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Well, I’ve been blathering on for a year now. Happy First Blogiversary to me! I wonder if I should start celebrating unblogiversaries.

I’m not in much of a retrospective mood (which gets me off the hook of reading back over 212 posts), but in reading my very first post I ask myself whether I made the right decision a year ago. Did I do the right thing in leaving the church?

We lay aside the expectation of a particular result,
and do the right thing because it is right.
We do our duty, we stand and fight.
We do not do so without profound compassion for others.
(Krishna to Arjuna, Bhagavad Gita)

Without question, the past year has seen a lot of growth for me. I believe that I’m a better person for having made the choice that I did. I only regret any turmoil and suffering my actions caused and secondly that I didn’t see my way to do it sooner. C’est la vie. Forgiveness is letting go of the hope of a better past.

I echo this sentiment again:

Others may say that I allowed myself to be seduced by falsehoods. It feels more like I was seduced by the truth. Letting go of the bogeymen in my head led me to greater peace, greater clarity, more happiness, and more power to do good. This change of heart is delicious to me.

Instead of looking back over my shoulder, I’d much rather look prospectively. I hope the future will see me continue to gradually wean myself of concerns about Mormonism and religion. I love to learn things. I would like to move on to subjects that I have neglected because of the time and effort I have put into religion in my life. I know enough about religion to satisfy me for a while. Let me devote more of my time to other things. Yet I have a desire to show others what I have found, especially my children. Maybe I need to set down my thoughts on the subject and close the case for a while.

Let’s see what the future brings.

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  1. Lincoln Cannon said,

    January 10, 2008 @ 11:23 am

    Religion is to the community as spirituality is to the individual. Teaching and communicating with your children about spiritual matters will require religion, a basis for sharing meaning and values. You asked me once what benefit might come from reframing yourself in a new understanding of Mormonism. The benefit (and detriment) is that of community. We without them cannot be saved. You feel this about your children. You recognize this about our civilization generally. Secularism provides this only to the extent that it is, ironically, accurately described as “religious”.

  2. markii said,

    January 10, 2008 @ 2:37 pm

    para bens pelo aniversario!

    once again i share your feelings on trying to “move on”, but still find religion, philosophy and science so fascinating! my goal to “move on” is to what i can only describe as “the human experience” (ie watching comedy films instead of listening to podcasts or reading, playing guitar, all those things that seemed worthless during my couple years of study).

    i disagree with everything lincoln said except that religion provides community. that’s about it (although pretty tempting in itself).

  3. chandelle said,

    January 11, 2008 @ 7:08 am

    yes, i have to disagree as well. religion does sometimes provide community but community is not religious by default. a real community exists when spiritual matters are discussed within a context of respect for differing beliefs and applications. that will never be the church.

    i visited a UU congregation last week for the first time and was startled at the wide range of beliefs – and in some cases, no religious beliefs at all – that were represented there. UU could be called a religion, but beyond that it is a community. in this congregation, there were pagans, jews, christians of all stripes, atheists, agnostics, buddhists, and everything in between. what joined us together was the common search for goodness, service and connection, based on ideals of the essential goodness of humanity, with or without a god. these are elements that transcend a codified religion. and to me, the community seems much more authentic, open, loving and forgiving because of that – more conducive to personal growth.

  4. Lincoln Cannon said,

    January 11, 2008 @ 8:43 am

    On what do we base our common search for goodness, or even any mutually accepted definition of “goodness”? Why should we bother with service or connection? Whose ideals matter, and why should humanity be considered good whatsoever? Whose God is the definition, without which there is no meaningful embrace or rejection of theism? This transcends codified religion only to the extent that we do not attempt to put the code into common language and overlook deeper codification. Whether we acknowledge it or not, whether we put it into words or not, religion is codified into our anatomy and into the environment in which we have our being.

    Your disagreement reflects differences in our understanding of religion. So far as I am concerned, true religion can be described as the communal bond of friendship, happiness and forgiveness, without tolerance for oppression, and with an eye set firmly on an ever-expanding mutual empowerment of our desires, wills and laws. Persons who live, discover and create according to such principles are gods — the only God with which we should have anything to do. That’s the faith that inspires me.

  5. Jonathan Blake said,

    January 11, 2008 @ 12:45 pm

    I think some of the disagreement going on relates to the amorphous definition of “religion”. Like the word “God”, religion probably means something largely different for each individual. When I used the word here in my post, I had in mind a hierarchical organization whose nominal purpose is to teach about metaphysical questions.

    I realize that religion as you, Lincoln, seem to define it will continue to be a part of my life forever because I am human (don’t let anyone tell you different). I hope, however, that it will take its appropriate place so that I can lead a balanced life where metaphysical ponderings no longer dominate.

    So far as I am concerned, true religion can be described as the communal bond of friendship, happiness and forgiveness, without tolerance for oppression, and with an eye set firmly on an ever-expanding mutual empowerment of our desires, wills and laws.

    I sit in sacrament meeting almost every Sunday. I sometimes even listen to what people say. When I do listen, I feel a deep gulf between me and the speaker. I understand what they’re saying and where it’s coming from, but their ideas and perspectives are so foreign to my own that I almost feel like we live on different planets. I invariably feel like an interloper in their private space. Attending sacrament meeting feels like I’m a voyeur intruding on their most intimate moments, trespassing on something they hold sacred but which I scorn. The LDS church no longer feels like home to me. The LDS people are no longer my people.

    I grew up in the LDS church and culture. That will always be my background. There are some excellent aspects of LDS belief and culture that I hope to carry with me forever. There are some reprehensible aspects that I hope to leave far behind, the detriments you mentioned, Lincoln. The negative aspects outweigh for me the positive. I spend more of my time in sacrament meeting feeling aghast that I ever believed those things than I feel inspired or enlightened. The LDS community doesn’t provide for me those benefits that you listed. Some responsibility for that lays at my feet, but not all.

    I believe the positive aspects of the LDS faith are separable therefrom. I hope that I can find a “religious” community which provides those aspects (and others besides) where I can feel at home, but the LDS church isn’t an option.


    I’m gradually learning to savor those human experiences. I’m learning that my happiest moments involved communion with my humanity.


    I’m still hoping to make it out to the local UU. Perhaps on the 20th of this month. In the past, I’ve been bad at injecting myself into new social groups, but we’ll see what I’m like in the future.

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