Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My Patriarchal Blessing


Every Mormon child looks forward to receiving their Patriarchal Blessing from their Stake's Patriarch.

To help that sentence make sense, let me explain. First, the word Stake. Think of a Parish; Mormons are divided up into Wards (congregations), which is based on geography. I attended Brea 1st Ward growing up. Some of the friends who went to school with me were in my Ward, but some attended Brea 3rd Ward, which met at the same building, but at a different time. Now Brea is a city in California and it had enough Mormons dwelling within city limits to warrant three Wards.

Now if you took those three Wards, plus a handful of others from neighboring cities, they make up a Stake. For example, the Brea Wards and the Placentia Wards made up the Placentia Stake.  Every Stake or region has a patriarch.  Still following? Good.

A patriarch is a man that is 'called of god' and is the only one who can bestow a Patriarchal Blessing. He is usually an older gentleman, who has been a Bishop before and possibly even a Stake President.  It's a big deal to get one, because you are promised that, if you live righteously and follow the gospel, the blessings that the patriarch promises you will come true.

A fun fact: The church used to charge $1 for the blessing back in the 1800s, and bumped the price up to $2 (which was like $50) before they forbid charging for them in the early 1900s.

Now, I know what you are thinking; maybe images of Tarot Cards or fortune tellers are popping up in your head. But allow me to reassure you that the church frowns upon those kinds of thoughts.  That stuff is silliness, this patriarch stuff is totally for real.

To be fair, the blessing is based upon Jacob's blessings to his sons. (Genesis 47:29-49:32) Though I am pretty sure Jacob didn't charge...

 The patriarch that gave me my blessing was Patriarch Ray Lowe. I was given my Patriarchal Blessing on November 15th 1994. I was 14. I was excited, and it was expected of me to go.



It reads:

"(My full maiden name), by virtue of the Holy priesthood vested in me and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I gratefully and humbly lay my hands upon your head this night and pronounce upon you a patriarchal blessing. This blessing will be a means of comfort to you, be a guide, a source of strength and faith as you listen to the words that come to you through the power of the priesthood.

Your life here is an important part of your journey back to your Heavenly Father. Because of the setting and nature of our mortality we are faced with many decisions and with many temptations, but you will know that the Lord knows and loves you and knows the end from the beginning and thus those things which will come to you will be calculated to give you experience, to help you grow in your faith and testimony, to give you direction so that you will live the life that will accrue to you the blessing of those who are faithful.

Your existence in the premortal life has much meaning for you. You were found worthy and faithful and thus have the privilege of coming to earth in this important time when the Kingdom of God has been established in the last days for the last time, peopled with those who have the spirit of Christ within them and a desire to be teachable and humble, to be led and directed by the Holy Spirit to respond to those principles of righteousness that they may find joy in this life and be prepared and qualified to return to our Heavenly Father.

You are of the House of Israel and through this heritage you are rightfully worthy of the blessings of Abraham, Isacc, and Jacob, and especially through the lineage of Ephraim comes to you the privilege of being a member of the Kingdom of God with great responsibility to live your life in an exemplary way with great love for your fellow beings and with an understanding that what you do is important in building the Kingdom of God on the earth.

You have received many gifts from your Heavenly Father, not the least of which is a love for others, faith in the Savior Jesus Christ, a knowledge of the reality of your Heavenly Father and of His great purposes.So I counsel you to continue to study faithfully and deeply, prayerfully, that this great understanding may increase to fill your whole soul, that you may have the courage and strength to make the proper decisions as you go through this life.

You have a heritage from those who have gone before, even your parents, your grandparents, and so on and many of the things you enjoy this day come from them, through their faithfulness, through their desire to bring to their posterity a way of life, the way to life eternal.

You will be a leader among your friends and associates in your immediate surroundings. You will be and influence for good. You will lead them to do good and be an example of righteousness. You will learn that the calling that you have in the Kingdom of God is to prepare yourself to teach the gospel through precept and example and to prepare yourself to teach you very own, even your children, those who will come to you as gifts from God. You will have the privilege of going to the House of the Lord, eve the temple, there to receive understanding and learning and an increase in your faith through the gifts of the Lord to those who qualify themselves for those great priesthood blessings.

