Monday, December 31, 2007

Why I Am No Longer LDS

I was a sinner and unrepentant, so therefore I lost the Spirit. or... I wasn't a full tithe payer, so I as much as opened the door for Lucifer's influence. or... *insert stereotypical excuse here, because no WAY could it have been rational and/or logical*

I'm happy to tell my story, but it's not one I bring up in regular every day venues. I think I make it fairly clear that I'm not LDS (though I once was), but I don't give the reasoning very often at all. Some new friends have wondered, so I figured it's time to publish my thoughts. I don't think I've done this on my blog before! This is not a light-hearted subject for me, just so you know. As much as I've let Mormonism go, it's still a part of who I am and where I came from. For nearly three years I have truly been in a recovery process, though I'm sure that might be a difficult concept for some of my readers to comprehend.

All throughout my days of being a Latter-Day Saint, there were teachings and doctrines that I accepted just because I should, even though I couldn't really reconcile them in my brain. I knew that a lot of my questions could easily be brushed under the "we don't know the answer yet" rug, or leaving things to "God's plan", which naturally we don't know the full extent of. I was fine with brushing them away. I didn't have to have answers. I was content in the knowledge that someday I would know.

But late in the Spring of 2005, I happened to catch a minute of a Today Show segment, which was an interview with Martha Nibley Beck, the daughter of Hugh Nibley. She was talking about a book she had recently written called Leaving the Saints. In my brain, I wondered why on earth the daughter of Hugh Nibley would leave the Church, then go on to write a book about it. I wanted to know her story, so my sister and I got her book and, without realizing it, began our journey out from among the Saints as well.

The book wasn't much to speak of. She told a story of her father sexually abusing her, and her family ostracizing her when the suppressed memories surfaced. I read it with skepticism, because really, it was her word against her father's. There was one little part of the book that struck me to the core, however. I don't even really remember the context, but she was speaking of things that caused her to leave the Church. All it was that sparked my personal reformation was a reference to the symbols in the Book of Abraham being the same as ones commonly found on funeral papyri in many Egyptians tombs.

What?? I had to know more. Ancient Egypt is a personal fascination of mine, so this didn't feel like I was reading "anti" literature or anything. It felt more like research.

I finished her book with moderate curiosity, in regards to the true source of the Book of Abraham. I went on to read many more books, and see many more examples of funeral documents from ancient Egypt, and started to connect the pieces. The "translations" of the hieroglyphics from the Book of Abraham that I was so familiar with, and the revelations they unveiled, did not match up with the translations of the same hieroglyphics that were found in so many tombs, in so many other sarcophagi. Since the discovery of the Rosetta Stone in the late 18th century, and its decryption done through the 1800's, translating Egyptian hieroglyphs has been a fairly clear-cut process. Line upon line, precept upon precept, my testimony of the truthfulness of Joseph Smith and his Church started to give way.

I knew what was happening to me. I knew (sometime later) that I was letting "anti" material steer me away. But I felt so free! I felt so liberated! I didn't have to tuck strange concepts under any rugs anymore. I felt like I was hearing both sides of an argument and making a decision for myself. All my life, this religion had been there. It had been simply a fact of the matter. Even when I was older and found the "Truth" for myself, the only reason I had searched for the "Truth" was because I had always been challenged to do so.

But logic and research and science finally took hold. The Book of Abraham was only the first of many inconsistencies that I couldn't ignore. As tumultuous as it was for me, I knew I couldn't keep ignoring things that didn't make sense.

I kept teaching my Primary class, though it was a struggle to do so. I talked with my bishop about my concerns. He counseled me to give it time, study, pray, and not be hasty in my decisions.

By Fall of 2005 my testimony was all but history. I informed my bishop that I didn't want to teach Primary at the start of the new year, because I didn't want to get attached to another group of kids. January of 2006 was a new beginning for me. No more attending church, no more guilt for sleeping in or shopping on Sundays, no more pressure for living commandments or covenants or other one-sided arrangements. It was blissful!

I love my life now, though obviously it's not perfect. I love that my kids are learning rationality and reasoning and are discovering a world full of acceptance of all types of people and beliefs. I don't feel like I need to force my beliefs upon anyone else, nor do I feel that they will be better off if they believe the same things I do. Humans are strange creatures, and for thousands of years they've looked to higher beings to find answers and reasons. Who am I to discredit thousands of years? I find peace in my beliefs and I wish that for everyone.

Monday, December 24, 2007

La + Sensitive Situations = Tact

Cookie Day 2007 was here at last. I arrived with the kids at my mom's house, arms loaded with bags. As we were walking to the door, my 3 year old slipped and fell into the snow on the lawn. He wasn't wearing gloves, and the snow covered his pants. He was visibly upset and I, the over-protective mom that I am, was having a mini-crisis trying to get him in the door.

My brother Paul opened the door for me, and could see that I was struggling. I asked him to help by brushing the snow off the boy's pants. Instead, Paul decided that all my son needed was help getting his boots off his feet. Meanwhile, the snow was melting into his pants, surely soaking them through. This just frustrated me, since I was helpless with all the crap I was carrying.

