Tired of the Sunday Secret Life … biting my tongue
… maybe the closet isn’t what I thought it was. Anyway, maybe we can speak up, even if ours voices quiver.
Home Teachers came by this past Sunday Night and the discussion began principally between Lietta and the High Councilor and his companion who is a counselor to the ward HPGL.
In the last Home Teaching visit Lietta attempted to explain a recent epiphany regarding just how “Christian” she regarded herself to be and how “Christian” Mormons are or ought to be based on their fervent look-alike declarations that the Church has “Christ” in its name and is thusly on the same playing field as the evangelicals and fundamentalist Christians.
If in fact there was epiphany for Lietta about being Christian, it probably had to do with our recent attending the Episcopal Dean’s series of Sunday-morning lectures on the meanings of the Episcopal baptismal covenant.
Last month, when she tried to discuss her epiphany with our High Councilor/HT, he went ballistic and seemed intent on seizing the pretext that she and the Dean were declaring that Mormons are not Christians. No amount of clarification from Lietta or the small contributory explanations I offered seemed to deflect him from his persecution complex and the idea that Lietta had been swayed by a one-liner from the Dean of another church.
But this month, in a more conciliatory tone, manner and wordage, the two of them re-engaged in that discussion. The HT’er had also prepared for us readings and comments from the Articles of Faith that emphasized the “Christianitiness” of Mormon beliefs as published by Joseph Smith.
I felt no impulse to offer any comments or clarifications to what Lietta was saying. It had become obvious that both men were somewhat under-matched as they followed the logic and observations Lietta was making about being Christian and Mormon and her thinking regarding the Church’s ecumenical “ought-to-be” place in the real world.
I know, I’m biased. But if they had thought to resist or overcome her declarations and observations they were both mismatched from the get-go.
Unlike me, Lietta has a gift of poise and detachment in her delivery. It was obvious (at least to me) that authority figures cannot use typical LDS correlated emotional tools to dissuade or counter her opinions … a hopeless project.
So I just enjoyed being a bump on a log while in a non-belligerent manner, Lietta used a whip and chair on them priesthood lions…
… until the High Councilor almost demanded that I chime in with my thoughts despite my expression of “just-happy-to-be-here-nothing-to-contribute” protestations.
I told them they could read everything I believed by Googling “Arthur Ruger and Abide With Me” on the same line. The HT’er was having none of it and asked me again to share my thoughts immediately.
So I did …
But unlike my sweetheart, I got caught up emotionally in the testimony I wanted to bear. I don’t believe I quaked and my voice didn’t shake, but the longer I spoke the more intensely I wanted to say stuff.
In the end, I told them about my being re-baptized only in order to psychologically reclaim my cultural identity. I had not come back as a repentant I-see-the-light-now returning prodigal son.
And these other matters:
I do not believe nor accept the majority of the LDS faith narratives …
I do not believe there were ever golden plates …
I know that Joseph dictated the Book of Mormon under a muse-influence while looking at a so-called seer stone in a hat …
I know the Church has acknowledged publicly and on the official web site that he had used the seer stone …
I know the seer stone was nothing more than a rock he found and was nothing special …
I know that Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine and the earliest Roman church fathers created out of their own religious imagination the mental/spiritual constructs of original sin, natural man being evil and born that way, the need for a redeemer and the atonement of Christ.
I know that none of those notions are real and all of them were imagined realities created out of whole cloth.
I know that I do not need a redeemer
I know that Jesus Christ did not die for my sins
I know that the Plan of Salvation is bogus
I know that natural man is not an enemy to god
Then … all worked up … and feeling inwardly trembling but also like I’d just come out of the secret thinking closet … I thought I’d stare them down.
I have to laugh …
The High Councilor ( and he’s not a lawyer, but a physician) rephrased and summarized what I had just said – along with what Lietta had been talking about.
“So, correct me if I get this wrong, but you’re saying that you do not believe most of the things the Church teaches (in it’s faith narrative) and that those things are not the reason you have a testimony or why you are attending church. Your testimonies are not based on those things at all, but other things important to you?”
He accepted that I have some sort of testimony, as does Lietta. However, our testimonies are obviously not the “one true and faithful testimony” that gets worshiped monthly on Open-Mike Sunday Meeting. And here I thought my honesty would knock him on his testimony butt but he seemed unfazed.
Don’t know if he then went or will go running to the higher echelon warning about our supposed apostate attitudes, but that is beside the point.
Anyhow, I felt better … and honest … and clean
… and no lightening has struck our house or Jake our faithful Aussie Shepherd.