Walking My Path
It’s now been a year since I wrote Finding My Own Path . The past year has been a time of reflection and soul searching as I attempt to figure out what my path forward looks like. I still don’t know entirely what the path looks like, it seems to be unfolding as I inch my way forward.
It has become clear to me that I do not believe in the god of the Mormon church. I have long struggled with the idea that the god of the Old Testament was a god worthy of worship and adoration. How do I reconcile the behavior and character of that angry, vengeful, bloodthirsty god with the teachings of Jesus? How could that god and Jesus be the same being ? How can the god of the Old Testament and the Jesus of the New Testament be so different and yet still be an unchanging god ?
When the November policy came out, it was further evidence to me that the god of the Mormon church is not my god.
I do not believe in a god who would pick and choose who is worthy of his love . There was a time when I believed that the Mormon church was the only church with the complete truth about god and answers to questions about where we came from and where we are going. Even when I held this belief, I always believed in a god that loved everyone. A god that would want all mankind to be treated equally. A god who would encourage inclusion, love and acceptance. Not a god of exclusion or exclusivity. Because of these beliefs I’ve long considered myself an unconventional Mormon.
This realization has not been an easy one. I have spent my entire life trying to please god as I understood him from the teachings of the Mormon church. I spent two years preaching to anyone who would listen that the god I believed in was the right one. I’ve spent countless hours discussing, thinking about and studying this god. I’ve discussed with family, friends and ward members the teachings of the Mormon church for hours on end. I’ve taught Sunday School classes. I’ve helped others understand the teachings the way that I did. I’ve found comfort in those teachings and used them to comfort others.
Since coming to this realization, I’ve been trying to figure out what that means for my path forward. What role, if any, do I want the Mormon church to play in my life now? I’ve considered remaining a member of record but not going to church as I’ve been doing for the past two years now. I’ve considered going back to church and participating just for the community it provides.
I recently attended a gathering organized by a friend. A woman introduced herself to me and asked how I knew the host. When I told her I knew the host from church she asked if I belonged to the ward this friend attends, to which I answered yes. Though I had technically told the truth, it felt like a lie. That’s when I decided that going back or continuing my association with the church for the social/community aspect is not something I can do.
I’ve decided it’s time to resign from membership in the church. I want to live an authentic life, one of integrity. I want to continue to find my way forward without feeling like I’m being disingenuous with the people I love.
This has not been an easy decision. Despite all the frustrations and negative experiences I’ve had in the church over the years, being Mormon has always been one of the ways I’ve defined myself. I know that deciding to leave the church may cost me friends. It may cause issues with some family members. It is the right thing for me to do, but that does not mean it is easy. When has anything worth doing ever been easy?
So what do I believe now? I’m still working on that. To quote a song by the group Godsmack, one thing I know for sure is that “ I still believe in immortal love. ” I don’t know if there’s a god. If there’s a god out there that deserves our worship and adoration, it’s a god of love.