08 August 2011

THT: Reasons I'm a Mormon

I decided to write this post after I was chastised by an Anonymous person who left a comment on the previous post.

I'm a Mormon because:

Mormonism is in my blood- I am of Mormon heritage. The legacy of my ancestors has been passed down through generations. Family traditions and values have come from my Mormon ancestors and they have gone back as far as the beginnings of this church.

My beliefs are founded in Mormonism- I cannot think of God or religion without first approaching it through the lens of a Mormon. This is the eye through which I grew up learning about spiritual things. Beliefs in God, the afterlife, Christ, the family, etc... they all all rooted in Mormonism. Today I am more open to the idea that there may be other information or other belief systems that make sense to me, but I still first look at spiritual matters through Mormon eyes before I seek to add understanding from other sources. It isn't a conscious thing... it is just the way my spiritual mind works.

I am a product of Mormon culture- 92% of my life has been spent deep within Mormon culture. I went to church weekly. I did boy scouts. I served a mission. My family and extended family are all Mormon. I pray in the Mormon tradition. I know the practices and special lingo in Mormonism. Taking away that Mormon background would change who I am because it is so deeply ingrained into my being.

Technically, I'm a member- The church still reports me on their records of membership. I am a baptized, priesthood holding, endowed member of the church.

Good job at being exclusionary though, Anonymous. You truly are a great Mormon.


bradcarmack said...

I think you're as Mormon as they come, Jonathan!

Jeremy said...

So many Mormons forget that Mormonism is more than just "faith." It's an all-encompassing life(style). Anonymous' response was cowardly (not even sharing his/her name) and childish. Don't let such individuals get you down. If you are Mormon, you're Mormon. I prefer to use such statements as "I was raised Mormon" and am fine. But if you are all that you have written, that's Mormon by my definition. I do not expect or require Catholics to agree on or even believe each and every tenet within their belief system. Some Mormons are silly.

Sulli said...

Don't feed those trolls! (Funny how they always post anonymously...) You get to be Mormon if you want to be!

mohoguy said...

You have all the right in the world to claim the title Mormon, if you want it. You've more than earned it.

Jonathan Adamson said...

Thanks everyone. Sometimes I wonder why I bother. But it feels so foreign to not describe myself as a Mormon. And Jeremy, I say, "I was raised Mormon," as well, but then I feel like making it past tense is negating all the ways that I still am Mormon. And people automatically assume that I must hate Mormons and the church now. And I know sometimes people might conclude that based on my rants and questions and thoughts that are written all over this blog, but I don't hate the church... I am just in the process of learning what the church is to me now. I believed it was perfect for so long that any new thoughts or questions that come from my investigation are obviously going to make the church less-than-perfect.

Freddie said...

I have had no contact with the Church for ten years, and I still think of myself as Mormon; it's in my blood. But, I also sang in the choir of a very large Boston Episcopal Church for 13 years and learned how I'm more than I thought I was. I'm a lot like my Anglican ancestors, some of which became Puritans and later Baptists, and then joined the Mormons in Nauvoo. I learned I'm a part of the progression of my family; a progression towards a greater understanding of what it is to be human. No member or leader of the Church can take my identity from me. But, I also have to remember that their experience is far more limited whenever they make that attempt.

Gay LDS Actor said...

Amen, brother. My thoughts exactly, Jonathan. I'm excommunicated and still refer to myself as a Mormon. Like "anonymous," someone once came on my blog and told me I had no right to refer to myself as a Mormon since I was no longer a member of the LDS Church. I basically said, more or less, what you've said here.

I enjoy your blog, by the way.

Curantos said...

My friend, I do not know you, and how I landed on your page is still a question to me, but I have read many of your posts. I in no way mean disrespect to you when I say this, but your choices and opinions do not line up with the LDS beliefs, and as hard as it sounds, you are not a so called "Mormon". I have read your arguments, but none of them are valid. Mormonism so to speak is not in anyone's blood. It doesn't matter how long your lineage is of members, becoming a member is your choice, and your choice alone. Even being raised in the belief yourself does not necessarily make you a mormon, because there comes a time when you need to decide for yourself that the things that we profess to believe are true in your mind and heart. I have read your thoughts on Gender roles, as well as many of your thoughts on your situation of being Gay. I, for one can not comprehend what it is like to be in your shoes, so please do not think that I am bashing you in any way shape or form. But from what you believe, and the ideals that you have clearly stated, go against many of the things that Christ has instilled in his church; and many of the guidelines that he has set for us to follow in order to achieve our maximum potential- you have chosen another path that leads away from these very important commandments. I will not divulge into all the reasons why being gay hurts your ability to progress as a spirit, but with this post, I merely wanted to urge you to rethink your beliefs and where you stand, because they do not line up with what you are professing. Despite what some of the posts above say from those who were comforting you, it isn't a case of earning a title, or family history, it is a case of what standards you choose to live your life by as compared as the lifestyle Jesus Christ recommended in order to fully progress beyond this Earth.

Jonathan Adamson said...

@Freddy- I like that. I like the idea of thinking of it a a progression towards greater understanding.

@Gay LDS Actor- Thanks! Yeah, I guess it isn't uncommon for people to tell others that they don't have the right to call themselves Mormon... as if it is reserved for only the people they deem worthy of such a title.

