Thursday, April 9, 2009

Expressing myself beyond the index cards in my pocket

Although I think the likelihood of gods existing is pretty low, and the likelihood of the Mormon church being the "one true church" is even more remote, I still attend church somewhat regularly. I do this because my wife likes to go to church, and I like to be with my wife.

I used to find church somewhat interesting, even as a nonbeliever, but lately it's increasingly become an exercise in frustration. I'm never sure what is appropriate to say in the company of believers who come to church to be spiritually uplifted. Even when something is an undeniable, well-verified fact, it will often make people very uncomfortable unless it fits in with the "faith-promoting" history that is taught every week, which never seems to be questioned, at least not in Sunday school.

What especially kills me is that most of the things I would want to speak up to clarify are things that every member of the church would have known, 160 or 120 or 80 years ago. But no one seems to know about them anymore. It becomes scandalous even to imply that doctrine has ever changed, or that errors were ever made, or that church leaders have ever perpetrated anything worse than a few youthful indiscretions. These are all dismissed as "anti-Mormon lies", and to refer to the (non-church-approved) history books is to lose all credibility.

Since I'm not sure where the line is between myth-busting and outright heresy (if there's any difference at all), I mostly shut my mouth. I haven't decided yet whether this is a personal weakness or strength. Instead of speaking up, I usually write my thoughts on an index card, which provides a bit of a release from the tremendous frustration of silence. But even that is not really satisfying, in the way that writing in a journal is not as satisfying as calling up a friend.

For this reason, I plan to use this blog to post more of the thoughts that I routinely self-censor at church. Not really for the purpose of mocking anyone, although some of the things I hear in Sunday school are such ridiculous clunkers that it's almost impossible not to be amused. But mostly for my own catharsis, and hopefully for the general edification of you and me both. I really need to express this stuff, because I don't want to end up as a crazy old hermit with nothing but a basement full of exasperatedly scrawled index cards.


Michelle said...

looking forward to reading your index card thoughts!

Saganist said...

Me too. I have quite a few of them lying around already, and I'll probably get a few more this Sunday.