Monday, January 28, 2013

This is the Land of Confusion

I rarely take much time to ponder and reflect on life.  I thought I'd take a moment and do so now.

The big difference between the last time I posted and now is that I've taken a step back from church activity.  It's a scary place to be.  All my life there's been a light post or beacon that I was to follow.  Over time, I realized that light was not comforting and was not all encompassing as I had believed.  What do I mean?  I mean that church and many of the things we do and practice there no longer matter to me.  I go to church usually to support my wife and kids, but I've refused any calling and do not have a temple recommend.  If I didn't go, my boys would never go.  I still think it's a good place to raise a family with morals, restraints and to learn Christ's teachings.  Those things are good.  I'm not angry or spiteful towards the church or its leaders.  I'm just indifferent myself.  If my kids pick another path when they are adults, it won't bother me much so long as it's an educated choice, not just to be different.

On a positive note, it feels honest to admit this and to live this way.  It honestly felt good to reject my bishop's latest attempt to extend a calling to me.  I don't have it in me anymore to participate like I did.  I feel more and more like my father, who respects the church but doesn't feel any need to participate or attend more than once or twice a year, if that.  He's a good man and not prejudiced against people who believe differently than him, unlike the general attitude many in the church have.

Needless to say, my wife is less than pleased with this latest turn of events.  I keep disappointing her--not a great feeling.  She has had certain expectations and dreams going into this marriage, almost 15 years ago, and has had the hardest time with my slow withdrawal from church over the last several years.  My understanding has changed over time, and I am not moved anymore.  She still is and loves the church.  I'm hoping when we express our religious differences in the future, there won't be so much anger from her.  I think it comes more from frustration and dashed hopes than any real animosity towards me.

Now I'm confused.  I don't have a guide post to help me through this.  I've always felt a bit distant from God, and that hasn't improved--one of the reasons I've lost faith.  I want to believe He cares and has a plan for me.  Some days it's harder to believe that than others.  I'll have decisions to make soon.  I still have 2 kids who haven't been baptized (both boys), and one day they'll be in the young men's program.  What to do about baptisms and priesthood ordinations?  Do I still keep wearing garments?  Are there other facets of our faith that I'll discard along the way?  I don't know because I'm not sure what I believe.

Maybe I'll take this blog in a new direction and explore those aspects of faith and doubt that plague me to work out my evolving belief system.  Talking about one's doubts has never been encouraged in this church culture.  Also, I hate to attack another's beliefs.  I'm don't think someone is stupid or ignorant for believing all the Mormon tenants (or any other faith).  I think faith is a beautiful thing.  I'm not one to knock that down.  I'm happy my wife finds happiness in the church.  I just don't anymore.  Because of the lack of a venue in which to speak and to avoid the appearance of being antagonistic towards those of faith, I don't usually say anything.  This blog may provide a better outlet than just remaining quiet.  I do better at organizing my thoughts in writing anyway.  I'm guessing my posts may lean this direction in the future.

Happy New Year to any who still peruse this blog.


Neal said...

For me, I've found my love for or indifference towards the Church to be somewhat cyclical. Right now I'm trending back towards the 'love for'.

I know its got to be a lot harder when you're married and have a spouse full of expecations. I wish you well no matter where the journey leads.

GeckoMan said...

Crisco, I've not been reading my blog friends for some time, and just stumbled across your post, so I'll comment now. I too am at a place where I have less faith and more doubt in absolutes and the claims of the Church as the keeper of all things true. Yet, I seem to be okay with that because loving others in the ward and beyond is how I can still authentically attend and serve. Like my mixed orientation marriage, activity in the LDS Church is a choice to 'Bloom where I am planted.' I don't feel I have a special conduit to God, but I feel loved by (them... HF&HM), Jesus, and by the Spirit who I feel guides me and blesses me. I choose to be a part of the great whole of faith in the living intelligent universe, not knowing all the details, but recognizing that my small contribution of belief and love is part of a larger whole. By not having certainty, my acts of faith are simply 'more faithful'.

Not subscribing to "I know the Church is True" has been liberating to me in the way it opens up the possibility that multiple paths of faith are accepted and cherished by our creator, who loves all the diversity this world has to offer.