Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wondering about Christianity

You know, when I very first realised that the One True Church isn't, my first reaction was to turn to Christianity. But which denomination? I couldn't be Catholic, no matter how much my husband's sisters want me to be. Too much messed up history. My dad and stepmother would love if I converted to Presbyterian, but somehow that didn't feel right for me. And I contacted a small nondenominational Christian church near my home to inquire about the pastor's theology, but he brushed me off because he was too busy planning Easter service. And then never called back again, which kind of soured me on feeling like I might want to visit them.

And then the other questions started coming up. Is Christ what I have always believed, our saviour and redeemer? Or simply a good man and a great teacher, as a lot of people believe? (I've looked into UU, but right now I don't feel the need to align myself anywhere. I have my sister, and another 4 incredibly close friends to whom I can confide anything, and they support me spiritually in a way that I rarely--if ever--found at church. I consider myself a spiritual person even if I'm not religous.)

But coming back to my questions about Christianity. I can't help but see how being mormon for 30 years affected me. I read those signs of the true church, and how this group of people got together and wrote them up, and lo, the only church that met their requirements were the mormons. (I keep automatically capitalising the word mormon, and then deliberately going back and uncapitalising it.) But the mormon church is not the One True Church. I don't believe there is one. What drew me, initially, to the church was the depictions of happy families in a family home evening manual my mother had at home after she got baptised, and forced my younger brother and sister to get baptised. I wanted a happy family, and if that was the way to get it, then that's what I was going to do.

Only it didn't give me a happy family. We were still as effed up as we ever were. ("You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here? Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down....Same as it ever was, same as it ever was!") My dad was hurt that we were suddenly all mormons and he was not. I wonder if that was the final straw for him, the last blow to their already shaky unhappy marriage. Because for a long time it was me and him against the rest of the family. They'd go off to church, and he'd take me to the grocery store and we'd play Pac-Man. ("Did you know that the original name for Pac-Man was Puck-Man? You'd think it was because he looks like a hockey puck but it actually comes from the Japanese phrase 'Paku-Paku,' which means to flap one's mouth open and closed. They changed it because they thought Puck-Man would be too easy to vandalize, you know, like people could just scratch off the P and turn it into an F or whatever.")  And then I finally gave in and started actually attending church, and that was that.

So when I left, what was I looking for in a Christian church? I think I was looking for a church where people really loved each other. A church where they had Wednesday night prayer meeting or something. A church where they taught the gospel of Christ, not all the singsongy droning talks you hear at a typical LDS sacrament meeting. I drive past several superchurches on my weekday commute, and they're these huge, huge edifices where I don't know, maybe thousands of people meet together at one time, and it freaks me out. I feel like I'd be a lost little fish there, and can't do it.

And then I continued asking questions, not just about the mormon church, but about everything, and it's all in upheaval, and I'm learning things about myself and my beliefs continue to go further and further from Christianity. Do I believe in Jesus Christ? Yes, in a sense, and I'm not sure in another sense. Do I believe in God? I like to believe there is a God. I hope there's some sort of benign divinity looking over us all, but I don't believe in God the same way I used to believe when I was TBM.  Why would that God answer my prayer for my husband to find his keys, and yet let my best friend's son die? Didn't make any sense, and it still doesn't.

I don't think there's a point to any of this. I just have lots and lots of questions, and I think and study all the time, but there are no answers, no solid conclusions. And for now, that's okay. I'm willing to wait it out and see what happens. I try to be a good person. I love people. I work hard. I try to make things better because of my being here. And if that benign divinity is there, I hope s/he understands what's in my heart.


  1. We're going through a similar journey right now. We have found a pretty awesome Methodist church in our area, though. They have lots of activities through the week, but not with the "must-do" pressures of Mormonism. They also have a great kids program; our kids love it. We haven't committed to going there all the time (nor has anyone pressured us to commit for that matter -- they are just glad to have us there), but we have gone there several times and enjoyed the sermons. They have 4 services where we are...2 traditional, 1 contemporary, and 1 "freedom" service. So there is variety. We're still looking around a lot, but just thought I'd let you know what our (somewhat limited) experience has been so far.

  2. Not all Christian churches are the same. I've went to some great ones and I've also gone to some crappy ones. I hated the church that I went to as a teen (with my mom) because then it was too much for me. Very "I'm a Jesus superfreak" [speaking in tongues- jumping/ dancing in the aisles]. I'm just not there. I believe in him and all, but I'm not fanatical over him.

    Anyhow, you'll find your answers in time. And regardless you'll have people who support/ love you no matter your religious beliefs.

  3. So why would a god answer my prayer to do well on a test while millions suffer from disease and starvation? If "god has a plan" who am I to pray to ask him to change his plan for my needs? I was raised a Lutheran and I tried to go along with it all, but just too many unanswered questions.

  4. Aint'no mo no mo,
    Do you want God to be real in your life, to really exist in your life?
    Do you want the claims concerning Jesus Christ of Nazareth to be true?
    Do you believe that truth is knowable and objective? Do you believe that truth is invented or is it discovered?
    I was raised in the Mormon church too, 35 years as a member. I resigned my membership about 2 years ago. I would love to discuss some of these things with you, or anyone else who is struggling to find answers to these types of really tough questions, if you are interested. I don't want to just tell anyone what they should believe or that they should just believe what I believe. But there are good answers based on really good reasons, to all of your questions. Jono, the offer is open to you too.
    Hang in there and don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.
    Ken Rice