"Paul, you're gay!" I loudly announced.

He didn't call me a name in reply, which was strange.

"Brush the snow off his pants, so they don't get wet," I demanded.

But Paul just said, "It's fine. Okay. Shh..."

Huh? "Well, if you'd just finally admit that you're gay, things would work out best for us all," I finished up my previous jab at the brother who spent his youth torturing me.

He was bending over in front of me, as if to pick something up. He looked up at me and whispered quite sternly, "Shh! [Mom's gay friend] and his partner are in the other room!"

"You're lying...!" I said, for that was highly improbable. But even as I said it, I looked over Paul's shoulder and sure enough, there was [Mom's gay friend]. How many times had I gone to my mom's house and he had NOT been there? Oh, every time. How many times had I gone to my mom's house and NOT yelled prejudice slurs at my brother? Oh, never before. But this day, the one where I decided to use sexual preference as an insult, there [mom's gay friend] was.

I laughed at my stupidity to the point of tears, but the tears weren't only from laughter. I was embarrassed. I felt totally shamed. His partner had never met our family before, so I can only wonder what he might have thought.

I apologized to [mom's friend] as he and his partner left, but I'm not sure he even knew what I was apologizing for. I can only hope he chalks it up to our family having loud and quick mouths.

*sigh* What will I do next?

Happy Holidays, friends! Hope it's a season full of love for you all!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Come on... Really?

I was given a link today to a commentary by my favorite author, Orson Scott Card, posted on Deseret News . Oh yes, indeed he's my favorite author. I mean, my favorite book wasn't written by him, but he's the one whose books I most consistently enjoy. I realize what this means to my readers. Sideon may just disown me forever.

(You can bet that I will enjoy the kiss and make up session with him!)

So I'm pretty convinced that OSC is pulling his peter. Oops!! I meant, he's pulling a Peter. If you ever read the Ender's Game series, you'll know that the character Peter would submit essays and commentaries under a false name, to help sway the global flow of economics and politics. It was his little form of control, which escalated into a very powerful form of control. Peter ended up holding the most important position in North America, partly because of the way he was able to shift public opinion.

I doubt that OSC is using a false name. Although, the man does go by Scott in his regular life. Who would want to go by Orson??

Regardless, a man with his knowledge and history of research cannot possibly believe the words he uses in that article. I respect him, insofar as he uses logic. But the only speck of logic in the article is where he refutes a "Traditional Christian" point of view. Why does he not utilize the same logic in his own comments, such as (but not limited to) "
After this life, all who have become perfect in their obedience to God and are forgiven their sins by the grace of Christ will spend eternity serving God in his great work of continuing creation. Only thus can the best of us humans obey Christ's commandment to be perfect, even as our Father in Heaven is perfect."

To the Traditional Christian, he uses phrases like "that doesn't make any sense", "that's just crazy" and "your lines are imaginary". He uses LOGIC to refute the beliefs of the Traditional Christian.

Why can't he use LOGIC to refute the non-sensical, "crazy", and "imaginary" beliefs of the Latter-Day Saint Christian as well?

He must be faking it.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Oh, Holiday Parties.

Dinner and a Jazz game. Not exactly a situation that fosters socializing. But whatever.

The chicken was boiled. That's all. Then, there were a couple of grilled onions put on top. Then there were unflavored (but potentially delicious) mashed potatoes. Then there was veggies that should've been delicious as well. For dessert, there was cheesecake with raspberry topping swirled over it. Too bad that my piece had 2 swirls. The raspberry flavor wasn't very, uh, there.

It was my fault that I didn't get to mingle and see all my beloved work peeps. I should've finished my cheesecake, stood up, and walked around the room. I was under the impression that all our seats at the Jazz game were in the same section, so I figured we'd talk there. Oh no, we were spread all over the upper bowl. So damn, I didn't get to socialize at the game either. Lee and I decided to leave at half-time, and go spend some quality time together. We tried to go to The Blue Boutique, but their store on 21st South is closed down. Then we tried Gardener Village, on the off chance they were still open. I guess 9 pm is past their closing time though.


Not much luck last night.

The highlight of the evening was laughing at the dinner table with my bro and sister-in-law, and some other awesome work people, about all sorts of stuff. I sufficiently proved what a jackass I can be. Story provided below:

Britney came up to our table. My bro asked her why she was at the Christmas party when she no longer worked with our company. She was the date of a guy in marketing, so whatever. Anyhow, maybe it was because I was ever so slightly altered, but I blurted out "Did you get your braces off? It looks so cute!!"

She sat there with a blank face. "Uh, I never had braces".

"Really??? You didn't?"


"OH!! It's your HAIR! That's what's different!! It's cute too."

My bro decided I may as well have said "It's so good to see you out of your wheelchair!"

I felt dumb. But I still laughed. Does that make me heartless and cruel?