How Church Leaders Have Responded to My Work
This is a post on how church leaders have responded to my unique situation. I woke up feeling like I needed to write it RIGHT NOW. I have done my best to protect all parties' anonymity except my own--which means I used the word "they" as a pronoun a lot and I'm sorry. If you know any of these people, please respect their anonymity and protect and respect them as well. ~~
"Can Mormons be psychic?" is the question I found myself frantically googling a few days after I started involuntarily receiving "psychic" information all day long.
Like any good Mormon girl, I knew what I REALLY had to do now that I was perceiving all sorts of new and unexpected spiritual information, besides turning to the internet: I had to go meet with my local church leaders and get their guidance.
So I scheduled a meeting with my bishop to explain what was happening to me and get his insights.
The first meeting went well. I explained what was going on, and the bishop gave me three pieces of advice, which were obviously of varying quality:
1. Read the scriptures and pray a LOT.
2. Worship in the temple as often as possible.
3. "Remember, this is NOTHING like the Priesthood, but treat it EXACTLY like the
The first two items made lots of sense to me, and the third one, I didn't really get what he meant and he couldn't really explain it either. The one thing he felt strongly about was that I should NEVER charge money for the use of my "gift."
At this time, I also visited with my Stake President, who said this was "astonishing" but that it was clearly a divine gift and he encouraged me to take my insights seriously and to pray and keep up with scripture study and act with the Holy Spirit. Sounds good.
So that was probably in January of the first year that I developed my Sight. I followed the counsel as well as I could--considering I had a new nursing baby and the local temple was closed, meaning that our next closest temple was hours away. With temple work taking nearly 3 hours to complete once you were inside the temple, and a 2.5-hour drive one way just to get there, and a new baby, unsurprisingly, I did not make it to the temple very much.
But I was reading the scriptures daily and praying ALL the time. When I was about 14 I realized that I had an inner monologue going all the time anyway, and I decided to dedicate my inner monologue to God. So literally my entire waking day is basically one giant prayer where I am just talking to God and having this conversation with Him, and "pray always" has been a literal and serious thing for me since I was 14 years old.
And I was practicing like crazy. I would practice on anyone who would let me. I was reading books. I was trying new things. I feel like I have the mind of a scientist, and I was hypothesizing and experimenting and recording my findings on how to use my new "superpower" of intuitive insight.
Over the next few months, my reputation spread and I began getting SWAMPED with work. I mean just completely swamped. I had countless requests for my time.
I also had two little babies, ages 2 and 0, and we were BROKE. Broke as a joke. And now I was super busy spending all day and night serving others for free.
The breaking point for me was vitamins. I realized that to get my physical body health in order, I needed a few different vitamins--but we just could not afford them. I thought: I need to get a Real Job.
And then I thought: I'm already providing this valuable service to people. Maybe it would be okay to ask for a monetary donation for my time.
I prayed about it and felt like yes, that would be fine.
So I started mentioning during sessions that people could donate if they wanted to. Most people still didn't but sometimes they did. It was just enough for me to get the most basic vitamins I needed to start recovering my postpartum health.
That summer, I was totally overworked and stressed and trying to figure out how to make ends meet WHILE mothering and WHILE pursuing the development of my gifts. I received a blessing about my work that called my work my "career." As I was talking to the spokesperson for that divine blessing afterwards, this person expressed the idea that careers are PAID, and that it sounded like God was okay with me charging money for my TIME, just like basically all other people do who use their divine gifts to serve humanity (musicians, artists, engineers, doctors, etc).
I remembered that my patriarchal blessing talks about my "career" that would bless the lives of many people, and I prayed about this all myself, and came away from it feeling like yes: this was the answer. It was time to start charging for my time. I started by requesting a $35/hr donation for my time, which was optional (still). I just wasn't super comfortable with assuming my time had monetary worth. But I started kind of trying.
In the meantime: I had done at least one notable session that had freaked out a person, and a member of the bishopric had asked me for a session and I mentioned that I was now requesting a donation in exchange for my time, because I was just too busy to work for free. I believe it was these two things that had me called back into the bishop's office.
The second meeting with my bishop was a MESS.
It started off in silence.
Then the first thing he said was: "Are you going to the temple regularly?"
Remember: the local temple was CLOSED. Going to the next closest temple required a full 8-hour day of just travel and attendance and nothing else. We were broke as a joke, no gas money, and I had a nursing baby, so I would have had to drive out there with a babysitter to watch my baby outside for the 3 hours so I could go worship. So NO, I was NOT going regularly, because for me that was basically impossible. I phrased my words carefully and said, "Not as regularly as I would like."
