To Believe or Not to Believe

I had a harsh wake up call recently. I realized that some people will never look at me the same because I am no longer Mormon. I suppose I always knew this would be the case for many people and for the most part I think I am able to let it go.  However for other people this is a much tougher pill to swallow. I realize that to some people I will never be as good as I used to be. To some people because I am not religious, my opinions will no longer hold the validity they once did. I've had some time to chew on this and truthfully it makes me sad.

Leaving the church was a process that took the better part of 8 years for me.  It wasn't something that I did on a whim.  Leaving the Mormon faith isn't something that you are able to just wake up and do - especially if you believed it as fully as I once did.  It wasn't because I was lazy. It wasn't because I wanted to drink or have sex. It wasn't because I got tired of going to church on Sundays. It wasn't because on a specific situation or idea. It was many things.  Things I honestly don't want to go into right now.  Why I left the church isn't the topic of this blog.  I will say though that leaving the church was tough. It was hard because being Mormon isn't just about going to church every Sunday. It's everything. It's your community.  It's your upbringing. It's your entire belief system.  It's your family and your friends.  I had to question every belief that I had and decide if I was going to be able to look the other way on certain issues.  And I tried to.  It took 8 years to fully decide that some of the issues I had with the church were not going to go away. It took 8 years to let it go.  It took 8 years to not feel guilty when I drive by a church on a Sunday morning.  It took a long time to not worry about what would happen when I died. (would I really still be married to Jason instead of Seth in heaven!?)  It took a long time to not feel guilty to have a cup of coffee in the morning or a glass of wine with dinner. It took a long time to sleep in on Sundays and do whatever I wanted to do without feeling guilty. It took a long time to figure out how to believe in God without being Mormon. It took a long time to learn how to pray again. It was very difficult but I can honestly say that I am very happy where I am now. It took a long time but I am finally at peace.

The thing that has been eating away at me was this thought: why are we asked to respect people's faith and religion when it's often not reciprocated to those that choose not to believe? I find that we tiptoe around religion a lot and yet as a society we tend to look down on those that don't have a religion they are attached to.  It's easy to get defensive when people insult your religion - but how often do we turn the tables?  How often do we look down on those that don't believe and see them as less of a person?I realize that this is just me being sensitive and that those of you reading this that are religious probably think I look down on your for your beliefs.  But I don't.

Honestly I think religion can be a beautiful and wonderful thing.  And for the majority of my life it was a wonderful thing for me. I loved being a Mormon for many many years.  There are still many things about the church that I love and miss. But it's no longer what I want or need.  I see countless people that are close to me find who peace and happiness in religion. I think that is wonderful. Religion should make you happy. It should make you want to be the best person you can be.  If this is what you know and love then I have no ill feelings toward you. I honestly don't.

All religion is is an avenue to grow closer to God right?  If so then why do we judge people for choosing a different road than we do?  Why do we have to believe that there is "one true church"?  Why can't we just accept that different people have different truths?  Your truth may be going to a service every Sunday.  While another may find God while hiking or doing Yoga.  Others may feel close to God by reading the words of great writers and philosophers.  Some may feel closest to God through meditation.  Why does it matter HOW we get there as long as we get there?

Some of my dearest friends have no belief in a higher power.  And that's ok too.  They are still wonderful people that I cherish. I don't judge them by their lack of belief in a God.  I have seen more love and acceptance radiating from some of these friends than I have seen in some of the most Christian people I know.  To each his own.

So here's my plea - let it go.  Let it go that some people don't believe in the same things that you do.  Trust people to make their own choices - religion or no religion - God or no God.  I know that my choice to not be involved in organized religion was a harrowing journey.  I don't take the decision lightly.  I am a big girl, I have made a choice and I ask that you please try and accept it.  I'm going to be ok.  I'm still a good person. I have the same heart.  I have the same light. I just have a different perspective than I used to. I am happy, just as I believe that you are happy too - no matter what you believe.

December 12th

Oh hey December 12th.  I forgot about you.  Well, I didn't forget about you. For one thing, you sucked.  You were one of the worst days of the year for me.  For another thing, it's Christmas and I haven't had time to adequately blog about how much you sucked.

In fact you sucked so much that I only took 6 of the 12 pictures I was supposed to take. I considered cheating and taking more on the 13th of December.  But then you got the best of me.  You sucked and I shall document your crapiness.

1. It looks like Christmas threw up in my office.  Yep, that is 1000 Holiday Cards signed by the staff of KUER.  Guess who gets to make sure they all get sent?  This girl!

2. I have an addiction to nose spray. I am not proud of this.  I was clean for several months and then I got the cold from hell and after 2 sleepless nights, gave in and bought more.  That stuff is bad news.  I was so congested from taking it too much that I had to stage an intervention. The other nose spray I bought is just a sugar spray.  It helps.

3. I was miserably unhappy today. I won't go into details - family stuff - but it all worked itself out.  I was just incredibly down.  Clearly.

4. I took a break mid-day to go to get my eyebrows waxed at my sister-in-law's salon. It's not really painful.  And I know how much Kathryne hates getting her picture taken so I just decided to take a picture of a tiny bit of solace in this shitty day.

5. I was invited to a cookie exchange but I needed to do a trial run before making 10 dozen (yes 10 dozen) cookies.  These are peppermint crinkle cookies. My sister needed to bake cookies for a church activity that night. Nice to kill two birds with one stone.

6. I finally got home.  Took care of the baby since Seth was working late and crawled into bed at this exact time (after taking 2 Benadryls). I didn't eat dinner.  This never happens.  That's when you know I have had a crap day.

So there you have it.  I figured this was the most authentic way to document December 12th.  Not every day is full of sunshine and giggle.  Some days are just hard.  But you move on.  You wake up the next day and hope that things will be better.  And this time, it was.