My head is so jumbled right now that I'm not sure if I can even write a coherent blog - but seeing as I have to get up very early tomorrow morning (another 4 am rising) then I had better get this all purged so it won't keep me up tonight.
Had another meeting with Elder Nelson and Brother Matthews tonight. The other two meetings, even with the consistent interruptions that one sort of expects from two toddlers, went pretty well. Tonight, everything was just all jumbled and chaos which was quite disheartening for me. Not to mention, very embarrassing. As I've mentioned over the past week or so, we adopted 2 year old (give or take) Maya who being a Lab/Pit Bull mix is VERY energetic. She's very sweet and loving, but full of energy and tonight being that we (the family and I) were gone all day, had a ton of it pent up. The kids, being away from home and me all day, were the same. It does not make a good recipe for time spent in the scriptures or discussion. At one point, the comment was made that the Spirit was being disrupted (paraphrasing from my ever absent memory right now) because of Maya. For me, everything was being disrupted by Maya (and the kids as well). But it was quite the reminder how important reverence and atmosphere are in the LDS church for the Spirit.
When I think of time away with God, images come to my mind - quiet away from others, somewhere private, and somewhere calm. Like my bedroom (sans kids and dog of course) or even my closet which I converted into a prayer room after leaving the LDS church. There are pictures from the Gospel in action, a Bible and notebook to make notes, and there used to be a pillow to relax against (until I took it back to my bed). When I shared this moment with Steve, he casually implied that if I had not been with Latter Day Saints having this conversation, that the Spirit would have been just fine. That it's a preference of Latter Day Saints, and not really a Protestant thing. I thought back to Protestant churches I had visited over the past 18 months (before leaving the LDS church) and the things that I slowly became more "used to" that before, I would have stepped back from. Like "rock music" so to speak in a church meeting. Now I love it and think that it's a beautiful form of expressing praise to an Almighty God - even though I still prefer hymns and quiet worship, I see the beauty and passion in the modern day Evangelical worship setting. Or having church in a bar (which sadly seems to be at an end). I was so thrilled to hear about GP taking ministry into such an unconventional setting - going to those who probably need the Lord the most.
And so, I began thinking about Steve's comment and our calm, assertive young pastor (he's late 30s I believe - so not a "kid" young) - could he have held a discussion of spiritual matters with a 60 lb dog climbing on him and kids either fussing about wanting something or just clamoring for attention? Would the Spirit have been conducive to such an environment? We attended a small group at his home for about 4-6 weeks I believe (maybe longer) and they provided childcare. Kids jumping around upstairs sounding like they were going to bring the roof crashing down. And yet, he remained fully able to direct and lead the conversation. But, how spiritual was it? I honestly couldn't tell you - I was still very much apologetic of the LDS church and still firmly believed in my own (LDS) beliefs. I was "trying" to let go and listen, but I'm a pretty stubborn person. Is God limited by the environment we are in at the time or is He big enough to work past that?
For me, I lean more towards God being bigger to work past those issues - kids and dogs and all sorts of craziness. However, I certainly believe that special, intimate time with Heavenly Father is achieved when we are able to focus on HIM and not on the crazy surroundings of the moment. I'm not sure how well I would adjust to being "boxed" in so to speak that God speaks only though and in certain moments and environments. I know when I was LDS, I would have baulked at the idea of church being in a bar (Steve did for a LONG time, even after coming to GP), but regardless if I would attend church in a bar (I wouldn't) I most certainly see the need for reaching those in a bar and certainly believe that God is big enough to reach through all that, and touch someone, bringing them to Him.
Outside of these potholes tonight, the conversation was really great. Even if I did loose my train of thought a few times. :( I really cling to the Protestant (and I suppose Catholic) idea of polytheism but find a lot of freedom in what we discussed tonight regarding polytheism and whether or not it was what Jehovah was actually addressing in the Law. The Godhead makes - for me - logical sense. Of course, I wasn't raised believing the Trinity - so I'm sure Trinity believers believe the Trinity makes logical sense. As I've read along some Trinity discussions on Rav, I find myself really torn on this issue. It could be that I simply don't want to make a choice - stand by the experience I had a year ago, that I felt confirmed the Trinity to me or deny it and move right back into the LDS church.
Joseph Smith taught that it is the FIRST principal of the Gospel to know God and His nature. Which would then be - Trinity or Godhead? Part of me totally sweeps this all under the rug and refuses to really think about it. I tell myself that really, it doesn't matter. Because that Gospel, or Good News, isn't about whether or not Jesus was fully God and fully man (Trinity) or if He was the Son of God - a god Himself worthy of worship but not the Father.
And yet, in both the Protestant churches and in the LDS church - knowing God's nature is an essential, a first principal, even of the Gospel. Which makes me really turn my mouth down. :P I wonder if I refuse to move on from this doctrine because I want accept the Godhead so that I can be Mormon again OR if I refuse to move on because I don't want to deny the Trinity because it's something that while I feel is illogical, is something that I still see as possible. Even if I don't really want to acknowledge that.
Is my desire to return to the LDS church, simply over ruling my common sense or logical thinking? On the one hand, there are doctrines that while I believe are logical, go against everything as a conservative Evangelical I would hold as fundamental. They go against my personal daily application - such as offending the Spirit and yet, still are logical.
Tonight we discussed the context of when people are without a Prophet - Biblically speaking, they go straight into apostasy. Again, very logical. Biblical example to back it up and all one really needs to do is look around the Mainstream Christian churches to see utter chaos in it all, not unity or one faith. But a lot of heavy opinions and preferences without any authority.
So, I've promised to buckle down and write up some questions for our next meeting. Hopefully, in a week away from my house and all the possible distractions. I have some reading in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon that I'm going to get to and then we'll sit down with some more questions. I've also been told that if I'd like to no longer work in GP Kidz then I am free to do so. This is a problem for me - I'd love to go ahead and leave and start attending block meetings BUT I made a commitment and part of me feels, if I were to just leave GP Kidz, there'd be nothing holding me back from being a "True Blue Mormon" again (albeit a weird, very doctrinally liberal one). And I am committed to NOT jumping back in there again. I want time to read - the BoM and the Bible cover and to cover and fully understand what I am committing to.
Which leaves me - totally uncommitted to either organization. And sleepy.