02 December 2009

Walking About

No, nobody has asked me where I've gone or whether I'm still alive since my blog's been pretty quiet lately. I'm not disappointed about the lack of inquisitive e-mails. I mean, since when was I a consistent, dependable, regular blogger? I just blog when I have thoughts to share that I think might be interesting and/or amusing to my readers, or--in rarer instances--mainly just cathartic for me. Most of you who know me know very well that I've been busily gallivanting around and simply not still long enough for thought-out blog posts.

That said, it's possible that part of the silence is because there's a facet of my life about which I've generally only hinted in my blog and haven't known how to introduce smoothly: agnosticism. It has set in rather deeply over the last couple of years, and despite some stress of adapting to a different context and paradigm for life, the universe, and everything, and the discomfort of likely being perceived as being in a sad spiritual decline by many close to me who believe a testimony of LDS doctrine to be a sign of righteousness and who believe LDS doctrine to be absolute truth, it's not been so very rocky a road. It just...is. It's been challenging, question-inducing, and even a bit sad in some ways but clarifying, peaceful, and beautiful in others.

I'm bringing this up primarily because I don't mean to make myself out to be something I'm not or to deceive any readers as to my beliefs or lack thereof. I've been on a bit of a spiritual "walkabout" for close to a year now, not attending church regularly and exploring the possibility of life without...well, of life and eternity from a different perspective. This probably conjures all kinds of questions, fears, tears, or even rejoicing from some of you. Some of you may think I must be turning away to justify some decisions. Some of you may think leaving the church means being free to find a same-sex partner. I'm pretty sure neither of those is true, as I'll probably write about in the future.

I have so much more to say on this subject and to clarify about what this does and does not mean. For now, I'll say that everything I've written here has been completely sincere, and I still firmly believe in principled living and general "goodness", whatever that means independent of the context of presumably God-given edicts. I have more to say about the tension of feeling LDS in a sense but deeply questioning truth down to the very existence of God. I have more to say on the journey from Peter Priesthood to...well, wherever I am now. I have more to say on how the religious/doctrinal questioning interplays and doesn't interplay with my own same-sex attraction. I have more to say on the questions that surely come, such as, "But you knew it was true in the past, right?" This aspect of my "journey" may likely become more prominent in future posts, as it's proving not to be a brief phase and is a big "if" in my life right now and for the last few years.

I still see the world through very LDS-tinted glasses, of course. My friends are mostly active, faithful LDS, and I don't wish to alienate myself from them because they matter to me, and I love their traits and identify to their adherence to principles I agree with. If my perspective ever shifts back, I hope they'll be not "waiting for me to come back" but with me still. I'm not particularly interested in gaining converts to my perspective. The agnosticism comes with the freedom to say, "I just don't know," without having to prove myself to those who may make all kinds of assumptions about my character based on this.

I won't be spending my energy trying to convince my faithful friends and readers that I'm right to think or question the way I do, but I will write, as I have, to share my thoughts and perspectives as they come without tiptoeing around my lack of burning testimony in "the gospel". But along with this comes a reservation: if someday I were to become more "faithful" again, I would hate to think that I "led some astray" by my preaching, which has been a big reason for not going into this in the past. But the need for authenticity has become greater, and this perspective colors my thoughts and decisions to some degree, so I will share more of this facet of my journey, whether right or wrong, good or bad, to avoid a potentially even more harmful kind of deception through half-truth. Now you know, though many of you have already suspected (even if only by the self-description on my sidebar): you are not reading the blog of a fully faithful, active LDS moho but one who still believes in living a principled life of goodness.

As one quite conservative, active LDS fellow I talked with about this said, "You're on a spiritual walkabout of sorts, and that may be necessary on your path to truth, as it was for me, even if it takes a year or five." So it is, no offense intended to the true practice of walkabout which I think is more ceremonial and structured. I don't know the end, or if there is one, but I feel freer than ever to pursue it and be open to it, no matter what it may be.


playasinmar said...

Its not that we don't care, its that your posts are so long.

Jon said...

You've hinted at agnosticism in some of our conversations in the past and I've wanted to ask you to expound, but seeing as how we are two busy boys living in two different states, the opportunity hasn't really presented itself. I'm curious to see where your walkabout takes you.

I sometimes feel a little bit agnostic. I've definitely opened myself up to questioning everything in the past year or so and nothing has really been off limits. One conclusion I've come to is that we have no idea how things will look on the other side and I think there will be lots of surprises for everyone. Weee!

Original Mohomie said...

Jon, amen to that. :-)

Playa, if you think my posts are long, you should see my...

...unpublished journal entries.

Bravone said...

This conversation seems familiar.:) As I have expressed to you before, I totally lost my belief system, and had to start completely over. I think this is the case for many, who for whatever reason, leave the church. When you are raised in a religion which proclaims to be the "one and only true and living church on the face of the earth," and you, for whatever reason, begin to question, it is often easier to just bag the whole religion concept altogether. After all, if the only true church isn't true, what is?

I think it is much easier for a Mormon to turn to atheism than to join another church because of the church leaves no wiggle room for doubt. It either is true, or the biggest farce ever perpetuated.

Although painful at times, my personal journey of rebuilding my faith has been a sacred experience. I first had to regain faith that God exists. Then I needed to find out if Jesus really was the Christ. Then came the Gospel and then, the toughest of all, the Church.

My testimony of the Church is far less than it was 7 years ago. I doubted nothing then. Now, what I 'know' has been hard earned, required much more faith, and been much more sincere than the faith I grew up possessing.

In a way, I am much more content to say that I don't know it all. I don't have all the answers. It requires me to exercise more faith, and the faith I have is more pure and uncluttered.

I admire you for living a principled life without being compelled to do so within a particular religious framework.

Alan said...

Welcome to the walk-about. You're not alone.

El Genio said...

One of my friends recently asked me if X was religious. I replied that he considered himself more "spiritual" now, having rejected the religion he was raised in. Then I had to point out that I don't even know if I'M religious anymore... I think a walkabout is a good term to describe it.

Scott said...

Congratulations on your coming out! :)

Original Mohomie said...

Scott, I was going to title this post, "Coming Out Agnostic," but in the end, I decided a gentler introduction of the concept was more appropriate to my actual state. :-)

Thanks to y'all who have commented. It's nice not to have this particular post hanging in silence.