I commend you for your sweetness, that in your tender years you have been willing to comply with those commandments which the Lord has given, for being honest and upright and clean and pure, being willing to live the law of chastity. And now as you are at an age in preparation for seeking greater learning in your schooling, I counsel you to apply yourself well, to listen to the teachers and to discern truth from error, and to base your growth and your decisions upon righteous principles.

I bless you in your home that you may be kind and considerate. You will do your part to make it a place of love and peace. You will be a steward over many things both physical and spiritual. You will can for those things properly and do your part to have a home of order and love, a home of glory, a home of God.

I bless you that you may seek those who need friendship; be a friend to all. Live the principles of righteousness and by so doing you will be a blessing to those who know you. If you will continue to be teachable and to prepare yourself in all things, the Lord will call you to be an emissary in His name, to carry this great message to those who know it not. You can be in your own right, a savior on Mt. Zion. At this tender age you may also have the privilege of seeking out understanding and knowledge of those who have gone before, particularly those of your own line, to know who they are and if they have not received the blessing of life, the gospel principles, the saving ordinances, it will be your right to prepare those things necessary so they may receive this great gift from you through the blessings of the Holy Ghost and the power of the priesthood.

I bless you that you may learn the things that are important are those things which will help you to be a friend to others, to make that area of your life in which you will spend the most time, even your home, a place of comfort and cleanliness and joy, where the spirit of the Lord will bring light and warmth as each day begins and ends with prayer. And you will seek a companion who will be equal to you and possess the same righteous goals to be truthful to the principles of the gospel and to establish an eternal family. These blessings are great.

There are many ways in which we may serve. If you desire to develop your talents and abilities to do things for the blessing of others you will have great joy therein.

I commend you for the preparation in your life and would exhort you to be aware that the next few years are very important. If you will follow through and listen to your teachers, priesthood leaders and parents as they attempt to teach you by example and precept those things which are eternal, you will prayerfully seek obedience to those righteous principles which come to you. You will be strengthened and blessed to overcome all temptation of evil, you will be safe in the hands of the Lord, you will walk peacefully through this life on the pathway of righteousness, knowing that Satan will not have power over you greater than you have power to resist and that you will be able to fulfill your earthly stewardship here and rejoice in the peace of the Lord as you are called home to receive that great reward to be with Him.

I pronounce these blessings upon you knowing that you have much to do and you have been given the qualifications and the ability to fulfill all of these requirements-- going through this life peaceful and happy and content to know that the Lord knows you and loves you and desires all that is good for you.

I bless you that you may be able to listen to your teachers in seminary and institute and that you will seek the areas of understanding. God will bless you in all your desires in righteousness.

I send you forth with the blessing that all is well and that you will be able to find much strength in the knowledge that the truth is here, that God is in the heavens and that our Savior Jesus Christ has made that great sacrifice, the atonement that we will live again.

I seal upon you these blessings together with all others which are rightly yours through your obedience and send you forth in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

Now, I was told to keep this to myself and not to share it, ever. The one exception would be my one day husband. It's hard to keep things mysterious and unique if it's out for the world to see. So there it is. My personal horoscope blessing. Generic? Maybe. Can apply to almost anybody? Sure. But trust the church when they say that, "the blessings' fulfillment are often conditioned on members' faithfulness to the church, helping keep members obeying the church leaders and blaming themselves instead of the patriarchs' accuarcy when the promises are not fulfilled." So if the blessing ends up being wrong or misleading, it's not the patriarchs fault, it's yours.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thats Awesome!

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry you have lost your faith and have posted something so sacred in a mocking and un-sacred manner.

Leia said...

I didn't really lose my faith. I honestly would say I got rid of it. It isn't something I am missing, the way I would had I accidentally lost/misplaced it.

I guess something being sacred is in the eye of the beholder. There are a lot of things that people hold sacred that you probably treat in a un-sacred manner. I know I love bacon, and say 'Holy cow' even though I know that could be considered disrespectful in other religions. So something sacred to you, is just a glorified horoscope to me. Que sera.

Anonymous said...

I only wish you wouldn't have shared this online. Either way, it is still sacred to us as members. Even if you don't believe in it anymore.

Anonymous said...

It says a lot about the person who shares something considered so sacred...

Luna Lindsey said...

Thanks for sharing this. :) I've never gotten up the courage to share mine, tho I quote parts of it in my forthcoming book about mind control.

