Friday, February 05, 2010

Faith Update

I've posted a little bit about my crisis of faith over the past few months. I've had struggles with the LDS church for a long time, as long as I can remember. But as I contemplate the options ahead, I am just not content with the agnostic/atheist option. If I was to stop attending the LDS Church, I don't see myself ever believing in any other religion. If I left the church, it would be because I don't believe in God at all, and I just don't see that happening. Well, sometimes when I'm discouraged, I can easily see it happening, but generally I can't.

I don't know if I've mentioned gifts of the spirit here before. The scriptures say that some are given the gift of believing and to some it is given to believe on their words. I think I naturally fall into the second category. And the thing is, I DO believe what others testify of. I believe that often we manifest the answers and feelings that we want to feel, but not always. There are just too many amazing things that I feel cannot be explained away.

It is really weird, because I am hesitant to post this because I don't want to lose any of my friends who don't believe or aren't religious. Of course I don't think they would immediately dump me as a friend, but they'd likely feel that this is an area where we don't connect, and that would cause a small loss to the friendship. But I need to quit worrying about what others are doing and quit choosing the choices others have made. I need to do it my own way.

I've tried to convince myself that I've done the necessary work to receive the gift of believing, but looking at it objectively, I don't think I have. I don't know. I go back and forth. So many doubts, but such desire to believe. It's almost impossible to make sense of this, so as usual, I'll just randomly chop the post off in the middle of a thought.


Chandelle said...

I kind of assumed you'd stay with the church. Not for any particular reason. It just seems like a good place for you right now. And that's okay. You do what you have to do. And I'll be here either way.

(Of course, I do have the tiny fear that you'll get all zealous at some point and we WON'T be able to be friends just because we won't understand each other anymore, and you'll think I'm all outer darkness-bound and I'll think you're all...crazy. But I don't really think that will happen. :)

As you know, I definitely understand the feeling that if it's not the LDS church, it's nothing. You know that I felt the same way and that's why I'm basically an atheist. But I disagree that it has to be like that. If you still believe in God, you can just have God. S/He doesn't have to belong to a church. Most people I know believe in God but don't go to church. It's all about your approach.

And if you want a church, there are other churches that might work for you, like UU, where "belief" is not required so much as community and social action, and all spiritual traditions are honored.

But for me it was certainly true that I didn't leave the church until I was pretty sure there wasn't a god. Before that point, it wasn't happening. And even though I participate with the Quakers, my basic sense of non-theism hasn't changed, and my relationship with them has nothing to do with gods. So I get that.

Katie said...

I highly doubt I'd get all zealous and think that anyone is going to outer darkness :-D Even while I was 100% TBM, I never believed that what we did here would be the sole determining factor. I read Bruce R. McConkie's writings about there being 'no second chance' in heaven, and I just didn't believe it. Of course, I guess that's still insulting, because I'm saying that I think nonbelievers need a second chance. Don't take it that way -- this is really hard to articulate :-)

Even if I get all TBM again, I intend to retain all the lessons I've learned while on this journey, including the fact that most people are very good, how we treat others is the most important thing, and that a person's (lack of) religion generally has little effect on how they treat others.

If I did leave, I could definitely see myself attending another *church*, but not believing in a *religion*, similar to what you're doing now.

GoddessofBirth said...

I'll be visiting a UU church this weekend - they also welcome agnostics and atheists.

Katie said...

Are you leaving the church too, or just looking for a supplement?

Marly said...

I was thinking of something all profound but its gone. I'm glad you've been able to come to some conclusion for yourself.