Sunday, April 30, 2006

What Is Left?

After I got Guy ready and sent him off to church with my parents, I got myself ready and dressed as it I was going to church also. I left before my parents got back from church. As I was turning the corner onto the main street I saw the Bishop turning into the neighborhood on another member's motorcycle. He waved and I waved back. He really is a good man. I wonder how he will react when he finds out that I left the church. I hope to be long gone by then.

I headed in the direction of my church building, but I just drove on past it, towards the canyon. I considered going into the canyon, but turned west instead into Alpine. I found a neighborhood that sits up on a hill and laid back in my car to ponder and doze off.

I thought about what my next course should be. I still need to find a job before I can do anything. I can't afford to move out of state, which is what I want to do now. I need to save money, but I also need to get out of my parent's house. I have this desire to just run away, far away. My situation is getting a bit sticky.

I went to a supposed swing dancing party on Saturday night. BYU is having finals so there was no dance there, one of the dancers invited everyone to his place, but only 6 people showed including myself and the host, who fell asleep before I left at 11:30. While there and talking with them I was realizing that 80% of my swing dancing friends are Mormon. They and the other 20% already believe that I am Mormon too. I don't think I am ready to explain to my friends yet that I used to be Mormon. Particularly those that are. I am not ashamed of the fact, I just know their way of thinking and what their reaction might be, whether they say it out loud or not. I don't think they would be openly rude to me or anything, I am just not ready to be judged like that.

I remember the kinds of thoughts I had about people I know that left the church. I know several friends and family members who no longer go to church. My mother was raised in the church and she was the youngest and only girl out of 7 kids. Every one of them have been married in the temple. Only one became inactive after his divorce and moved in with a psycho-psychologist. We could all see that she was manipulating him. I have numerous cousins that have left one by one. Even one of the most promising of my cousins, who would not even come with myself and the same uncle that I just mentioned and his girlfriend because my cousin did not agree with his choice to be living in sin with his girlfriend. Ironically enough, she moved in with her college music instructor about a year ago.

It was examples like this that made me shake my head. When it is made known to me by my parents or other family that another member has become inactive. Not much explaination is given. It is assumed that they made the choice to put something else as more important in their lives than making it to the Celestial Kingdom. I honestly didn't have much respect for those that simply became "inactive". I felt like they were hypocrites. They believed one way, but chose to live another. The truth is I honestly don't know what lead them to make the choices they did, but when I see a few of them actually returning to the church many years later, it confirmes my belief that they still have a small testimony that the church is true.

This is why I strugled so badly with even considering giving up the church so that I could date Paul. I finally reached the point where I began to look outside the church for confirming or contradicting evidence because I did not want to have to accuse myself of also being a hypocrite. I easliy found enough evidence within my first day of searching to cause me to believe that the church is not true. My second dip had me up all night reading the story of a convert that later left the church to become Christian.

I really liked his story because he did not choose to leave the church so that he could justify his own selfish desires. He was married in the temple to his wife whom me loved, but he found that they were unhappy and began to wonder if it had to do with the church. He noticed some puzzle pieces out of place, like: his bizarre temple experience, the high divorce rate in Utah, a child that was born in the bathroom of Ricks College, the Ricks College faculty that was smuggling Coke in their break room while the students were offered only Caffeine free sodas, the various other churches that were formed from the supposed only true church, the way the Book of Mormon and other Mormon doctrine contradicts the Bible, why Blacks were not allowed to hold the Priesthood, polygamy, etc.

I did some more reading this afternoon. I read a couple of blogs. I followed some links and ended up at a site that told about the doctrine that they used to teach called the Blood Atonement. This was the idea that there were some sins that needed to be paid for by the person's own blood, suggesting that Christ's atonement was not good enough to cover such serious sins as adultry, apostasy, breaking one's covenenats, stealing, and lying.

I was in tears while reading the account of how one bishop castrated a young man because he refused to give up his bride-to-be to become the Bishop's wife, which was as he claimed the will of God. Apparently castration was a common practice among the church at that time.

Then I read up on the event known as the Mountain Meadow Massacre . I recal hearing something about this, but I brushed it asside figuring that they must have the story mixed up.
Not my church. Yes, indeed the Mormon church. I read an account of the one man who was used as a scapegoat by the church, whom was given the directions to carry out the task along with several other unnamed men.

I am still coping and trying to figure out what I do believe in.

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