Wednesday, January 27, 2010

This Sucks

[yah, this is another rant. Pay it no mind]

From a thread about Interfaith Marriage (specifically, LDS to non-LDS), a commentor comes on to say such things as :

"If you choose both a non-member spouse and the believing LDS path for your family you should know that sooner or later your child will feel spiritual pain that you cannot comprehend... they will be weighed down with the knowledge that [some blessings] will never be fully theirs and they will be forced to contemplate an eternity without their non-member parent by their side."

"[extreme pain] from conflicts between our own situations and fundamental gospel principles of eternal families sealed together in the temple... a deep pain that our eternal destiny as defined by the church we loved and believed in was limited by the non-member status of one of our parents."

That is so messed up.
It another really good reason why I think the church is anti-family.

Sry, cant say more about it, got homework to do. Just had to get that off my chest.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

waiting to get the okay to change your mind..

[This is merely a rant.
I have to say it here, and not at the post where the discussion is going on, because I am really feeling the need to be sharp. And that blog is not a place for much sharpness.

So you say things are the way they are because God say's so. And that's that. You believe it with every fiber of your being and you have created all sorts of explanations to help you rationalize this belief (necessary, because the belief really does fly in the face of logic).

But, you also admit that it's possible God may speak again, and change the way things are. You do prepare yourself for this. You prepare to then believe, with every fiber of your being, the OPPOSITE of what you believe now. To discard all of your carefully constructed explanations (because they no longer apply at all).

So you sit. And wait. Wait for permission to change your mind. NOT asking questions! It is not your place to question, but to wait. To wait to be told. To be given permission to think something different.

[To be fair, that's not true, the persons I am ranting about are not sitting around. They are active, intelligent, participating individuals. The topic at hand is probably one they rarely think about at all. Easily compartmentalized in a safe location, requiring little effort on their part. While, for me, it is the topic that caused the initial tearing of my beliefs. Hence... A rant.]

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

one of THOSE conversations...

Maybe you've had one of THOSE conversations?
One that seems, on the surface, to be very trivial, but what starts to really drive the discussion is layers upon layers of other stuff. History. History with each other, with other people, a history of hurts and misunderstandings and missteps. None of this is mentioned, though, it just lurks beneath the surface of what looks like a benign chat, digging in it's little pokers at the most unexpected places, driving the conversation awry, scratching out new little hurts.

Until both parties are hurt and not talking to each other...

And confused, because, really, what was being discussed seemed so very trivial...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

the skewers of religion

[also posted at The Exponent]

"If you could take the skewers of religion, those that riddle your frame, make you aware every time you move- if you could withdraw the scimitars of religion from your mental and moral systems- could you even stand?"
-Elphaba, The Witch of the West
Wicked. pg 387

"And there was nothing save it was exceeding harshness,
preaching and prophesying of wars, and contentions, and destructions, and continually reminding them of death, and the duration of eternity, and the judgments and the power of God, and all these things—stirring them up continually to keep them in the fear of the Lord. I say there was nothing short of these things, and exceedingly great plainness of speech, would keep them from going down speedily to destruction."
Enos 1:23

As I sit here writing this I am sipping a cup of green tea. Clear in my mind is the very first time I went to the store to buy a box of green tea. I was an adult; a wife and a mother. Standing in the grocery aisle, appraising the vast selection of teas, I literally was shaking in my boots. Every time someone walked by the aisle I jumped guiltily (caught in the act!!) As I put my box of tea on the belt at the check-out line I half way expected the cashier to card me (with a disapproving look upon her face no less) and when I finally got home and made that first cup of tea, fight or flight neurons where firing off in my brain. Big time.


Yes, I just revealed just how sheltered and naive (and goody goody?) I was. But that memory is a vivid one for me and it was simply one of many terrifying steps that was the process of asking questions I had never let myself ask before.

That terror is what I want to talk about. Doesn't that seem just wrong to anyone else??

I just found out about these Hell Houses that certain fundamentalist christian church's use to scare 12 yr olds into obeying God. Now, LDS versions are much more benign (and a lot less theatrical) but I do remember YM/YW activities where rooms in the church were set up to show the various Degrees of Glory and we were shown after-life scenarios based on hypothetical life-styles choices ("Here's what the Telestial Kingdom looks and feels like... The Celestial... The Terrestial... Outer Darkness..." etc.)

On the one hand, there is the pull between denominations as to exactly WHAT will bring salvation/damnation: (ie; my cup of green tea keeps me out of LDS heaven and my temple endowments keep me out of fundy christian heaven) and fear is used by many faiths to both control and grow the membership (anyone else get sappy scare-stories about friends in the here-after who are angry/sad that the gospel was not shared with them?). On a more general scale, the idea is put forth (ad nauseum) that without religion (and it's punishment/reward system) we'd all be running around killing each other (or some similar variant on that theme).

I'm fuzzy on the details, but I know there are belief systems that are NOT based on principles of divine reward and retribution with long lists of do-s and don't-s. And their participants seem to be pretty peaceful fulfilled individuals in spite of the lack.

Hypothetically, what do you think The Church would lose if it lost it's rhetoric of fear? What would it gain?

(Also, because it's sort of related and very funny: a Sugar Beet article about the Man Who Finished Repenting 13 months Ahead of Schedule. Awesome!)

Friday, January 1, 2010

cherry picking and making it up

Here's a page in my journal from about two years ago. I was working out my own personal Godhead. Not a trinity but a quartet: Father, Mother, Son and (female) spirit.
Desperately trying to restructure my belief system to incorporate a little divine feminine influence in a otherwise utterly male hierarchy/power structure.

Also I was re-thinking the after life: The whole three-degrees-of-glory + spirit-world-missionary-work thing just no longer working as the perfect answer I had taught about as a Sunday school teacher ("Isn't God loving? Providing a way for us to be baptized for those who died never hearing about Joseph Smith and the plan of salvation??") A version of re-incarnation, where our "essence" or "soul" or "[whatever?]" continued to be re-born again and again and again until it reached a sort of nirvana, made much more sense.

Eventually the irony of making it up as I went along dawned on me. Picking and choosing what I liked, altering what needed to be altered, a little bit of this, a little bit of that, discarding this, keeping that.

Really just making it up.

Finding myself face to face with the question: "If this is all metaphorical anyhow, what's the point?!?" (And questioning the necessity of the skewers of religion).

One of the points Dawkins makes in The God Delusion when the liberal theologians raise their re-interpreted Divinity is the problem with baggage. That term "God" and what it means in the minds of most believers is really very problematic.

That's what I started wondering about; my own hodge-podged theologies and why I bothered. The only divine entity[ies] that made any sense had not much in them to inspire devotion, adoration, or belief. (etc... )

The end result being the realization that I really didn't believe in the hodge-podged (or otherwise) theologies I was propping up for myself.

But, on a different level, I do so love the picking apart process. A few links on some of my pet topics: BiV's and Kiskilili's thought provoking questions about the Virgin Mary, Kiskilili's and Lynnette's dissection of Eve and the Creation, (BiV also takes on the Creation with an eye to science) and Lynnette on takes on Heavenly Mother. To make a quick segue into SF, have you read Parable of The Sower by Octavia Butler? LOVE Lauren and her earthseed religion.
There's so many others. This is just off the top of my head.

(and now it's outa my head and in print, so maybe I can be productive today....)