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11 January 2009

January 11, 2009

I was writing in my journal this morning, and I realized that my entry would be like…perfect…to share. I dunno what it is about 6:38 AM, but I feel pretty peaceful. So here goes nothing:

It’s early Sunday morning. Usually, I’m asleep at 6 on a morning like this, but the difference between now and a day perhaps only two to three years ago is that now, I feel no pressure to wake up in a few hours. If I want, and as I’ve done for the last hundred or so Sundays, I can sleep until noon — or later.

When I realized — fully realized — that I did not have to be a faithful churchgoer to have joy in my life, it did more than just give me a true day of rest. I know many people — LDS or not — who would try to say that atheists, nonbelievers, or general inactive members are just lazy and want another free day, and maybe that is true in a sense.

Before I felt truly liberated — for there was a time when I was just “not going to church,” when I had failed to scrutinize the consequences of this — I thought that was all it meant.

Then I was enslaved. I tried to stay under the covers on select Sundays and “sleep” through church (although I was wide awake), avoiding my father throughout the greater part of the day. The schoolyear was easier, as there were no parents to look disapprovingly, but still I was resistant to change my thoughts.

Really, that’s no way to live a life. And it wasn’t like my dad was forcing us to go to church — he just had a clever way of saying, “You can choose your actions, but you cannot choose your consequences.”

Every so often, I’ve confronted my father — I’ve eased my nonbelief to him, and although he doesn’t understand it, we do have some common ground. He is known to take breaks from church occasionally (even if he maintains a normative double standard for his children) and can recognize that sometimes his best days — his most spiritually attuned days — are spent far away from any organized religion.

But as I’ve confronted, I feel that bit by bit, I’ve gained courage and understanding for my position. When I truly liberated myself from certain church expectations, I gained a clarity and joy in my life.

Now, even if I go to church (I’m not opposed to the concept, after all; I just rarely do it :3), I truly do it from my volition. The mental chains are broken, so I’m comfortable with enjoying myself and the services.

Even though I’ve always recognized I’ve had a choice in the matter — and I was quite young when I proclaimed to my parents the essential, if teen angsty, truth that they couldn’t make me do anything — it’s only been recent that I’ve applied it.

This message need not even be taken to heathenism and unbelief either — even the most faithful member can benefit from recognizing that church must be a 100% voluntary thing. You shouldn’t deligently attend your meetings because your parents want you, or because your God wants you. Not for your Bishop or your calling. Not even for blessings or rumor of blessings. There should only be one reason you go to the meetings.

Because you want to.

When you do things you want to, you have a gracious and grateful attitude. When you do things from duty, you cultivate resentment or expectations (why expect good attitudes from the brethren? Although it is nice, you are owed nothing for your fulfillment of duty or your obedience.)

Ah, such a simple message…and yet I doubt it would make it too far past correlation. I guess, if I make any resolution for the new year, it is to do things because I want to…but more importantly, to find things that are genuinely good (not just good in an unscrutinized or in a fleeting sense) to want.

In retrospect, I think I use too many m-dashes whereas probably at this time last year, I’d be using a lot more ellipses.

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One Comment
  1. I felt a similar way when I discovered the joy of the Sunday morning matinee, it turns out there’s really no time I more enjoy seeing a movie in the theater then mid-Sabbath. My current work position requires me to work most Sundays (though I’m taking off the 22nd for the Oscars), but every once and a while I get a pang and I really want to go, despite all my problems with the Church (not over obvious from my blog I know). I think I’ll go on the 22nd, especially since my wards meeting time moved to the afternoon and that means I can catch the a picture or a Unitarian service first.

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