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Holy Treason

I don’t know if you’re like me or not, but I was born into the one and only “true” religion of God. I spent my entire life studying and living the principles and teachings of my faith. I knew the doctrine, and I believed it to be true. Until I didn’t.

The road to the unraveling of my faith is a rather long one—definitely another article for another day--but suffice it to say, I began studying other religions and realized that all of them contained beautiful truths. I felt as uplifted and inspired while reading their scriptures as I did reading mine. I understood why some referred to religion as a “faith culture” for I was now aware that had I been born and raised in a different religion, I’d have believed that religious tradition to be true.

I came to see religions as merely vehicles leading us back to God. Surely God didn’t care whether his children drove jalopies or Jaguars so long as they were moving along the superhighway back to Him. Or could it be her? Or perhaps there wasn’t just one God, but a pantheon of Gods? It was fun to consider ideas and options outside my inherited beliefs even though my indoctrinated mind screamed “heresy,” blasphemy,” and tortured me with images of my eternal damnation.

My studies expanded further to include stoicism, spirituality, psychology, mindfulness, and science. As I dabbled in the dangerous fields of the “philosophies of men,” I found nothing devilish nor deceitful. Instead, I found helpful strategies for living a happy, healthy life; gained a greater understanding of human nature and behavior; learned fascinating facts surrounding the creation and evolution of man; and ultimately realized that there are many good men and women from all walks of life striving to increase peace, happiness, and joy on our planet.

This was all quite different from the mindset I felt my “faith culture” had created. In fact, before I began seeking answers elsewhere I had dutifully followed our religious leaders’ advice to set your doubts, questions, and concerns upon a shelf. “Focus on what you know, not on what you don’t.” “God’s ways are not our ways.” Could I really expect the finite mind of man to ever be able to comprehend the infinite mind of God?

And so I took down my shelf. I didn’t need it anymore. I decided that if God truly was my father, then he would be a shitty father if he gave me a mind incapable of comprehending him. I realized that perhaps the reason I couldn’t get answers to my questions was that I was looking for the answers in all the wrong places. Henry Ford’s words, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten” convinced me it was time to try something new.

I started worshipping my way. I found nature a far better fit than a pew, and the writings of the Stoics, Dr. Dyer, the Dalai Lama, and more, wonderful feasts for my soul. The hours I spent in solitude helped me realize my own truths. I realized that I didn’t like the God of the Bible and that for me, he really wasn’t worthy of my worship. I also realized that I didn’t believe in a devil, nor that man was evil and in need of a savior. I realized that hurting people hurt others and we are all responsible to save each other. In fact, I believe that we are all divine beings with infinite potential and God cares less about us worshipping him than she cares about us loving and serving each other.

So I scheduled an appointment with my Bishop and asked to be released from my calling as a teacher. How could I teach what I no longer felt to be true? I decided I would simply attend with my family and keep my feelings to myself, but listening as a silent spectator to sermons and teachings I no longer agreed with didn’t feed my soul. And when other members wanted to know why I was no longer teaching, I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t want to plant seeds of doubt for them nor did I desire to be the person responsible for destroying their faith. Dealing with the damnation of my own soul was enough eternal weight to bear, how could I add the burden of theirs?

And so I stopped attending and participating altogether. I didn’t make any announcement. I quietly departed. My parents and siblings found out and were devastated. My husband is trying to understand, but since he still chooses faith, my departure from the faith has caused some strain. We both don’t know what the future holds, but for now, we are willing to allow it to unfold. I love him and he loves me, but we are not on the same page. I keep quiet about what I feel, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I sometimes find it super unattractive that he still believes. But I can see why a man wouldn’t find too many issues with the Mormon faith. It really seems to be a “man”made religion. ;)

Comments

  1. Hi Janelle, This is Julie here. Thanks for finding me on FB and sharing your blog. I'm honored to be invited to read your powerful writing. Also, I love, love, love The Hiding Place, as well! Such a great book. Keep writing, and I'll keep reading!

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    1. I LOVE that book too! I'm flattered that you find my writing powerful as you are well read! I used to write daily, but now I'm and miss. Writing is super therapeutic for me. It's how I figure out what I believe. xoxo

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