Maybe someday I'll post the whole thing online.

It would be impossible to live up to the ideals of what everyone else thinks is sacred. In the end, we need to respect our own spirituality, and now allow others to control our actions via their beliefs.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the people who said that Leia shouldn't have posted her blessing read it. If so, it's a bit hypocritical to have done so and say she shouldn't have done it, don't you think?

BradandJessi Hill said...

I didn't read it, and I believe there are going to be drastic spiritual consequences, not only for sharing something so sacred and personal online for the world to see, but also for mocking the spirituality of such sacred Priesthood blessings, and as such mocking God and His power delegated to man for their benefit. I feel bad for you, and I'll be praying for you to one day realize what you've given up, and diligently strive to gain it back.

BRAD

Leia said...

I posted it as part of my healing process and I know not everyone will understand why. Especially folks who are members of the LDS church.

But there it is, in all it's glory for everyone to see. So everyone can understand how generalized they are. So everyone can see this piece of Mormonism that they may not have been able to understand otherwise. Maybe that upsets you, but it makes me feel a whole lot better.

What it says about me, having posted something 'sacred', is that I no longer believe it's sacred or given by a god. It says that I am learning to let go of things that guilted me into thinking I wasn't worthy enough, even at 15 years old.

And I understand that you really want to me to 'see the light', but once you no longer believe in Santa or the Easter Bunny, you can't truthfully go back. Same applies to gods.

There is no need to feel bad for me, I am finally free. :D

Anonymous said...

Leia, good for you and your healing process. So happy you are following your own authority.
I was also raised Mormon. What a blessing having such a supportive family oriented upbringing. What a curse having strict dogma and inequality of young women instilled in me at such an impressionable age. Full of unrealistic expectations often leading to deep issues of self worth. I don't remember ever being "worthy enough" to receive a patriarchal blessing or go on temple trips, for that matter. Even though I followed the articles of faith and all other structured guidelines of the church. Believe me, I was a good girl.
It has taken me years to heal from the deep mormon wounds that were part of my childhood experience. They are now scars that serve me well.
I honor you and your courage.

Kyllandra said...

^^^^ When I think about all the girls who felt like that (myself included) it enrages me. I, too, had a low self-esteem because I never felt worthy. It burns me up to think about all the young girls who are experiencing this right now because of this scam of a religion. I am so grateful that I left before I had my daughter. She will never experience this. She will grow up with the knowledge that she is good enough just as she is. The first anonymous comment claimed to feel sorry for the blogger. This person should feel sorry for any daughters she raises Mormon, because they will be forced into spiritual bondage and go through their teenage years constantly questioning their self-worth. Shame on you.

Dwight Reid said...

Your comment about "horoscope" was right on the money. How much more of an all inclusive statement could you possibly make? Personally though the thing that got to me had nothing to do with the blessing. I underwent the entire emotional spectrum while reading the response from "BradandJessiehill" How sad that Jessie exists only as the subservient unimportant half of BradandJessie. Isn't the ego boost of an imaginary priesthood a wonderful thing. It not only allows him to subjugate his wife but to pronounce judgement on you for sharing something that the woo woo masters that he worships tell him is "sacred". Brad, I call upon the might of Zoroaster to curse you with acne and hemorrhoids. Now go thou and never again sit with comfort and joy you pompous stupid twit.

Fire Hussar said...

The fear is not that you posted something sacred but that now people can compare yours to theirs and see that the similarities show the Horoscope nature you alluded to: "sometimes you like to lead, other times you are happy to follow. Sometime you like to wear bright clothing but other times you prefer dark clothing and feel more subdued. But if you are good and do everything you are supposed to you will one day be an awesome influence." In the same vein, it is no more personal than any other damn fortune cookie or PT Barnum handwriting analysis - vague words that let the recipient read himself into them. And worst of all is when one sees yours and thinks, 'That sounds more like me than my own.' They have a desperately good reason for trying to make sure only two people have ever seen only two blessings.

Anonymous said...

