Today is Sunday, the day I DON’T go to church and the day I DON’T worship anything but sunshine, long naps, and time spent with loved ones and good friends.
My hometown is a ghost town on Sundays, unless you happen to live within two blocks of any Mormon church. And in my hometown, EVERYBODY lives within two blocks of a Mormon church. That, folks, is where it is all happening. Those parking lots are full. The restaurants, the stores, the parks… pretty much a ghost town. Completely deserted. But the church parking lots are full, and you can see people dressed in their “Sunday best” coming and going most of the day.
Birdman and I share a similar take on the purpose of Sundays. He is not worried that one day I am going to try to drag him to the temple, and make ritualistic threats to disembowel myself. (Disclaimer. I have heard that tasty little part of the temple rites has been removed. Just saying.) In fact, he shares my own thought patterns. We drive by the crowded church parking lot, on the way to get some lunch, and he will say “Oh, we forgot to go to church today!”
I used to say this to my daughters all the time, and they still say it to me from time to time. Considering everyone around us who DOES go to church, we are very forgetful people.
The truth is, for many years after I left Mormonism I could not go inside an LDS Chapel. I had a very real, very disturbing aversion to anything that had to do with Mormonism, and all that comes with it. I made many excuses not to attend family functions held at Churches, and for a long time I believe my family thought I was just selfish, but the truth is: I COULD NOT MAKE MYSELF GO INSIDE.
I would have panic attacks just driving by a church, which led to my joking about “Hey, we forgot to go to church. I hate it when that happens.”
But somewhere along the line you begin to heal, or fix yourself. The reason I could not go inside a Mormon Church for so many years is very clear to me. I knew it wasn’t true, and I knew there were so many unanswered questions regarding it, questions that I would never get answers to. From people who SAID they had all the answers.
This is the only TRUE CHURCH, and the proof lies in this fiery passion and burning in the bosom.
It is sheer lunacy to base your life on an emotional fallacy, and all around me were people acting like lunatics, and treating ME like I was the one who had lost all reason.
Reasoning skills allow you to see that there were three different versions of the “first vision,” and know that somebody (Joe Smith) was pretty much making this up, because I’m telling you, if I saw God, and there wasn’t alcohol involved, I would NOT be changing the details. If GOD told me that all the other churches were an abomination, I would sure as hell NOT be joining one months later. To do so would be SHEER LUNACY.
There is little in the base Mormon doctrine that can be supported by facts and reason, but this does not stop thousands of people from getting up every Sunday, putting on their church clothes, and going to meetings.
How does this type of phenomenon happen? I mean, HOW do you convince yourself that something so ridiculous is so real?
I think I have it figured out. For example, after I had children I would watch episodes of Touched by an Angel and SOB. No, I am not making this up. This hopelessly hokey, “God Loves You,” show brought the tears just about every week.
Then my hormones righted themselves, and I got a grip on reality and realized that while Roma Downey was repairing that fractured relationship of a mother and daughter, some child somewhere else was being brutally murdered, with nary an angel in sight to step in and save them.
As my friend Deb pointed out the other day, “Why would God answer prayers about lost keys, and ignore the prayers of a child lost in the woods?”
It’s lunacy. These things could not be more random.
Realizing this made me realize that the horrible stigma of Outer Darkness, and the term “Apostate” and “Anti-Mormon” were the things that were keeping me OUT of Mormon churches, and even causing me panic attacks.
I am NOT an Anti-Mormon. I love many Mormons. I think Mormonism is silly, but I no longer feel the extreme panic and fear I felt for years after “leaving” the Mormon Church at the age of 18. I can walk inside a Mormon church today, and not feel the world crushing down around me, because I know that they were wrong. That this is NOT the only way.
That there simply isn’t one truth. Truth has many sides to it.
I can go inside a Mormon Church and stay there for more then a few minutes. I don’t DO it often, but I can.
Because I realized that what lies beneath the trappings of Mormonism is utter bullshit. People are all so damned afraid of dying and going NOWHERE, that they cling to this belief system that doesn’t have one shred of reason or sanity.
But many around me still cling to that bullshit. Smelly or not.
As for me, on a beautiful day like today, I drive by a church and casually say, “Damn, we forgot to go to church.”
I will never remember that. I have more important things to think about. When my youngest daughter discovered there was no Santa Claus, the first thing out of her mouth was, “Well, then how do I know there’s a God?”