Which is why I was suddenly surprised by a very recent revelation. I recently wrote to someone that I had no vested interests in the LDS church and that my loyalities did not lie with them. However, one morning while getting up at 4 am - I realized how deluded I am. Really? My loyality is not with the LDS church? If actions speak louder than words, that's incrediably untrue. I've taken actions to remove myself from the church, but I refuse to keep my mouth shut and not defend it. I've physically removed my temple bag - but I didn't throw it away, I've entrusted it with someone. I'm always more friendly to those who are LDS and continue to accept visits and feed the missionaries. Really, my loyality isn't with the LDS church? Fooled me. :P
What is strange is that as I've walked this curious, strange, up and down, totally emotional road over the past year - my relationship with my parents have strangly and oddly improved (sure there are still awkward moments where they tell me I'm going to hell ... ;) ), I've felt more freedom in my relationship with Jesus than since I came to Him five years ago, and my appreciation for all those who call on His Holy name, has greatly improved and deepened as well.
I've been so incrediably and horribly hard on my family when it comes to God. "They skip over the cross! How dare they!" And yet, yesterday when Mamau had a very intense and scary episode with her heart, my cousin/niece quietly shared with us what we should do. "We could pray. Heavenly Father will take of us. After all, it's really in His hands." I cried the whole drive away from their house - here I was being so horribly legalistic and criticial of them, and yet when they were in need - they turn to God. Many self proclaimed Protestant Jesus Freaks don't even do that. It was so simple and humble - her complete trust in God to take care of Mamau. This simple moment reminded me of the purity of faith in our Father in heaven.
I've asked myself, "Do I believe the church is true? Was Joseph Smith a prophet? Have I been wrong this whole time? What have I been doing for a year?" And the answer is - no, I don't believe the claims of the LDS church - to be the ONE true church, to be God's restored church, or that Joseph Smith was a prophet. But, as a Christian, does God reject us based upon where we praise Him?
There is a hot debate - "once saved always saved" - as a critical thinking ex-Mormon, I've gotta say I don't believe in this doctrine. I take a firm Biblical stance based on Hebrews 6:4-6 - those who were ONCE enlighted cannot be forgiven for the unpadonable sin. It's a hotly debated Protestant issue, not one I personally care about but rather just something I have an opinion on. I also, don't believe this to be a salvation issue. For example, is Betty Baptist believes "once saved, always saved" and she's wrong, I don't think God will give her the boot because of this. In the end, I personally believe that salvation comes down to ONE thing - Jesus. Either you have a personal relationship with Him and have asked Him to be your Savior, or you haven't. I dislike that so many muddle it up with all these, "if then" doctrines. In my opinion, these are total preferences pulled from a few verses that can be read a number of different ways.
However, I am off track. What makes me nervous about this blog, is that people in real life who know me - mostly Protestants, read this blog. I am someone who hates to dissappoint or hurt or offend those around me (even if I don't mind being contraversial at times) but I feel a tug to return to my ward. I came to Christ as a Mormon, I grew up in the LDS church, and even though I don't believe all the doctrines and teachings - I feel at home, I feel close to God, and I am comfortable as a Mormon. I am not making a claim that God is tugging me to return to my ward - not at all. Rather, I own that this is totally a "me" thing. What I want, what I feel comfortable with.
I am familiar with the Protestant teaching/saying/motto - that we shouldn't be too comfortable. And I agree to a point - if I am too comfortable in my walk with God, then I am not growing, learning, and maturing. But at the same time, I also feel that there should be a level of comfort and intimacy with God, and for me, that intimacy has always been felt the best inside the comfort and calmness of the Celestial room inside the temple. And yet, I cannot return there (even with my temple recommends because I am an honest ex-Mormon) because I will not lie and say I believe something that I don't.
And yet, I am in a very interesting position in my life. I am not so freshly removed from the LDS church that I refuse to believe anything the LDS church teaches to be true. Yet at the same time, I am far enough removed from it, that I don't feel the burden, the pressure, the desire to prove all that it teaches to be true. Which, as someone who was engaged in apologetics online and in real life, was something I really did feel and battled with. Now, before returning to my ward, I can spend time reviewing the teachings of the Church and then placing it in one of three categories.
- Is it Biblically sound?
- Is it Biblically false?
- Is it neither provable or unprovable? Is it simply, possible?
I was told that when someone volunteers for service at GP, their committment is a year. That means, I have until winter to find my footing on both milk and meat doctrines of the church. It is my hope, that by 2009 I can return to my ward, prepared and also having fullfilled my responsibilities within my current church home. Who knows, perhaps after reviewing these doctrines, I'll feel differently. But right now, nothing sounds more like home - than a Sacrament meeting. Regardless of how trying they can be.