Sunday, November 28, 2010

On Death and Religion; or, The Two Scariest Things EVAR

I'm afraid of a lot of things, but death is at the top of the list, without a doubt, without competition.  I'm a little afraid of dying personally, insomuch as I don't want to die without ever having experienced certain things: giving birth, parenthood, Europe, the Pacific Ocean, Autumn in Maine, a lifetime of happy with Jimi experiencing each day by my side.  But mostly, more strongly than I collectively fear just about anything else in the world, I'm afraid of losing the people I hold dear to life's inevitable end.  I don't want the people around me, the people I love, to die.  It freaks me out to even consider the idea for very long; I know it'll happen one day, but it's too scary to think about.

I get why people find solace, comfort, in religion.  Especially the Latter-Day Saints; I mean, the promise of joining up with your Mom and Dad and brothers and sisters and grandparents and your husband and your babies too!, to live happily ever after with a loving Heavenly Father?  Heck yeah!  I want that!

I wanted so desperately to believe the Church was true, to have that promise of Salvation, to know that no matter what, I'd see those people I love most even after they were lost from me in this world.  I wanted to bask in that warm glowy feeling I had when I prayed with the missionaries.  I wanted that security, that promise.

The problem is, I don't believe Joseph Smith was a Prophet.  I don't believe his first vision story, either version.  I don't believe an angel stood over him with a sword of fire and threatened to kill him if he didn't take a second wife, just as I don't believe he was acting in accordance with God's Will when he later married a 14 year old girl, just like I don't believe God told him to marry women who were already married to other men.

If I can't believe in Joseph Smith, the Church, for me, can't be true.  And the Celestial Kingdom, where I could live for time and all eternity with Heavenly Father and my family...well, it can't be true, either, can it?

But there's got to be something more.  The Christianity thing, as a whole, doesn't really jive for me.  So much killing and horribleness and nastiness, all in the name of a loving God?  Nope.  Not really my cup of tea.

Buddhism is more my speed.  Treat others kindly because that's the right thing to do.  Don't hurt anyone, anything, any place.  Give generously of yourself and the things you are blessed to have at your disposal.  Try to live without attachment; to things, to memories, to expectations.  Live for today, and do the best you can to be the best person you can be and try to do right by everyone you touch every day.

Plus, when was the last time a Buddhist got snooty over some chick wearing pants to church?

I like the idea of an eternal spirit, too; one that grows and learns with each incarnation, each new plane of existence.  I wish there was some promise, some way I could know for sure that I'll get to meet up with the spirits I love most in this incarnation...I console myself with the fact that whatever will be, will be.  I'll live my every day as best I can; I'll love my hardest, I'll give what I'm able, I'll help where I can.  I'll cherish every day I've got here, and I'll not worry about what comes next.

And then, when I'm 98 years old, nearly blind, mostly deaf, without much of an appetite, with a brood of much-loved great-grandbabies and BFFs surrounding me, I'll start to get nervous about the end and I'll convert.  Just to be safe.


  1. I'm a big fan of Buddhism in addition to my Mormon faith, especially because of all the reasons you mention. There is the doctrine of eternal progression in Mormonism too, which I like because I'm a big of learning and growing everyday now - learning and growing forever sounds pretty good to me. And I too have struggled with the ideas of the Holy Wars and the Crusades and other wars carried on in God's name. There is Biblical evidence that He has sometimes commanded His people to fight, but I don't believe for a second that every single war fought "in God's name" was His idea.

    I'm actually currently trying to decide what to do about flying home for Christmas and going straight to church from the airport. Do I wear a dress and risk an even more awkward pat than necessary? Surely they wouldn't reach up my skirt . . . Wear pants and change before church? Wear pants and don't change and feel like I have to explain myself to all the people I'll know in my parents' ward? I don't even fly for three more weeks, and I'm already concerned. It's kind of ridiculous. :)

  2. You should definitely get a wrinkle-free dress you can carry in your carry-on and then change in the airport bathroom once you land and before you load up and head to church. Make sure to wear appropriate hose/tights/footwear to match the dress, then shake out your hair and touch-up your makeup after you're done stumbling into your dress in the bathroom stall. :) Happy Christmas!

  3. Joseph Smith...wasn't he that dood from Pocahontas? Man, fuck that dood. Fuckin' perv. He aint God.

  4. OMG I knew there was a reason why I loved you so much!! I just saw a label about mormons and clicked on it and read the 8 tagged posts...

    I grew up LDS my whole life, but as soon as i moved to utah things changed. Life changed. My beliefs changed.

    I no longer practice the religion but I, too, am fascinated by them. How they can live brainwashed for so long and just keep going, never wanting to see how it is outside their bubbles because they are afraid they'll become drug addicted knocked up unwed mothers or something? WTF?

    I have found my true self OUTSIDE this religion. I always felt guilty about everything growing up, always afraid of dying because I thought i'd be going to hell or god forbid I wouldn't get to see my FAMILY. Seriously? That's how your going to make me go to church by guilting me into it? NO.

    And even though i respect those that practice, I never have felt the same respect in return. I've even been unfriended on Facebook for it. Assholes...

    I agree- Buddhism is the way to go. I wouldn't say I'm an atheist but more of an agnostic- I would like to believe something is out there but I cannot prove it and therefore I really don't know- no one knows- so why should I care enough to sacrifice my entire life here on Earth where I'm supposed to be experiencing all life has to offer?

    There are SO many things wrong in that church and what I hate is that they are taught not to ask questions and just go forth blindly off what they are being told and not let go of the "iron rod." They are told they are the only people who are right and therefore they think they can shove their testimony down everyone's throat at any given chance.

    I just laugh at them now... mormon mommies driving their ugly mini vans, carting around their 8 children in Walmart because their husband was called to be bishop and is never home to help anymore, she gets to stay home raising the little minions while their sex life goes to hell, he gets addicted to porn because her vagina has turned into a loose black hole, then she is supposed to stay at home for the rest of her life being the "homemaker" with a smile plastered to her face all by the age of 27.

    Hmmm sounds tempting but I think I'm good :)


Please don't make me cry.


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