Bob L, I hope I may address you directly on this. You indicate that you abandoned not only the Orthodox Church but God Himself over this issue. Surely in your catechesis you were told, or you may have become aware subsequently, that only Orthodox Christians may take Holy Communion in the Orthodox Church. That being so, how is it that you now hold the view you do?
No problem. I didn't have any instruction in Orthodoxy before joining the church. I was raised as an Episcopalian and lost my faith in college. I believe Episcopalians had open communion, but I can't remember. Episcopalians had a less exclusive attitude. So I had been irreligious for 20 years after college. Then one day, I had a psychotic breakdown. I didn't know what was happening, so I became very religious and joined the Orthodox church that others in my family had joined. As I started to get better psychologically, I stopped having as many "visions" and "paranormal experiences". This made me think that God was disappointed with me, so I decided to try a weekly bible study at a Methodist church in hopes that this would recharge my faith.
So there I was at the Methodist church bible study for the first time. I vaguely knew that Orthodox were not supposed to take communion at other churches, but I wasn't sure of the details of the policy or whether it was a minor thing that most people ignored. The bible study was on Romans chapter 2. It was an awful presentation, but I had read the chapter myself before the study. Here is the part that seemed significant to me was Romans 2:12-29 ( https://www.biblegat...-29&version=RSV
). Paul is criticizing Jews for their exclusion of Gentiles over circumcision and the dietary laws and so forth. At the end of the bible study, the pastor had a Eucharist ceremony. I didn't know what to do at that point, because I knew I wasn't supposed to participate, but I also had this eerie feeling that God was testing me somehow. So I said a quick prayer that God would show me what communion is really about. Then a guy that I hadn't noticed came up into this circle beside me and held my hand. He seemed so peaceful and humble and calm, that I felt more relaxed myself. I thought if that guy beside me thinks this is o.k., then it must be o.k. Then when it came my turn to take communion I had a frightening hallucination or vision. I was too shocked to take communion. Afterwards the guy beside me just walked out of the room without saying a word while everybody else chatted amongst themselves cheerfully.
I talked to my priest afterwards, and I thought a lot about the meaning of what I saw. It made this whole issue seem very important. It was a little like the story in Acts where Peter is instructed to eat non-kosher food ( https://www.biblegat...ch=Acts 10:9-16
). I wanted to know what God wanted from me - not what the Orthodox Church wanted from me.
I had several other experiences like that. They seemed to challenge me to think and question Christianity. Gradually I felt more and more depressed and unhappy with church until I stopped attending and never returned. Then a year or so later I learned about hallucinations and began to doubt my basis for believing in Christianity at all.
I hope that makes sense. It is hard to explain these things.