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Mosiah 26:35–36—And whosoever repented of their sins and did confess them, them he did number among the people of the church; and those that would not confess their sins and repent of their iniquity, the same were not numbered among the people of the church.

This is about actual church discipline, but let’s think for a minute about the feelings in your own heart of not belonging, not fitting in, not being “numbered among the people of the church.” In exercise 1.6, we addressed the often gnawing, chronic feeling of loneliness that torments people who resort to addictive behaviors. Doing a fourth step inventory, and “giving it away” in a fifth step, is such a powerful experience in breaking free of that feeling.

When we…for the first time in our lives stood among people who seemed to understand [this chronic loneliness], the sense of belonging was tremendously exciting…Until we had talked with complete candor… and had listened to someone else do the same thing, we still didn’t belong. Step Five was the answer. It was the beginning of true kinship with man and God (12&12, 57).


Prayerfully ponder and write about a part of your life that you avoid talking about, that causes you to feel separate, different or isolated from other members of the church. Even though you may go to church and hold positions, you may still feel like you’re a stranger and that no one really knows you. Write about whether you’ve faced these feelings at any time in your past. Are you facing them  now? Describe and reflect on how that feels.

~Excerpted from Patterns of Light I ©2013, 2000 Hearthaven Publishing

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