I don't normally comment on any blog post I come across, but felt compelled to comment on yours. I myself am LDS by choice. I wasn't for many years, even though I grew up in the church. It makes me feel so bad that anyone has been ever made to feel not good enough or not worthy enough. For me It took looking past some of the people in the church and focusing on what the gospel of Jesus Christ actually was and what it stands for. I have known a large number of kind, loving, un judgmental people in this wonderful church, but I have also met some quite opposite of that as well. And it isn't ok. At the same time that's not mine to judge either. I don't know you, and I also don't judge you based on the way you feel. I believe we are all entitled to the way we feel. We all need each other and should truly support and love one another. Religion aside, I'm sure you are a very loving, kind person that doesn't deserve a rude comment that someone might throw at you. I also wanted to say, even though it may not matter to you that I read your blessing because you shared it. I have also read my siblings, parents, and husbands. I myself just barley got my own last month, because even though I am older everything I do is my OWN choice, I have never been made to feel that I didn't have a voice, or choice. I am a strong and capable women that knows God does not view me as a lesser part than my husband. That way of thought is not Gods, but mans. If any man or women n the LDS church thinks or feels that way he, or she is not correct, and has misunderstood the gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints entirely. Going back to your blessing it's Very unique, and one of the most beautiful blessings I have read. It is much longer than most I have read as well. I personally think it is FAR from generic. Much love��

Alexander Brown said...

If you don't respect your blessing to the point where you would post it, then maybe you just didn't see the value in it. You said the something sacred is in the eye of the beholder, so maybe your blessing is very unique, you just refuse to see it. I think your blessing is beautiful, and if you want to see that, you will. But if you continue to look for the easy way out, you won't. Good luck! Remember Jesus doesn't give up on people.

Luna Lindsey said...

Leaving the Church, and questioning your lifelong beliefs, and facing how you might have been wrong about everything, and publicly posting a document you were expressly told to keep private or there'd be "consequences," is definitely NOT the easy way out.

I've still never shown anyone my Patriarchal Blessing, because I'm still a little scared to. (I've crossed nearly every other scary bridge related to the Church.. but this one, and sharing my temple name, is still just a little too scary.)

Leia's act was brave, and I'm certain it was difficult. And she's taking lots of flack for it.

So judge away, but the "easy way out" line isn't going to work. It's like saying, "Rocket science? Bah, anyone can build a rocket. Watching TV, now THAT'S hard." It's a cheap shot, and it isn't going to make any kind of sense to anyone who has left the Church.

Anonymous said...

I know this was posted a long time ago but I would like to add an interesting anecdote.

My wife and I both received our patriarchal blessings from the same patriarch and when we shared them with each other (at the time we were still believing members) we were both shocked to find that the majority of the blessings were almost identical. Talk about horoscopes....

Anonymous said...

I feel the same a you, it is a sacred thing to post, but thankfully not unforgivable. I myself was converted at 19, and was the only church member in my family. I then went through a divorce and lost my faithfulness, but never fully my faith, though I said I had, even thought I had. The Lord brought me home again though, He never gives up on His children.

Anonymous said...

I want to agree with Luna that changing my beliefs has been the most challenging and still is the most challenging thing I've ever done. I stumbled across this blog because for the most part I understand my beliefs and the lack there of and why I believe them, but I don't know what to think of my blessing. Unlike the comments on this blog I feel my blessing is unique and very relatable to me. I had never met my patriarch before, but he told me things which to this day resonate with me. I haven't read it in many years but when I was younger I read it so often that the only copy I have is tattered. Today is particularly challenging for me because my little sister is getting hers. I feel like she is the golden child and I'm just the slutty big sister that lost her way. Any words of advice on understanding my blessing other than them all being the same would be great.
- sam

Luna Lindsey said...

Sam, if you're looking for advice, maybe this will help?

I might have misunderstood you, so to clarify, it sounds like you've left the Church but still find meaning in your Patriarchal Blessing, correct?

Here's how I view this sort of thing, from an atheist perspective. Our minds are wonderful, beautiful, and mysterious things, that to this day defy a complete scientific explanation. One of the things we do know is that our minds are capable of processing an incredible information at a subconscious level. Often, our rational world takes a cold view of these processes, because they're not "logical". But I don't take that view, because they're also "real". There are illogical ways our brains work, even if it's not logical.

One of the amazing things our brains can do is find meaning anywhere. Of course this can be a problem sometimes because it allows us to be manipulated. BUT that doesn't make this an inherently bad thing. My view these days is to take meaning from wherever I find it, even if the source is specious or even completely random. The source of the information doesn't matter. What matters is that my mind is making sense of it.. or rather, that the thing is helping me understand my mind better.

