Sunday, August 15, 2010
I Went to Church! - and other adventures of j-dog
This post might be a smorgasbord of random things, but maybe that's okay.
First let me mention that I had a couple drinks. Hopefully I don't get expelled over this, but a Tequila Sunrise is pretty damn good and I am happy I tried it. Looking back I think I was mainly just tired and should drink when I have more than 4 hours of sleep next time. For now though I think I'll try to be as good as possible so I don't get expelled and can last till Winter semester when I hope I can transfer to the UofU. Prayers and best wishes everyone!
So I went to church today. I don't think I've brought it up here but my parents do not know of my 'situation.' Nor do I plan on telling them any time soon, though I wish they knew. See, there is plenty of family drama centered around age-related things with them and I don't think it would be considerate to them to add the weight of my lack of faith. Who knew a lack of something could weigh so much on a person's mind?
I feel a desire to tell them, to have it in the open, but I know it would break their hearts. So with everything else going on in their lives, I will wait, and may wait indefinitely. Course, if I get married sometime in the next 5 years it won't be to a Mormon girl, and therefore not in the temple, so they will probably find out sooner or later.
That all being said, I went to church with them this morning ... and it wasn't as painful as I thought it would be. Besides being woken up hours before I normally rise the first part wasn't bad. Getting to the little building I was promptly asked to say the closing prayer, which instantly put me on the spot, but more on that later. First I need to talk about the youth speaker.
Nice little girl gets up and begins reading a talk that she obviously prepared mainly on her own, and good for her. The church definitely helps its members to get into public speaking and giving shy introverted people upset stomachs every Sunday around the world. Anyways, this girl gets up and starts talking about Samson from the Old Testament:
Paraphrasing: "Samson had long hair and killed a lion with his bare hands as a boy! He then married a Palestinian woman and told her a riddle. But Samson was really strong and killed people. Once he killed a bunch of guys, and then another time he killed 30 guys with a jawbone of a male donkey (i enjoyed the lack of use of 'ass' here). He collapsed whole buildings and killed himself and thousands of other people (i think 3000). Samson was very strong and cool. How can we be more like him?"
I was smiling broadly at this point at the shear ridiculousness of it all. Not only the story, but that this little girl probably had a Biblical crush on a mass murderer and womanizer and had just asked us how we could all be more like him. I wondered, at that moment, if anyone else felt the level of discomfort and humor I felt at that point. Surely someone in the room was thinking "somehow this seems wrong, and it's only compounded by the fact that it's a little girl saying this."
Eventually she closed talking about how it was all about faith. Then some guy in the area presidency gave a repeating and circular talk on the Atonement and how important it is. Later there was a lesson from Proverbs.
The lesson started off with what wisdom was, and let me tell you it is not going out and asking the learned to teach you things, or to consult science books on the workings of the universe, but it is praying to God and following the scriptures. From there we went to pride and how the wise of the world are prideful, then we went on to how we teach our children. The answer? Very simple - teach them the gospel.
Well, being smart is bad, worldly people are prideful and evil, and only teach your children from the scriptures. If that isn't a cultish, brainwashing, ignorant, and close-minded pattern of thinking then I must not know anything at all! What an amazing formula those Sunday school lesson writers got for that lesson. I can't believe more people don't notice the level of horrid thought suppression that is going on here.
However, before this, I had to pray. Walking up, only half dressed for church(i hoped a lack of proper dress would have gotten me out of these things, such as blessing the sacrament, and maybe it did, but not for prayer, i guess just about anyone can pray), i got to the podium [sic] and took a deep breath. I had thought about what to say and I decided to give a small lecture in my prayer. I thanked God for a wonderful day, like usual (i wished to blend in remember), and for the talks given. Then I asked that we all would be reminded of what's important in life: how we treat each other, the lessons of morals and ethics, our families and social experiences. That we would all find strength in ourselves to do the right things, to not abuse those around us. And then I literally forgot how to close for a moment, pausing to remember people probably thought I was receiving revelation. Then I remembered to close in the name of Jebus.
All jokes aside I meant for it to be a good prayer, mainly to prove to myself a little more that there is no spirit guiding you on what to say. Afterwords several people thanked me on such a beautiful prayer - I must give props to my wonderful books written by atheists on ethics for inspiring me to say what I said.
Lastly, later in the afternoon I took a nap and had a bizarre dream. In the dream I was driving with a group of people I didn't know, but who were all friends of a couple friends I knew from last year at BYU. They were not in the dream, but I was under the impression I would see them there. Upon arrival we went inside and sat down in a circle of chairs. Then the truth came out! They all knew I was an atheist and were having an intervention. Cornered in my dream world I quickly explained I would not change, took the defensive, stood up, and began by asking them about the Blacks and the Priesthood. Most of them just looked around and smiled at my question. Some began giving answers on how it didn't matter. Some began attacking my character, ad homien or whatever. I think I was grinding my teeth cause in the dream my jaw kept shaking in anger, only shaking sideways, left to right.
Eventually most of them left, realizing they wouldn't change my mind. But four stayed, and one actually seemed concerned with some of the things I had been bringing up. They were only guys by this point, and one was getting angry with me and was still arguing adamantly. I soon woke up, but the dream was very strange.
That's my escapades so far. I am enjoying getting to know so many people with some of my same beliefs, or unbeliefs, in the groups I'm meeting out in Utah. Even some girls that I'm getting to know. Maybe my awesome personality and amazing looks will mesmerize one of them into taking a chance on me. Who knows, maybe it's already happening.