“What the hell do you mean you’re a Mormon?!”
No one has actually said that to me, but you get the idea.
That seems to be an approach or consensus among most people about any religion that is different from their own beliefs or lack thereof.
I was a little bit apprehensive to write about religion.
One of top 3 subjects that will get people fired up and create instant expert analysis.
Other than religion, the subjects to avoid are politics and homosexuality. Any of these topics WILL ALWAYS raise opinions, ire or homicidal mania that instigates religious fervor and zealotry.
I do not wave my Mormon flag wherever I go.
I am a terrible representative of the LDS religion.
I will never be the poster child of my “chosen” church.
I am loud, obnoxious, an alcoholic, full of shit, I occasionally say dirty words, I don’t follow our Word of Wisdom to the letter, I hardly ever go to church (mostly because I’m a truck driver) and I don’t pray every day.
But it’s the church that I belong to.
I joined it of my own free will.
I was baptized into my chosen church in 1984.
The LDS Article of Faith #11 basically states “Let us worship our way and we’ll let you worship your way”
I swear it’s true…the phrasing I mean.
I have fought, battled, had highs and lows and generally done everything imaginable that could possibly convince me that I didn’t need a church.
For 29 years I have see-sawed between non-compliance and saint-hood.
But, I will tell you now…my struggles with my faith…my struggles with my church’s doctrine…..through it all…I will tell you that the ONLY reason I am alive today is because of my belief in my church.
It was MY CHOICE.
Then why do people, from any religion, disdain people who are not of their particular faith or belief structure?
“I think I’ll have the shrimp” says one man.
“No…that is a crawfish” says another man.
“Well, it looks like a shrimp” says the one man
“Yes, I know they look alike, but there is only one true shrimp” says the other man.
“How can you tell, they are covered in different spices and sauces and are presented in varying techniques?” says the one man
“A shrimp is a shrimp” replies the other man.
What got me thinking about this subject matter was a billboard sign that I seen in Indiana somewhere. If I remember right it said “Life without Religion.com”
The sign did not offend me. But it did make me think to myself “Hmmph! I couldn’t live without religion”
Then I thought with growing perplexity, that I wouldn’t even KNOW HOW to live without religion. I really can’t even imagine it. Honestly as I’m writing this, I don’t want to live without religion.
Faith has nothing to do with it. Faith has all kinds of applications.
My faith rises and ebbs like a choppy sea, that’s just how I am. I am not a blind follower. I do not have the faith to be a Mormon suicide bomber.
But I keep trying to better myself.
Faith without works is dead, goes the mantra.
My understanding of this is that faith has to be worked at to be true faith, whatever the application.
There is no time limit and there is no due date on faith.
There is always faith…sometimes high….sometimes low.
But like hope, there is always faith in something.
For all I know, we keep working on it even after we go to the great blogosphere in the sky.
So why do people judge one another on their religious beliefs?
It is the ultimate hypocrisy.
Every religion that I have read about, and trust me, I have read about many in my own search for truth and meaning to it all, is that ALL religions have a few constants.
Protection of the poor.
Simple…and easy to understand.
At least you’d like to think so….
Here is one of the greatest quotes I have ever read, and keep in my heart of hearts:
**I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It’s just that the translations have gone wrong.
Translation is a man-made thing.
We have created intolerance, indifference, extremism, and hate based on translations.
We’ve created murder, covetesnous, and racism justified by translations.
We are the masters of our own creations while being the victims of our own creations.
We are tantamount to a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type existence.
Think about that for a second.
We are ignorant to the one fact that we can, in no way possible, understand what is impossible to understand.
We refuse to accept the fact that not everything is possible to comprehend and/or explain.
Consider the stars…
Consider the Lily’s of the field…
Consider corduroy pants…
Whoever is following my blog, reading this post…I don’t care if you’re Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Holy Roller, Jehovah’s Witness, Snake worshipper, Buddhists, Kama Sutra, or Atheists.
I accept everyone’s beliefs as a personal thing.
Too each his own.
Just grant others the same opportunity.
If it does not cause harm to others…what’s the harm?
Their own individual, personal connection to a belief AND a faith is what MAKES THEM HAPPY.
The God of my own understanding has granted me FREE WILL.
I think that it is one of the greatest and darkest gifts to be given to mankind.
Free Will and Faith….
Apply both without prejudice
Accept both without prejudice.
Respect others rights to them.
As the man said, according to one translation I BELIEVE is correct…
“Love one another”
What could be wrong with that…?