Friday, October 9, 2015

walking away...

Some of you may know that I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (aka Mormon aka LDS). I was born and raised in this religion, and have been a practicing member my whole life (with my modest share of "rebellions" of course). A few weeks back a friend posted a link to an op-ed that Kate Kelly wrote. This line particularly stood out to me:

I encourage Mormon women to ask themselves a similar question: does my participation in Mormonism spark joy?

This question was derived from the KonMari method, developed by Marie Kondo and detailed in her book "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" (which, side note, I definitely recommend). Kondo instructs the reader to physically go through each item in your home and ask yourself if it sparks joy. If it does not, then you recognize and express gratitude that it has fulfilled its purpose in your life, and it can then be discarded.

When I thought about Kate Kelly's article more and more, it really started to resonate with me. I haven't had joy in my religion in a long time. There have been rare moments in the somewhat-recent past, but when I view the LDS church as a whole, there has been no joy-sparking in a very long time. I no longer have faith in my religion, and I have serious problems with the LDS church's history. In following with Kate Kelly's advice, based on Kondo's method, my participation in Mormonism no longer sparks joy and should therefore be discarded.

At first this concept seemed a bit harsh to me (even though I now realize this is where I've been headed for quite some time). But then I really started thinking through the idea of applying this method to my religion. And it all clicked... I can recognize the enormous contribution in my life that my religion has provided, and acknowledge that it was instrumental in shaping the human being I am today.  I can be thankful that because of this religion I went to BYU, met the love of my life (cliche but true), and ultimately married him. I can appreciate that because of that fact alone, I have two beautiful children whom I love dearly. I can be grateful for all the wonderful friends I have made through this shared religion. I can acknowledge that a lot of blessings are in my life because of this religion. And now? I can accept that this religion played a major part in my life, and has fulfilled it's role of sparking joy. And since it no longer sparks joy, I can be grateful for it, and walk away. 

Like other things in life, if something isn't sparking joy for you, it is [more than] appropriate to reevaluate your situation. As one of my friends told me after discussing this, not everything in your life has to spark joy; some things are just hard or annoying or boring, but they are necessary (like chores or earning a paycheck, for example). But I no longer want to be disingenuous in my religion, or keep trudging along just because I feel like I have to. And if there is anything in your life that feels like that, I would hope that you would take the time to examine your feelings, and trust that they are valid.

I do not feel bitter towards the LDS church. I don't hold negative feelings toward it. I can look back on my time in "mormonism" with decently fond memories. And now I can forge my own path. Discern my own beliefs. Be a good person and teach my children to be good people. And ultimately, live a fun and fulfilling life with my amazing family. ♥

6 comments:

Abby said...

Congratulations on being true to yourself! Good luck, from a fellow ex. :)

Amber Whiteley said...

I'm heartbroken for selfish reasons, only because you were such an inspiration to myself that I could make it work and despite my views (which are identical to yours in almost every way). I'm so so happy for you because I can only imagine the kind of relief and joy that comes from leaving what brings pain.
Sending you so much positive energy and happiness. <3

Liv said...

💙

Liv said...

Viewing on my phone, my heart emoji left above shows up as a question mark icon aaaand that's not what I was going for. <3

Darci Gardner said...

I love you and am so glad you are in my life! Thank you for always being such a good friend and good example to me.

Jennifer Nelson said...

I'm a long time lurker of your instagram and I've never checked your blog! Funny I would look and this is the first post I see/read.
I just started my own journey in transitioning out of Mormonism. You have such a healthy take on it! I so admire that!
My journey so far has been soul crushing and heartbreaking realizing Mormonism is not what I thought it was.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts! This puts a new perspective on things for me! Thank you for inspiring me to be true to myself!