My journey

Life is a journey. Nobody lives “life” without trial and everybody has a story. I am no different. The past three years have been a tumultuous part of my journey, but I guess at least it wasn’t boring.

Part of that journey is a realization, and I have to be careful with that word. When I first starting writing books, on a read through I discovered my characters had realizations every other second or so! But still, it’s a good word, and one I need right now, so I’m going to use it. Forgive me.

Below is a part of an email I sent a friend, one who is walking the line between Mormon belief and disbelief, mostly non-believing, but wanting to bask in the comfort of the tried and true. He asked me a question, and it really got me thinking. How DOES one sit on that fence? I really don’t think it’s possible, at least not in the Mormon religion, and yet I know a LOT of people are doing it. Everybody who gets up and goes to a Mormon church on Sunday does NOT believe they are the ONLY TRUE THING IN THE WORLD. It just doesn’t work that way.

But why can some people walk the line, and sit on the fence, and others, like me, not do it? What is that distinction?

I’m really curious here, so let’s have some dialogue. I promise to post more regularly, Trapees, if you go with me on this one.

Here is what I wrote in my email:

I never set out to convince anyone they were wrong, and that is what so many people don’t understand about me. This has always been about life from my viewpoint. My writing. Everything. I will never march on Temple Square, or wave someone’s garments on a stick, or hand out pamphlets outside those gates. The people that come to my site, or read my books, have fair warning. “I am not on YOUR territory, you are on mine.”

As much right as the LDS Church has to send out missionaries to convince the world they have the only true thing, so do I have the right to say I don’t believe it’s the only true thing.

I don’t do it on their sites and in their territory, but they continually come onto MY territory and attack me. But I don’t intend to change my stance or my tactics. In the end, they look bad to the outside world. A Mormon friend of mine told me I “knew how to pick” my battles. He’s right. I don’t argue what I won’t win. The things I argue, I can prove. And I don’t have an issue saying, “I don’t know.” Because a lot of the time, I don’t know.

This is my culture, too, but I don’t and can’t walk the line. I’m honest, upfront, and live what I believe. I see a lot of damage come out of Mormonism, and it’s not the way I choose to live my life. Would I ever go back to The Church, and consider going to the Temple? No.

I guess if that’s what you want me to say, I’m saying it. I certainly wouldn’t tell you not to do that, but I’m not sure those two viewpoints can go together. More because of the viewpoint YOU would be embracing, than the viewpoint I would be embracing.

Mormonism only works with other Mormons. It is not a culture or religion made to intermingle with the rest of the world. In fact, it works solely on the belief that Mormons are “special” and that all the things they are doing are going to get them to the highest of God’s kingdoms. And only other Mormons will be there.

That world is one I don’t want to live in.

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About Natalie R. Collins

Natalie has more than 30 years writing, editing, proofreading and design experience. She has written 20 books (and counting), has worked for the Sundance Film Festival, and as an investigative journalist, editor, and proofreader. She embraces her gypsy-heart and is following her new free-thinking journey through life. Follow her as she starts over and learns a bunch of life's lessons--some the hard way.
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10 Responses to My journey

  1. Clark says:

    A heaven with only Mormons in it would be a pretty boring heaven.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Trapped by the Mormons » Blog Archive » My journey Help

  3. azteclady says:

    I’ll say that most people who go to Catholic Mass on Sundays also do not believe they have all the answers–at least, most Catholics I know don’t believe that.

    It’s a funny thing, religion, isn’t it? To be a ‘true’ believer, in most religions, you have to proclaim that you believe that one religion to have all the answers, even when logically it can’t. After all, religions are man-made and man is eminently fallible.

    I’d rather be as good a person as I can be than claim close affiliation with any organized religion. That, I guess, is my journey.

    Like

  4. hunter says:

    I was in the bishopric, then excommunicated, then divorced. I have 3 children. Its odd, because I don’t believe in any of it. Haven’t for a long time. Never will. Yet, I find myself going to church to sit with my kids. I don’t know why I feel like doing it. I can’t explain why even though I know its all garbage and had a major role in my marital failure. Maybe I am afraid that because I know that my ex-wife will undoubtedly keep them in, that I don’t want that “stigma” attached to me from my own children. And it makes me contemplate being rebaptized.
    Its been really hard. So here I am, a fence sitter, but only because of my children. And I am not presuming that it is necessarily the right thing to do.

