My friends over at Feminist Mormon Housewives have a new post up that asks, “What’s your testimony?” They’re posting a new question each month and inviting their readers to respond. At the end of the year they hope to have a good picture of what’s going on in the feminist/progressive/liberal/queer Mormon community that we all make up. I’ve decided to participate in the activity because I am in an exciting place spiritually and I think it will help me define some things that are up in the air for me right now.
I thought it would be fun to post the questions and my responses here, but I keep thinking about a conversation Honey and I had yesterday.
As I have begun my quest for truth and knowledge about God, I’ve wondered if it was necessary for me to write a letter or call my (LDS) family members to tell them I don’t believe what they do any more. I’ve wrestled with this for over two years – how, what, or if I should tell them what’s going on with me. Then I had a couple of thoughts that make me thankful I had the wisdom to sit on this question for a time.
My younger self was more self-centered and assumed that people wanted to know these things about me and would overshare on the regular. Sallygirl today knows that sure, my family and close friends do want to know these things going on in my life! But they don’t want to find out in a pre-prepared statement that just shows up in their inbox one day. Just yesterday it came to me that it’s actually pretty arrogant of me to randomly announce or give a statement to my family and close friends about my deeply personal religious/spiritual beliefs, without being asked. It’s like when a celebrity publicly announces their divorce/bankruptcy/addiction/sexuality. They make these hugely awkward public announcements; and then everybody feels weird like when you walk in on your parents “taking a nap”.
The other thought that came to me was, actually, I do still believe in a lot of the same things my LDS and christian family and friends do! I have a different perspective than I did before, and yes; there are some huge things that the LDS Church teaches that I no longer believe or interpret differently for myself as an individual. I’ve done a lot of searching and praying and I know that my truth is only for me. I’m not going to be concerned if my truth doesn’t fit you, because I know you. You and I, we are the same. We’re all here on this big rock, doing the best we can given our individual circumstances, and all we want is to be happy.
I’m here to tell you, I am happy.
When I look at the big picture, I feel nothing but peace, joy, and hope for the future. I live with mental illness and sometimes it makes it hard for me to maintain those feelings, but everything about my life is so good how can I feel otherwise? I don’t often talk about the positive parts that come from having mental illness, but there are some. They are few, but they’re there! Even though my intense feelings are usually the crappy ones, the good ones are also just as strong.
I love learning from others. If you have concerns for me, let’s talk. If you have questions about my beliefs, ask me! But don’t go through my husband or children. I have my own voice, and it doesn’t sound like them.