Saturday, November 30, 2013

What I Still Believe & Time And I Have Made Up

"Do you still believe in God?"
Hmm... I don't know. Yes? Yes, I think so.
"So, are you agnostic?"
Uh... honestly, I think I'm just apathetic? I know that sounds terrible... but I think it's the truth.
"What's your relationship with the church now? Do you still go?"
Uh... well, no. No, I don't. Honestly, I just feel like I'm just moving further from the church all the time. I still value it, and I'm happy if you're happy in your pursuit of it. It just doesn't feel like there's a place for me.
"Did you just leave it behind because it was easier?"
Well... probably yes. That's at least part of it for sure, because my life is definitely a ton easier without the church.

 These are some roughly accurate portions of some conversations I've had recently about my beliefs. Guys... I don't really know what I believe, and that stems from an apathy that kind of washed over me when I realized I was gay and that I didn't believe in the church anymore... at least not fully. A friend of mine recently commented on how despite leaving the church, he still believed in families being sealed. This baffled me at the time, but I think I've come to understand a bit of what he meant. While maybe he doesn't necessarily believe it works exactly the way the church teaches, he still probably believes that our families can be united into the hereafter. That sounds great. Why not believe it? I realized today as I was standing on a rooftop, putting up Christmas lights and enjoying the crap out of a fairly warm day with plenty of sun, that I think I still definitely believe in a hereafter. I believe that there is at least something about us that continues into the cosmos. Put in church terms, I think we do have some kind of a spirit that endures. I think this mainly because I think I've felt the presence of my grandfather after his passing. Which was a particularly powerful feeling because he died while I was on my mission. I missed the last year and a half or so of his life, and I didn't really get to say a proper good bye. As I write this, I think I'm realizing how mad I really was deep down about that. I knew the drill, though. I knew what was expected of me. I had to just keep my head down and work. Work for the church--build the kingdom--follow all the commandments--don't question the commandments--don't question the rules that pass themselves off as doctrinal commandments--don't think about your sexuality--never ever admit that you could possibly be gay. (Well that subject changed fast! Didn't it?) I just think the church is ridiculously rigid about a lot of things. Heaven forbid we let a kid fly home for a week of his TWO YEARS of service to say goodbye to someone that meant a lot to him. Literally... I think people in the church believe that heaven forbids that.

Ugh. Ironically this post was meant to be a pretty calm and casual listing of what I still believe! Now I'm all emotional! Moving on, nonetheless...

I still tend to think that the church has a lot of teachings on morals that are spot on. I think that generally following the commandments (the real ones, haha) leads to people being pretty good and well-rounded folks. This is leaving aside my feelings that people who are only attracted to their same gender should be given a lot more freedom to have the emotional connections that truly work for them. It also leaves aside the absolute fear of sex that is attempted to be instilled into church youth. I think I thought I was doing the most mature thing possible in shunning any thought of sex or sexuality. Nope... turns out it's actually most healthy if you allow yourself to gain some understanding of who you are and perspective on the value of sex by asking questions about these things. It won't kill you to let kids think for themselves and realize that sex isn't that big of a deal. In the grand scheme of things, it's just one part of healthy relationships.

I do also very very very much appreciate church teachings that are about serving others. Other-focused living is really the thing I want most to grasp on to as I pull away from my religious moorings. I definitely neither HAD nor do I presently HAVE an other-focused mindset that is the one I really want, but if I'm working toward it I'm happy.

I say I'm not bitter toward the church, but in many respects that's just not true. I do have things about the church that I'm bitter about. I think when I say I'm not bitter, I just mean that I'm not combative. I mean no outright war on the church, no desire to pull others from it (unless they're gay... haha... that makes me pretty evil probably... but it's the truth, because this is my honesty space, ain't it?), and no real compulsion to make it change. I just kind of want to step away myself.

 So, yeah. There's that stuff.

Furthermore, I have often said in these past few months and years that I was really upset that I'm so old to be discovering my sexuality. Ya know what? Who cares? I mean, yeah, I am a complete moron when it comes to dating. I have very little experience. But who cares? I feel more now like a deaf person that can hear. My past is my past. I had plenty of good times with how I was in the past, and I'm content with that. I'm just really happy that I know who I am now. I still have plenty of time. I'm enjoying dating. Even though I kind of have very little clue what I'm doing... I am enjoying it. I'm just being me, I'm learning, and I'm growing. Time, I forgive you, but I will also not waste any more of you complaining about how much of you has been wasted in striving to follow a religion that I followed so closely that it masked my true sexuality. So I'm done now. See y'all later.

(I'm not really sure what I've just written and I'm not going through to edit it at all... I'ma just leave it stand as a testament to however I've felt this afternoon.)


  1. Spot on! You've echoed my sentiments exactly.

    Although you feel you are "old to be discovering [your] sexuality" just remember that, for some, it happens much later. You are still a young pup! haha

  2. My mom and I were having a conversation tonight about the church. I have started making a distinction between "the church" and "the gospel." There's not exactly the same thing. I think there are many parts of "the church" that Jesus just doesn't care about. Does he really care if boys wear white shirts and ties on Sunday? What does that have to do with "the gospel"? Does he care if the three year-old Primary class is called Sunbeams? Does he care if we have Sacrament Meeting first? Does he even care if we meet for three hours?

    I don't even think he cared if you were allowed to go home to see your grandfather before he died. I think that was something your mission president decided. At least in my mission it was. One of our APs got to go home because his father was really ill, he didn't die. Another Elder got to go home for his friend's funeral (the friend committed suicide). I, however, was not allowed to go home when my grandmother died. (My mother got to explain to all of our non-member relatives how I'm too busy serving a church that focuses on families, that I couldn't possibly focus on my own for a few days during my mission.)

    Anyhow, I think I'm where you are with the church. I don't go. I don't really feel bad about it. I feel like church is irrelevant to my life. I just feel so out of place. I haven't been for like 8 years now.


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