That simple phrase set my bishop off.
He LITERALLY raised his voice at me--it was basically yelling--and went on an enormous diatribe, levying accusation after accusation against me. He said I was wicked. He said I was not taking his counsel seriously, now that I was asking for donations for my time. He accused me of preaching false doctrine.
I asked him if he was okay with a surgeon charging money to do surgery--even if the surgeon had the spiritual gift of healing. ("Yes.") I asked him if he felt it was wrong for a doctor to pray for a patient even if they were charging the patient money. ("Praying for a patient is appropriate.") But, he said, MY work was totally different. Totally different. I am not a surgeon, I haven't been to medical school, so I can't charge money.
I explained how I needed to pay for my books and training and classes and babysitters for my kids while I devoted all my time to others. I explained how I was spending all my own money developing skills and making myself available to others when I had my own little kids, and how I felt it WAS fair to ask for a monetary exchange, if only to cover the costs of my training and babysitting. My bishop disagreed, expressing that I should just take the losses.
When it came to "false doctrine," well, I'm not exactly a scripture dummy. I pulled out the Good Book and started flipping through the relevant verses. What about this one? What about this one? What about this one? SO many scriptures back up my work and the stuff that happened in the one session the bishop was upset about.
Get this: my bishop FOR REAL in serious literal really real life said: "You can't take the scriptures literally. You can ONLY interpret them symbolically."
Because if you read the scriptures literally, it becomes manifestly obvious that my work is 100% fine... so clearly we must ban literal interpretations of the Holy Bible and the holy scriptures.
So at that point I felt like I could clearly see what was going on. People who had
VOLUNTARILY COME TO ME AND ASKED FOR MY HELP AND DID NOT PAY FOR IT complained to the bishop--even though my work ACTUALLY HELPED the situations they came in for--and their complaints had upset the bishop, who took it really personally that I was, in his mind, not taking him seriously, even though in /my/ mind, I /was/ taking him seriously.
I think it was extra traumatic for both of us because years ago, he had been my seminary teacher. At the time I was the only kid in class who would pay attention. But I LOVED the scriptures and I LOVED Seminary. One day when I was in 11th grade, I was called out of third period to the front office at my high school, and who was there but--my seminary teacher, who later became this very bishop. He was holding a letter in his hand. He gave me the letter, gave me a hug, and I thought he was tearing up when he walked away, without saying anything.
The letter was the most beautiful thing about how grateful he was that I was a student in his seminary class, how glad he was that I obviously loved the Gospel, and just all these very kind words about how he felt I had this beautiful life path ahead of me because to him it was obvious that I was an unusually good person and an unusually devout believer.
So for both of us--for him to see me as falling away from the Gospel because of something he didn't understand and seriously couldn't even imagine, and for me to feel like he was ignoring my whole lifetime's worth of earning trust in this relationship with him and with God--it was obviously a recipe for trauma for both of us.
This meeting devastated me. For the next year I was a big mess. I dreaded church, which was just the worst for me because I LOVE church. But I always felt judged and horrible. I went anyway and pretended I was fine. But I was not fine. I did lots of emotional work on myself and spent tons of time in prayer and meditation and asking God for help being humble and open. But when that bishop was released-- AH! I felt like I could breathe at church again.
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the "Mormon" Church), none of our local leaders are paid. They are basically volunteers who have normal jobs on top of their church responsibilities. So when I say that bishop was "released," I mean his time ended as bishop and we got a new bishop.
Now: a person in the church congregation got up the next month and declared that they had cancer and were probably going to die very soon. As she said this, I felt the Holy Spirit say: "You have to work on this person."
So even though I didn't know this person, I invited them over to my house for some gift work on the cancer situation. We ended up working on a LOT of stuff because this person had an abundance of childhood trauma as well.
The next month, this person's cancer was in surprise remission, and I had an invitation to go meet with the NEW bishop.
I remember my heart stopped with fear, and I told God: Please no. Please, I can't do this again.
But I heard: "You're not in trouble. It's going to be fine, and this bishop needs your help." And I was shown a vision of this bishop's body and exactly what I would need to do in order to start fixing a physical health problem.
When I walked into this next meeting, this bishop said, "So. Explain."
I said, "What are you talking about?"
He said, "The person with cancer you helped. That person used to call me 17 times a day, and now they don't call me at all. When I asked why, they said that they didn't need my help anymore, because they were mentally stable now. When I asked how that happened, they said it was because of YOU. So explain it."
