Monday, October 23, 2006

exit story 10: switching paradigms

At that point, I was willing to try out other religions, but still try to evaluate the church at the same time. I had been missing church maybe 2 weeks out of 4 for the past few months, for various excuses.

In the month after I crossed my threshold, I felt liberated sometimes, and damned sometimes. I took off my garments, put them on again, and took them off again. I was panicked that I was making the wrong choice, thought I was definitely going to hell, then calm and at peace. At one moment I thought I hadn’t given the church a good chance, then I was ready to wash my hands of it and all its crap the next.

I concluded that no church was the True Church of God, that all were manmade (with a few women-made ones in there), and that that was okay. Religion wasn’t about being the True Word of God, but was about enlightenment, goodness, social change, worship, inspiration, devotion. I realized Truth was not the yard stick by which to measure religion, and feelings were not the unit by which to evaluate veracity. Even though I believed it was not true, I still had to go through a process of evaluating it on another yard stick—goodness.

All the issues that I had before—and the stuff I chalked up to be culture, or practice, or the imperfections of the members—came back. I disagreed with stances on women, on homosexuals, on race, on worship, on history. I disagreed with how they taught youth, on the demand for conformity, on the demand to deny all doubt, on the micromanaging of people’s lives, on the hours and money wasted on temple work.

If it's the True Church of God, why doesn't it help people in need with homeless shelters, soup kitchens, humanitarian aid that works, and changing society for the better? If Hinckley is really a prophet, why is the best he can come up with is build more temples to waste more of the members time on dead people's names, and to tell girls not to wear 4 earrings? If the church is teaching the Word of God, why does it seem so inane?

So I went to church, but felt physically ill while there. I disagreed with nearly everything said over the pulpit. I looked around at the members, and the only kinship I felt was with ones who were non-believers. Was this my community? Was this worth staying for?


Love Medicine said...

Thank you for linking this post to me. I had read it before, but didn't really digest it because I was so overwhelmed with my own turmoil. You should really think about writing professionally. I have been published a few times and work for a university literary magazine. I see a mountain of total crap compared to your thoughtful...thoughts. I now must go edit that mountain of crap and stop reading much more profound writings of a strong woman....darn.

fallingaway said...

I just have to say that the things you said in this entry are so close to what I feel, too. I am really enjoying your is so fascinating to read about your journey away from the church. i am working on my own "exit" story myself, although I haven't technically exited yet. But thank you for writing this--it makes me feel better.

f said...

fallingaway- Welcome, welcome! I am so glad to hear my story has helped you through your ongoing exit. Being able to "connect" to others is a lifesaver when going through such a personal hell and turmoil.