Sunday, November 6, 2011

One Of Those Moments

Some people leave Mormonism and become agnostic or atheist. That's totally understandable, given the myopic authoritarian atmosphere they're escaping.

The basics of Christianity still work for me and I consider myself lucky to have found a warm welcome at the Episcopal cathedral here as I try to figure out what I really believe and can have faith in. The people there don't care about whether I'm "doctrinally orthodox," they are just loving Christians.

Today I had one of those experiences that capture in one moment how much life can change, and it was really delightful. Three years ago--not THAT long ago, actually--I was sitting bored as hell in Mormon sacrament meetings, shot through with a mix of angst and excitement and fear and uncertainty, having just barely started to come out, and watching as each week my ward and stake turned itself into a political action committee to rise in defense of truth, righteousness and Proposition 8. "The sacrament" was a rote routine to be gotten through in silence broken by fussy babies and children.

Today I sat calmly in the cool of a beautiful cathedral's stained glass glow, no longer "certain" of some old dogmas but very certain I was in a place that fit me a whole lot better. And when I walked up front to take communion I was part of a microcosm of humanity: all ages, ethnic groups, rich, poor, healthy and infirm, all together. Real life, not an insular cultural bubble. And when I got to the front, the bread was distributed by a woman, and the wine (NOT water) by an African-American man. Both in white vestments. Could that possibly have been more different than the Mormon version?

As I sat in the pew afterward, listening to the Mozart Requiem and watching everyone else walk forward, watching an aged man with slow gait kneel to seek a special blessing from one of the clergy in the apse to the side, I felt very grateful to have found my way there, a place where I can just be myself, figure out for myself what I can believe and have faith in, and participate with many other good people who are doing the same. Not rushing about in near exhaustion to "fill callings" or home teach or make temple attendance quotas or go on splits with the missionaries or any of that busywork, but just living life as best we can, not judging anyone else, and trying to figure out how God plays into it and what Jesus means and what kind of people we should become. To me that takes a lot more real faith than just going along with a Correlated series of pablumized lessons and "following the Brethren." It means you actually have to take responsibility for yourself. It's not as uniformly packaged, but it's a lot more exciting.

1 comment:

  1. What a cool post. :o) I'm not a Christian anymore, but the one thing I really liked about the ones that I used to hang out with was that what they prioritized first was the ideal of 'unconditional love'. Of course, I think the Christian god falls way short of that, but I admire many Christians for striving to live that concept and to not be judgmental. It's quite different from what I've been hearing at the Mormon church (it's always 'You must be obdient!' there).

    Glad you found a good and safe place to be after your escape from mormonism! :o)