Saturday, October 29, 2016

My Faith Journey: The Next Chapter - Part 4 of 4

Life is an epic journey, full of failures and successes, ups and downs, light moments and dark. It reads like a novel, with many chapters and infinite opportunities.

Like a bookmark or turned down page, November 6th will mark one year since I openly announced the ending of one chapter of my life. I haven't shared the details about my faith journey with many people, because many have not asked. Now, here, in my little corner of the internet, the time has come for me to share my story. I do so to give myself a moment of reflection before I turn the page, and so those who care about me can better understand why I walk my current path.

___________ ____________ _____________ __________

THE NEXT CHAPTER

Now I am here. 

The last time I attended an LDS church service was at Christmastime in 2015. I have chosen to completely disaffiliate myself from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and have found great peace in my decision. I am technically still a member of the church, as my name is on their records and rolls. I will continue to be a member counted in their statistics until I resign my membership, or they excommunicate me. According to LDS policy and belief, when that time comes I will be stripped of all my saving ordinances and blessings received through the Church. That is fine with me. I no longer subscribe to the concept that an organization on this Earth can hold power over my salvation. My standing in, belief in, and loyalty to a church has zero sway over my eternal soul and where I go when I die. I have reclaimed that power for myself.

I no longer believe in the teachings of the LDS church, so I no longer do all of the Mormon things. I don't read my scriptures anymore. I don't go to church. I don't wear garments or pay tithes. I try not to put on a mask of perfection while quietly judging or comparing myself to others. I don't believe that god cares what I eat or drink, so don't be surprised if you see me with a coffee in my hand or a bottle of wine in my shopping cart. I don't believe I should berate myself or feel guilty for trying my hardest. I don't believe that I should silence my voice against my better judgement.

All that being said, I am grateful for my time in the LDS Church. I am especially grateful for the friends I made, they are some of my closest, dearest friends still. I am grateful for the community, for the beautiful music, and for the opportunity I had to explore faith and feel a connection to the divine in my life.

So, what do I believe now?

After believing in a high-demand religion that required strict obedience and a sure knowledge in its teachings, I am giving myself permission to not need to know everything. I don't know if there is a god or not. Maybe god is bigger than any of us can comprehend. Maybe god is found in the chemicals that exist in the synapses of my brain. You could call me agnostic because I feel that it is impossible for anyone to really know whether or not there is a god. You could call me a secular humanist because I think that people are capable of morality and self-fulfillment without needing a belief in god. You could call me Sarah, because that's who I really am.

As of right now, I have no plans to ever belong to a religion again, but I suppose that could change. I am okay with not knowing how it will all work out. I hope to wind my way through this world using the wisdom of my brain, the kindness inherent in my nature, and the sound morals that my parents instilled in me when I was a kid.

My morals are the same as they have always been. I am still a good kid. I still believe in honesty, responsibility, hard work, generosity, forgiveness, humility, and gratitude. I believe all humans are entitled to empathy and equality. I believe that love is one of the most powerful forces in the universe. I believe we can change the world with our smiles and kindness. I believe in giving service. I believe that everyone should find a path that leads them towards light, knowledge, joy, and self-improvement - I believe there are a great many such paths.

I will honor and respect your path, I ask that you respect mine in return.

2 comments:

  1. Our stories are nearly identical. It all started with a boy. I love you more than I will ever be able to utter in words.

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  2. Sarah, thank you for sharing your story. I am all emotional and teary, because although our stories are different, in some ways, they are so similar. I love you, friend, and am blessed to know *you*. /hugs

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