Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I'm not insane!

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!

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 :)


  1. My husband and I were talking the other night - and I don't know if you would agree with this, but he was saying he thinks God is a lot more hands off than people seem to think. Your "I know God loves me because when x happened I was scared but He fixed it with y" comment made me think of that. Some times I really want to think that God makes things happen in my life, like he actively puts things in my life, but then I find myself (just today) trying to comfort my Aunt who recently lost her boyfriend by saying something like "Things happen, and there is nothing we can do about it". So either we can pray and God does something, or he doesn't... but sometimes things work out in our favor any way!

    Perhaps this is too deep for a blog comment. lol. Sorry.

    I think the important thing in a testimony is that you really, truly believe everything you are saying - and if we're just repeating things because it's "what people say" than that is a pretty lousy testimony. I would take your nuanced, heartfelt, real testimony over a canned testimony any day. Thanks.

  2. I completely agree with Jessica and her comment. Just like her and her husband, I don't think God makes every little thing happen. I believe he had a hand in creating the world, and he watches over us, but I don't think he's the divine ruler in our car starting every morning like I've heard on F&T Sundays.

    As for our testimony--I'm right there with ya sister.

  3. P.S Can you write a guest post for my blog about your experiences of being at BYU?

  4. "I believe that polygyny, polyandry, and gay/lesbian marriages should be legal."

    Thank you!

  5. Mrs. Froh, I could try if you really wanted me to but I have no idea what I'd say--I mean, there is plenty of negative things I could say--especially after today. I wrote an assignment for a class on why supporting gay marriage is a good thing, and my entire class pretty much got together and told me I was a horrible unfaithful person and that if it were legal all the gays would run around marrying in our temple and that our country was founded on the belief in God so it should be illegal and "But who is this about? You? Or the welfare of our nation?" and "I assume we all know the sin of Sodom and Gomorrha, homosexuality. Those who practice homosexuality will suffer the vengeance of eternal fire" and that "It is not correct that two men or two women should be attracted to each other just as it is not correct that a man and a tree or a man and a horse should be together. Just as it is not correct for a man to lust after blood. While in their minds they may feel nothing is wrong, it is hard to see the correct answer when your eyes are clouded."

    I guess saying that it was a hard day would be understating it a bit. BYU isn't easy. I do fine with the academic load, and there are a lot of good people here... it is just hard to feel like if you come out, the people wouldn't understand or wouldn't treat you the same.

    Yay marriage equality! :D

    Jessica, I definitely find that interesting. It's something I need to think more on I guess.

  6. Would you like to post about how you've came to terms with your sexual identity instead? Or you could focus on how you believe change occurs at BYU--I'm assuming there was a time women didn't attend like every other university. If you don't want it to be about something personal, it doesn't have to be. The ball is in your court.

  7. Sure lol, I'll figure something out--gimme a few weeks