I put great stock in fortune cookies. I do a little ritual before I read the fortune, and then I keep the fortune around my desk for a long time until it comes true. (And they're vague enough that they always come true.) It's silly, but it gives me hope and sometimes direction. The fact that I can laugh about it also gives me joy. Tarot cards work well for me on the same level. They are symbolic ways for me to sort out all the chaos in the world, even tho in reality they're just random cards. There doesn't need to be a spirit guiding the cards to make them meaningful. *I* make them meaningful.

So that's my advice. It doesn't matter where that blessing came from or whether or not they're all the same, or if your Patriarch was specifically inspired (maybe he was!). If it speaks to you, if it helps you understand yourself, use that. Take happiness and guidance from that. That's what that saying means, "When the student is ready, the teacher appears." When it's time for your mind to tell you something, it will find a way to speak to you, and it will often use something outside of you as a mirror.

Anonymous said...

Brad....you are brainwashed. How can you not see this? Only .21% of the world is LDS.....POINT TWENTY-ONE. Don't you think the Lord's church would be a higher number than that?

Ashlie Davenport said...

My patriarchal blessing mentions how I need to keep music in my home; music....how many people's patriarchal blessing mention that? Could it be because music is the way I connect the quickest and the deepest with the spirit? How "generic", right?

Or how about a few of my friends who were so detailed they knew when it happened that no matter what doubts they had in the church they could NEVER doubt the importance and accuracy of their patriarchal blessings.

Just because it is generic in certain areas doesn't mean every ones is generic or it wouldn't have been specific in different ways you could only imagine if you'd put in your effort and allowed God's grace to make up where you lack.

No one is perfect. The church is not a place to show "perfect people" and awe at the prestine condition of members...it's more like a hospital for the sick and needy to be made well and the more you go the less you'll become sick.

I don't pity you, I don't feel bad for you. I honestly don't know you or what you went through or the thought process of leaving. Your decisions are your own and you arrived at your own conclusion, however, it sounds like your conclusion on patriarchal blessings is very biased and misguided since apparently "every" blessing is generic. Too bad you weren't brave enough to ask around.

And you are not commanded to keep it from people....but to keep it sacred and use the spirit to know when it's applicable to the conversation...

Ashlie Davenport said...

My patriarchal blessing mentions how I need to keep music in my home; music....how many people's patriarchal blessing mention that? Could it be because music is the way I connect the quickest and the deepest with the spirit? How "generic", right?

Or how about a few of my friends who were so detailed they knew when it happened that no matter what doubts they had in the church they could NEVER doubt the importance and accuracy of their patriarchal blessings.

Just because it is generic in certain areas doesn't mean every ones is generic or it wouldn't have been specific in different ways you could only imagine if you'd put in your effort and allowed God's grace to make up where you lack.

No one is perfect. The church is not a place to show "perfect people" and awe at the prestine condition of members...it's more like a hospital for the sick and needy to be made well and the more you go the less you'll become sick.

I don't pity you, I don't feel bad for you. I honestly don't know you or what you went through or the thought process of leaving. Your decisions are your own and you arrived at your own conclusion, however, it sounds like your conclusion on patriarchal blessings is very biased and misguided since apparently "every" blessing is generic. Too bad you weren't brave enough to ask around.

And you are not commanded to keep it from people....but to keep it sacred and use the spirit to know when it's applicable to the conversation...

Eric Davis said...

"would exhort you to be aware that the next few years are very important. If you will follow through and listen to your teachers, priesthood leaders and parents as they attempt to teach you by example and precept those things which are eternal, you will prayerfully seek obedience to those righteous principles which come to you" I think by sharing this with us we can help you to look at what has been said. Clearly you haven't listened to your leaders and have not followed through like your blessing has said otherwise you would not be an atheist. Trust me I am a returned missionary who had over two hundred doors slammed in my face I know what its like to be rejected for my beliefs, people bashed with me, cursed at me and over right hated me. When it says the next few years are important it really means the next few years are important and you haven't listened to any of what your leaders have said or you just haven't acted on what they have said. Honestly I think there is nothing wrong with sharing your blessing, yes it is sacred but look at what the prophets did, they shared their visions so I don't se it as a problem. But really go back to church and go to your bishop and ask him about your blessing again and this time ask him if you have listened to your leaders the way the lord wants you to, not the way you want but god's way. the same thing happened on my mission I wanted to do it my way but I learned why the lord's way is so much better. Love you and even though I don't know you the lord does as he does all of us.

