Saturday, September 29, 2012

Daily Battle of Thoughts, End Result=Peace

I know I am not periodically posting on my blog here, but I do have a few comments and things I have thought about to post. It is important for me to relay my thoughts mainly because I feel like I don't have anyone in my close knit of family/friends to relate to. None of them have denounced a religion they've known their whole lives to only find a secluded outcome. These thoughts keep me sane and therefore when I spill them into a blog such as this, I feel like maybe someone is able to benefit from it, even if it's just me. So now onto my subjects of discussion... I have been reading like normal in the exmormon subreddit and have found some interesting topics. Coming up in next week's GC, it seems as though something will be announced that is supposed to affect every man, woman and child in the church. Another thought I want to somewhat discuss is "free agency" and how cognitive dissonance of one group makes them feel like they are correct. And finally, I wish to relay my thoughts on how mixed belief relationships can have their difficulty but also their strengths.

GC (General Conference) comes but twice a year and is usually full of the same mumbo jumbo but with a slight variance on who is speaking and how it is spoken. It is normally about loving your family, following the prophet, paying your tithing and attending your meetings. In all of the years I have been in the church as a Priesthood holder, I had been looking forward to the "hell, fire and damnation" doctrines and/or revelation to be spilled out. Where this would normally take place is in the Priesthood Session of GC. To my best memory, I do not believe anything has come from those meetings that has been earth shaking or even revelatory by any means. I remember when I was a young teenager where GBH (Gordon B. Hinckley) was prophet and he would speak at every Priesthood Session and almost every session of GC. He would go over how this generation (speaking of my generation) was the greatest that the world has ever seen and that they will prepare the way for the second coming. He would then proceed to give strict adherence to specific guidelines and what young men (sometimes women) would need to stay away from to accomplish much in this world. While I do have a lot of respect and admiration for GBH, I do see this as just what it should be seen as, elitest speech to ensure control. Who wouldn't follow someone who only builds off of being better than something or someone prior? Who wouldn't adhere to strict rules if they were promised the world? At the time I ate it all up because I was young and felt like I was the best the world had seen. I believe we all consume this type of control because we see it as beneficial for ourselves (selfish desires) and then we assume the promises will be met. There are two types of people in this scenario, those who realize they have been duped and therefore call it as it is, control. And there are those who have some serious cognitive dissonance and even though it isn't true to them anymore, they find a way to make it true. This type of thinking scares me because it houses ignorance and therefore pushes more control into not only their lives, but those they affect on a daily basis (including family). Which brings me to my point, I do not believe anything special or incredible will be announced this GC and if it is something extraordinary, then great. We can see with past GC's that the outcome will remain the same. Although there is a rumor out there that it may be changing the age of when young men serve missions. They are saying it'll be 18 years old. Who knows? Only time will tell.

"I don't care if you don't believe it, you have your free agency and I have mine." Does that sound familiar with anyone? It sure does to me. It seems as though the ones we come in contact with that still have a belief in some thing or some one, this is the response if you try to bring some reasoning to them. I cannot tell you how many conversations I have had out there with those who fit this description where they bring the whole free agency into the discussion. Even after your show "proof" of their misconceptions, they resort to a corner speech designed similar to this, to protect their belief. Someone recently told me I may have been reading the incorrect information out there because "no one will ever know because we didn't live during that time." True, but what is everything we have today that has been written? Can we take any validity of what is being taught in schools or even what is being pushed abroad by the older generations? This person happened to be a TBM (True Blue Mormon) and therefore I brought up the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. How can I, or this person, believe anything that is in these books if we weren't there to see it written or experience it for ourselves? This is true especially with the D&C where portions of it were taken out and others added after Joseph Smith published it. For example, The "Lectures on Faith" written by Joseph Smith Jr. was originally a part of the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants but later in 1921 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints removed it from their canon scripture because it didn't coincide with the beliefs the church had evolved into believing. It speaks of a trinity and also that God is the only god out there (no plural gods). So my discussion included this example for the sake that if we cannot take something that Joseph Smith originally said was doctrine and leave the rest, how can one pick and choose? That is almost similar to seeing what Moses had in the old testament and pulling out the 3rd commandment because it didn't mesh well with the others. It makes no sense! Once I was able to spell out the discrepancy in this logic, the individual I was speaking to agreed with me to an extent. In the past, this person when coming to this conclusion, would resort to the agency comment and just brush it off. I don't believe people understand the significance behind this distorted thinking and how it only hinders further "light and knowledge" we as a people and society could gain.

There seems to be a common thread lately in the exmormon community where one spouse discovers the inconsistencies built into the LDS organization and the other spouse is in denial or just pushes it off. In my life, this is the case. I have discovered, through years of trying to understand, that the church is not what it says it is. This has led me to decide it is best to separate myself from the LDS church. Although I have not gone 100% out of the church on paper, I do not see myself coming back at all. My integrity would not allow me to do so. My lovely wife still decides to go to church, despite hearing my rants and what not on religion. She takes our children to church with her and therefore goes on with her life. Occasionally I ask how it all went and she explains how thing went, while leaving out the parts she feels I may look down upon with my lack of belief. While it doesn't work for everyone, it does work for some. One day my daughter came home and told me that "bad people go to the place down there and burn" and I was livid! I told her not to fear that place because it doesn't exist. While I am an advocate in having some level of control with your young children, flat out lying to them is not what I believe in. Taking a lie such as this and scaring the little children into submission is what brought me so much grief, guilt and depression as a teenager and young adult. If we can flush these false truths out there, I believe our children will only benefit from it. Young children are only programmed with what we allow them to believe and what we relay to them as truth. In my marriage, we know we have to appease both parties. In this case our children will at least have two choices in life rather than assuming the one belief of their parents. This enables them to seek out their own understanding later in life (a hope we have). While my wife and I discuss these issues together and most of the time do not agree with how it should be dealt with, it is important to note that we are trying and I think that is key here. The strengths with our marriage on this is that we both acknowledge that individually we do not have all of the answers (I would say I concede with this more because of my lack of belief) and that we need to figure this out together. The idea of us divorcing has come up but it is because of belief. We haven't entertained the idea because this idea doesn't fix the situation. We would fight only more about belief with our children than if we remained together. We do love each other very much and we are very attracted to each other and have many other areas of interest we share. Religion is such a huge topic that any relationship is going to have its issues if communication isn't open. Yes, we have our issues in the communication department, but mostly we are able to work through it. As most couples can.

My thoughts are just that, my thoughts. They are my own battles I fight daily and hope for the best with them. We all have our battles and how we decide to fight them may be different in ever aspect, but hopefully the end result remains the same, peace.