Monday, February 1, 2016

Catholics, Mormons, Fundies, and Everything In-Between


Religion is my particular concern at the moment, though not necessarily in the sense that one might expect. My personal religious beliefs are arguably a bit in limbo at this time, but I'm happy with my present theological standpoint of still having at least some faith in a few of the most basic principles of Christianity, yet simultaneously doubting that there is only one path to God. In any event, my state of faith is not a great concern to me at this time.

What does perplex me is the concern others marginally in my life have of late been expressing concerning the fate of my immortal soul. Several acquaintances -- mostly relatives, but some unrelated acquaintances as well -- have, in the past month or so, made very pointed comments to me about this precise matter. The Catholics think I should be a better Catholic.  The Mormons think I should no longer say anything that remotely hints at a disbelief in any of the many teachings (some of which are a bit hard to swallow, to put it mildly) of the LDS church. A couole of evangelical Christians are have asked me point-blank whether or not I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

My relationship with Catholicism has long been on the tenuous side. Just about the time I admitted to myself that Santa Claus was a metaphor, I came to the same conclusion regarding the Host and the Real Presence of Christ in the bread and wine,  Lest any of the anti-Santa fanatics who think that allowing a child to believe in a literal Santa causes him or her to later reject religious teachings on the grounds that he or she was lied to about Santa Claus, so what was told to him or her about religion was equally fictitious, use my words as fodder to support their own misguided views, I had my doubts about the Eucharist wafer being one and the same with the body of Christ considerably before I forced myself to come to terms with the unlikelihood of a fat man in a red suit delivering presents all over the world in a single evening.

I think Jesus existed. I know there's no positive proof, but I'm comfortable with the belief that he was. I'm not quite sure exactly how He came into existence, but that doesn't matter a great deal to me. The words in the Bible directly attributed to Him are words by which I feel it is reasonable to try to live my life. I'm a little more dubious about the words of some of the others, including the Apostle Paul.  I prefer to stick to the words of Jesus himself, though I know we cannot come close to authenticating that they were actually His words. Still, they seem wise enough that I'm OK with accepting those words and with trying [sometimes poorly] to follow them. 

Over Christmas break, two of my more devout Catholic aunts questioned me (they actually ambushed and ganged up on me; it was seriously like a planned attack) about my feelings concerning abortion.  I answered that I'm not in favor of it except in cases of rape, maternal health, or insanely young maternal age, but that I'm not comfortable denying anyone else the right to the procedure because of my personal beliefs. I don't know why my aunts would care so much about one relatively unimportant person's stance on abortion. I'm certainly not planning to open up an abortion clinic once I'm licensed to practice medicine.

Where Mormonism is concerned, it's a little less clear exactly what those who talked about it to me expect me to do. I do know they would prefer that I not speak or write in jest about the LDS Church. Whether this is out of fear for my immortal soul or simply because they don't like anything said about their church that is not 100% favorable is unknown to me. In truth, there's probably a bit of both. The conundrum in this regard is that I'm in a stress-laden environment, which will likely grow a whole lot more stressful before it becomes less so. I need moments of levity to lighten my mood and my load. I find the Mormon Church funnier than hell. Why should I not laugh at the things I find funny when the opportunity presents itself? I wouldn't be so insensitive as to make light of what the LDS Church and its members hold sacred directly to a person who practices that faith. The Mormons in my life only read it or hear about it from others. That, in my opinion, is their problem.

Beyond that, I am the very least of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints' problems. Why should anyone care what silly little Alexis has to say about them? I don't go to to post obnoxious comments. I don't show up on Mormon-friendly boards to debate with them. I rarely even go to organized exMormon sites to poke fun at the Mormons. I keep a low profile where my grandfather is concerned; his buddies do not know anything about his errant granddaughter unless he tells them himself. I occasionally share thoughts [which I distinctly frame as my own opinions] or stories [which are true, albeit with the caveat that anything one remembers from very early childhood may be ever so slightly degraded by the constraints of the human memory] in my own spaces or in the spaces of other like-minded individuals. I don't say or write any of these things with the intent of hurting the Mormons in my life. At the same time, if these people practically stalk my Internet activity, they may come across things that are hurtful to them. I'm sorry that people may have been have been hurt by something I said or wrote [not to them], but I'm not sorry I said or wrote it.

With respect to the individuals who have expressed concern for my salvation as far as whether or not I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior . . . I actually have done so. When I was twelve, I'd heard just enough of such talk that I was troubled by the idea of Catholics being excluded from heaven over a technicality. I formally accepted Jesus. Some would say I was merely hedging my bets with my actions, and perhaps I was, but the acceptance was sincere, and I haven't rescinded it. I have no reason to believe Jesus has, either. I'm covered on this base.

On the other hand, if this were the most serious problem in my life, I lead a fairy tale existence. Alas, such is not the case, though from what I hear and read, others around me are dealing with matters of far more gravity than that with which I presently contend. I should probably stop complaining.


  1. The Mormons have very little confidence as a culture and therefore are hyper-sensitive to any kind of criticism. Trust me, I know. ;)

  2. Someone on the ex-mo board said to have something prepared (with handouts) to try and sell them. So far it's been free the killer whales for me. Works for the missionaries, but I'm not rabid enough to match to Mo relatives religious fervor.

    Thank you once again for the laugh! La Perla

  3. You write about religion and I write about politics.

  4. My faith and religion took a long time to do it, but finally went the direction of my hair. Went to a religious based college and maybe that is where my serious doubts arose and I no longer found any comfort in believing any of it. My beliefs are simple and reality based and while I poke fun at many religions I rarely do it publicly. Unless they are hurting people they can go on believing whatever they want.

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