Sunday, November 28, 2010
Thanksgiving and Hardcore ... Mormons
Thanksgiving was fun. Luckily for me I was invited to a friends house for Thanksgiving. Being that I have no family within 4 hours of me I didn't go anywhere, except about 30 minutes north. My friend knows I am no longer a true-believing Mormon anymore but is a decent friend and invited me up. I didn't think it would be that big of a deal, but once I was there ....
See, all the extended family and everyone else there were hardcore Mormons, overall. I was prepared for that and I had some clever replies prepared if I was asked certain specific questions. I don't like to lie, but if I can help it I don't wish to make things awkward. And telling your friends family who invited you over for Thanksgiving dinner that you are no longer Mormon nor do you believe in a God or any gods, could make things very awkward.
While over, though, I noticed something: the church takes up your entire life!!!! Seriously. If you are really into it then you have no life outside of the church. Everything everyone was talking about was almost always related to the LDS church, lol. Not everything, football wasn't ... overall, there was talk about 'talents' from God several times. But when going around the table saying what we were thankful for half the stuff said was related to church. Family was the other half, and then the church was related to family after that, lol. It wasn't bad, but I had brought another friend of mine who isn't a TBM and we just kind of looked at each other, giving each other 'the look.'
Now, some of those people are happy in the church, but I know some of them would be happy outside of it, they just were not enthused, and I'm beginning to really pick up on that. It might be the awkward behavior they show when being 'churchy' or 'mormony' more than they want to, or by their lack of reverence at serious Mormon moments, or lack of interest, or a combination, but I've noticed lately that I am noticing when people are not perfectly happy with the church.
And, (I'm trying to force this to my second point in this post) this has led me to consider an idea. Are TBMs or hardcore Mormons more likely to fall away? This was brought on a friend's blog a little while ago and made me think more. But mainly it led me back to one of my own thoughts on myself (which hopefully I'll begin posting my story before x-mas break).
For myself I really tried to believe. Fiercely even. At a couple separate times in my life I truly did believe, one of those being the first half of my mission. I would watch R-rated movies, but sometimes I would purge the really bad ones (either by giving away or throwing away ... ugh, so much wasted money ... and some good movies I wish I had now). I also tried to live righteously in other ways, kept the word of wisdom and was chaste at least till late high school. I've always been 'weak' there. But at the same time I've never been a cruel BF or cheated or anything like that. I fulfilled my callings, I would do things for people, I would give blessings, do my hometeaching, but in the end I left the church.
I don't speak for everyone and I think it's possible that some people leave because they were so fierce in the gospel it eventually drove them away, but I think it's something else. I think people who have high integrity, and uphold the 'truth' to be more important than lies, even good lies, lead themselves out of the church because of those character traits. People with high integrity, an all or nothing attitude, and seekers of 'truth' regardless where it is to be found, will live their lives with a lot of energy and fortitude. If they are TBMs they will probably follow the gospel and church rules more than the common believer or someone who doesn't have these virtues. When they begin to doubt they will go after these doubts and try to learn more. If they find out the church is false they will leave it, simple truth. Other people will become secular Mormons, stay in because of the good they see. Others may stay due to peer pressure or that the church is all they know (which I've pointed out is the case for a lot of people, especially here in Utah).
For someone like me I had to leave. I go after truth, but I find too many lies, misunderstandings, and holes in the LDS faith. I do find plenty of things I state as 'truth' and seek to follow them, but I don't need the LDS church, or atheism (however that would play in), to make me believe something I believe on my own. I say it is my integrity that took me out as well. I can't see myself being a part of something I don't really believe in. I also can't see myself supporting an organization that has things like Prop 8 going on, too much cognitive dissonance for me, and I don't want to be a part of it.
These of course are just my thoughts, but I don't think being a hardcore member means you'll leave the church. If the personality is based off integrity it might, but if it's based off of justification ... well, then that person will justify anything and stay a TBM till they die.