Andrew over at Irresistible (Dis)Grace took me down memory lane with his post Growing up as an atheist Mormon. I started to write a comment to his post but ended up writing this post instead.
Along with coming out about BDSM and then later homosexually, I also had to come out again about my atheism. Strange thing was that it was harder to do. I had repressed it longer.
I recall a time when I was probably around 7 or 8 and started pondering the meaning of life. I remember it was nearing the time that I was to get baptized. I was always doing a lot of thinking. One summer afternoon I had an epiphany as such that whatever it was I was supposed to believe in was all crap. Unfortunately, at that age I didn't know any better and dismissed that thought. I had long discovered in my youth that it was NOT OK to have dissenting opinions about beliefs in the nature of God as I was continually made aware.
The rest of the story was just as Andrew said. Basically trying to understand why none of it was engaging or appealing. To me it was all pretty silly. And there was always that nagging feeling in me that I was always disregarding what I felt to be right. But fear compelled me to set it aside for social acceptance and try harder to understand why they "felt the spirit" and I didn't. What was this "burning in the bosom"? What was that? Ironically, I never felt that feeling until I actually started taking that path of authenticity which led me right out of the church. And now I understand what that feeling really is for me. It's a real physical sensation and is always associated with deep emotional healing. Ironic in that most of the time that "burning in the bosom", that healing, comes to me through the very things the church spends it's time and money on to demonize and condemn.
It's interesting to me that the church can be a healing place for some but complete anathema for others. A part of me resents the church for manipulating people like that. But then a part of me sees that many church members, such as my mom, seem to know where the truth stops and the dogma starts. Still, I would love for her and everyone else to be truly free of such nonsense but then, in the end, it's her truth. Who is to say I have any say over her truth or anyone else's for that matter. Just like no one else has any say over mine.
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