I've noticed so many of you who have left the church seem to have lost your belief in God. I feel like I'm having a hard time fitting in because I do still believe in God or in something bigger than us...just that I have to believe in something. I'm struggling a bit now with this so I may babble. I've started researching other religions/beliefs, trying to find something that feels right to me. Sometimes I wonder if I feel I have to believe in something because I am so afraid of death. Or because it's been so ingrained in me my whole life. I have major issues with organized religion. I don't want to be "shopping" for something. I love the peaceful feeling that Buddhism and Wicca brings. I read a Bible verse a day and there is so much violence or vengeance. Yet I remember one time crying because I wondered what I had done to deserve something so good that had come into my life and I heard a voice clearly saying "Don't you think I know what you need?" - was that God? It's such a confusing time for me and I wonder how you all handle it because I know you have all been through something similar.
Sorry for the rambling...it's the only way I know how to write, to just let it come out with my thoughts.
Well, in my opinion, if you feel that a church doesn't fit right, you don't have to join it. I, personally, have my own beliefs about things but I'm not any in particular religion.
I understand the confusion, I was confused when I first left the church, too. You don't have to feel like you're in a rush to decide, it sometimes can take years. Do what feels right to you.
Thank you for your reply. I do feel there is something out there..something spiritual...and I guess this is what I call God although my God seems to be different from a lot of other people's.
I love that your dad visited you. My grandmother visited me right before she passed. She was in a coma and I believe she came to say goodbye. I woke up and saw her and I wasn't afraid at all. I just looked at her and knew it was goodbye. She didn't say anything, but I felt her love.
Robin, You have asked the real question.
I was born and raised a TBM of TBMs going back 5 generations. I served a mission and then served whenever and in whatever I was asked. After the MoCh, I was Taoist, a Buddhist, an agnostic. I have red all of the new atheists and studied the history (evils) of religion. But I admit that I believe in God. Why I can not tell you. I am a Red-letter Christian. I take the words of Jesus as the only way to go, although not infallible. I do not accept the Old Testament, The Book of Revelation or much of what Paul has to rant about. My God is above all religions. Love is the only doctrine and anything that does not support that I reject. To support my belief I did join a very liberal Methodist group where the pastor does not care what I accept and/or reject. I was asked to post and deposit the contributions after the second week. Not bad for the only active Mormon there.
When science cannot find 70% of the universe and have no idea if there is any deep reality I find room for God.
God is Love. If you love Love then you are his child even if you have never heard of Him. I am also a Universalist believing that God will bring home (save) all those who do actively reject his Grace. I accept evolution, the Big Bang, that God has called many people to lead people towards many time over the ages.
So, hang in there. The Gospels speak to me and feel that LOVE.
I like this thread, and I think I'll pop my post cherry on it.
So in the many years since my own first steps on the path of seeking truth, I've lost faith, found it again, threw it away, found another, lost that, began to cobble my own together from truths I've lived, anyways I've found that while the many and various religious texts do have some very heart lifting messages (as well as more than their fair share of sex, murder and intrigue, though I digress) I've found some of the most thought provoking messages come from some of the most innocuous of places. Take for example, one of my very favorite fantasy fiction authors right now, Brandon Sanderson (who is, in the most delicious of ironies, a TBM). In his book, "The Way of Kings" The first book in his planned epic "The Stormlight Saga" he has presented a fictive order of magical knight-protectors... anyways to cut a long story short, this order of knights lived by a code of honor, the first precept of which I found to be quite profound (and rather unlike traditional mormon thinking when deconstructed)
Life before Death, Strength before Weakness, Journey before Destination
Now the author himself deconstructs this phrase in his book, through his characters, and it may very well be nothing more than a narrative vehicle for his story. I offer my deconstruction of this phrase, and though I admit to some plagiarizing, this is how it resonates with me.