    Like

  5. adoptivemom says:

    I wanted to find a religious/faith community so that my kids would have this good influence as they grew up. I had been to many churches growing up, decided to get baptized in the Methodist church, grew up in Idaho, so knew a good deal about the LDS faith. I ended up also looking into Wiccanism and other new age belief systems. In college I actually minored in religious studies. My problem was that I saw at least some truth everywhere, but then I also found things that left me shaking my head in wonder at the stupidity. It was after college when the prospects of starting a family became real that I picked up this search again. I found a faith, Baha’i, that says we ARE all right – Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, in fact all of the world’s major religions. And they believe in equality – regardless of sex or color. And they have always maintained that stance, even though at its inception in the 1800’s this was not necessarily popular thinking. Do Bahai’s think they are correct in following our prophet/founder? Of course! But we are also taught that if we do not hold Christ (or Muhammad or the “founders” of the other religions) in the same light as our own prophet, we are turning our backs on them all. Needless to say, I have a closer relationship with Christ NOW than I think I ever did when I called myself Christian. I have always believed that there is truth everywhere, and how happy am I to have found a faith that tells me the same thing! Is my faith perfect? Nope, I’m human. Is the organization of this faith perfect? Nope, it’s run by humans. But it is accepting of others in a way that I have not seen elsewhere and the belief system makes more sense to me than any other faith I know.
    If you are unsure of your own faith, I hope you can figure out why. I hope you can resolve this in one way or another. Do I think you have to convert to my way of thinking? Not at all! Do I think you will burn if you don’t believe the way I do? Absolutely not – and that is why I have chosen the faith I have. My hope is that others can find such peace in their own chosen beliefs – or non-beliefs, for that matter.

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  6. Del says:

    Hi Natalie,
    I have thought a lot about the kinds of things you are talking about in this post since I officially left the Mormon church back in 03.
    I have not been able to figure out why some people stay,even though they don’t believe most of the Mormon doctrine; and why some people leave when they determine they don’t believe most of the doctrine.
    As for me, I could not sit in church week after week and take in the stuff I really don’t believe to be true. Furthermore, I feel very uncomfortable sitting in classes or other meetings when I cannot bring up any different or oposing viewpoints.
    Thanks for the insight
    Del

    Like

  7. Summit says:

    Natalie,

    Thank you for your question. I am currently wrestling with this thought myself. I am still early in my process of “awakening” to the recognition that many of the things I have believed in all my life are lies. It will take me some time to work through this.

    At this point I am not running out the door because of my family. I have a wonderful wife who is aware that I don’t believe Joseph Smith to be a prophet of God. Upon hearing this, her anxiety hit the roof. I think that with time we can continue to grow together and come to a common understanding. There really is no other understanding to come to at the end of the day other than the fraud that is the LDS church. However, my love for my wife is greater than my need to be right and my need for others to know that I am right. I am willing to sit through church and ignore the parts that grate upon my current understanding.

    This may not work for everyone, but it will work for me. At least for right now.

    Thanks for the question.

    Summit

    Like

  8. JulieAnn says:

    Personally, I’ll be on the concourse of heaven drinking a beer. And eating cotton candy. The point is, fence sitting is not my particular personality–with anything. I think that if a person sits on the fence of one issue, say religion, they may fence sit on a lot of things. There is no judgment from me, just an observation.

    I think fence-sitters in any religion exist because they want to pick and choose what to live and not be bothered with the rest, Except in the case of #3Hunter, who still goes to church “for the kids”. Let me say that I admire him for coming on here and admitting that he simply isn’t sure–no one is, buddy. I promise. But one thing I do know–your children deserve–DESERVE a parent with integrity. If that means you choose to leave the Church, you owe it to yourself to heal, gain wisdom and information to help them. Because one day they will see you–living authentically, and they will want to know how THEY can get the kind of light you have rather than the pseudo-“spirit” of delusion.

    If you’re in it for the long haul, it’s better, IMO, to live authentically. I know, I did it. Both my daughters wound up living full-time with me because they knew I accepted them no matter what, My three cents

    JulieAnn

    Like

  9. Carl says:

    JulieAnn,

    You are so correct! Living a lie never works out in the long run. I have witnessed so many examples of this basic truth over the years. And I believe that you are spot-on when you mentioned that this “fence sitting” personality manifests in other aspects of lives.

    Without getting too deeply into life metaphors and other intellectual studies (of which I readily admit my frequent inability to fully understand anyway) as life unfolds and matures through decades of living, one very apparent truth becomes clearer and clearer; our lives become more transparent. By this I mean that the true desires and wishes of our hearts become visible to others. We become who we are. Our relationships with important people in our lives become more open and honest. If we live lives untrue to ourselves, these relationships suffer in other, serious ways as well.

    I have learned to mistrust and pity those who, for whatever reason, continue making excuses for living lives untrue to their beliefs. Mormonism is silly. A belief in a God that would manifest his entire and complete truth in the manner that the LDS church claims is based on superstition and lies. It really is time to move past this silliness and on to better, more open lives.

    Carl

    Like

  10. Anthon says:

    I was a fence sitter until i was 16, and took atleast 10 years before I could open myself up to the idea that I really am happier not being forced to believe something that I didnt believe or want to be a part of and being true to myself. Mormonism in Utah is a little bit differnt than other parts of the country, so I have been told, by old friends that have moved out of Utah. However, most are still very hipocritical, and the most judgemental people I come in contact with now 25 years later. Being TRUE to yourself and able to live you life anyway you wish, and not judging others is the way to go. I dont want to be judgemental, but when you are being judged all the time, it turns you onto the defensive, and in turn become judgemental of their judgementalism. Why cant we just all get along…….

    Like

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