Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sunday Mumbo-Jumbo 090113

I often do a lot of thinking while at church. Much of it pertains exactly to the meeting. Some of it is random. The following was what I thought about during Sacrament Meeting today.

My thoughts and doings this Sunday:

1. I went to Sacrament Meeting. This is good; I'm still wanting to attend SM from time to time. I haven't taken the sacrament for at least 10 years. At first, it was because I was unworthy and unrepentant. Now, I'm unsure why I don't take it. Maybe because, while I am no longer "living in sin," I still don't feel sorry for when I was.
How can I reconnect with this ritual? And I wonder; do I have a rebellious spirit?

2. Is there a way to be an active, non-believing Mormon?

3. I started thinking of a conversation the other day, where a good friend had expressed how he hates being emotionally manipulated by the emotive music and mood lighting, etc...found in church films, stories.
During SM today, I was trying to compare the Mormon-styled emotional manipulation with the use of hallucinogenic plants/fungi/drugs to enhance a meditation/spiritual experience/vision quest. And I concluded that they are not the same because, while LDS films want to make you believe a specific thing, vision quests--with the aid of chemical enhancers--are to help you see whatever you will.

4. I feel like probably everyone in the church is as prone to doubt as they are to believe. Some aren't afraid to explore doubts, but many are. Maybe my problem is that I cannot seem to abide the general facade; the appearance of firm belief, while hiding/suppressing our many underlying thoughts and doubts.

5. If you had gone through your life, to this point, without having been baptized a member of LDS, would you now be ready?

6. I put 3 of my photography prints in an art show today, for the first time ever. Kind of an exciting new experience.

7. I thank God for such a nice day out. Gray, cloudy, wet weather GREATLY enhances my mood.

8. I really love the people in ES. (ES is code for a Mormon Facebook Group I frequent.) You guys are my ward, and your kindness, love, understanding and charity for all is why I'm able to remain in the Mormon Church, to the degree that I do remain.

9. A young man--13 or 14 yrs. old--went up to the pulpit during testimony meeting. His testimony went like this: "Today, I'd like to bear my testimony about bearing my testimony. I think bearing our testimony is a good thing. I feel good up here today. Thanks for letting me share. Amen." He was grinning on the way back to his seat. I could see that he was kind of proud of himself for having bore his testimony, even if he knew it probably sounded kind of comical, which it did. I appreciated it; I enjoy hearing sort of the raw and simple things once in a while. I often tire of the repetitious "I know, I know, I know. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." The mother of that young man called him to come sit next to her. And for the next 3 or 4 minutes, she proceeded to chastise him in his ear, telling him how testimony meeting is only for being serious and talking about the church and about God. I watched as he deflated. I felt deflated for him.


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  2. I read your temple blog post during sacrament meeting.

    1. Yes you have a rebellious spirit - I am surprised you even received a body. haha! For me the sacrament is a personal and communal act - "I still remember you Jesus" and "We remember you Jesus." I emphasize that "I" is part of the "We." Not feeling like I was part of the "we" made it difficult to want to take the sacrament and be active, even though Christ's teaching are central to my life. I did not want to feel like I was defrauding the ward about the particularity of my beliefs.

    2. I think so, but depends on what you mean by "non-believing Mormon." All active mormons are non-believing or uncertain about something. And when you encourage a Mormon to be particular and not just general about their beliefs, you will hear some divergence in opinion, or in what they "know."

    3. Hate church film and media for the same reasons. I like your reasoning about the difference between the media manipulations and hallucinogenics used in ritual.

    4. Expressing doubt in church can be useful, and it signals to others it is ok to do it.

    5. Maybe. We have a 60 something-yr old in our ward that has been a member for just 6 or 7 years. He has a degree in religious studies and a PhD in psychology. He is also politically liberal. I did not think that was a good combination leading to conversion, but the LDS message about family was what he was looking for.

  3. Thanks for the response, Brad.

    I liked your point on #1; the way you view the sacrament; "I remember you, Jesus." I like that. I may try to apply that for myself.

    By non-believing Mormon, I really meant what you said. Non-literal believer/hoper. But I don't buy all of it. I don't buy it simply for having come from the pulpit at GC, or even because it comes from the prophet's mouth. For me, if it sounds like bullsh*t, then it's bullsh*t. I know I could be wrong. But I've learned to really, really trust my intuition (conscience/spirit/God-in-me).

    I believe in God. I'm unsure at this point if I believe in saving ordinances.

    I will continue on my journey, seeking truth wherever I find it.

    Thanks for such great commentary and thoughtful advice, Brad.