@Curantos- Thanks for your common, of course we are going to disagree. The problem I see with your argument is that this would mean the church would have to be perfect. Your argument is that we have to accept all doctrine and policies in order to be Mormon, and yet, we also believe our leaders are imperfect men and it is they who lead the church. By your judgement, a large percentage of active Mormons could not claim to be Mormon. There are thousands of women who do not agree with policies surrounding gender. There are a hundreds other examples of doctrine and policies members have issues with.

So... it is as if a member of the church in the days of polygamy didn't agree with the practice. They thought it was wrong. You would say that this person wasn't mormon because they didn't agree with the commandment that was given and chose not to accept that path. Yet here we are today, not accepting of the practice.

Another example. A white member, before blacks received the priesthood, thought it was wrong and offensive that we had policies restricting blacks from full participation in the church. They actively disagreed on the issue. By your calculations, they couldn't claim to be a Mormon.

Simply accepting whatever spews from the mouth of church leaders as unadulterated truth would make anyone a "slothful and not a wise servant." We should actively seek our own understanding and confirmation of every issue. My personal spiritual experiences have taught me that the being gay (and living accordingly) is not evil, unnatural, or unworthy. That personal revelation and my personal experiences and relationship with God has much more sway than the words of another imperfect man. So, do I disagree with certain church policies, doctrine, and history. I must if I am to stay true to what I know. Does that mean I disagree with everything? No. There are a lot of things I agree with.

I know you think that my path is leading me to spiritual digression, but I have to tell you that is wrong. I experienced the greatest spiritual awakening after choosing this path and I devote much more of my time and thoughts to matters of faith and spirituality. More than that though, I can sincerely connect with people and feel genuine love for them now, which I believe is the greatest commandment- love. Jesus Christ never recommended we be straight. He never discussed the matter. What he did teach is to love unconditionally. And I am not lying or trying to deceive when I say that my ability to love has grown 100 fold since accepting my orientation.

Curantos said...

The church is perfect- the doctrines are anyway, when there are errors, it is the fault of man, but as far as the gospel as a whole it was set by Christ, therefore it is perfect. And I understand where you are coming from as far as the whole disagreement thing. I know that there are many doctrines that people do have difficulty understanding, but as long as they still follow the laws, then they are ok. Actively going against doctrine is where the problems start to arise. I know that there are many members who are gay- however they remain worthy, aka, active in church, obtain a calling, hold a temple recommend, etc... But when a member starts becoming sexually active, is when the problems arise. because this leads to excommunication (especially if one holds the Melchizedek priesthood, even more so if one has recieved their endowments) The purpose of excommunication is to seperate one from the religion, because they do not choose to follow its commandments. Like I say, many may question which is fine, but actively going against God and his commandments are where the problems start. Also, I completely and fully agree with you that being Gay is not evil...however by being Gay you severely decrease you ability to reach your maximum potential. this is what makes homosexuality such a great sin, is because of how much it holds you back from becoming what you have the potential to be. My experiences in the gospel have led me to understand it as a roadmap, and the commandments to be guidelines. Everything has been set for us to help us reach Godhood. The gospel/commandments have been specifically calculated to help us obtain the highest tier in the Celestial kingdom...by being gay, you are unable to marry a woman in the temple on this earth, therefore destroying your opportunity to become a God. Gender role has SO much importance and allows us to do so much, which is why God assigned it in the beginning! Jonathan, I do not hate you, I still see you as a brother, and my love extends to you the same as it would anyone else, which compliments your thoughts on Christ teaching us to love unconditionally. Christ may have never said in the exact words, to be straight, but he did say that he was about his fathers work, as well as one who is succeeding all of the previous prophets, and they DID say that the only way to move forward, is the binding covenants between a man, and a woman.

Jonathan Adamson said...

@Curantos- Thanks for trying to be kind as you express your beliefs and thoughts. All I can say is we will have to agree to disagree. My own experiences have led me to believe that God has no problem with me being gay and having a boyfriend and wanting to one day raise a family with the man I love. When I was living the life you believe God wants for me, it led me to the brink of suicide. So if being a God means that I would have to feel like that forever, no thanks. I choose happiness. I would choose to be happy over being a God any day. And believe me, I know what my life was like when I was doing all the right things according to the church. There is no comparison between the joy I feel now and the what I felt then.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to comment as an anonymous person, I can't seem to get this to change for me. Heavenly Father will sort all of this out for all of us. I've fought this for 58 years, and it never gets any easier. I grew up the same way, making fun out loud of "queers" all while hurting deep inside and harboring my "deep dark secret". I am a returned missionary, who struggled with being in close quarters with handsome fellow Elders of Israel. Yet I was sexually active from age 14 on, with other boys, and after my mission, men. I was married in The House of The LORD, and did so believing I would be blessed and helped. I am still married, although sexually dysfunctional. I do love her, and will not leave her. I have raised two sons who are good men. One is also a returned missionary, and married. Yet I still struggle with the lonliness. It never goes away, but with time, the wound is less painful. I pray that everyone who struggles with this, will find his strength, and which ever balance he needs to make things work. I defend the rights of my Gay bretheren to be married, and oppose any state sanctioned discrimination. The Church can do as it chooses, as that is up to God. But the state has no rights in this area. Love and blessings, your brother Sid.

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