Life Before Death
Now, it goes without saying that life comes before death, to be 'Alive' implies the potential for death. The beginning of life and its ending are the great boundaries that define our corporeal existence, and so states the author. He goes on to state that it can also be a choice, or perhaps a reason to fight (it is a knightly coda in a sword and sorcery setting after all) that it is a pledge to fight for life, to save it, rather than to fight in order to cause death. He has a few other interpretations. My interpretation (and I'm by no mean implying it should be YOUR interpretation) is that these three words are the true meaning of life. That I am alive and you are alive and we are not dead (wow that reads more inane than it sounds in my head) well I choose to live my life, for my life. I choose not to live my life for death. I am not living to die and find my reward or punishment or reincarnation or joining with the one great consciousness or to become like god is or to take my next step in an unknowable eternal progression (BTW, that saying always cracked me up coming from TBM's. Mormon views on afterlife are indeed eternal, but not progressive; you go to your assigned place... and stay there, doing the things you do there for eternity, and maybe its just me but even birthing universes from will alone and populating them with the boundless spiritual seed of my boundless spiritual loins would grow tedious... eventually, but I digress AGAIN). Anyways, to paraphrase, when my heart and soul momo Mom finally got up the nerve to ask me what I was living for if not for eternal reward in the afterlife, I told her this same thing, (though not in the same words, this was years before this book was even a gleam in its creators eye.) I live to live, and to fill my life with what joys I can, rather than live in fear of what my every little misstep would doom me to in a shadowy afterlife.
Strength before Weakness
now this one has a big potential for difference of interpretation. It could easily be taken to mean that the Strong dominate the weak, or have power over them. And sadly in our world this is all to often the case. Again though it can also imply a choice, that I choose to be strong rather than weak... in a sense. From the stance of my own personal morality, I choose to stand on my feet, and forge my own path, rather than lean on the morality of others, and walk their well trod path with them. I meet people from my childhood who knew me as a mormon and they say I am weak for leaving their stern but straight dictates. I say they are weak for relying on others to tell them what to do. Its a perspective thing. I like my perspective though.
Journey before Destination
Ahh... now here's the real gem. As long as we are alive we are moving. Moving through time. Now this even more than Life before Death, is the crux that my decision to leave organized religion to organized religious folk hinges on. Those of my family and friends who are still in the church, and some who are in other religions (its not a momo exclusive thing) seem to be focused on only one thing, the afterlife. heaven or hell or kingdom of exaltation, or what have ya. They deny themselves certain experiences because they might alter they're destination. They deny themselves certain viewpoints because is distracts them from the view of their destination. I feel sad for them, if they weren't so damn nice about it I'd probably feel bitter and angry, but all I can do, and remain true to my own moral compass, is to encourage them to be the best, whatever they want to be, and at rare time offer a little of my strength when one of them decides just maybe they want to try and be something new. So like others in this thread have already encouraged you to do, I offer my own encouragements to make your own journey by your own strength for your own life... even if that journey is one of bitterness and angst giving a few forum readers their 'trololols', but hopefully it leads you on a journey of wonder and joy and peace of mind like it has for many more of those who are here with you. And if you don't find god on your journey, remember that you, Robin, are strong, and live strong.
And if you do find god(s) on your journey, tell them I said hi.
Well for a first post that was quite a rant, I meant to give my $0.02 in it turned out more like my $1.53. I'll probably be more concise in the future, I just felt chatty tonight.
Thank you Astro, and I think I can appreciate the metaphor there. I've only been browsing the threads here for a bit now, but I have run across a few of your postings as well, and while sharp I find your candor... refreshing.
I'm new to this site, although I have posted on another Mormon-related site (PostMormon). My advice would be to take your time exploring the alternatives, there's no rush to jump immediately into any set of beliefs, or unbelief for that matter. For me it took some time to clear my mind of the decidely human version of God that the LDS faith teaches. If there is a God, God must be infinitely more than we are. I myself am exploring traditional Christianity, which has turned out to have a very different view of the nature of reality, of what God is and what we are, than Mormonism.
Good luck in your search and don't let your Mormon experience poison the spiritual well!