Anonymous said...

Wow, and I thought the brainwashing in my PB was bad!

Anonymous said...

Not sure that 8 understand this post. You goto a finance advisor and they give you generic rubbish, you go to scientists about the theory of relativity and they adhere to it like glue, yet the nuclear and nano theories question it in every way!
Is the church causing you financial problems, does the church arrest you wrongly, does the church not care about you? This all can be confirmed when you look at your government! The problem is always people! Government reps and bishops alike feed their own personal power at times and getting more common. The world is full of con men, if your faith is lost by them, it shows that you are/were the weak link.
We all doubt things, but often when doing the right thing or standing for truth, we find ourselves alone and liars win! This is the society you say is better than Mormonism!?

You mislead yourself. Some would love to have your Generic patriarchal blessing! But no, this world is full of literal slavery and deceit for money, murder and moral decline in the way that Rome, Babylon, Sumaria all suffered in history, but you put your faith into lies from history to science, were I have found much that detracts from the proof of convention, mostly from WW2 veterans who defy what we believe as fact, and teach that the allies turned out much worse than the axis.... want me to show you.

Mormonism is a personal thing that requires self improvement... those who fall away, I find, cannot keep up with the self improvement! Right!?!!!!!????

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this. I am no longer LDS. Everyday I work hard to change the demeaning and self deprecating thoughts that I habitually think because of what I learned all those years in Sunday school. Even though I haven't been an active member for more than 10 years, it is amazing to me just how deep the ideas of the church become ingrained into you. Healing from all the trauma is uniquely painful and beautiful. Thank you for sharing this piece of your story. It helps remind me I am not alone.

And for all of you who are still LDS and are reading this post, the truth is, I understand why you defend the church. I would have done the same thing years ago. I really do understand. I love you. And I am sorry they still have you

Daniel Christensen said...

In my life I used to wonder if there was a god or not. I was so scared to think that there might not be one. I quickly realized that there isn't a point to mortality if there isn't. To live a life, to just have it drift off into nothing after, there is simply no point. NO POINT!!! If you are just going to die with nothing after, why are any of us here? Why have a family if they are just going to be ripped away after this life? Why do anything if there is going to be some abrupt end to it all? There really is no point! I found that discovering that we have a loving Heavenly Father is like any other relationship. We can't know if we don't TRULY try. No relationship works if we don't give it our 100% effort. After I sought out a relationship with my heavenly father and sorted out all of the things that might hinder that (awful music, things that didn't invite the spirit, etc) I quickly felt his love for me. I know that it is not unique to me either. It is the same for everyone. I also know the importance of keeping things sacred and would never bargain with the consequences that would follow sharing those sacred experiences. I often wonder why atheists believe and practice what they do. Honestly, what do you guys have to lose? If you live your life according to gospel principles, what could go wrong? Your a more righteous person in the end! If you're right, you end up happy! in my experience though, if you consistently, patiently, look for our Father in Heaven, you will find him. Some people never find him because they give up too fast. Trust me, i've done both. I'm much happier this way! Anyway, I hope you really do end up happy though! I know Heavenly Father loves you and is always waiting to pour out blessings on all of us!

Eric Davis said...

all i know is the end is near, how near i have no idea, maybe right when you want to commit suicide or something happens in your life which seems like the end happens but it really is not, ive wondered about my patriarchal blessing alot i have it memorized, but do i believe parts about it, not at all, but again is it the end of my life, i guess if i wanted it to be it can. You see i've tried to figure out god and atheism and all sorts of stuff. Really ive asked so many when the beginning and end is and there are so many different answers. The creator of everything knows everything i can tell you that, he knows you leave the church he knows you hate it, he knows you dont believe it, he knows when you swear at him, blame him, all of it, and you know what he still loves you more than you can ever imagine, the real question is whether we love him or not, we dont have to love god, alot dont honestly, but we can choose to love him. We can lose our whole family, be completely by ourselves and be in complete darkness and he would still love us. You know thats what happened to the third of heaven is they just didnt love god anymore so they chose to follow satan. its up to you, god wants everyone back but he cant force you to love him.