Wednesday, April 16, 2014
The hardest thing to reconcile is that there wasn't just one principle or concept, or teaching, or doctrine that caused my faith to fall apart and crumble to bits in early March (last month). It was almost in an instant, yet was preparing to emerge for forty years, it was the whole package, the entire "plan of salvation", the whole of the church that caused my my religion to crumble. It isn't a crisis of faith, and it isn't my need to be a "resting saint", or to have a period where I need to "spread my wings". It is, just very simply, that the belief system, much of which I was taught was fact and history, is just depressing, is not my idea of a loving God, and that conditional love is just not my understanding of love.
The only love I know is unconditional love through empathy. It hurts that some of my extended family and friends have pulled away from me, but my love for them is unconditional and my empathy for others give me understanding. My love for every human, my extended family, my husband, and giving birth to my beautiful children is my understanding of love. Nothing they do will ever change my love for them, and if I'd never set up kingdoms based on obedience, why on earth would the God I've been taught about do this? If he (bugged that it's even always referred to as a he, duh) conditionally loves me based on my works, or my children, or any of my family members, that's just unacceptable. If he created those with flaws, and doesn't view them as perfection in the flaws, and then uses those flaws to assign consequences that are eternally based on a blind test, that's just illogical at best, and is certainly not love but terrorism.
To reconcile that there was still a great deal of good taught in the church, while the whole of the religion for me teaches more conditional love, has been difficult to cope with. The grief is very real that I couldn't figure this out twenty years ago. That when I attempted to take a stand as a teen and told my father I no longer wanted to attend church one Sunday, and when he said as long as I lived under his roof, that I'd attend. If I had the courage then to stand up, and to listen to the human mind that is completely a part of me, what would my adult life had been like? Having empathy and unconditional love for the me in my teens, twenties, and thirties helps tremendously.
One area I was never willing to compromise on was in who I allowed myself to love completely and marry. On so many levels, my husband was everything I admired in his gifted ability to rationally think and to love unconditionally. His ability to respect my faith, and beliefs, and best attempts to live the religion I trusted that five generations had to be "right" with, and to attribute every strong emotion, and burning in my heart to the God I was taught about and the religion...well lets just say that my love for him has grown also this past month. I'm not sure that I could have done it, but perhaps I could have. I'm not sure that I could have waited for him, but perhaps I could have. It had to be so isolating and difficult to be unable to share his spiritual beliefs.
For me, with true empathy comes a deep understanding of others. Every member of the church now, because I love them, I feel myself holding back to varying degrees. Holding back because I remember how threatening it is to have someone who doesn't agree with you. Holding back because it is better for each persons journey of beliefs to be their own. I get it why now it looks as though the ex mormons look dark or that they've "lost the spirit". I mirrored their grief for me, and the grief that comes from rational thought about the religion. It's one of the most basic understandings we have of primates; that of empathy. There is just so much grief in understanding they can't and don't understand how you feel until the curtain falls, and it gets mirrored. You can see their pain, both conscious and unconscious, both overt and subtle, and you mirror that. As hard as believers try to have empathy, until they go on the journey of investigating the church out in their rationale minds, that until they ask themselves if there are other explanations for spiritual experiences, and until they are willing to ask if it's possible that just being human can easily explain what we think is knowledge, believers will continue to see that ex mormons have "lost the spirit". Naturally, I could be wrong, but so could believers.