Before I starting thinking differently about religion, I took a vacation from it. It started one day when I decided that, as a divorced person, I no longer wanted to restrain and suppress my sexuality. I was at my sexual prime, and gall-darnit, I was going to make the most of it. At that point, I found myself at a place where I needed to humbly beg forgiveness or enjoy the new found freedom. I chose the latter. My belief system didn’t change, I just stopped going to church. It was easy to avoid the radar because singles wards are shit-show to be brief (see YSA Wards – Single Segregation Syndrome).
When I decided I wanted to come back to church, I wanted to do it slowly, but I kind of got impulsed to return more quickly than I wanted to (long story). However, my reluctance was magnified by my recent interest in Church history that a friend of mine implanted several years back. This led to some amateurishly exhausting research that led me to question a thing or two. That led me to reject several callings, and I usually don’t answer questions due to fear of letting the cat out of the bag.
I am very open about my feelings with my spouse, but we’d like to be sealed. Therefore, I don’t want the mark of “unbeliever/heretic/sinner” stamped on my forehead as I’m going through the sealing of a two divorcees. So, there I am, in the shadows, unable to speak my mind about things that are wrong or need debate. Although I did say something about the opposing votes in Elders’ Quorum, and I got several disapproving glares.
So when I read James Patterson’s post “I’m Not Struggling. I’m Just Different.” on Rational Faiths, I felt a longing to be who he is being.
I will embrace a new discipleship of Jesus Christ that includes rejecting ecclesiastical authority when/where appropriate, loving service more than rote attendance, and embracing those who are the most outcast of our religious society. I will dine with Mormonism’s publicans and stand in defense Mormonism’s harlots.
In embracing this new approach to faith that seems foreign to so many who share my religion, I will make no apologies for being a “radical” Mormon in the same sense that Jesus of Nazareth was a radical Jew.
Oh, I like the radical Jew line. I often think of Martin Luther when doctrinal issues are raised and think of how we praise him, yet martyr his contemporaries. RIP John Dehlin.
But most of all, I will be humble and recognize that I don’t have all the answers and likely never will. I will embrace love, compassion and kindness as the answers to most of life’s difficult questions.
This line says it all. Why did Joseph Smith embrace polygamy? Why did Brigham Young teach Adam-God? Who cares. I’m too busy trying to be more loving and compassionate with the Mormon publicans and harlots.