Chatting with some former members over lunch, one gent disclosed that on his last Sunday attending church - once there was already a rumor going around that he was struggling with his testimony - a guy in his ward patted him on the shoulder in passing and leaned over, whispering, "It's true."
As my new friend relates the tale, he grabbed the man's hand on his shoulder (definitely surprising the guy) and stopped him. "Okay, but hypothetically speaking, if it wasn't true, would you want to know?"
"But it is true."
(I confess: at this point every single one of us around the table rolled our eyes.)
"Okay, but again, we're dealing in hypotheticals here, if it was NOT true, would you want to know?"
After thinking for a moment, the guy shook his head "no." "Probably not. After all, it's what I believe, and what I'm doing with my life."
Now, that's all well and good, of course, but I gave up Santa Claus a looooooooooong time ago. I prefer to deal in reality. I prefer to think in terms of fact and fiction, discarding fiction in favor of fact where leading my life is concerned. I prefer to discover TRUTH.
But apparently, no matter how members protest that they seek after truth, they find some truths irrelevant. Such is the case with a few of my convert-friends, who have openly stated that they lack a testimony of Joseph Smith as a prophet (one even went so far as to say that he was martyred because he was leading the people astray, and God couldn't allow that!!!), or even a testimony of the Book of Mormon as the word of God. They're not interested in truth. Their testimonies, instead, are based on the "feeling" that THIS is what they're meant to do with their lives.
That disappoints me. It's a cop-out, first of all, but more importantly, it's actively choosing to live in a fantasy world.
I've heard members argue that that fantasy world gives people hope...that, even if they're wrong, they had something to hope for in the next life while living this one.
But frankly, I find that a bit sick and childish. If you're hoping for impossible things, particularly at the expense of the actual life you lead, what sort of hope do you really have? Take my husband. He hates his job. He wishes every day that he'd gone into something else and would love to go back and get a different degree, because every day he sits at his desk, he is truly miserable. Now that he understands the idea of the Celestial Kingdom is bunk, and that there is very little chance of a post-existence, let alone the opportunity to create his own world and people it, he's looking at the here and now as potentially all there is.
Mormons would say, "How sad." I heartily disagree. I think, "HOW WONDERFUL!!! That means that he's going to finally rethink how he's going to spend the next 30 years of his career, and maybe he'll be motivated to make a change!!!" After all, spending the next 30 years - the prime of your life - doing something you hate isn't that big a deal when you believe you have all eternity to do something you'll enjoy...but wasting the next 30 years doing something you hate when that's likely all you'll get is absolutely asinine.
I - we - choose to live in reality. We want to know the truth, we seek after it, we are (more or less) comfortable in the realization that there are things we don't, can't, and will likely never know, and we're determined to make the most of the life that we have.
I can't say the same for the brother who whispered "It's true" to my new friend. He's busy enjoying the fairy tale, growing old and living by someone else's rules in the meantime. While that's his prerogative, frankly, I pity him. I pity all those who prefer fantasy to reality, because they're missing out on reality.
But at least it reminds me to enjoy what I have, what I know, and who I am. May you all do the same.
Welcome to My Continuing Online Journey!
Perhaps you've read my book by now, or maybe you've only heard of it and were curious about me, or maybe you're even just surfing the web and happened on one of my posts, but please take your time and wander around. I've got enough to say, I'll be posting for some years yet! Lots of resources, personal entries, and discussion to be had; please contribute (respectfully) to it without fear of being lambasted. (Read: all comments will be moderated for relevance and basic appropriateness.) Finally, if you are here because you have heard my story or one like it and are willing to lend your support to us indoctrinated folk entering the real world, Thank You. With love, Regina