Monday, September 11, 2006

Why do I still have my scriptures?

Recently we had a friend over at our house, just hanging out and chatting. We were in my living room, where I have 2 small bookcases. One of the bookcases is full of fiction books we regularly re-read, and the other is full of non-fiction books that we sometimes peruse. Well, it used to be full of non-fiction books. But then I left the church. I didn’t feel it necessary to keep all my old study manuals and general authority books around, so I tossed them. The top shelf now only has a family history book, a FARMS book that I want to keep because of its ridiculousness, a CES conference summary manual and my set of large print scriptures.

Our friend casually asked us why we have the scriptures there on the shelf. This is a very good question to ask! Why do I keep my scriptures right there, highly accessible, when I never read them anymore? Why do I keep them in the first place?

I loved the scriptures. This is not to say that I read them every day or that I knew them backwards and forwards. But I did love them. I loved cross-referencing. I loved making sense of things by comparing stories in the scriptures to my own life. I loved thinking of the scriptures historically. I especially loved reading the Book of Abraham, the Book of Mormon, and the Old Testament, in that order.

Just because I left the church doesn’t mean my feelings for certain things have gone away. I still think back on my days of teaching early-morning seminary fondly. I still love the stuff I learned at the CES conference I attended a few years back. And I still have residual love of the scriptures.

I guess the simple answer to my friend’s question is that I keep the scriptures just because. I don’t feel a need to purge them from my house or my life. I don’t take them as divine word anymore, but I still like them for the stories. Also, I guess you could call it a cultural decision. Our society is affected by the bible on so many levels, and to not understand it is ignorance.

I’m not bitter or angry for the 28 years I spent entrenched in the church. Some days I get a little sad, but mostly I’m looking forward.


Joseph's Left One said...

I still have mine, too. I'm not sure why.

Simeon's Peep Stone said...

I think that as long as you put your scriptures on the fiction bookcase, it's ok to keep them. It's hard to toss something that has been so personal. It's like tossing your patriarchal blessing. Maybe it's good to keep those things around, maybe it's not.

Eric said...

From my perspective, we used them infrequently as members, so I don't expect any different as non-members. Mostly, the reason for reading them has changed.

Besides, don't they cost a decent amount of money? These weren't the el-cheapo handouts or anything.


Rebecca said...

I have nothing to comment about, but you get way pissy when I don't comment. I'm hungry and tired, which also means I'm cranky. Because apparently I am two. How was your weekend? Hopefully you will email me and tell me ALL about it!

I just posted a way lame and boring post - not funny because it TOTALLY falls flat. Also, I read over it and it sounds like a love song for my friend, Elizabeth. Whatever. She's awesome, and I had a fun day, so I'm not changing it. I'm totally doing what you hate and only commenting about myself (for reasons, refer to "New Science").

Arizona Expositor said...

I have mine and even bought older editions from DI just to see the differences in them, but that pissed off the wife. So now they are collecting dust somewhere.

I'm with Eric, didn't use them much while active and I will use them even less now.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

I'm still lugging them with me in my primary bag (at least that's what I call my 50 pound bag with 3 ring binder, kleenex, tape, drawing materials for my daughter when she's bored in Sac.Mtg., old bulletins, etc). I still have a large print set from when I was young. I will probably keep them and refer to them sometimes as well. I agree with La about being ignorant culturally if you don't have an idea what's in the bible at least. Plus we like to read the story of Jesus' birth from the bible to our kids on Christmas Eve. Not sure if I'll do that anymore now, but I may.

Bishop Rick said...

There is no reason to chuck them. They were, after all, a part of your life for 28 years.


C.L. Hanson said...

I still have mine. Since I've taken up exmo blogging I've found I acutally refer to them occasionally if I need a precise quote...

Montgomery Q said...

Cram them up your ass

MattMan said...

I still have mine, as well. Tucked deep inside my closet.

I'm not sure why I keep them. I didn't pay a penny for them, they were a gift from someone who had a part in my conversion.

I have a small collections of morg stuff in that nook in my closet, and I still have my magic underpants in bags under the bed.

Don't know why I don't throw this stuff out. Probably when it comes time to move, I'll consider it.

I have purged a lot of morg paperwork -- old handouts, notes from institute, etc.

Scriptures, though, what a waste. You can look it all up online, so I don't know why I keep mine. Maybe just because I also can't think of a reason to throw them out (yet) either.

A soul, finally free. said...

Well I mean now that I have left the church I veiw the BoM as fiction...and fiction stories are always fun to read because things are added to make them fun. But, the church WAS a big part of my life and a big part of who I am now, and I think it is good to have reminders of where we came from. I never really understood the King James Version of the bible but i read it because that is what good mormons do, but now I have a different translation and I love reading it because I understand it.

Well I will close with a funny story. My siter had left her big thing of scriptures out open on the table ( you know the huge set with all the books in one.) Well our dog went over to the table and started eating out the pages and after I had a little giggle I got after him. I guess he wasn't a fan.