The Blackened State


The Blackened State

When I read a book, I often wonder what first sparked the author’s imagination to begin reading that book. Often it is to illustrate a moral dilemma, as you see in the writings of Jodi Picault. Others write books about their own lives; sometimes, I think, to sort out their feelings and perhaps thereby to help others in similar situations.

With a pure nonfiction, like a Bible study, it’s often hard to ferret out the book’s beginnings in the mind of the author. All physical books begin with an idea in an author’s mind, a representation that grows and usually changes during the writing process. With a book like The Parables of Jesus, an inductive Bible study, there’s little that’s personal in its pages. I do mention that I’d loved them since I began teaching them in fifth-grade Bible class. But that’s not the origin of the book.

People who know me might assume that the biggest spiritual struggle of my life was whether to stay in or leave my beloved Mormon church. It’s true, that was wrenching. But I found in my new life as a Christian, I began struggling with God in a way I never had as a Mormon.

Here’s a passage from The Mormon Mirage that describes what came to a crisis point in my life when I had been a Christian for about ten years:

I came to a time when I hung on only by my fingernails and Scripture passages. The summer of 1983 I hungered so desperately for the ability to trust and be vulnerable to God that I asked Him to take my life if I could not experience that. In 1984, in spiritual beggary, I read completely through the Bible eight times, fasted, prayed, learned every synonym in English, Spanish and German for the verb “plead.”  God brought extraordinary friendship, spiritual companionship, into my life. Ten years after leaving Mormonism, I began to recover from it.

I didn’t consider suicide, but I didn’t want to live. I lived in a blackened state, with the elusive full light of God always just beyond my fingertips.

Some people might think I am describing depression (a tendency I don’t believe I have ever had, even in very difficult life circumstances, thanks to the grace of God) but for me, it was a wrestling match with God. And it has happened over and over in my life.

The Parables of Jesus is an example of what I have done during those times. In this book, I immersed myself in the only thing I could depend on:  the words of Jesus. I chose those parables, those distilled gems of His mind, to hold onto.

I invite you to join me in the fruits of my own struggle.  Let’s look at the words of Jesus together.

You can do it as an individual, or you can do it with some friends. Let His words help and change you as they did me.












  1. Carrie Tungate
    May 15, 2017

    Thank you for sharing this. I’m intrigued by your words and am so interested in reading your book. My experience is unique, as is everyone’s, but I feel I can relate to this “blackened state” you speak of in my own way. My epiphany came through tragedy as I lost both of my in-laws to cancer. Jesus is my comforter.

  2. admin
    May 17, 2017

    Bless you, dear sister. May God comfort you.

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