This morning I remembered today was General Conference.
So, as I sit here this morning, eating the carrot soup I made yesterday, listening to the rain outside, and making pictures with the chinese ink and ink brush I bought a few days ago,( inspired by the excellent inkings done this summer by isaac,), and waiting till it is time to go to school, I am also watching General Conference online.
I actually enjoy watching conference much more now that I am not a member and watch it with the perspective of a curious outsider rather than as a devotee seeking instruction. I enjoy it in a way similar to how I enjoy listening to Christian radio stations when driving through rural areas or watching Scientology lectures on Youtube. It is fascinating to listen to what values and ideas people attempt to instill in others.
As I listen and watch I am frequently overcome with enormous gratitude that I am no longer a member. Listening to these wealthy businessmen and lawyers who I have little in common with and do not admire or find enlightening, make statements like 'how we dress indicates the degree to which we understand and appreciate the activity in which we participate' (in reference to participating the sacrament ritual*), or quoting Henry David Thoreau in weird, out of context ways often taking his statements to mean the opposite of what Thoreau intended, or the irony of Elder Uchtdorf quoting Camus (referring to him as simply: 'one writer') my heart swells with thankfulness that I no longer feel any sense of obligation to take seriously the instruction of these uninspiring men.
Since leaving the Church I have been more happy, content and centered than I thought I would be able to attain in this life. The reasons are various and many directly linked to having left The Church. Sometime I will discuss this more in depth, but one major factor is that the sort of people held up by Mormonism as role models and examples of what sort of person we should try to be are very different than me and very different than how I want to be. Also very different than the sort of people I admire and am influenced by.
This caused in me some degree of cognitive dissonance as well feelings of inadequacy. When the sort of person repeatedly emphasized as being ideal is at odds with my self and my values, it instilled in me a lingering sense of being, in some ways deficient. The example above about clothing was perfect illustration. When it comes to attitudes about clothing I much more side with Jesus (see below) than with whoever it was who made the statement above.
(A side note, while the reasons for the increased happiness I wrote above are a great bonus to me since leaving the church, those reasons had little no impact on why I left the church. My reasoning was based on philosophical and historical issues, not lifestyle or self esteem reasons.)
*contrast that with what Jesus had to say on the subject (Matthew 6:25,28&29)
Therefore I tell you, do not worry ... what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
28) And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
also see Matthew 15:1-18
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