Can’t Feel the Spirit?

Can’t Feel the Spirit?
We received the following from one of the participants in the long distance training program we call Sons of Mosiah:
“My brothers,
I am feeling troubled. As you know, I have been wrestling sexual addiction for some time now, but when this day is over I will have reached 13 days! I have been plagued by this for too long. I have become weak in the Spirit. I am facing a decision that I must make soon. I need to decide if I should go to college for a semester or serve my mission first.
Here is the dilemma, I am praying about what I should do, I feel like I can no longer recognize the Spirit. This is one of my ultimate nightmares, to not be able to feel the Spirit when others around me can. Please, is there anyway I can become reacquainted with the Spirit, so that I may receive inspiration?”
My response:
I feel your pain.  Been there.  Lived that.
I am grateful that the story of Lehi’s dream is right at the front of the Book of Mormon so those of us who can only stay motivated for a short period of time get a chance to read it over and over again.  🙂
What you are experiencing is what Lehi calls the “mist of darkness”.  Everything feels foggy.  Let’s look at what the people in Lehi’s dream had to do while in the mist of darkness…before they came out into the clearing.  Lehi expresses with urgency the need to reach for and hold on to the Iron Rod.  We are reminded by the commonly sung primary song that the Iron Rod is the Word of God.  And, as I understand the teachings of our religion, the word of God refers to the scriptures and the words of the modern day prophets. 
Now, as I proceed with this conversation, I invite you to take notice of feelings you may start to experience in your chest.  If you are a normal human, you will probably start to feel a tightening, or a tension.  Does that sound familiar?  Also, you might have heard thoughts like, “I know where he is going with this.  Yeah, but I don’t want to  I don’t feel like it.”  And if we take it a step further…in the process of bringing the dark ideas of Satan fully into the light, “I don’t want to make this decision based on what a prophet recommends, I am allowing for the possibility that the Holy Spirit will tell me something different than what a prophet is going to tell me.”  I will give you a hint that should not surprise you…this tension and its accompanying confusion, is not a message from God. 
I have learned to “bookmark” this experience and now almost use it as a second Holy Ghost.  If I feel this kind of RESISTANCE, it tells me that the plan I “don’t feel like doing”, is probably the plan that will benefit me and others the most.  The more resistance, the more important the fork in the road. 
I like to punish Satan by following prophets when I cannot figure out what to do on my own.
And, as my mission president used to repeat to us over and over again from D&C 58:26-28, “It is not meet that ye be commanded in all things…be anxiously engaged in a good cause.”  When you are making a choice between 2 good things, discerning the spirit is like discerning the brightness of the light in a room.  In your situation, you will be deciding between bright and brighter, not between right and wrong.
So, in conclusion, when I can’t figure out what God wants most, I look for what would bother Satan the most.  If you can’t trust your feelings, then don’t trust your feelings…trust the wisdom of those who are wiser than you.  I, too, join the many others who have discovered that prophets usually know what they are talking about.  As you follow the prophets, both new and old, out of faith, not clarity, (hold the iron rod) it will pull you through the mist of darkness into the light where you will be able to feel the spirit with clarity for yourself.
Any questions?
Your fellow soldier at arms,

For more information on our Sons of Mosiah program, text “SofM?” to 8016356474, or email “SofM?” to

About Maurice W. Harker, LPC

Director of Life Changing Services, Director of Sons of Helaman, Facilitator of the WORTH group, Consultant for the Daughters of Light program.