Monday, June 29, 2009


*Preface: It's late, and I'm thinking in rapid succession, probably because I'm tired. So please excuse the quality of writing and thought.

For a while now I've had this whole detached spirituality. I was raised Catholic but whenever I felt I truly experienced God, it was on my own or outside of the church. I attribute almost all that I know spiritually to being raised a Catholic. It is just hard to feel any sort of attachment to the church for me. The Catholic church has many beautiful traditions that carry on into their church services, but I am not truely feeling God through it. It feels like a place I can go to stay content, not moving backwards or forward. It's comfortable but stagnant, something that begins to take its toll after a while.
I relied on spiritual moments from a day to day basis. I would recognize God in people and places and sunsets and words and images and silence. I love these moments more than anything in the world. I feel like I come face to face with God.

Why is it that as I type these words I feel as if I'm typing cliche after cliche? Or am I just viewing these things through societies biased filter? Should I even be talking this way on here? Is it self-aggrandizing? Am I really meaning what I say?
I am, I know I am. I feel foolish when I write things like this. But it is true. I know there is a higher power because of the moments I speak of and the feelings I have felt.

After visiting Utah, I saw faith in action as I had never seen before. The Mormon faith is pretty beautiful. The people are so unbelievably devoted, and it's inspiring. The social behavior is refreshing compared to a secular society that practices excess in just about every aspect. The girls dress and act respectively, but not in an over-the-top evangelist conservative way. They don't feel the need to show skin, or make sensual advances towards the opposite sex. When the people interact with each other, they are genuinely interested in knowing more about the other. This results in natural, sincere relationships that last. Mormons refrain from alcohol and addictive substances because they believe in being aware at all times. Always available for one of those beautiful spiritual moments.
I'm not necessarily shooting down the secular society. I don't think alcohol is the devil! or anything extreme like that. I do like to drink every once and a while. It's just a matter of showing the other side of the spectrum and how inspiring it was. And yes, I realize this is a very one-sided, basic view of the Mormon faith, but it's the part the stood out to me the most. I wish my description was a better written more complete thought on the faith. But's 4:30am.
These ways of living and thinking are not repressive in any way, if anything they are freeing.

The word that sticks the most is "genuine". Mormons are genuine people. They do more than wear their hearts on their sleeve. They are completely out in the open, their purity refreshing, not creepy or phony. They are simply trying to be the best human beings they can be. I know I have been collectively grouping ALL Mormons together. But I guess I do this because these are the guidelines the religion sets, and most are pretty faithful to them. It really is refreshing to see.

I don't know if this means I'm meant to be a Mormon or if it means I'm going to reconnect with my Catholic roots or something. But one thing I am sure of is that I have forever been influenced by the Mormon religion and way of life. I will take the things I have experienced and attempt to apply them to my life in one way or another. You don't even have to be religious in any way to respect, understand, practice social Mormonism.

There still are big issues that hold me back from completely handing myself over to a religion. I feel like there are so many paths to God. Why is it that our form of worship of God is any better than the worship by Buddhists? or Muslims? Ok, yes, Jesus Christ. But if you are raised Muslim why shouldn't you practice and believe it? Muslims experience God too. They feel the same way Christians feel about their God. I just don't understand how one religion can say they are the one true way. There are also other things like the acceptance of the gay lifestyle or the acceptance of the death penalty. The fact that most all Christian denominations, including Mormons believe gay people to be second class human beings (ok, so maybe this is taking things out of context, but if they can't have the same rights as straight humans what does that make them?) I just see many contradictions with church teachings and our society. I get sucked into that whole "religion is man-made" hole that I know is mostly wrong but sometimes right. I don't think God has let religion fall completely out of grace.
I DO believe religion is essentially good, a positive force on earth. It's just the things I mentioned above that make me curious as to what I should do for myself and God. I try not to think TOO much about it. For now, I'll enjoy these beautiful moments and continue to thank the Creator.

God, show me the way...and I'll follow. (the clear way, free of my own doubts and fears)

This song has been a source of inspiration for numerous thoughts lately. It's a video, but just listen to the song itself...


Kelsie Lynn said...

Interesting thoughts Austin. Many Ive thought through myself..

I have a bazillion gay friends back home and my religion doesnt stop me from loving them. Nor do I think of them as second class people. Sometimes though, you really have to separate your own personal standards to what others do. Sometimes I may not believe in what others do but I love them all the same. We're all God's children after all.

I think that however you choose to worship or recognize God's hand in your life, it will be most acceptable to him. Pretty sure he loves ya heaps ;)

{Tried to keep that comment light}

Austin said...

Kelsie, thanks for commenting on this. You've thrown some interesting light on some of the things I addressed. When I referred to the gay issues, I was looking at it more as from the bigger picture. For example, I don't think every person who is against gay marriage dislikes gay people. I recognize that it can be more a matter of opinion or "personal standards". What I'm referring to is the overwhelming decision made by religions in their doctrines to frown upon the gay lifestyle, and marriage for that matter. Most still claim to love them as the rest of God's children, but I have a problem with them not accepting their lifestyle as normal. I feel that the bible is full of parables, not to be taken literally in most cases. e.g. "Eye for an eye".

Austin said...

I'm still very undecided on many things. I'm keeping an open mind, still trying to figure things out. I'm at a crossroads.
I'll be praying a lot about it.

Thanks for the support.