a few things
agnosticmormon
A few things. Just be forewarned certain-friends-of-mine, lots of cursing here.

But first: this message may self-destruct at an unknown point in the future. i'm having one helluva time with judgment and compulsion tonight.

1) I seem to need to make lists today. lately.

2) The universe is conspiring against my ability to take my very easy and badly needed biology course. I can't get a hold of my help for picking up the kids tomorrow (my lab day) and she's not *entirely* reliable. Not that she's a bad person (she agreed to help me five times a month for god's sake), but it wouldn't surprise me if she forgot or was late. This is the first day my kids have been picked up from school by anyone but me and I am paranoid.

Also, I was just reminded today that the kids have minimum days 2-4 times a month. On Wednesdays. They get out of school at 12:55, I have to be in class at 1pm. So I'm gonna miss a lot of classes--this guy wants us to be in class. He's an idiot that way. I'm a grown up, I paid for this, the accountability is ultimately mine if I want the degree, so STFU dude.

Oh, and if I miss lab on Friday, which is the only day I can take lab, I'm apparently shit out of luck.

And I'm getting sick. And I'm helping Joseph's preschool next Thursdays because I'm (a) required to and (b) Can't do it on any other day because it's the only day said help can help me. But if I'm sick, I can't go. But I cannot FATHOM asking or expect anyone to go help his class out that day. Because I HAVE TO GO. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. If I can't do it, I am required to find someone else to do it for me.

"Hi, I know you have a busy life and kids and jobs of your own, but could you please take three hours out of your day for me this thursday and help my kid's preschool out?"

Not gonna happen.

I can't even go in with a cold, they're so paranoid. What if I'm sick? TOO FUCKING BAD.

Since it's a state program (and I've dealt with at least two other state programs before), they don't trust you for shit. I live in a poor city and go to school in an even poorer city. They've dealt with too much crap to ever give anyone the benefit of the doubt. That must be earned, and certainly not by virtue of being a human being who wants to go back to school and get her degree and contribute to her family, society and this shit economy.

But, if I drop my class I'll be more available to help and will have more options for help in picking up the kids a grand total of once a month.

I don't want to drop my class. I'm enjoying it way too much. And it'll screw up my spring '11 CSU plans, unless of course (h/t Governor Schwarzenegger), the budget says they can't afford me.

3) I'm so fucking manic today I can't hardly see straight. Yes I've gotten a LOT accomplished (omg), but I'm a mess. A goddamn mess. And a bitch. On my husband's 30th birthday. Happy birthday, babe.

4) I had three sodas today. Three. Lately it's something if I have one, and today I had three. Caffeinated. Which doesn't help #3. Plus coffee.

(it IS bad! Word of Wisdom FTW!)

5) I can't calm down. I'm multitasking everything and can't leave anything alone and my thoughts are going 1000000000 mph. I took a xanax but it won't be enough. Even though it's not recommended with said xanax, I'm having a margarita tonight. I gotta calm down.

6) I felt the need to make this a list of five.

But now there's six.

So there.

resignation?
agnosticmormon
At first I wasn't sure why the Prop 8 ruling (y'know, yesterday's) fired me up enough to semi-publicly consider penning and sending in my resignation letter to the church. But as it always occurs, my writing/talking about it shed some light on the reason, and I'm going to attempt to state why here.

It was the Church's official reaction. That bit about "the people have been given the chance to vote twice on the definition of marriage and twice voted that it should be between a man and a woman."

Surely, LDS leaders are not that stupid. Especially the lawyers, which there are many not just in leadership but in membership.

So why the hell, knowing how our system works, does the church insist on perpetuating this meme about how the majority always rules no matter what? Especially considering their history as a minority stripped of rights.

THAT is what pisses me off. They lie. They lie because they can. They know their members have been taught time and time again that leaders speak for god and therefore they know better than anyone else.

It's not about the truth because we all know what the truth is. The weak, pathetic arguments used to promote prop 8 don't work. They didn't work in the recent court hearing. They are laughable. I'm in love with the text of the ruling. Judge Walker is omg awesome.

But the Church doesn't care about that truth. They don't even care that this wouldn't affect them as a religion. Nobody would force anything from them as a result of this ruling. They don't care about that. They are stubbornly standing by the truth they began with. Their official response was simply "We regret this, the people have spoken, marriage is fundamental and we must 'protect' it."

And good members will (a) eat it up or (b) chew on it, nursing a nagging conscience that tells them it is wrong but hesitate because they have been told time and again that the prophet knows and sees all and they need to trust him no matter what.

I know plenty of people who fall in category B. I entertained it for a quick spell back in the summer of 2008.

But back to my point:

They know the system doesn't work by what the majority rules. They know that the majority has a tendency every now and again to vote for unconstitutional things and that it is then the court's responsibility to right the wrong. Slavery, interracial marriage, etc. Google Loving v. Virginia.

Yet they mislead their sheep by saying otherwise.

It's one thing if a group of citizens without understanding of the system whine about the "will of the people" in instances such as this. It is quite another when an entity made up of lawyers and other highly educated people ignore their knowledge in order to keep their followers in line despite all evidence to the contrary. Just to be right.

