Thursday, February 23, 2012

Trial of Faith pt. 2

I wonder if most lifetime Mormons have a concept of conversion from another religion. Do they think about that? Are they aware that testimonies are "outgrown" in many of the baptisms they witness? Testimonies are not objective truth, they are personal truths. The kind that can actually be completely erroneous, or unhealthy. And they're not reserved for Mormons.

When a devout Baptist is moved by the doctrine of the LDS church, they "outgrow" their testimonies of Baptist doctrine, and their previous understanding of God's nature. If they are Muslim, or Wiccan, or Scientologist, they are entitled to a testimony of those things, and they are ENCOURAGED to "outgrow" those testimonies and join "the one true church on the earth today". I think that what is meant by "a testimony is not something a person outgrows." is that apostates are not given the benefit of the doubt that they indeed HAVE outgrown their testimonies of the church. I think this is because there is an idea that truth is not found elsewhere, and certainly not more truth than may be had in the LDS church. That is audacious. It is comparable to the concept of a one-way street heading into a cul-de-sac. There are no routes of escape without jumping fences. Those faithful members (those who rely on faith, which is not knowledge, but hope for the unobservable) who do not jump the fence, can only assume that there is nothing outside of the cul-de-sac. After all, the road in is one way, and only exists to allow others to "arrive at the truth".

I want my family, friends and former-fellow-Mormons to understand that I am, in fact, learning who I am, and my great potential. I won't ask you to believe that I have found what I am looking for, because the fact is, I have not. ...yet. But I AM on a journey, and I am as resolved to take on this journey as I have always been. Even while I was in the church, I was on a journey. When I passed through and continued on, it was because the church did not prove to be the destination I know, with every fiber of my being, awaits me. THAT is what I mean by "it did not sustain". I made every sincere effort to find what I needed in the church. I even returned to it more than once on the hope or possibility that perhaps it would be the answer. But it wasn't. And the last time I returned, I learned why it can never be the answer. It affirms with emotional comfort, but does not stand up to the test of pure and objective scrutiny, or rational thinking. It failed the experiment upon the words, although it may have continued to pass the test of emotional succor. It defies logic, and is therefore an insufficient answer to my question of "how do I come to an understanding, or a knowledge of God?"

I am not content with the justification that "we are not meant to understand" or that "only after the trial of [my] faith" will I receive a witness. That's because there is no logic, no understanding, to justify my belief in the "witness", which is simply emotional experience. If the only "witness" I receive is a "burning in my bosom" then it is not sufficient witness, because I know that such emotions are fallible, just as testimonies may possess conviction, but not necessarily truth.

I am an emotional being, and this is very much a part of who I am. But I am also a logical being. And if I am, in fact, created of a God, he will not spite me for being true to who I am, as my surest guide in my search for him.

God would not make us logical beings, and require us to defy that logic in favor of emotion, when logic and critical thinking are so tied to our existence on this planet. We did not pray ourselves into the technology age, we thought our way here. And if we were not purposed to have relied on reason over pure emotion, emotion would have proved sufficient to attain all that we needed to be happy, and content.

It cannot be argued that emotion is to be trusted over reason. Abusive relationships are perpetuated on this flawed thinking— emotions override logic, and the abused remain in order to satisfy their emotional needs (which are not rational). Their emotional needs are illogical, and they suffer unnecessarily to the extent that they are able to overcome their situation through rational thoughts of self preservation, and self-worth. No one should feel stuck, or that they deserve abuse, or that even that they don't deserve better. Everyone deserves better than to be abused. emotionally or physically, or psychologically.

I welcome opportunities to live my life according to the logic and morality which are inherent in me, and I invite everyone to celebrate humanity, and not to wallow in ideas of being "fallen" or in need of saving from their doubts, or logic, or humanity. As if being human is something to be ashamed of.

To be human is to be one of the most rare, and the most precious existences in the entire universe.

I can testify of that.

Thanks for Reading,

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