So back in the first week of September of 2010, I came home from church with fast-meeting on my mind. I blogged my testimony. Last month I decided I wanted to read the blog post to see how it has changed--but low and behold, it was gone. I was so confused, I wondered if I even actually wrote the post.
Today I was looking through my old blog from like 2006--somehow it had gotten this post instead of this blog. Oops lol--and I know my mom somehow got the address for my blog from '06 (nothing bad was posted there, but still, mixing up blogs could have been bad). I feel like I've grown and changed a lot in the last five months--but evidently not so much testimony-wise. If anything, I've moved farther from a desire of having kids, at least not in the next 8-10 years. Anyway, here's the post!
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2010
What I Believe
The last time I did the long walk up to the pulpit and shared my testimony on Fast Sunday was the week I turned 12 years old. I don't really remember what I said, but I'm sure it was full of platitudes, quoting every other testimony I'd ever given verbatim.
Since then though... I guess I've tried hard not to think about exactly what I believe. It is too complicated, because my faith is nuanced, my faith is subject to critical thinking and cynicism and the frustrations of being human. It's filtered through my experiences, but hidden from the world--because if I share it, and it isn't enough, then what? Who have I harmed in the process, who would have seen my religion as a positive thing until I went and made the black-and-white a big gray blob?
I'd like to bear my testimony. I believe I have a Father and a Mother in Heaven, who love me. I don't know why they let me feel the way I do sometimes, or why things have to happen. I have a lot of trouble accepting when people say "I know God loves me because when x happened I was scared but He fixed it with y". Because for every one of these "faith promoting stories", there are 10 about where He let the child die, He let her miss the important meeting with her boss, or she wasn't prompted to go check her husband's computer history.
I believe that my Heavenly Parents loves me just as much as any of their sons. I don't know why I don't have the priesthood...and I hope that this will change, eventually (in the eternal scheme of things). If I ever get married, I will expect--nay--demand an egalitarian marriage, and I don't plan on ever being presided over. I don't believe in gender roles.
I believe in the church. Mostly. Sometimes this troubles me--as the quote by C.S. Lewis states
"Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important."
This worries me. A younger Julia would have said the same thing was true about the church--in fact--for the longest time I couldn't understand why inactives even existed. If you believe in it, it should change your life and you should be there every week because you want to be "edified" as we all are....right? right?
I believe that personal revelation trumps all.
I believe that polygyny, polyandry, and gay/lesbian marriages should be legal. I don't believe it is the government should tell me who to love. I don't think people should have children if they *know* they'll have no way to pay for it themselves and plan to rely on the government. And at the same time, I believe that every child is entitled to health care.
I'm not a very good mormon. My faith is lackluster and my behavior adequate at best. I fear that people look at me and assume all mormons are like me. On the other hand, it could be worse. I embrace a "there is truth everywhere" stance and a "live the way you feel will make you happy" opinion. I truly believe that God won't punish people for acting out of love. How can it be a sin if you only acted to protect someone you care about? How can it be a sin if your only goal was to help those you love? I try not to judge others but instead to treat everyone fairly.
I attend a school where to learn about the history of the middle east, we first must say a prayer. I attend a school where I'm told how short my shorts can be. I attend a school where 98% of the students are mormon. This is my choice.
Some days I believe in this choice. Like when I'm walking along having a bad day and a stranger smiles and says hello. Or when I accidentally leave my cell phone on the ground unattended for hours, and it isn't stolen. I believe in this choice when I go to my woman's studies class and hear someone say something that I was too scared to share.
This choice kills me when I hear people use the word gay as a synonym for stupid. It kills me when I realize that out of an entire 30 person class, I'm not the only one enchanted by a professor's total bull crap. It kills me when I look around an entire stadium of students doing the wave, and notice that it is only white arms flailing up and down.
This university is ordained of God they tell me--it is a divine institution. Am I serving the Lord when I go to my minimum wage job on campus? I don't believe so. I don't believe I'm serving the Lord by going to school either. I'm going to school so I can learn, so I can better myself.
I believe that when I'm taught a true principle, it isn't just me being taught. They teach me as a teacher, so I can educate my children, or my students, or whoever I end up with stewardship over.
I have no doubt in my mind that President Monson is a good man. He seems kind, honest, and hard working to me. I don't think he is perfect, but he is truly striving to do right.
I know my family loves me. I don't particularly want to live with my nuclear family forever, they're awesome but...I'd prefer to get married and live with my spouse. Who probably wouldn't want to particularly live with them.
This is my nuanced testimony, take it or leave it. Find truth where you can :)