There is this misguided thought meem in the LDS community. My concern is with the social LDS community and how they handle this topic, not with actual LDS doctrine. I am not sure if it reaches into other similar religious communities or not, I think it might be unique to LDS thought. The meem goes like this. God gave you your trials in this life because God knows your character. If you have been “blessed” with bigger trials it is because you are a stronger spirit that needs stronger trials..
In the video Abuse – Healing for Secret Hurt the speaker says “Your abuse did not happen because God abused you. Or because God wanted you to be abused. He did not want it. He did not cause it.”
These are powerful words. These words hold more healing in them than many silly trite things that are said to victims. People who have not experienced it don’t realize how strongly abuse rocks faith. It is easy to sit in a comfortable place and judge the victims for being weak in faith, because their faith was rocked. But I believe that everyone’s faith is rocked, to the core, by abuse if they are close enough to the harsh realities of it. The question is not, does abuse rock faith. The question is, how can survivors heal and overcome the spiritual abusive effects.
Do not warp the truth and tell us that God has anything to do with our abuse, do not do this, unless you want us fleeing churches just as we flee an abuser.
The above flawed thinking, that God gave me this trail of abuse, because I am that strong, is wrong for many reasons. First it is a failed attempt at flattery. Most survivors of abuse detest flattery because the perpetrator used it so skillfully against us. Second it can easily be proven to be completely false. I started to try to address this topic in my blog post Not Everyone Heals. I will continue to try to dispell this myth.
If God gives people the abusive experience because they are strong enough to overcome it, then why do most victims suffer degrading lives enslaved to victimization? Why do most victims suffer from being trapped in abuse with no way out, and no healing? Why is it that most victims will never have a happy ending?
I know it will make the speaker feel better to imagine in their head and inevitable happy ending. But this can only bring them comfort because they remain naive to the devastating effects of abuse. For those of us, who can never change the fact that we were abused, this false happy ending only gauls us.
Second, if the effects of victimization are stronger than us, then the responsibility gets placed back on our shoulders. Really, actually, there is much about society now that places responsibility back on the victims solders. This is just one. If I can not somehow overcome abuse, become stronger, and grow from it (as the speaker seems to suggest God intends) the flaw is placed on my shoulders.
It is like the misquoted thought that “God will not try you above that which you are able.” This thought is not scriptural. This is not supported by doctrine. This idea comes from 1 Corinthians 10:13. It states “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” The scripture is clearly about temptations not trials. The real scripture basically says there is no excuse for being overcome by temptation. You can always turn against temptation. God will not allow you to be tempted by something stronger then you. So don’t use the strength of the temptation as an excuse for giving in to it. If you think about it, this is quite literally the opposite of never having a trail stronger than we are able.
It is the sinner that gives into a temptation that causes the deep pain of abuse. It is this deep pain that trys the victim above that which they are able, all the time. And yet the sinner, and society, take the very verse that was intended to give no excuse to the sinner, and they turn it on the victim of the sin instead.
My abuse does not come from God. He did not pre-plan it into my life arch as a gift, because of my strength. The very idea challenges the very nature of God who “can not look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.”