Sunday, June 16, 2013
Let's get a short introduction out of the way...
For starters, I just want to tell you about me so you'll be familiar with my background, and where I'm coming from:
1. I was born and raised in a rural part of Utah. (A little corner of "Happy Valley.")
2. I grew up in the Mormon faith, raised by Mormon parents, who were also raised by their Mormon parents, and their Mormon parents before them, etc... (My family--both sides--have been Mormon nearly as long as there have been Mormons. Yeah--my family was Mormon before Mormon was even cool.) My family was pretty run-of-the-mill I think; parents were married until my mom's passing; they had 4 kids--2 boys, 2 girls.
3. I was baptized at age 8--the "age of accountability."
4. I graduated from 4 years of seminary. (For those who are unfamiliar, Mormon kids--9th grade thru 12th grade--are encouraged and expected to attend a Mormonism-based religion class, along with our regular high school classes.)
5. I served a full-time, two year mission for the Mormon church.
6. After my mission, I returned to Utah...married a perfect stranger 6 months later, in the temple. (That'll come up again.)
7. Around 18 or 19 months later, I was divorced.
8. A couple of years after my divorce, I moved to Alaska, where I'd spend my summers for the next 6 or 7 years. Yeah!!!
9. Somewhere during this time, my church activity dropped off significantly.
10. One of the times I was back in Utah for some schooling at Utah Valley University (Utah Valley State College then), I met a great girl on a blind date.
11. Sixteen months later, I married her...in her parents' backyard. (Mormons are encouraged to marry inside the temple, as that is where a "sealing" ritual takes place, binding the couple and any kids they have or will have, for time and all eternity.)
12. A few years later, we had a baby boy! SO HAPPY!!!
13. During the first few years back in Utah, and married, I worked as a finish carpenter. Eventually, I got back into school and started on a BS degree in biology. (I'm nearly finished now---FINALLY!!!) I'm currently a full-time student. My sweet wife works full-time and I do photography to supplement our income as much as I'm able.
14. Not quite 2 years ago, my mother took her own life.
15. A while after that, I founded--and now direct--a support group for others who have lost loved ones to suicide. This group is at UVU. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Breathe-Suicide-Loss-Support-Group/242431595836592
16. I've been mostly "inactive/less-active" for the past decade or so. (In Mormonism, members of the church are somewhat labeled, according to their church attendance; Someone who attends meetings regularly is considered "active." Someone who generally doesn't attend church with any regularity is considered "less-active" or "inactive."
17. I'm presently trying to find my way through the spiritual roads of life; I suppose I've been going through a "faith crisis," struggling to define my testimony or the way I believe or don't believe about Mormonism and other religions in general. I'm Mormon because I still feel like a Mormon, especially because I'm surrounded by Mormonism and Mormon family and friends, living in Utah Valley, AKA "Happy Valley." I have fondness for this church, and I also have a lot of doubt and yet a lot of apathy for organized religion. I want to belong to the local ward, but I feel no loyalty to the religion itself. The local clergy know my name; they know who I am, but they don't flinch at my continued absence from meetings or gatherings. They never expect to see my face in the pews but smile at me on the rare occasion they do.
So, I'm The Unchurched Mormon; nice to meet you.
I will try and post on interesting and relevant topics from here on out. And if any of you have questions you'd like me to answer, or topics you'd like me to discuss, please feel free to leave a comment. And let's try and enjoy this journey.
P.S. The photo of the Raven? It has a lot of significance, and I promise to get to that.