My first reactions to the discovery that Mormonism wasn’t what it proclaimed to be or at least what I had been taught and believed all my life – was like stepping off a cliff into a cold ocean or like stepping off a safe curb into a street full of speeding traffic.
It was scary. And I didn’t like that. At the same time I held my spiritual experiences very dear to my heart and I couldn’t deny them. So my first response was to think that there must be many paths to God – all of them untrue and true at the same time. I concluded that God must work within all people who are seeking – and God must bless groups that are trying their best to do what is right. So with that conclusion I stayed in Mormonism with no qualms. I thought this is just one of the acceptable paths to God, so why not stay on.
But that changed over time when I couldn’t swallow the praise that was heaped upon Joseph Smith and Brigham Young (while Emma Smith was ignored). I got agitated about the stance on gay marriage and gay rights. I grew more unhappy with the fact that I was always being given advice from males (stake president, bishop, home teachers) and realized that women in the church were never in the position to give men advice. (Side note: My stake presidents advice for me about my husbands pornography addiction was that I must not be giving him enough sex. ) Anyway, I disliked how nothing about the important issues of environmentalism were addressed (although the church did make a few small strides on this). The racist Book of Mormon scripture that the Lamanites would be rewarded with white skin if they were righteous started to bother me more- as well as the D&C passages about polygamy. Why were these still in our scriptures? Little by little the talks in Sacrament meeting began to annoy me more and more- especially claims that we were the only right church on the face of the earth.
The more books I read on LDS church history, the more intolerable church became. Sacrament meeting became a spiritual wasteland.
So I looked for spirituality elsewhere (even though I still attend Sacrament meeting with my believing family). I found the Unitarian church which was a little helpful. I also found Mormon Stories which has been very helpful. I read spiritual classics and I found some insights that I liked. I will share them with you.
Most of us do come to appreciate that there is some kind of intelligent force that moves the universe…life works better and has more meaning when we are in accord with this “unseen order.”
An increase in direct divine revelation would eventually obviate the need for religion.
Put love at the center of your life and work outward. The most important moment is now. The most important person is the person you are with. The most important act is making that person happy…making a difference to a human being. Let them see the interest in your eyes.
Have compassion for all living things because we are all simply expressions of the same life force.
Striving after knowledge is a most sacred duty. Intelligence must be enlightened by another light, that is God.
If you are worn out by anxieties and fears it is because you live for external things yet have no inner peace. With the greater perspective of being close to God, miseries and torments can be washed away. The path to God is not in the ways of lust, gluttony or competition. Faith in God can bring peace and order to a tortured mind.
A people who understand the world to be infused with spiritual meaning see all nature as holy.
The cause of all suffering is the belief that life is unchanging and you will always feel this way. Understand the transitory quality of life. Learn to make every act count because you are only going to be here for a short while. Live life to its fullest. Break your routine and be free.
Practice extreme gratitude.
Through mind discipline choose your own mood. Don’t live petty lives as though you are immortal. Don’t allow yourself to have “crappy thoughts and moods.”
Enlarging our inner soft spot may appear to be dangerous, but in fact it gives our life more peace because empathy and compassion are what make us really human.
The wise or successful person is aware of the force that moves the universe, stays attuned to it, and never forgets that it is the source of everything.
Accounts of great breakthroughs in knowledge of the universe usually mention that it was some flash of intuition or picture of truth that led to a discovery.
Happiness emerges from control of our thoughts, actions and reactions. Nothing is terrible, but the interpretation we give to them.
Seek to love others and draw others to love you. Free your mind from prejudice, superstition, judgement and fear. Take time to visit with people. Relationships are everything.
Those are just a few quotes from some spiritual classics (Source: 50 Spiritual Classics edited by tom Butler-Bowden) . It is helpful for me to separate my personal spirituality from Mormonism. Sometimes it gets confusing and so I am working on that.
For more information on “Finding Spirituality After Mormonism” click here.