Friday, December 23, 2011

Belief Systems

The day I first knew for absolute sure that the mormon church was not The One True Church, I was floored. I remember talking about it with my boss, who, no so coincidentally had just finished studying about the origins of the mormon church at her own church. She asked me if I believed in God and in Jesus, and I unhesitatingly said, "absolutely."  Because I did.

But as the days and weeks went by, I began questioning my belief systems. What do I really believe?  And the questions got deeper and deeper, and the answers just weren't there.

And then, all of a sudden, it's holiday time. Time to put up the Christmas tree and deck the halls with tinsel and Santa Clauses. And our nativity scene got burned in the fire. I really had to ponder what to do about a nativity scene, since I'm not so sure I believe in Jesus the way I always believed. I got lucky and found a statuette of a huge winged angel behind a simple scene of Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus. I could appreciate it for art's sake, if not for anything else, so I bought it.

Our friends with whom we're spending Christmas are going to church on Sunday. The Dad is singing that morning. I'm not going--not because I don't want to support him. No, I'm not going because I would feel incredibly uncomfortable in a mormon building & congregation, and because I get to go home and cook Christmas dinner. I'm cool with that. I hope they are.

I think one of the harmful things that the church did to me was instill the belief system that there had to be One True Church. So in my early days out of the church, I was still searching for that truth. I remember contacting a non-denominational Christian pastor to find out what they taught, and he blew me off. I thought maybe I could be Buddhist, so I did some research into Buddhist beliefs, and I can't buy into the whole thing, although I love my little Buddha statues because they remind me to take time to meditate, and take time to find joy. I looked into paganism, and wicca, and UU, and various other religions.

For now I have come to the conclusion that it's okay to not align myself with any particular belief system. I'm content to have questions, because I feel free to search for answers (whereas as a member of the mormon church I was taught to shelves things, and that when the prophet speaks the debate is over).

And honestly, as I said yesterday, there's no way to know what happens after death until we're dead.

So as I celebrate the Christmas season this year, I'm not necessarily celebrating the birth of Christ. I'm celebrating the closeness I feel with my family and friends. I'm celebrating the opportunity to prepare good food and feed people I love.  I'm celebrating the opportunity I have to thank people for their kindness and service. I'm celebrating the fact that for a time, at least, people tend to be a little kinder and a little more loving than usual. I'm celebrating my freedom from spiritual oppression.

So happy holidays to you and yours--whatever those holidays may be.  If you're not celebrating any holidays this time of year, then I give you my love and best wishes for peace and joy.


  1. That is a good thing to celebrate, my friend. Freedom and family. I have to say, in a sense I'm celebrating those things too. I hope you have a very happy holiday!

  2. I did have a great holiday. I hope you did, too. :)