contribute to my depression. Not feeling like I was good enough, would become (and it still is) my biggest emotional burden.
Now back to where we were…
“He’s not who you think he is.” This was the next message I received from Wesley (my “spirit boyfriend“), through the pendulum.
My internal resentment for God immediately surfaced. Although I was fairly certain the message, I was receiving was in regard to Jesus, my automatic emotional responses, often tie the two together. I was apprehensive. I didn’t know if I wanted to go further, but I did anyway.
Wesley – “He’s not who you think he is.”
Me – “Who?”
Wesley – “Jesus”.
Me – “Okay. If he’s not who I think he is, who is he?”
Wesley – “He is your friend.”
I waited for a minute and then, as is classic Anginet, I deflected…
Me – “I guess I shouldn’t have got that Buddy Christ tattoo then?”
Wesley – “LOL” (The pendulum actually spelled out L.O.L.) “He likes it”.
The movie Dogma, by Kevin Smith, is my favorite movie of all time. The story is about two renegade angels who find a loophole in Catholic dogma which would allow them back to heaven. The catholic church puts together ‘The Catholicism Wow Campaign’, in which, Buddy Christ (a less depressing version of Jesus) is reveled.
When I saw the movie, I felt I related to it on a deep level. Although I was raised LDS and not Catholic, a lot of the same concepts apply. I got a Buddy Christ tattoo to represent how much the movie meant to me.
I ended my session with Wesley, and decided to take a bubble bath. This is often what I do to relax, meditate and disengage from the world around me. I was relaxing and looking at the bubbles. They began to separate right around the face of my Buddy Christ tattoo. It was like he was looking up at me, with only his face peeking through bubbles. I closed my eyes to relax, and I heard;
I didn’t hear this voice as if someone were directly talking to me, but it didn’t seem like it was coming from my own thoughts either. It wasn’t audible, but it still had a voice…and not just any voice, the very distinctive voice of Chris Rock. (Chris Rock played the 13th Apostle in the movie Dogma.)
Now, I doubt Chris Rock was paid to do voiceovers in my head…and I strongly doubt that Jesus sounded anything like Chris Rock when he lived. Still, I identified Jesus as being like him and frankly I loved this association. (Thank you, Kevin Smith)
Suddenly, I was hearing Jesus like I was “hearing” Wesley. He began to talk with me. He explained I was not only his friend, but his actual spirit sister and that we were very close. He answered questions (none of which I can remember now). He told me about his life. He explained what people got wrong about him, and what they got right. Soon, I was convinced that he was really talking with me and he was in fact my brother…This meant God was my father, but I wasn’t ready to deal with that yet.
I now had voices in my head for myself, Wesley, and Jesus. I started becoming more and more disinterested in people based in reality. I wanted to spend all my time talking with my spirit friends.
Once I began to detach from reality, things began to unravel quickly. If I meditated, I would automatically connect to “spirits”. I began to hear new voices. Voices like Buddha, who became a spiritual teacher.
I felt more uplifted than I ever had. I felt connected to something much higher and more powerful than myself. I never wanted it to change…nor did I think it ever would.
As I talked with Jesus Chris (see what I did there?), I began to accept the good ideas of God again. I was more open and less resentful than I had been in a very long time.
Finally, one night I was lying in bed, meditating, feeling higher than a kite on “spirit” and mentally talking about God to Wesley.
Then suddenly I heard a completely audible voice…
“Anginet you idiot! None of this is true.”
I opened my eyes; nobody was in the room with me…but I heard that voice. The voice was as clear as any voice I have ever heard in reality.
Emotionally, I freaked out and I reverted to teachings from my childhood…
I thought, “God would not call me an idiot. He is love. That was a demon…or the devil. Whoever it is, they do not want me communicating about God with Wesley. This proves he’s real. This proves all of this is real.”
Was it though?
I wish you could have seen me shrugging with confusion as I wrote that last paragraph. In my mind at the time, that voice calling me an idiot, validated everything. It never occurred to me that the voice could have been a bipolar symptom. I didn’t know I had Bipolar Disorder. I only knew what I had been taught when I was younger, and what I felt. This put me into a frenzy that night. I bolted to the pendulum.
“I am Wesley…This is real…Are you ready?”
Me – “Am I ready for what?”
“I am Wesley…are you ready?”
Me – “For what?”
And then the pendulum spelled…
“I am God.”
Within the next few days, my mind would alter significantly. I would hear God. I would obey voices. I would have hallucinations. I would believe I was meant to save the world. I would believe I was creating a new world.
I would believe it was time for me to die…and so much more.