(Originally posted on NOM, Nov. 13, 2006)
I was talking with my wife, Lilly of the Field, last night. We have been attending the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship for a couple of months now and loving it. We are still waiting for acknowledgment from the COB that we are no longer members of the LDS church.
But, we were talking about how it has always been easy for me to find the good in religions like Buddahism and Native American religions. I realized last night that it may be because I was never being told "this is the true religion" by practitioners of these faiths. Once I quit believing in Mormonism, I was angry for a while at being lied to and I still felt like I had to defend myself and counter those asserting that the Church is "the one and only true church". As long as I felt the need to counter that position, I had a difficult time seeing the good. But, once I finally acknowledged that I was done with all that (stick a fork in me I am done), I could finally start appreciating little things again. For example, we kept several of our cd's with church music on them (EFY, etc). I can now re-listen to the songs about self-worth and compassion (I still can't listen to songs praising JS or the BOM).
After I quit believing in the LDS Church, I researched the Bible and quit believing in it, Jesus Christ, and God, and am now atheist. For a while there, I felt like I had to defend against the "God truly exists and Jesus saves" proselyters. And as long as I did, I had a hard time seeing good in the Bible or a belief in God. But, now, I am done with that too. I am less reactionary and more sober about the subject. I can again appreciate the good in the Bible and the Christian theological movements. I think UU is very good for me in helping me learn tolerance and to look again for the good.
I have re-learned something about human beings. I guess I have known it for a long time and am simply applying it to a new sphere. But, like a mule, many of us have a gut reaction to fight back when someone tries to arrogantly shove something in our faces. And Mormon culture does that a lot, so I can understand why so many NOM's have such a hard time not getting angry or critical of the Church. I think those who have been successful at finding that Third Way no longer feel the need to fight back in a reactionary mode and are at peace with their non-belief and thus are enabled to again find the good in Mormonism.