I have been thinking about this primary song today.
“I believe in being honest,
I believe in being true,
That honesty should start with me,
In all I say in all do.”
There is more to the song but this is the part that I remember. This was one of those childhood lessons that I took to heart. I have always tried very hard to be an honest person. I value integrity. Putting those words down, saying that I value honesty, sounds a little bit funny and a bit hypocritical in a way. I think of all the years I spent in the closet lying to myself and hiding from the world and that does not look honest. I am not calling myself or people in the closet liars. That is really not what I mean. I think we deal with things as we can and some things just have to be put off.
Just because I was not lying to myself on purpose per se does not mean that the great efforts to hold that closet door closed did not have consequences. That kind of dishonesty and the consequences spawned by it are intense. I have not really talked a lot about those consequences in my life specifically but have alluded to them. I have learned to identify that the first consequence that comes from being dishonest with myself tends to be feelings of sadness, depression and withdrawal from the world around me. On the other side of that, honesty with myself leads to greater happiness, purpose and more of a connection to the world.
This last year has been a pretty happy year. I have worked hard to be more honest with myself. I have been more honest with myself this last year than I have ever been before. The last few weeks though I have felt myself slipping a little bit. I have felt myself not being honest with myself and I have begun to retreat.
Some who read the blog regularly have managed to read between the lines and have noticed this change in tone and have emailed me or left comments. I have appreciated that. You guys are wonderful. I love this little online community that we have going here.
Over the last few days I have begun to confront the areas where I am lying to myself and it all has to do with belief (shocking right?!). I am not comfortable as an agnostic. I have been trying to let go of God. I am not entirely sure why. Perhaps I have wanted to shed my belief in God because it simplifies so many things in the world if there is no god. Every time I come close to feeling like I really no longer believe I think back on the spiritual experiences I have had throughout my life and I pull back from the edge.
I have read several articles and watched several reports and movies about the research being conducted trying to explain spiritual experiences. The research is interesting and yet I do not feel like it truly or fully explains some of the spiritual things I have felt over the years. In some ways I think if evolution has created a species that needs to believe in or is inclined to believe in God why should I fight it?
I did not ever really believe in the Mormon god. I had a hard time reconciling aspects of the church the god that my spiritual encounters seemed to reveal to me. Yet despite this disconnect I still felt that God was tied to the church. As I let go of the church I simultaneously let go of God or thought I had to let go of God.
When I left the church I still believed in god. I actually prayed for a few months leading up to my resignation from the church. My bishop is a good guy but he found it a bit amusing that I prayed about my resignation. I told the bishop when I met with him that I knew whose hands I was entrusting my life too as I made the decision to leave. I find myself thinking back on those months a year ago and stand by my decision to resign. I don’t believe in the church, a literal belief is no longer possible for me, or at the least an orthodox belief is no longer possible, however, I am starting to think that I was wrong in feeling that resigning meant forsaking all things Mormon. In fact in light of recent inner struggles I am starting to think some things need to be re-embraced.