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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.


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the first part, about recovering from christianity, is a concept to which i can really relate. and so can a LOT of people on both sides of the fence. i, obviously, came out on the other end as someone who still believes, but i am very sympathetic to religious questions & doubts. as someone who still believes, i still have them. i just think it's ok now. (i love the recent coverage around anne rice's "denouncement.")

i know you know that, but i just wanted to remind you that you can always talk to me or ask me about resources, no judgment or pseudo-evangelism required. but you can talk to me anyway about anything.

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