Monday, June 6, 2011

An Honest Mormon.

That is what my Aunty Beth called me.


Can I just? Wow… I have to say, the ups and downs and all arounds of figuring out what the “heck” I am even doing on this planet in the first place can be so exhausting. Add to that a move from Utah to California where I am asked by anyone who hears the area code of my cell phone, if I’m one of those “new fangled Mormons.”

As if that is just a simple question for me to answer.

On the other hand, and since we’re all friends here, I will give you some examples of what my answer to that question have been over the last two and half years:


“Today I am.”

“Not in the conventional sense.”

“I don’t know, are you?”

“I claim them. They don’t always claim me.”

“Sure, why not?”

or lately my personal favorite

“I’m more of what you’d call a Hippie Mormon.”

I seem to have hit a snag where I am simply too Mormon for some people, but not nearly Mormon enough for others.

Learning to live in the grey. That’s me. That actually sums up my philosophy about almost everything in life, from this religious stuff, to what I eat, to how I feel about medication for ADHD.

Here is one of my problems, I could stand in a room with 10 million people, with each one telling me they know, FOR SURE, for a fact, WITHOUT A DOUBT, that God exists, and there is no final death, and someday we are all going to wander around the universe in white sheets with harps. And they all know it FOR SURE. And I would TOTALLY want to believe them! But someone else's knowledge can only lead me to the important questions I have to ask myself

They are as likely to convince me that someday I will walk around on clouds, as I would be able to convince them that I know that when I lose things and I pray to my dead cats to help me find them? They totally do. You may think I am misguided about who it is that is helping me find my keys, but you would be wrong. It’s my cats.

See how this works? Some knowledge is supposed to be personal. If I am going to get a little Mormon for a minute, then when I’m feeling at all religious, the idea that I was already a spirit who chose to come here makes as good as sense to me as anything else.

I’m not a religious studies expert or anything so I don’t know if this is an exclusive idea to Mormons ( I believe this idea has a common thread throughout many religions), but the way I understand it, is that we were fully formed spirits hanging around a heavenly place when a very real war broke out. The gist of the war being that God wanted us to be removed from his knowledge and light, to go to Earth and have, you know, a whole earth experience, and then hopefully return to him at the end. Once we’ve had this experience, we would better know the “metal” of ourselves and have a better idea what we should do with ourselves for… well, forever. There isn’t a Heaven and a Hell in my religion, there is essentially four places you can end up: 3 kingdoms of heaven and something called “outer darkness” which is essentially like hell where you gnash your teeth and suffer for the want of the light of God.

The war was about the fact that Lucifer did not like this idea, Earth involved a lot of suffering and humility and general discomfort when he already felt just fine chillen’ out, and no sir, he was not going to go. From what I hear, a lot of spirits joined him, and those of us who decided to come to earth understood the reward, the purpose, the meaning of leaving everything and planting ourselves in the soil of the Earth to see what would become of us.

Again, I’m not telling you this for any particular reason except this is my blog and I’m confused about what in tarnation I am doing on this planet, so sometimes I might need to give a little back story to the idea’s I was raised with that play into my general mind wanderings.

And ever since I was small, my mind has wandered in these mine fields. If I ever forget that, I only have to listen to Russell talk about God for 5 seconds to recognize myself in his determination to work this stuff out, not just be told something and go with it. He wants to know “why, when, where and how?” He has an assuredness in his own worth, and his own spirit, that is ASTOUNDING! With that knowledge as his guide, I encourage his questions, as well as ask him hard questions and expect him to think of his own answers.

The thing I understand the most about religion? The more you think you have it totally figured out, and the more you pick one thing in a way that closes you off to others ways that God may be trying to get in touch with you? Well, the more rigid you become, the more likely a pebble can be thrown at you with just the right force, from just the right angle, and crack you into a thousand tiny pieces. I saw it a thousand times before I understood what I was seeing, and finally, it happened to me.

And I survived!

And I like this side of the mental and spiritual explosion! 

I still don’t have a clue exactly what to call myself, or where I could lay down the lines of where I fit in the universe, but I know I am blessed. That there are parts of my life that are simply survival, hard work, and good luck, but that there are also things in my life that are literal gifts. Gifts you could not buy for me and get free ground shipping on from Amazon dot com.

