Recently i watched a documentary about Gordon b. Hinckley. while watching it i felt such an overwhelming gratitude to no longer be apart of the church.
It is not that i do not like gordon hinckley, i like him a lot. But the documentary involved much footage of other church leaders and church leadership in general.
I felt so grateful to no longer feel these men had any authority over me. Men who otherwise would not necessarily be men i look up to, and yet were meant to be my spiritual gurus. Some of these men, in fact many, would actually be men who have a world view i see as incorrect. Generally very conservative and dogmatic. Many come from the business world. not an element of society i would normally look towards for guidance.
not that i think any of these men have malicious or bad intentions, but not men i would otherwise look to for guidance on how to live or about god or spirituality.
and yet, when a part of the church, not only are these men, men you might look to for guidance on how to live, but it becomes a sin to not follow their instruction. i believe this created a certain amount of cognitive dissonance in myself, and perhaps others like me. my mind became partitioned, on one hand i felt compelled to follow these men's instruction, on the other hand i recognized they were not men i felt much connection to, or much in common with.
this feeling of not having much in common with these men also created in me a sense of alienation. because i felt so different than those i was supposed to follow, i felt... out of place.
occasionally i will still attend a church meeting and like to keep up on church news, and some times browse around the church website. when i hear statements from leaders that are either only mildly interesting, or perhaps i disagree with the statements all together, it feels so great to feel no compulsion to try and compel myself to somehow believe or a agree with what is being said.
and watching how the members take so seriously what they are hearing, turning off the critical aspect of their minds is a bit disconcerting. i wonder if this creates a certain amount of cognitive dissonance in the average member. on one hand they live in a culture where any sort of unquestioned authority is seen as bad, yet they are a part of a culture of unquestioned authority. although i realize there can be a certain amount of comfort for people to no have to figure certain things out. things that may be very difficult to figure out. it can be nice to place that moral responsibility on someone else. and if they are wrong? god won't judge you for it because you were just being obedient.
obedience. such a virtue in mormonism. but is that what god really wants? automatans? that is something i like about the Baha'is. the independent investigation of truth is very important to them. blind obedience is shunned.
although i am actually glad i was raised in the church, i truly feel so grateful to be apart of it. never have i been happier. i am able to feel happy most all of the time, whereas in mormonism it was a bit more of an emotional roller. perhaps i will write more on that later.
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