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.