Sunday, June 19, 2011

Losing Religion, Gaining Faith

Life has me completely tapped out at the moment, but I found an essay that really speaks to my spiritual experience over the past few years.  Like the author, I too feel a new connection with people of all kinds since losing my old religion, and I have had profoundly moving experiences whose power depended on acknowledging myself as profoundly weak (helpless even) and temporal (with no clear prospect of continuing on past death as I am now).

I feel like I am open to the human experience as had by people in all walks of life, in all countries, in all religions (including those individuals who fall outside any institutionalized faith tradition).  I also confess that I feel alone and terrified sometimes, especially when it seems that institutions are betraying me all over the place.  But at the end of the day, I realize that it is better to be calm and take each situation as it comes up, hoping for the best and preparing for the worst as best I can.  Existentially, I feel like I have more real, honest-to-goodness faith than I have ever had: I am really trusting a universe that I do not know very well at all.  I am also learning to trust other people more (as I believe human institutions less).  I may not entirely approve every thought or action undertaken by my family or friends, but I trust their motives to be good, and I support them no matter what (until they give me really good reasons not to).  I have little trust for politicians, presidents, CEOs, religious leaders (especially those who claim special access to divinity), journalists, news pundits, and others who speak for corporations (who often have them bought and paid for).  In general, I find it is better to have low expectations of insitutions: they cannot deliver much more than nice words and minimal interference with real people living real lives; to the extent that they do this, I am happy with them.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The LDS Articles of Faith from a Female Perspective

This comes from a feminist friend (who shall remain anonymous).  It was too good not to post, and she had no objection to my publishing it here.  It is sacrilegious, of course, but it is also funny (and even embarrassingly true):

(1) We believe that the divinity of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost gives them power and authority, and that the sacredness of Heavenly Mother makes her effete and silenced.

(2) We covenant that all women must be punished for Eve's transgression.

(3) We believe that through the atonement of Christ, all temple-recommend holding, sealed, heterosexual couples (or triples...) can be saved through obedience to the laws and ordinances of LDS doctrine.

(4) We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the gospel are, first, faith in the current prophet; second, obedience; third, possession of a temple recommend; fourth, correlated study of correlated scripture.

(5) We believe that women are called of God to bear and raise children through eternity, but only at home under the presiding direction of their husbands.

(6) We believe in the same organization that existed in the primitive church, namely: men are in charge.  [Actually, some early Christians gave women some kind of authority in the movement: see Romans 16:1.  This does not undermine the historical truth that men have been largely responsible for running the Christian movement.]

(7) We believe in the gift of balls, testosterone, hairy chests, five-o'clock shadows, and so forth.

(8) We believe the King James Version of the Bible to be the word of God, as long as it is correlated correctly. We also believe the opinion of the bishop to be the word of God.

(9) We believe versions of what Joseph Smith revealed, some of what Brigham Young revealed, and we believe correlation has now established all important things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

(10) We believe in the Republican (Grand Old Party) version of the Constitution, and in restoring the Founding Fathers' true intent; that Zion, the New Jerusalem, has been built in Salt Lake City, Utah; that fifteen old, white men reign personally upon the earth; and that they rightly influence members' votes to raise the Constitution to its paradisaical glory.

(11) We claim the privilege of sending missionaries throughout the world to teach all men how, where, and what to worship.

(12) We believe in being subject to prophets, seventies, stake presidents, bishops, husbands, or even twelve-year-old boys, rather than obeying, honoring, or allowing any woman to preside in her own home.

(13) We believe temple-recommend holders to be honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and that temple recommends are good for all men; and so, we may say, temple-recommend interviewers may ask and admonish as they will: they may ask all things, they may pry into all things, they may demand any things in hopes to be able to control all things.  If there is anything uncorrelated, unorthodox, or sexy, they seek after these things.