I started off by hedging. "Well, I am just really good at helping people break out of old patterns and stuff."
I remember he just looked at me flatly and was like, "Stop beating around the bush and tell me the actual truth with details."
So, praying in that moment and feeling it was safe, I told him EVERYTHING, about the development of my intuitive sight and my abilities to help people shift their emotional energies and how that would sometimes solve emotional and physical body problems and pains. And at the end of the story, he leaned back and just said:
"I have a lot of thoughts about this but the Holy Ghost is just saying: it's true and it's good. The Spirit is saying that what you are saying is true." And he just was thoughtful and really trying to wrap his mind around all of it. Finally he sat up and said, "You know EVERYONE thinks you're crazy, right?"
Which is a line that sometimes still haunts me. But I just looked him in the eye and said, "I am very sane."
And I thought of that line from Yogi Bhajan: "The sane look insane to people who are insane."
And then this bishop said, "I feel like I need to ask you for help with my back."
And I said, "I know, I've already seen it." And so I closed my eyes and started working on it for a minute, before I realized it was a more complex fix than could take place in a few minutes. When I opened my eyes, he was just looking at me with this weird expression on his face, and he said, "I can feel it. I can feel what you're doing to my back. I can feel it."
Yep. That's how it works.
So I left that meeting with an appointment to keep working on that leader, and feeling like a HUGE weight had been lifted off my body. I felt like FINALLY: I had a church leader who was OPEN to the scary stuff outside of normal and was willing to listen to the Spirit about it. Maybe that's not fair of me to have thought, not fair to the past bishop, but that is what I thought.
FAST FORWARD TWO YEARS!
We moved to Utah and got a new house and a new bishop. Then came a conference talk from an apostle that quoted the following:
"We urge Church members to be cautious about participating in any group that promises—in exchange for money—miraculous healings or that claims to have special methods for accessing healing power outside of properly ordained priesthood holders.”
AH! How it threw my community into an uproar. To me, at first I just felt like: DUH. To me, this statement is obviously about VACCINES. Talk about miraculous claims of healing in exchange for money. Just inject a little aborted baby tissue, pig and dog and cow and worm parts, heavy metals, carcinogens, some actual viruses, and WAZAM! This magic potion injected into your body will TOTALLY make you healthy with zero effort on your part! "Ignore the Word of Wisdom, your diet, exercise, your spiritual and emotional health and just pay me money for this super healthy scientific miracle cure and you will NEVER GET THIS SICKNESS! (And if you get the illness from the shot anyway, we'll call it "atypical" and ignore it!)"
To me, shots totally fit the bill here. And to me, my work does NOT fit the bill here. With vaccines they literally claim these shots will make you miraculously healthy with no efforts on your part. With my work, I make NO such claims. I will help you but YOU will be doing work and I can't guarantee anything. I'm not promising health from a magic potion of aborted babies and aluminum I'll inject into the sacred holy temple of your body. I'm saying: if you want to pay me for my time to check out your energy field for a minute and tell you what imbalances I see and how to correct them, then we can do that, and any healing you experience is really because of YOUR work and not mine.
And I have felt from the beginning like I was following the Spirit.
BUT people went crazy about this line from this talk and obviously interpreted it differently from I did, and people I knew personally interpreted this line as me being evil. Someone I'm close to asked me to shut down my entire business over this sentence, and when they asked this of me, I felt the Holy Spirit say: "ALLIE, DO IT."
So I did it. I shut down my business. I left all my groups on Facebook about this stuff. I stopped taking clients.
I remember, about a week after I shut everything down, I got a frantic phone call from a person suffering from possession. She had heard I could help with this. I could see clearly what was going on with her, and I knew what to do, and I just remember crying and crying because I wanted so badly to HELP, and I couldn't. I tried to talk her through taking care of some things herself, but she couldn't do it. And I just wailed to God--"How is this what You want? You seriously want me to not be able to help people who REALLY need my help??"
And I was very upset. But still I did NO more work. No matter who came to me and what their problem was, I turned them away as I had been asked, because I did feel like God was asking me to honor that friend's request.
I felt like a dead person, like a shell of myself. I was in the depths of despair. I could barely function. All I could do was pray and pray and pray, and write in my journal. It seriously felt like being dead.
Eventually, the friend who suggested I shut down my business as an evidence of faith in this one sentence from that one talk suggested I go to my new bishop and "confess." When this friend suggested it of me, I felt like God said, "go and do."
So even though I felt like I'd already played this game enough, I got myself together and went to "confess" to my NEW bishop.
