Sunday, September 27, 2009


I've had so many things I've wanted to post related to my faith, or lack thereof, but I don't think I will post them. It would take pages upon pages to write out all the intricacies of what I think, and I don't have that much time, and you would die of boredom before you got through it. And if I just write out the basics, there would be mis-assumptions and misunderstandings and questioning, and I just am not ready to deal with that. Here are a couple of little things that are at least tangentially related to faith/religion, and I made sure to leave out some controversial parts.

1) I went to the Relief Society General Meeting with some ladies from my mom's ward. It's kind of strange, because regardless of how faithful or faithless I am feeling, I have always loved Conference as an adult. I hated it as a kid, but I love it now. Maybe if I had to get dressed up and spend 4+ hours at the church wrangling kids, I would still hate it, but I don't. So I was looking forward to this.

I was exhausted and slept on the way to SLC. When I woke up, I was in A VERY BAD MOOD. I am not usually like that, but apparently I got the perfectly-wrong amount of sleep and it was not pretty. I was thinking "If ANYONE even TALKS to me I am going to CUT THEM." When I'm feeling this way, I basically need to be alone so that I don't say anything I will regret. Everything that everyone says or does is wrong and I am critical of every single thing I see and hear. At least I've matured enough that it all stays in my head rather than being spoken aloud. But nevertheless, that's not really the attitude you want to attend Conference with.

Before the meeting started, we went to the bathroom, and right by the water fountain was a painting with motifs of Christ and His apostles. I can't remember now what region of the world it was from. Somewhere in or near India or Asia. I'm thinking Tibet. It was very interesting to me because the artist, who is LDS, had drawn Christ with Tibetan (or whatever region it was from) features. I think that probably everyone imagines Christ as looking like themselves. I was glad that they displayed the painting in the Conference center.

Our seats were on the 11th! row! down on the side. The exclamation marks are for the other ladies we were with, not for me. I was much more excited about being close at the Brad Paisley concert (and I realized the irony at the concert). We were waaaaay on the side, so it wasn't as if we could see anything anyway. By the time the meeting started, I was mostly recovered from my attitude problem and was able to listen without being critical of every single thing.

We could see the speakers from the side, and I liked seeing the ladies' dresses. I always imagined that they wore monochrome suits, but none of them did. Sister Beck wore a black top, but a long cream colored skirt. Nothing remarkable; just not like I assumed/imagined. I was interested to notice that the colors that show up on the TV monitors weren't very close to what I was seeing in person. Sister Allred was wearing a pale pink suit top, and on the monitor it looked practically fuschia. I also noticed that everyone's eyes looked really shiny on the monitors. It reminded me of Count Olaf in the Series of Unfortunate Events books. I think he's described repeatedly in the books as having shiny eyes. Is that blasphemy to say that? Also, lots of people in the audience/congregation were coughing a lot. Yeah, you can see that I was definitely focusing on what was really important.

I actually did listen to some of the talks and took some notes of that nature. I liked what Sister Beck said about Visiting Teaching being a way of life, not a task. She talked about eliminating non-essentials, which is always good. Sister Thompson was entertaining and talked about some topics that were extremely pertinent to me. I was actually surprised when she listed them off - how could anyone else deal with the things I deal with? Yeah, I guess that's pretty narcissistic. The first one was minding the gap between believing that you are a daughter of God and KNOWING IN YOUR SOUL that you are. Huh, so other people struggle with that too? Apparently so.

I kind of tuned out most of President Eyring's talk, but he was pretty funny too. I've felt like he's somewhat of a kindred spirit, because he's a scientist, but I'm mostly guessing -- maybe he's really nothing like me and has never doubted at all. But from what I can see, it seems like most of the people I know who are analytical struggle with their faith, at least from time to time. I wonder if it was ever the same with him? My friend's 15-year old son is very analytical and struggles big time with his faith. One time while we were at a VT appointment, she turned to me and said "You're analytical just like him; how have you overcome that?" I just muttered and hemmed and hawed until I was saved by someone else saying something. I guess I fool people pretty well if she really thought I could provide some insight on that topic.

2) I wonder if I should be teaching Primary. I've become a huge slacker, so I usually skim through the next week's lesson once as the kids are coloring at the end of class. Then I forget about it until Saturday between midnight and 2 am. Then I finish preparing the lesson between 11:00 and 11:15 as the kids are getting to class. And then sometimes there are parts I have to skip or modify. For example, today one of the questions and answers was:

"How will people know that you follow and believe Jesus Christ?
If you show love to others and try to do right in all that you do."

My mouth stopped working when it was time for that one. I couldn't even make myself say the words aloud. How on earth can you make the conclusion that someone follows and believes Jesus Christ because they love others and do right? If I see someone who loves others and does right, I'm going to make no assumptions at all. They could be any religion or no religion! I absolutely think that if you follow and believe Jesus Christ, you will show love to others and do right. But the reverse is certainly not true. Maybe I am splitting hairs, but I just couldn't tell the kids that answer.


Chandelle said...

Eyring was always my favorite, for that exact reason - I felt like he must be a kindred spirit, even though I knew that was drawing quite an assumption. I also just really enjoyed his writing. I admit that Conference was always an absolute drag for me (I preferred to read the talks rather than listen), but I'd perk up when he came to the podium.

Thanks for not implicitly telling the kids that atheists don't love others or have morals. We sure appreciate it. :)

Katie said...

You're welcome :-)

I had confused some of President Eyring's story with his father's story. He was a scientist, but only though his Bachelor's degree.

This looks like a good book about Henry Sr.