Thursday, November 18, 2010

On losing my religion to find myself

They say you shouldn't talk about religion and politics. But they also say you should date, get married, buy a house and have the baby and we all know how well I followed that "standard". I can't take anything seriously when my marriage proposal was a mere two feet away from a pissed on pregnancy test that screamed "you guys are in for a ride!" Or "pregnant" in layman's terms.
So I'll talk about my experience with religion and why I'm at where I'm at these days.

When I was about 12 or so I was introduced to The Book of Mormon by a couple of unbearably wholesome and Docker'd missionaries. I had a crush on one of them so I let him convert me. Every "Family Home Evening" night consisted of my dad and two brothers (my mother did not believe in Mormonism so she found other things to do on those nights) taking in the scriptures and me desperately wishing for the onslaught of puberty so these guys would take me seriously. I needed breasts, not celestial kingdoms. But I listened because if my body wasn't going to do the talking my mind would and if these dudes are into Mormon chicks than so help me I'd learn how to be a Mormon. I was barking up the wrong tree.
I was baptized at 13 and from then on out I attended 3 hour long services every Sunday. I walked in every time, dress perfect, hair perfect, with my name engraved perfectly in gold on my Book of Mormon that promised perfection and I sat and I listened. Until I was 16 I listened. But I never actually felt anything. While my father bowed his head to pray, while my grandmother cried during moments of spiritual enlightenment I sat in the pew and doodled when nobody watched. I took the sacrament because I was hungry and considered it an appetizer before the 2 hour youth and young women's groups I would later go on to attend after the first sermon. I was not "feeling the spirit".
After a considerable amount of time considering Mormonism I began to feel defective. I was a 16 year old girl with raging hormones. Defected. I had rebellious thoughts in my head. Defective. I wasn't crying or nodding my head in unison during congregations. Defective. I was feeling nothing, worse, I was feeling contempt. Defective.
I decided that a religion shouldn't make me feel defective or immoral. I thought religion was supposed to lift one up. Bring out the best in people. Make you want to love thy neighbor instead of flee from the building and so I quit. I quit out of guilt, out of fear, out of spite. I denounced Mormonism to my fathers face and went on to feel like I had failed half of my family. To this day I can't be in a room with the lot of them and not think of what they are thinking of me. It's on their faces.
"The girl that doesn't have religion. The girl without a path or salvation. The lost." And there I sit thinking "the sheep. The fooled. The ignorant." It's not a good mix so it's a situation I avoid now. I haven't seen many of them in years.
So, with that bad taste in my mouth I began to view religion as an unnecessary evil. I pushed it all away with all my might until I bent and decided it wasn't worth it. It wasn't worth it to allow so many bad feelings into my heart so one day I decided to let bygones be bygones and I decided I was agnostic. And I'm happy with my decision.
I'm not angry anymore. I'm not torn or conflicted and I'm happier than I've ever been. And what's more, I don't view many religions with hostility. I became accepting. I get readers from all walks of life and I love them all. And that's all that matters to me. I don't care about what you worship. I care about YOU. And these days I'm so much more open.
There are days when I wonder if I'm wrong of course. Days when I stop and think about God or Jesus or his children and wonder if I'm still the wayward sheep. But for the most part I'm happy with my ability to listen to my Christian friends, to be lead into a Krisha temple and be draped with flower necklaces, to open my door to those who knock bringing their gospel instead of pretending I'm not home.
These days I'm home. I'm always home. And you're all welcome in.

"Death makes angels of us all and gives us wings where we had shoulders smooth as raven's claws."


kate said...

I recently asked a question about faith. I think you just helped answer it a bit. Thank you.

Amanda said...

I hope I can help in any tiny way. That's what keeps me writing. So, thank YOU!

Molly said...

This was really cool to read. I love learning about what people believe and what journey has brought them to their beliefs. I had no idea you had a Mormon background - not like there's some sort of badge you should be wearing.
But, it's just cool to learn new stuff about bloggy friends. :)
So, thanks for sharing!

Alex said...

I come from a Christian background and feel similar to religion as you do now. I did not get my happy ending the way most people get theirs. My son will be 2 1/2 in February and my husband and I celebrate 2 yrs of marriage next month. You do the math.

Because of a whole butt load of reasons I tried staying away from religious groups, but lately God has been tugging on my heart & teaching me that I can in fact have a relationship with him and NOT have to have the religion which I completely despise.

Mrs. Beer said...

I always love to read about peoples religious standings. I feel the same way as you do- had a VERY similar situation except with the Christian church- literally only in it because the guys I dated were. Got involved for a a few years, read the scriptures, had bible studies at my house, prayed daily, etc. Then I realized I was sick of people telling me that my parents were going to Hell, homosexuals were going to Hell (absolutely the most disturbing for me), Muslims and Buddhists were going to Hell, and, that Jesus talked to them on the reg- so I backed off. I mean- really?

Agnostic suits me much better. People are people. No one is going to burn in a fiery pit for eternity because they were born gay. Creationism is as ridiculous as the notion that the earth is flat.

Ok, Im done... byeeeee