Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Belief

I'm no longer religious. It's been years since I last went to church. I no longer believe in God.

Earlier in my life I was religious. I did an LDS mission in Europe. Losing my religion has been liberating. It's like being able to breathe again after being underwater too long.

Mormons tend to assume that a gay, atheist ex-Mormon is a gay, atheist anti-Mormon. It's true that I think the Mormon church didn't do me any favors as a young person. That's not bitterness; that's just the way I experienced the church's inflexibility toward the realities of my existence. It's true that I think the church, like most institutions, acts primarily for self-preservation or expansion. That's not antagonism; that's just the way I see it. But I have a live-and-let-live attitude about the whole thing, or at least I used to until the church started getting involved in politics. Asking its members to do its political footwork on the gay marriage issue was an outrage.

About a year ago I attended the wedding of one of my nephews at an LDS wardhouse in rural Idaho. The family had been through some rough times, and I was touched at how the community rallied around the young couple. Then I made the mistake of walking down to the bishop's office and checking out the postings mounted on the wall. There was only one. It was a message from the First Presidency. Of all the topics possible for such prominent placement, what did they choose? Gay rights. Yup. You read it here first. The single most important issue to the salvation of the saints, if we use placement as an indication, is to stop some people who love each other from making a lasting commitment to each other.

I put my red punch and sheet cake down on a table and walked out to the parking lot for some air. I felt as if I had been kicked. All the feelings I had of reconciliation that had arisen on the occasion of my nephew's wedding and upon seeing the love and fellowship they experienced went away. In its place was a witness of cruelty.

2 comments:

-L- said...

My wife speaks of anti-Mormons, ex-Mormons, and post-Mormons, in descending order of rage. After leaving the church, I can completely understand how there would be some bitterness... but I'm always glad to see when folks can reach the point where the church is viewed for better or for worse in a dispassionate sort of way. And, while Scot has also expressed opinions similar to your outrage at the church's political actions, I've always been glad to know that he and I have managed to be friends despite our differing opinions. I hope for the same with you as I read your blog.

All the best!

MoHoHawaii said...

I hope to be a post-Mormon.

I have a lot of empathy for gay folks trying to stay in line with the LDS Church. I did this myself for many years. It can be an uneasy fit.

Part of the reason for this blog is to see if I can find common ground with people who are still in the church.