And then you have to wonder--what else is there? What else has there been?

Do I really want to be part of this, even passively?

My concerns about officially leaving, family aside, are these:

1) The church is a part of me. It will always be. I cannot talk about my life without talking about the Church. It is part of my fabric, my structure. Whether I leave it officially or not.

2) If I leave officially, I will feel as if my right to criticize it will disappear. Maybe this is good, but we all know I like to get up on my soapbox sometimes.

Yet, like I said, it will always be a part of me. I will always--or at least for a while yet--be fighting the remains of my tenure. I don't love the church, but I don't necessarily hate it either. I think it's stupid and encourages stupidity, but while there is bad fruit on the tree I hesitate to cut it down completely because I know of a few good apples. I don't buy that scripture about a good tree with a few bad apples = a bad tree.

3) Which brings me to a related concern: will it bring me any closure?


Staying, however, also means these things:

1) I'm counted among the millions. When the church announces its membership numbers, it counts inactive members as well. One source said that the 13 million - inactives = 5 million. Yeah.

2) I am standing with them on paper. If I resign, I am stating quite clearly that I refuse to accept what they are doing.

3) I wonder if leaving also means I'll be free of it. I wonder if it'll bring me closure, but I wonder if by not leaving I am still, in a way, keeping myself chained to it.

Also, I have to remind myself that the church tries to try to control even its ex-members. They tell their own that all "apostates":

1) are ridiculously and violently angry (the dreaded "anti-mormon")
2) can leave the church but can't leave it alone

Remember my saying that I thought that resigning = no more criticizing? This is why. It is in my nature to prove people wrong, so I would be allowing them to control me. I am angry, but not violently. I am not "anti"--you want anti, I'll show you anti.

My membership took a good chunk of my life and a lifetime out of Eric's. We will discuss it. We will criticize it. We will also recognize the good. I cannot emphasize enough the good people I am so glad to have met because I was part of the church. I am grateful to still be connected to a few of them.

But srsly, if you can't take the heat, get yo ass out the kitchen.

I forget that I can feel however I want and it doesn't necessarily mean anything. I can decide the church means nothing and just live my life. I don't know to do that yet, though. I don't know if it's possible.

So I wonder why I'm afraid to officially leave. If I'm being honest, I'm afraid that one day I'll decide to go back. I don't know why I think this would happen because I'm 99.9% sure if I did it wouldn't last long. I also know never to say never.

And say something happened to Eric. It's as if I don't feel confident enough or strong enough yet to be on my own w/out the church. Without Eric. I don't have anyone else. I don't know life on my own without a church, whether or not I buy it all. While I am uncomfortable in an LDS chapel, it is my home. Aside from one other experience, it is the place I feel most comfortable (not saying much, but there you go). The church was unbelievably fundamental in my life. Is it my security blanket? Is that why I can't leave? I want it there just in case?

At least now I know I'm on some list of someone to be fellowshipped back into the church. I'm assuming we are, anyway. We haven't heard from anyone. I did finally get one piece of mail from my visiting teachers (so thaaat's who those two girls who friended me on FB were). There's the knowledge, or assumption, that someone gives a shit. Even if it is only because they're supposed to.

You know?

And online ex-mo communities are helpful but not enough.

Yet I want to stand for something.

I feel in a lot of ways like I'm back where I was two years ago, when I was considering leaving in the unofficial sense. I was afraid to for various reasons. I thought the church might be right, that I might be wrong--even though I knew they were wrong. I still have the ability to rationalize a lot of things.

But we did stop going. My confidence in my opinions have strengthened. The kids still ask about things, they still mention stuff, but we did stop going despite that fear, at least.

Am I just delaying the inevitable?

I think so. Still, I want to be ready. It's a big step.

maybe i'll just blog religion here
agnosticmormon
So as some know, I've been itching (kind of) to start a new blog. One about writing/reading and the other to serve as a pedestal from which I can bitch from--one where I can talk about being a rare liberal girl in the most conservative county in California as well as a new agnostic (which isn't easy in this place, either). It would discuss a bit of my beef and thoughts regarding the LDS church but also with religion and god in general. Both my LDS background and my Pentecostal one.

Either way I'm screwed. My daddy speaks in tongues and believes in a strict, literal interpretation of the Bible. If he knew where I stand spiritually now, and I think he might (might), I'm definitely going to hell.

So while I may be "recovering" (for lack of a better word) from my decade long tenure as Mormon, I'm also waffling and "recovering" from nearly 30 years of Christianity. There is only one Christian church I've been to since disaffecting where I felt comfortable, intrigued, and notably unjudged, but it is not here and it does not matter in the end.

Well, it does matter. But when you consider my questioning even of God's existence--let alone Christ's part--it doesn't really matter what church I feel most comfortable in, because in the end the logistics don't quite jive with me. And so I'm left with the option to come up with my own gospel story, and that doesn't feel right either.

So.

