Instead of aiming for any deep theological reflections, my goal will be simply to post weekly - small reflections or meditations about what I've been studying, talks I've heard, things that have happened. Fingers crossed, and maybe hoping to receive some grace to keep up with it?
I'll start today with a little bit of a background of what's going on lately.
I unofficially left the LDS church in April 2016. That was really rough for me. I spent a couple months believing there was no god, then spent a couple months exploring various expressions of faith and spirituality. For nearly a year, I have been attending a nondenominational church in my area off and on, and flirting with the idea of returning to my LDS ward. I've watched every general conference since I was baptized, and have read the Book of Mormon infrequently since leaving. Like I said, going back is an idea that's been tugging at my mind lately. That's a whole big bag of complicated that I can't get into now. It would take way too long, and besides - I don't even know where I am with that exactly, so I surely am not in a place to explain it fully. As Liz Gilbert said regarding one aspect of her life in an interview, "It's something I'm living in right now, so I can't really say too much about it." I'm going to focus on being present in my faith journey, rather than trying to turn it into a story prematurely. The point: Mormon, not Mormon, kind of Mormon - confused.
For about two and a half years, I have been employed at a Methodist church (the church where I grew up), as an assistant in the children's ministry.
I say that because some of the things I bring up in these reflections or meditations will be inspired by the things that I'm studying and teaching on Sunday mornings.
It's kind of funny, my boss stepping down. For over a year, as I've toyed with religion, I have explored many traditions, but felt that nothing fit exactly. There's a lot that I like from all different places, but nothing seemed to work exactly. After a while of this, I realized that every religion and every denomination would have things that weren't perfect, things that I didn't exactly believe, problematic pieces of history. I knew that I'd find a depth of religious experience as I chose one - though imperfect - and devoted myself to a tradition and to a people. I was frozen, though, because I didn't know which tradition to choose! And now I teach children about Jesus in the Methodist tradition. I'm learning all kinds of things about the Bible and Methodism. I don't know if I'd call myself Methodist right now, but I do think it's . . . interesting that God kind of shoved me into a faith community.
Despite this all - the questioning, the Methodist church - I write on this blog which has attached the identifier "Mormon."
I love the LDS church. I love the Book of Mormon, and I love our prophets. I love Joseph Smith and the movement that he started.
I love the Relief Society. I love Mormon women. I love Emma Smith and Eliza Snow and Emmeline Wells. These are the women I call my spiritual ancestors. They came before, and I follow their footsteps, because they were faithful, courageous, strong- and I want to be those things, too. I love every Mormon woman I have met in my wards; they have all taught me something valuable about life and love. I love the sister missionaries (those who were full-time and those who personified the call "every member a missionary") who met with me when I was in darkest night, who loved me when I was unlovable, who courageously accepted the call to serve their God, who persevered in proclaiming their faith boldly. They are an inspiration, and thinking of them brings tears of gratitude to my eyes.
I love this church. I may not love everything about it, but I love it. People say you can't choose your family, but you can choose your friends. Well, this church is my family. This is where my heart is, and may always be. This church chose me, sought me out, loved me when I was alone, and healed me when I was broken. I am forever indebted to this church; it will always have a place in my heart and in my life.
I'm not orthodox. Not even close. I never will be "just your average Mormon." Nevertheless, I remain glued to this church by my baptism and by the spiritual bonds that have been built by heaven's hands.
|Kirtland Temple (source)|