I told this third bishop everything. I told him my history, my experiences with the other two bishops, about this talk--I brought a copy of the talk with that one sentence marked and I explained myself and my reasoning. I said, "I don't feel I've done anything wrong. But other people in my life think what I do is bad and I've shut everything down. And now I'm here to figure out what you think I should do next, as my priesthood leader."
And I remember--he just looked at me for a moment, and then he finally said: "I have no idea what you are talking about or what you do, but the one thing I DO know is that the Holy Spirit is telling me that your work is URGENTLY IMPORTANT. Jesus wants you back to work ASAP! You go tell the people wanting to shut you down that they need to repent! GET BACK TO WORK! I want you to go home and set everything back up again, TODAY! GET BACK TO WORK!"
AH! Just writing that out brings tears to my eyes. YES! GET BACK TO WORK! In my heart I felt like I needed to get back to work, but at the same time, I had felt like God Himself had told me to shut everything down, also.
Looking back on it, I feel like this was my super-miniature Abrahamic sacrifice. I showed God, I will give this all up if You say so--and then it led to this miracle of another church leader gaining his own testimony of the importance of my work and really shifting a lot of perspectives around my work.
Right after saying that, that bishop said: "Wait. I have to give you a bishop's blessing. This is from God." And he said, "I bless you with a divine blessing: that as you BE YOURSELF, you will open up the floodgates of Heaven and countless blessings will rain down upon you, your family, and everyone with whom you associate."
I remember feeling just overcome with light in that moment--and then feeling that thing of: but how do I be myself?!
And that bishop ended the blessing and said, "Allie, all you have to do is be yourself. Follow the Spirit and just be yourself. You're already doing it. So get back to work. Tell the people who want to shut you down to stop it and go repent."
And that was that. And I got back to work. ~~~~
SO those are the stories of how church leaders have reacted to my work. At this time in my life, I no longer feel like I need a church leader's approval to do what I do. I don't feel like I need to meet with every bishop whose jurisdiction I'm in and explain things all over again. I feel very grounded in my faith and in my ability to just listen to the Spirit and get back to work. I feel like I am led by the Spirit and God in my business, but that my work IS a business and that it is possible to both do a divine work AND be financially compensated for that work in a divinely approved way that protects and respects my time and efforts.
Being myself? I'm still working on that--but this post is an effort to do that. It's part of my work of letting go of the fear of other people's judgment. I hate feeling like "EVERYONE thinks I'm crazy," as that one bishop told me.
But it's okay. Who cares. When I wrote out my last post about my work and what it's like to see the human energy field, I prayed for strength to post it and opened up my scriptures by "chance" to D&C 50:22: "Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together."
And I read that and felt like: a lot of people won't get what I'm saying, and THAT IS OKAY. People can think I'm crazy and THAT IS OKAY. My job is just to share WHO I AM with the world, and the people that get it--we'll "understand one another" and "rejoice together."
And for the people who don't get it, well, that's fine and those people are not who I'm writing for.
I don't know why I felt like I had to write this post today. But it woke me up in the early morning and now here we are.
I'll add the epilogue real fast to the first story: I'm still kind of weird friends with my first bishop. I love him SO much and since he was my teacher and then my bishop, and has known me for over half my life, even though we had that weird experience, I know he is a good man and he is dear to me and his family is dear to me. I saw him last year and he gave me a hug and looked happy to see me. I was happy to see him. It was good to catch up. I feel like at least on my end I am "over it" and we're fine. It was an important learning experience and I think even though what happened was triggering for both of us, it was important that it happened how it did. So things are good on that front, as far as I'm concerned. He is a good person and I hope you don't judge him or me over this story.
And so that brings me to a final thought: there is a LOT going on for everyone under the surface. A lot, a lot. There are ten thousand backstories to every interaction that we have with anybody.
And we are all just people. I always feel like: until a person is translated, they are NOT perfect. People can be in positions of authority over us, but they are still people. In the end, our relationship with God is the only relationship we can fully trust.
No matter what comes up in our lives, the most important thing we can do is learn to trust the Lord and to trust our own integrity.
To trust our integrity, we have to BUILD our integrity. We do have to go through those times that are so hard and we do what we feel is right anyway because we feel that rightness with our spirit--even if we don't like it. As we do the hard things God asks of us, even when other people disagree or think it's crazy, we build integrity and learn how to trust God in every situation.
So that's it for now. Thanks for reading this giant post. I hope your Sabbath day is wonderful. ~~~~