With one amazing exception, I have been told by all LDS members I've come in contact with lately that they've higher standards and values than non-members. While I am quick to take this personally, I understand they aren't considering their audience. At least that's what I choose to believe. But it still stings.

A lot.

It's an automatic sentiment on their end because it is taught either directly or indirectly in the church on a fairly regular basis. And I want to say something, but I know my chances of affecting their core view are slim to none.

But I still want to say something, that they are no better than I am. Their values and morals are no better than mine. They are different.

Though it's getting better, my biggest anxiety as of late regards clothing "standards." They wear sleeves and knee-length shorts or capris. T-shirts that show no cleavage. Avoid low-rise jeans. This is moral because our bodies are temples and we don't want to disgrace them and certainly don't want to incite lust from the uncontrollable opposite sex (read: men). Because we dress for others whether or not we mean to. How we dress speaks to who we are. I cannot agree that mid-thigh shorts (or minis, for that matter) make a person immoral and suggestive or in any way less of a person, and if I judge a person based on their clothing then bad on me. And really, cleavage? That's not an easy thing for me to avoid. My girls need to breathe.

And really, why do you care?

I've also heard about how people who leave or are inactive just can't hack it. "It's a hard religion," a friend said to me after discussing an inactive girl. Another popular, self-serving sentiment.

Trust me, I live for doing hard things. I live for being a martyr. While I try to be open, I have a strong want and need to be right at all times. Always have. The church fed that need. Rewarded it.

But some of us come to learn that the world isn't as cut and dry as all that. And we all have our limits. We all have a point where we say it isn't worth it. It isn't right. My life isn't thriving like this. I am not happy, and if there is a god and he actually expects me to suffer (sorry, "endure") to the end, then I don't want anything to do with him.

But I still find I defend myself. It's not necessarily a good thing, but the inner debater in me wants to scream that God/Christ doesn't care what we look or dress like. He cares about the heart. He doesn't care to micromanage us.

But I know the response to that argument.

I want to say to these people who regularly bitch about "big government" don't see that their own church structure is strikingly similar to big government. That when they gripe about the East Indian community here "taking over" government, they don't see how their own church has become its own Vatican in Utah. No law passes there without the Church's blessing. Even here, locally, there are so many members in government. How I can point to the emails I received calling for people to vote for Mitt Romney specifically because he is LDS and to write-in his name if he didn't win the primary.

But I know the response to those arguments as well.

It's fruitless, really.

But it's been on my mind a lot regardless. It's annoying and oftentimes hurtful to have people not think about what they are saying and just spouting off because it sounds good, because they've heard it SO MUCH that they just repeat it without thought as to whether or not it is right. Whether or not they are judging. Whether or not they are praising themselves. Who they are speaking to. It speaks of a high level of ignorance. Not that I am without ignorance, but shit.

Like the time a friend of Eric's said that non-members simply have no morals. As a convert with good non-member family, I wanted to rip her head off. I couldn't believe she had the audacity to say that to me--to anyone--but again, she was just spouting off without thought. Because the assumption is that we all think the same thing.

It doesn't speak well to the religion, to their god, about themselves. And while I should just chalk it up to ignorance and leave it alone and remember that while this may be the majority's problem it's not everyone's, I can't leave it alone. Not right now. I want so much to change the mindset, even in just one person. But I don't know if it's worth the bullshit. Eric doesn't think so. I tend to disagree. I'm foaming at the mouth, tired of even passive insults.

I'm just feeling it so much.

So I think about blogging, but i fear it would be like feeding the monster. I'm tired of being serious all the time. It's the only way I seem to be able to interact with people. It is safe. I'm fucking tired of it.

I also think about resigning officially. Eric has too. It would hurt family because it's such a formal, final thing. It is a definite severance to our "eternal family." But beyond that, I don't know what it would do. If it would bring us closure. If it would heal the wounds, even a little. If our exit would mean anything to the church. Right now we're still counted among the membership, even as inactives. We don't necessarily want to be, but most of the time I don't care because even being a member for 10 years has branded me. It's become a part of me. My home. It is and will be a part of who I am.

I dreamed last night about the girl who introduced me to the church and who now avoids me like the plague. It hurts a lot. We were best friends and I miss her. I cannot talk about my life without talking about her, and she can't find it within herself to speak with me.

The church is very much still my tribe. It has brought me so much good, but it has also in many ways abandoned me when I needed comfort and validation of my relationship with god the most. And while I don't blame it for my agnosticism, its refusal to work with me or allow me critical thought and individual belief within its strict paradigm has led me to more questions which have led me to less answers. I don't know if it's led me to "the truth" but I figure that if there is a god and he's a loving god, he will know my heart and understand where I'm coming from and will show me that mercy everyone likes to talk about. If he doesn't or isn't, I'd prefer to stay away anyways.

"I don't know" isn't exactly my cup of tea, but it is the only one that makes the most sense right now.


omg
agnosticmormon
Actually heard someone, someone i know IRL and love, express the sentiment yesterday that the white male has become the most discriminated person in the country.

I'm still in shock.

Other stupid, ignorant things were said, but srsly--that one took the cake.

?

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