Thursday, November 09, 2006

Personal Value

I know it’s late and I should probably force myself into bed, but I was thinking –a dangerous thing at times.

Why should I leave the Church? I’m trying to look at this very objectively. I have no reason not to believe and yet no real reason to believe other than it’s the latest thing at BYU and all my friends are doing it.
I guess the only real reason I would want to leave is to pursue a same-sex relationship. Is that a good enough reason? How does God feel about it? Does he even care? I know I can’t live both the Church and “The World.” I am so tired of mulling this over in my head. I wish it were simpler. I wish I could just be and be content.

I hear so many others on here with such strong convictions and faith. How do you do it?

I am just so confused and disillusioned with it all, I mean the mainstream Church, my ward. I see just as much (if not more) fake believers as I do real believers. [Yes, I know I am stereotyping and judging]

There is this one guy in my ward who just makes me cringe. At family home evening a few weeks ago he made some comment about how our purpose here on Earth is to prove ourselves to God that we can do his will. As if any hint of imperfection and sin would suddenly make us unloved or less loved by God. In the missionary discussions there is a similar line. It always seemed so backward to me.

How can I prove anything to an all-knowing being? I may sound Calvinistic but doesn’t he know the beginning and the end? I believe it is my choice and that I have agency for many things. I can change and grow and live my life to the fullest. It’s my doing, not anyone else’s. But to “prove” my self??? God knows me and my capabilities. There is nothing to prove. And to say that that is our purpose is so narrow and trivial.

And there are many people I see that live their lives in the “doing” phase.
“I can pat myself on the back today because I read my scriptures” or “I did my home teaching” or “I have ____ as my calling” or “because I paid my tithes” or "I went to this confrence" or "I fasted for so long" or "I served as AP on my mission." And they really come unglued if they are perceived as not having filled such duties.

I also hate it when someone gets up to give a talk and immediately discredit everything they have prepared by saying something to the effect of "Yeah, this talk is probably gonna suck because of...." or "Sorry you have to listen to me." Don't they believe in themselves? Or is it just a formality to insult yourself and God?

I’m not bagging on doing good things, I am saying that our value as human beings doesn’t change based upon what we do or don’t do. Our value is based in our heritage as children of God; with the capacity to become as God. And who has that heritage? Everyone! Mormon, Pentecostal, homeless, inmate, Asian, African, Bishop, and yes, homosexual. We are all the same. No one is better or worse. Besides, we are all in the same hell-bound boat right? God cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance so the scripture goes... You, me, President Hinkley, everyone... Granted some are living more fulfilling lives than others, but no one life is more valuable than another. I really believe that.

I see so many people base their personal value on what they have accomplished rather than who they are. Well nobody can do it all! That kind of a mentality breeds low self-esteem and perfectionism. Because I see so much of that I have a hard time buying the “doing” mission of the Church members (as opposed to the true doctrine of pure love in action). Again, I am not bagging on doing good. I am merely saying that motives are everything.

It’s my problem that I allow this to interfere with my own interaction with the Church… I’ve just become, well, disillusioned. I hate it how people try to get you to do something simply to support their own social psychology. I may be judgmental for saying so, but I hate being someone’s project for their own personal insecurities. I hate being someone’s assigned friend when I am Home Taught. I hate it when others think that the only happy people on Earth are Mormons. I hate others valuing me or devaluing me based on my perceived contribution to the Church. Am I just crazy or is this for real?

Can’t you just love me for me? I do.

PS: After reading over this I realize that I sound more annoyed than I really am... I just wish people could love themselves and stop breeding insecurities. I thought that's what the Church is for -to help people love themselves as God loves them... but I guess not. I am a judgemental SOB. Kind of ironic... I am judging people for judging themselves and others... ha.


Beck said...


Get over it! Just be yourself and to hell with everyone else! I decided a long time ago that I don't fit the normal profile of a "happy priesthood holder" doing his duty in a perfect way - and I never will! When I have my priesthood leaders finally accept me for who I am and that I am "different" but of "great personal value" and allow me to be free to get lost in others - that is when things start clicking. When I try to fit the mold, I'm typically miserable. When I allow myself to be free to be me (which pushes the realm of conformity), when I allow my God-given talents to shine, when I express my love for my God, myself, and my brothers and sisters, and stop worrying about what others think or whether it "fits" with the program, is when I am a "happy Mormon". You can look around at the pretenders, you can see whatever you want to see inside the Church, you can question whether to stay or go until eternity, but what matters is that you come to find a way to be YOU - and that way is losing yourself along the way and stop worrying about how you rate with the performance of others.

Kengo Biddles said...

I agree with Beck about not caring so much about others, but I will say this. I think part of the "Oh, this is going to suck..." stuff is that apparently, by saying that, you're implying you're humble. I hate UT culture. That's why we're moving as soon as I have a degree.

Chris said...

I guess the only real reason I would want to leave is to pursue a same-sex relationship. Is that a good enough reason?

Well, since you asked...

Yes, that is a good enough reason. Loving someone and being loved is a gift from God.

I was Mormon for 18 years, from the time I was 16 until last year at age 34. I was a missionary, an AP, a YM president, a bishop. I lived the life. I left the church with a heavy heart, but felt like I had to do it to protect myself. I never imagined that life could be so rich and fulfilling outside of Mormonism. It is--or at least it can be.

I'm always hesitant to post on other gay Mormon blogs about my journey out of the church. But sometimes it seems like a bit of an echo chamber to me. If you are interested in a different perspective, I'm happy to offer it.

Sir Robert Chiltern said...

A couple of comments on your thoughts, which are intended for reflection, not to abase or accuse:

I have no reason not to believe and yet no real reason to believe other than it’s the latest thing at BYU and all my friends are doing it.

What? Surely you're not in the Church today simply because you're following your friends. If your sexuality were otherwise, would you still be in the Church just because you were following along? I know that I personally am in the Church because I have deeply felt that so much of what it teaches is true and contributes to a happier life, and I could only suppose the same has been true for you.

Obviously the issue of your sexuality becomes the wrench in the works. Suddenly there are some pretty serious obstacles to following the things you've been taught, and the plan of salvation seems more like a round hole that you're trying to fit square blocks through.

Unfortunately, at least to me, it seems like the answers for what to do with square blocks (if you'll permit the continued metaphor) isn't readily apparent in the Church. The Church doesn't advise pounding the square through the circular hole any more, but there doesn't seem to be a concrete alternative offered either - it's almost a void in some respects.

My personal conclusion on the subject, at least at the moment, is that all you can do is your best - and isn't that what God expects? Stick to the principles that you feel, regardless, are true. I think that ultimately the answers which must guide your future in the face of this void must be to follow the things you feel to be true, as you feel you are directed by God. I think that will be a very personal quest for you.

Gay BYU Student said...

You said exactly what I meant to say when I posted a few weeks back ("disillusionment"). I've been feeling a lot of the same things you are - and challenging long held beliefs. When it comes down to it, I don't know how I could ever leave the church. The only reason I would want to is the same as yours: for a same-sex relationship. But my testimony is too real to just throw away. Like I said, a lot of my beliefs have changed, but I still have faith in the overall mission of the church.