I don’t even know what I’m doing here anymore. Apparently, all I’m good for these days is pissing people off. And the worst thing is when I look at what I did or said first to start all the mess, I don’t even identify all that strongly with whatever I had said or done. So I’m pissing people off and ruining my reputation with things that don’t even fully represent me — isn’t that great?
This takes me back to high school and junior high. In those times, I had to defend the church’s doctrine, because, well, I was a member, and an attack on the church amounted to an attack on my family or on myself…but I always resented this responsibility, because I knew that the explanations and apologetics with which I was countering rang false and uncompelling to me.
Separating myself from the church was liberating because I realized for the first time that I could say what I wanted about it without feeling pressure to own up to any answer that wasn’t my own. I enjoyed setting people straight on inaccuracies they had about Mormon belief, practice, or history, but when they eventually would ask, “How can you believe that?” I could answer, “Well, I don’t. That’s just how things are for Mormons, though.” I didn’t have to come up with lies on how I could believe something that seemed totally implausible (and which I didn’t, in fact, believe at all.)
Since then, I’ve felt that way in other areas. The atheist community? I understand people who want to distance themselves from such a community because of the social trends developing in who the more vocal atheists are. I’ve always argued that atheism is mere, that this affects the capacity for atheist communities, and that the mereness of atheism means we shouldn’t shy away from atheism as a descriptor just because of some coincidences among those who band together in communities. I don’t have to believe in x to be an atheist, even if it seems that many popular atheists happen to believe in x.
The same applies for my status as a post-, ex-, former, whatever Mormon. This mere descriptor doesn’t mandate that I must be any particular kind of unorthodox Mormon. I don’t have to be the New Order Mormon type. I don’t have to be the Recovery from Mormonism type. I don’t have to be the FLAK type, the MSP type, the PostMormon type, or any of these types. And even if or when I participate in any of these sites, I reserve the right to do so on my own terms.
I have wanted to avoid the stereotype of being a guy who burns with a constantly incinerating rage at the church. I understand to some extent why some people feel that way (and I think it’s important that their anger is understood as reasonable indignation,) but I don’t want to be the guy.
And yet, here I’ve swung all the way to the opposite side? Now I’m an Uncle Tom? Or maybe I’m more of a Green Flake?
I don’t even know what I’m doing here anymore.