Saturday, September 25, 2010

Calming Down

For a while, I was convinced that I couldn't stand going to church for another year in order to stay in school.  I'm a member of the LDS church, living in Utah, at BYU.  Not the best place to be an agnostic or atheist.

However, lately I've calmed down some.  I don't like church, it feels uncomfortable to me.  I still read my scriptures and pray every single day, but all I seem to do is analyze what I read and feel and conclude more and more that everything I was brought up to believe is just not that likely.

Still, I'm feeling better.  My wife is wonderful and accepting of me, and I know she'll stay with me even if I don't end up in the church.  My mother told me recently while I chatted with her on the phone that she thinks I am being prideful, and that I want god to be and do things my way.  I thought she might be right...
That week, we had Stake Conference, which in this case was a televised broadcast of leaders of the church speaking specifically to members in and around Utah Valley.  My attitude was not great, and my wife was at work.  Eventually, during the last talk, I decided I was getting nowhere by listening skeptically to a mostly-harmless old man tell boring stories.  I left early and determined to climb up a mountain and try to talk to god, or whatever might be listening.
I went home and changed and then drove up to Squaw Peak.  I had to hike a ways to get away from the Sunday afternoon frolickers who were thickly packed into the few hundred yards nearest the parking lot.  I found a spot in the woods a ways from the trail that looks over the valley (pretty, if a little smoggy).  I sat down and thought and just started talking to god, or whoever.
I talked and talked and really talked a lot about my life.  Taking inventory of my feelings occasionally, I never got the impression I was actually being listened to, answered, or was anything but alone.  However, the experience was not entirely negative; I felt better after the hour or so I spent up there just discussing my life with myself, if no one else.  I guess it is good for my peace of mind and emotional stability to occasionally take time to take a detailed, humble inventory of my life and thoughts.

So... I still don't really believe in god, but I guess I have some sort of "spiritual" side that needs attention.  Not that I really believe in any immaterial component to myself... but I have recently admitted that emotions and irrational needs are never something I can escape from or completely suppress.

Also, recently, I have been more open about my thoughts and feelings with my cohorts at school, and I am surprised at how accepted I have felt.  Not that I attack the faith of my friends, I think they are free to believe whatever seems best to them, but I can talk about little concerns I have, little philosophical quandaries I encounter, etc.  I still get answers like "Well, Joseph Smith said...,"  but I think I can handle it.  As long as I can talk a little bit about what I think, I'm not so frustratingly alone all the time.

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