I am looking for greater strength by nourishing my faith. To trust all is working for good in my life at this moment. My new faith paradigm is OK and that it is OK even though my perfect theology crumbled when I found space in my head and healing in my heart, to actually question and search.
I am still full of faith in a loving God. My world of Jesus, the atonement, the restoration, the scriptures, the culture are not the same. That is OK. It is difficult that other's don't SEE. I am grateful my husband has joined me in this faith transition. I am grateful I can talk to him and feel same (at first he didn't). I was scared to look before. Scared to find something that might make me doubt. Scared of what was "out there". Scared I might fall and lose my salvation if I did look. What if after I died and woke up on the other side (or however it works), I was not saved because I turned from my church or was not "good enough". Faith is not like that.
If I beat myself up enough in this life for NOT being able to be good enough, then at least I tried. So the depression of my past failing, my anxiety over my (and my husband and kids) exaltation and ability to live up to my knowledge were my heavy crosses to bear.
Then with anxiety and depression as my frame in the present moment, I could not function and the cycle continued. I became a sick person who functioned because I had 5 kids and a husband to take care of. Check off list: cook, clean, scriptures, pray, church, sex, fhe, exercise, temple attendance, meetings, callings, family scripture study, family prayer, repeat, etc...never could quite fit in family history- I did add it to my "not good enough list" along with my failed "plant a garden". After-all now we are suppose to do our family history and names to take to temple.
How my faith journey started:
- teaching primary Old Testament. I was not satisfied with manual and started researching on internet for scholarship and new ways of looking at the historicity of Old Testament.
- This lead to many subjects that the book of Genesis brings up: Creation accounts, Book of Abraham, Book of Moses, Moses, Adam and Eve, Evolution, Fall, Blacks and the Priesthood, Curse of Cain, and the list goes on.
- So with a million questions and finding the answers were not so simple as "pray, read your scriptures, go to church, and go to the temple for your education".
- I started going to temple every other weeks and found great peace in the celestial room pondering. I would love to just go to the temple for the sake of meditation. No "work" needed. Just for me and my personal meditation. Why do we have to "DO" stuff and why not just "BE" there with God's presence.
- With therapy, I saw my thinking was not very healthy...WHAT? You mean that was not Satan sitting on my shoulder putting those thoughts into my head. It was ME all along? NO WAY!!! This was hard for me because it was easier to blame Satan. It also gave me hope because now I could rewire my neural pathways in the brain.. Yes, it is a science. So I started studying brain science.
- I taught yoga for 3 years and decided to get certified as a teacher. My eyes were opened up to yoga philosophy and mindfulness. I love the teachings of living in the present moment, non-judgment, non-doing, beginner's mind, etc. I started studying mindfulness and adding it to my yoga teaching. These have helped me tremendously with seeing other's at church with compassion as I have had more self-compassion.
- Loving self is BEFORE loving others. We mess up the scriptures. I started teaching my primary class differently. No need for shame or even most 'Mormon" guilt. I do agree there is a place for guilt among some sins but not the ones that most Mormon women put upon themselves.
- Starting a business and seeing God's hand in my growth.
- Studying Cosmology and it's history through the ages.
- Meditation: a huge part of brain change and keeping healthy neural pathways developing.
- Eliminating the negative in my life: less media, less should and shouldn't talk, less FHE, less commandments, less work, less doing, less shame, less pain, less anxiety, less depression, and wow I have room in my cup for ....
- More good: family time, building relationships, feeling the Spirit in my life, writing, reading, personal growth, teaching yoga, teaching kids and teens of all faiths mindfulness/yoga (Our culture is filled with the same teachings). More joy, peace, and love.
I do love my church and in it's purest form it all comes down to one word: LOVE!!!
Joseph Smith in his heart was only seeking God's love for all mankind in the context of his culture, time, place, and circumstances. Yes, as you study it is a mess of a history but so is my history. I will be honest in my history to pass to my children so they know the truth according to their mother. Just as we are part of a church that contains the truth according to Joseph Smith. Now in this modern era along the span of evolution, we need to proceed to the a new shift and transition to a truth (cosmoslogy) according to our time, circumstances, culture, and place. So cool to see religion in that light. We can do this within all the beauty of "Mormonism".