Although that would be nice since (presumably) I could just skip to the gift note and finally stop trying to figure out where it is exactly I’m supposed to be directing my thanks.  

I’ve also noticed, since I came to this side of the explosion, that most religions aren’t as rigid as I used to think they were. Though of course there are certain theologies (or even members of a congregation) that are non negotiable, there is also a lot more room for growth and opportunities for enlightenment than I used to give them credit for. And not just religious houses, but vegans, and yoga houses or biker bars, too. I wish you could have heard my ultra-Mormon-mommy-friend at Disneyland describing the color of the other people’s chakra’s. If your chakra turns colors when you’re surprised, that’s what color mine would have been right then! 

That’s all. Honest Mormon. I like it.

(sorry if you came here for pictures of the party. I’m a lucky girl and had a few people help me with pictures and now I have about 400 to sort through! I should have a slideshow by Wednesday.)

(Tuesday if my dead cats are hanging around to help keep me on task…)


Kateastrophe said...

Once again evidence as to why we're friends. I love your journey and your willingness to be honest about it. I try hard to do the same thing.

There are things I believe with all of my being and others that I just don't get. But here's what I love about God - that's OK. He doesn't expect us to get it all and we're here because we chose it and by chosing that we chose NOT TO KNOW and to take whatever road we felt necessary to get "IT."

I love the story of Joseph Smith because like you and Russell and ME he wanted to know more and why and where and when and HOW! And so he started working to figure it out. This crazy religion we belong to started with someone like Russell who just wanted some truth that wasn't given to him with a simple "because I said so."

I could go on and on but then my comments look like a whole other blog post and in reality I should just email you. But this for some reason is easier because I was already here.

Anyway, I love you and I'm glad you're you.

Erin said...

This is just one more reason why I am terrified for Norah to grow up. How do I explain something to her when I am not at peace with it myself? And I even taught other people about this whole deal for 18 months! Is it okay to say that the topic of religion scares the shit out of me?

This is just another reason why you have to keep sharing. I need to take notes so I can be prepared when my daughter asks the hard questions.

Brookelyn said...

I Love you words and soul. And I agree with Erin, I've never been more freaked out about the prospect of explaining religion than I am right now.

Being completely immersed and surrounded by it and know that my personal beliefs are contradictory to everything around me is fine for me, but trying to understand how I am supposed to raise and guide my child/children to gain their own set of beliefs and values and build their own souls is so tremendously overwhelming.

It's nice to know none of us is on this path alone, regardless if our beliefs are the same or not.

Stefanie said...

Great post! I love your answers to people :) So YOU! Was trying to figure out which one was my favorite!
Speaking of teaching kids, Scott and I are teaching the 5-6 year olds in primary right now and boy do we get the "but WHY's" from them. And since I'm a jerk I laugh at Scott's face why he tries to explain how the Holy Ghost is a good ghost, not the scary kind :) I can see how that would be confusing for kids!

One Taste @ a Time said...

I'm NOT Mormon....or any religion for that matter.

I was brought up Catholic by my mother, and Buddhist by my father. I was baptized as a young teen and rebelled again ALL religion as an older teenager. And when my father passed away I definitely did not like this thing you people call "God".

Although I have a "hatred" towards those who pushes their religion on me, because of my parents/families difference in religious belief I have learned to ALWAYS respect ones' choice in religion.

All religions have their faults. I cannot say that I agree with Mormon's beliefs in the equality of men vs. women, or their views on what is acceptable or not in terms of food consumption or other activities...or any other things that I rather not mention as it is disrespectful to you as an individual and as a follower.

I think religion is a great way to teach people what is right and wrong, as far as I know (I personally know a rather large number of Mormons) Mormons are by far the kindest, most polite and law abiding group of people out there. As long as a religion is teaching people good social and family values, I don't see a problem....There are too many religions out there with members that preach one thing and do the exact opposite, or worst, hurting and even killing "in the name of God", that is just ridiculous!

Are you a good Mormon. best answer. to the best of you knowledge and ability. That's all anyone can ask...even me as an Atheist.

Andrea said...

Wait, something I can't buy on Amazon? Amazon has LIMITS?! Cease your blasphemy!