Journey to atheism, Part III

This next part was written after John and I had been back together for a few months. Our marriage and relationship were going well, and the biggest struggle I was having with my personal faith had to do with my family.

Family Picture, 1984 (I'm in the pink dress.)

Family Picture, 1984 (I’m in the pink dress.)

The separation had made me realize how lucky I really was. While we were separated, my family had supported my decision, but they did not allow one negative word about John to be said in their presence. I can’t even say they were supporting him out of personal friendship or fondness — John and my family have very different personalities, and that causes enough friction that while both parties are respectful to each other, I don’t think either party would refer to the other as “friend”.

That said, John in particular appreciated how respectful and kind my family had been about him while we were separated, and he appreciated that even though we were separated and planning on a divorce, my family had looked out for his relationship with Kidling by preventing me from speaking ill of John or his kin in front of Kidling, or (indeed) discouraging me from speaking ill of him, ever.

My family’s view was that no matter their personal disagreements with John, that didn’t change the fact that he was a good parent. So any time I started slipping into insulting language about John or his family, my dad and sisters would advise me not to do that and change the subject.

This experience of being supported, yet gently remonstrated when I was unnecessarily selfish or petty made me realize how lucky I really am in my birth family. As I found myself questioning my faith, I felt torn between wanting to make my family happy and proud of me by being a good mormon girl. or doing what I felt was the ethical, honest thing and being honest that my questions and curiosity had led me toward such serious religious doubts that I could no longer say with any certainty that god existed, let alone that the LDS church was true.

I was also afraid that if I did leave the church completely, I would no longer be as close with my family. At that time, I was already inactive, though I still thought of all the religions, the LDS church was the “most correct,” and believed if I ever attended a church again, I would choose the LDS church.

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Blah blah blah and so on and so forth

October 27, 2007, 13:45

Every church I’ve ever heard of claims that they bring families closer together, and that’s true — to a point. That point is to the extent that the families participate in said church.

For instance, I have a friend who is Catholic. He has six siblings (seven kids total). I’m also friends with his mom. She’s cool. Kinda kooky, but cool. However, I did not realize there were seven children until one evening when I was talking with them, and I’ve known them for a good 6 years! He’s a typical guy who just talks about work and electronics, and strangely enough, his mother only ever referred to her children that were active in their religion.

He told me that she loves and talks to all her children; she just doesn’t really remember to include the non-active (Catholics call them something different, I forget what) children in day to day activities and discussions.

It’s always like that, I tell you what. As the inactive child in an LDS family, every time I try to schedule something with my family, the church always comes first. Look, I get that religion is important. And I try to respect it, I really do. But if my schedule only allows me to come up on a certain day and that day happens to be a Sunday or a Wednesday or whatever — I want to spend it with my family, not at church or Relief Society. That’s my viewpoint.

And to have a family member say, “I’m sorry, you can’t come over then, we’ll be at church,” or, “Can you come over a few hours later? Church ends at —” is also kind of insulting, because it gives no regard to our schedule.

It’s one day. Is God really not going to forgive you for one day spent with your family? Especially when the whole point of religions is to bring families and souls closer to God? It’s all so silly.

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One thought on “Journey to atheism, Part III

  1. I'm with you on this one, Laura. God isn't going to banish someone to hell just because they miss one church event to spend it with family. Faith, IMHO, should be lived out 24/7, not just on certain days and times. That's just my 2 cents.

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