Confessions of an Anonymous Coward

Friday, December 01, 2006

And Yet Another Ex-Mormon...

Okay. Two posts in one day I think is a first for me for this blog. But I just ran across something that, well, follows up nicely on my previous post. Said post was about a post in another blog by a couple who left Mormonism to become Quakers. Well, I noticed a comment to that post by someone who said she was "going through the same thing, though my journey took me away from christianity entirely." I made a note of the URL of her blog to take a look at later (okay, actually I opened it in a separate tab in Firefox to look at later).

Well, I just took a glance, and she's seven posts into a long relation of how and why she joined the LDS church--unlike me, she was a convert to the church--and in the latest post in the series, she tells about when she made the decision to be baptized. And she addresses in detail the very thing I noted the lack of in the post I last wrote about: the supposed spiritual confirmation that the church was true. Yes, she had it. Yes, at the time she really did believe the Holy Ghost had told her she needed to get baptized. But, as she says at the end of the post:

I believe I had a spiritual experience at the time. My definition of the spiritual has changed. Now I view it as my mind fully embracing something that sounded good which I really wanted to be true. The physical feelings I had when I prayed about baptism and many other times since weren’t isolated feelings. I’ve had some of those feelings at other times too, when meditating, when at a concert, even when frightened. I believe it is a physical response to certain stimuli that appeals to specific parts of our brains. I define spirituality as what triggers those responses as well as our biological desire to reach out and connect with others.

I bore my testimony several times over the years. I said, “I know this church is true.” These days, what I see as true is what is logical. There’s plenty logical about the lds church if you believe in christianity - the need for a savior. However, there’s little logical about christianity. Logic is employed by the religious when it suits their purposes but when it doesn’t you’re told you need faith - that it wouldn’t be a test without the faith part. That if god laid out all his cards you’d have no choice but to believe. I don’t believe that is true. I give people the benefit of the doubt and extend faith in them until the evidence against them and contradictions pile up.

Faith can bridge gaps but I don’t think it can patch structures in serious disrepair with multiple planks broken off. A well-known parable in scriptures is about building one’s foundation on sand. Faith in the face of evidence to the contrary is building one’s foundation on sand. Hebrews 11:1 used to be a favorite scripture though now I can’t see validity in the substance and evidence of things unheard and unseen when there’s substance and evidence which can be heard and seen that dont support them.

I’ve been thinking about this word, testimony. I didn’t lose it. When a lawyer’s witness get’s killed, that’s losing a testimony. My testimony isn’t lost, it’s changed. Today I would say,”I know this church gave me positive principles which helped me better cope with the challenges of life and serve others.”

Religion serves a purpose; it fills a void. The goal now for me is one of how to fill that void and feel confident and comfortable in the validity of the methods.

I don't know that I completely agree with her about the positive principles gained from the church. I don't think religion is necessary to give positive principles, and I think I'd have been happier without it. Then again, on second thought, she didn't say religion was necessary for those positive principles; she just said it helped her with them--and I guess I can't argue with that.

In any case, I think she's absolutely right about the "spiritual confirmation" she received having been nothing more than a physical response to something she wanted to be true--I wish I had realized that earlier myself. And I think it's interesting that, of the people who wrote the posts I've written about in this entry and the last, the one who didn't address the issue of the spiritual confirmation he'd supposedly received as a Mormon went on to join a different church, whereas the one who actually confronted the issue and came to a conscious conclusion about its cause became an atheist. Maybe that's just a coincidence. Maybe it's not.


At 1/23/2007 3:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a Universalist-Unitarian. So I am a Christian of sorts, I guess. I guess? Well that’s a strange thing to say. Either you proclaim your faith in god and accept Jesus as your lord and savior or you don’t- right? Well no- there are degrees to everything. And I guess that’s my corny way of pointing that out. Although mainstream Christianity might advocate strong lines between good and evil/ atheism and a belief in god, I believe spirituality to be a complex issue beyond any church authority's comprehension. So the point to my rant? Well, I guess I'm just disturbed at your all or nothing approach to Christianity. I just don't like thinking that a person who grows away from the Mormon religion should become an atheist. If you become disillusioned with a particular sect of Christianity, it does not mean that you are an atheist. If you read a biology book and realize a world full scientists can’t be wrong, it doesn’t mean that god is dead.

At 1/24/2007 11:24 PM, Blogger An Anonymous Coward said...

I just don't like thinking that a person who grows away from the Mormon religion should become an atheist.

Um...I didn't become an atheist just because I became disillusioned with the Mormon church, and if that's the impression you get I doubt you've read much of this blog. I became an atheist because I realized I had no reason to believe in God at all; the Mormon church in particular had nothing to do with it, except that it happened to be the particular denomination I was raised in. I am fully aware that there are other options besides being a faithful Mormon or being an atheist, but I see no reason to choose one of those other options. I don't see any compelling reason to believe that God exists.

At 5/08/2007 8:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You certainly are entitled to your own opinion.

It is interesting for me to see how society wants everyone to get along and say that all religions are good, they all worhsip the same god anyway, etc...

A Christian believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. They also believe that the Bible is the Word of God. Jesus Christ died on the cross for mankind's sin. A Christian also believes that there is no way to the Father (God, and therefore Heaven) but through Christ. That means, unless you believe in THIS God, not any other god, you are not saved. That is fundamental Christianity. It does not mean that Christians hate, or should hate anyone else. (God actually instructs Christians to love everyone else as much as they love themself.) It does mean, that they ought to share the gospel of Salvation with all who do not believe.

So when the media, or someone says that Christians are hateful BECAUSE they don't have room for other religions, I don't buy that.

I DO however, believe that all of mankind is sinful, and therefore, anyone, Christian or otherwise, can act in a way that is not right.

I should also add that my understanding is that the Church of Latter Day Saints is not a Christian church, but a cult. I know that sounds harsh b/c of the connotations the word 'cult' has always had for me, but it would be a cult because of its addition of the Book of Mormon to its beliefs.

At 5/17/2007 6:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 5/17/2007 6:56 PM, Blogger An Anonymous Coward said...

Are you the same anonymous as the previous post? If so, you may want to read my Basis For Belief series of posts, if you haven't already, since it's partly in reply to your first post here...

I certainly never said anything about Christians hating anyone, but that has nothing to do with whether or not Christianity is true. I see no reason to believe it is.

...but it would be a cult because of its addition of the Book of Mormon to its beliefs

Not that I'm trying to defend the Mormon church here--obviously I don't believe in it anymore--but I'm curious as to your definition of "cult"; while I think the Mormon church certainly has some cult-like aspects, it seems odd to me that that, in particular, would qualify it as a "cult" to you...

[Ignore the deleted comment; it was basically just a bunch of obscenities. I won't delete comments that disagree with me, but I do reserve the right to delete comments that are nothing more than content-free profanities.]

At 5/21/2007 6:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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