Religious Certainty

This is another excellent blog post, this time about how shedding the idea of “religious certainty” can impact your beliefs. I identify very much with this.

  1. I no longer carry the burden to defend God or to convince anyone of anything.
  2. I appreciate the gifts of this life far more, now that I’m not so focused on the next.
  3. I no longer get upset when I hear about what other people believe.
  4. My morals are becoming my own.
  5. I have a much larger sense of mystery now.
  6. I’m now open to Truth wherever I find it.
  7. My God got way bigger.

This is the church I seek

A CNN article on their “Belief Blog” has been going around recently. I’m glad I read it, because this resonated with my soul:

What millennials really want from the church is not a change in style but a change in substance.

We want an end to the culture wars. We want a truce between science and faith. We want to be known for what we stand for, not what we are against.

We want to ask questions that don’t have predetermined answers.

We want churches that emphasize an allegiance to the kingdom of God over an allegiance to a single political party or a single nation.

We want our LGBT friends to feel truly welcome in our faith communities.

We want to be challenged to live lives of holiness, not only when it comes to sex, but also when it comes to living simply, caring for the poor and oppressed, pursuing reconciliation, engaging in creation care and becoming peacemakers.

You can’t hand us a latte and then go about business as usual and expect us to stick around. We’re not leaving the church because we don’t find the cool factor there; we’re leaving the church because we don’t find Jesus there.

Like every generation before ours and every generation after, deep down, we long for Jesus.

Children’s Song

I am a child of Gods,
And They have sent me here;
Have given me an earthly home,
With parents kind and dear.

Lead me, guide me, walk beside me, help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must be, to live with Them some day.

I am a child of Gods,
And so my needs are great.
Help me to understand Their words,
Before it grows too late.

Lead me, guide me, walk beside me, help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must be, to live with Them some day.

I am a child of Gods.
Rich blessings are in store!
If I but learn to do Their will,
I’ll live with Them once more.

Lead me, guide me, walk beside me, help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must be, to live with Them some day.

Searching

[M]y father, Lehi, took the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass, and he did search them from the beginning.

Wherefore, we search the prophets, and we have many revelations and the spirit of prophecy;

And now, my sons, I would that ye should remember to search them diligently, that ye may profit thereby;

[M]any of them did believe on his words, and began to repent, and to search the scriptures.

And now, behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah.

Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

We have this compulsion in the Church to think that we have all the answers, but that is an evil thing. One of things that we ought to know is that we do not know everything, and cannot have answers to every question. If we were to have all the answers, we would not believe that “God will yet reveal many great and important things”, and we would have no faith, for faith comes from not knowing.

We are commanded to have questions, for how else could we search? You can only search for that which you do not possess.

Priestesshood

An interesting discussion occurred on Facebook recently, in which a profound observation was made:

The moment you say motherhood makes up for the disparity [of women not holding the Priesthood], you put fatherhood on a lower pedestal.

I find this to be incredibly insightful. Let’s consider what this is saying.

We often hear in the Church about how much “better” women are than men, and that excuse is often used to explain why women don’t hold the Priesthood. Personally, I think that’s a load of crap, because it’s demeaning to men (“God made you to be inherently inferior to women”) and to women (“You should be living a wonderful Mormon life” and if you’re not then here are some antidepressants).

But that’s not what I want to talk about. What I want to talk about are the implications of this statement.

It’s obvious from this statement that the corollary to motherhood is fatherhood. (The utter absence of fatherhood as a concept divorced from Priesthood in the Church is a topic for another day)

…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.

To extend this into the familial sphere:

…neither is the father without the mother, neither the mother without the father, in the Lord.

The foil for the mother is the father. Mother and Father, together, are the ideal Parents.

And yet, men hold the Priesthood. So where is the complementing female aspect? It is not “motherhood”, as we are glibly taught at Church. Motherhood’s complement is Fatherhood. I believe the answer is simple:

It’s Priestesshood.

Being Here

From a conversation with my spouse earlier this week:


Life is not as big a deal as we make it out to be. As we struggle to understand doctrine, argue over Priesthood and the Church, attend all our meetings and tick service assignments of our lists, as we delve deep into symbolism, and worry about sealings and keeping our families active…. Our time here is not really about that.

What about the millions who die because of freak accidents or violence? What about the continual arguments over science and nutrition and being green, over saving the race and the planet?

I think, more and more, that life is about being here. About having a chance to exist in time and space apart from our gods. If we happen to find Them while being here, then sweeter the experience. If we happen to make others’ existences a little more peaceful or happy, then sweeter the experience.

I think the “eternal perspective” we should be keeping is not, “One day I’ll be happy and with all my loved ones again,” but rather, “This time is a chance for me to experience something totally different and foreign. A baptism of fire into coping as a spiritual-physical entity. And one day I’ll work all this out. Until then, I’ll have faith.”

I’ve a Mother there

From the ever-astute Julie Smith over at Times & Seasons:

[I]f you took what Mormonism teaches about Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother and mapped that onto a couple on earth, you’d get a stay-at-home dad and a mother who is–I don’t know–a medical resident or deployed to a foreign battlefield or maybe took a job in another country and so she literally never sees her children. (In fact, the kids can’t even Skype her.)

From D&C 121, with some license taken…

O Mother, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?