Spiritual Journey

As you guys know, I’m a Mormon.  I’ve said before that you guys should not look at me as an example of what a Mormon is, as I am not a very good one.   I’m trying to be better.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has always been a part of my life – even when I’ve not been active.  Even when I was far from Active I’ve always had a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I believe in God.  I believe Jesus was the Son of God.  I also believe when Jesus said in The Bible, in John 10:16:

And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

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I believe he was talking about the people in the Americas, and that Jesus visited these people.   I believe The Book Of Mormon is a record of these people.

The LDS Church started out in Palmyra, NY.  This is where I am right now as I write this.  When I went out to Utah to visit family there and attend a wedding… we decided we wanted to back-track the Mormon Trail.  We went across Nebraska, and stopped at Winter Quarters.  We went from there to Nauvoo, where my wife and I went through the Temple there.  We took my boys to the blacksmith shop there in Nauvoo where John Browning did Blacksmithing and Gunsmithing.  John Browning was the Father of John Moses Browning, the father of Modern Small Arms.  (I am a descendant of Browning through the Stark line)  I wanted to give the Tour Guide a Tour… his illuminations on Browning was filled with incorrectness… but that’s beside the point.  The point is I and We have connection with Nauvoo that’s tangible.  At the Pageant there was a number of Scottish Bagpipers and drummers.  Listening to them stirred my soul.  My wife and I loved it so much… So did my boys.
From Nauvoo, we came to Palmyra and toured the Joseph Smith farm, the sacred grove, and of course the Hill Cumorah pageant.   The sacred grove is an amazing place.  It feels truly sacred in the same way it feels in the Temple.  It’s like an outdoor temple.   There’s a reverence that one should hold there.  It’s not for rowdy kids and loud voices… normal tourists with normal tourist behavior should not go there.   But if one can be respectful… then it’s worth the trip.  Because you can feel the sacred nature of the place.  It was tangible.   I know a lot of people that would do well to spend some time there.

This Journey was a special thing for me… to really get back in touch with LDS History… With MY history.  Because my History is LDS History.  And I am proud of that.   I’ve never denied that and I have never denied the Church.  Though I have had many issues with people in it.   Which is the main reason for past inactivity.

But then a fellow said something to me.  Travis, my Manager at Basin Sports, said “If someone is between you and God… Who’s closer?”  I dismissed the statement as soon as he finished saying it… but it didn’t go away.  It gnawed at me.  It haunted me.  Because it’s Truth.   With a great many implications that are not easy to deal with.  Statements like that are always easy to say but hard to swallow.    Getting back into the Church as an active member after being inactive for so long is… kinda like quitting smoking.   It sounds easy as if it’s just a choice… but it gnaws on your mind… the habits.  The thoughtless ritual of things that go into Smoking and make it difficult to stop.   Same with being inactive.   But I think this journey has really helped me.

I don’t preach on MadOgre.com.   And I don’t argue religion here either.  I will not Bible Bash on the Internet.  (ThoughI have and will Bible Bash in person, face to face.  I was a Missionary for my Church once.)  I only ask that you Respect my Faith as I Respect yours.  Capital R on Respect for a reason.  Capital F for Faith for the same reason.    Mutual Respect is important for civil conversation.   If you disagree with Mormon Doctrine, that is your choice.  If you want to talk about Mormon Doctrine, that’s fine too.  I will send a couple Missionaries to meet with you to discuss those things with you.   However if you want to pull out your Anti-Mormon biggotry and hate – I’ll just delete it with a simple click of the mouse.  Because I’ve heard it all before.  You will not say anything new or interesting or bring up matters that I’ve not considered before.   So don’t waste your time posting it, only to have me delete it offhand.  The LDS Church has asked us not to engage the protestors that stand outside of our Conference Hall and Temples and here at the Hill Cumorah Pageant.  So I walk by them…  I don’t have to put up with it here.  It’s not that I don’t like those people… I support anyone’s right to Free Speech.   But it’s just that I really really want to punch those guys right in their teeth.  I have to actively keep myself from throwing them a savage beating.  You see, I am still not a good Mormon… my instinct is to wreck them instead of forgive them.   Break them instead of bless them.   I have to Try Hard to not hurt them…  I fear that one day I will not try hard enough and one of those guys will get knocked to the dirt with a broken jaw.   Of course I know that such action is playing into their hand… They are like Palestinians.  Knowing that helps keep me from actually lashing out.    But they do so offend me.  The people in Nauvoo and Palmyra… the Non-Members who drove the Mormons out of their homes and businesses in the past are now profiting from Mormons who come back to visit…. Hotels and Cafes and everything else… They are making fortunes now, because of Mormons.   They once Tarred and Feathered us… Literally brought out the Torches and Pitchforks…   Now they roll out the welcome mats because of all the money that floods into the communities…

Anyways…

This journey has made me want to be a better Mormon.  It’s strengthened me and my faith.   It’s been a good thing.

15 thoughts on “Spiritual Journey”

  1. I agree with you, George. As a poor example of a Catholic, the anti-Rome bias of some fellow Christians is annoying at best. All the Catholic vs. Prodistant mess in Ireland has angered me for years. We all worship Christ, and the Father. Someone asked me once what I was, I answered “Jewish, Roman-Cathiolic division.” (THAT threw them off!) We need to Respect each other, as you said. Esp. in a world where religious racists want to behead us all.

  2. All civilization is based on trust between individuals within it. That is what sets us apart from tribal barbarians, and it is why a civilization will never fall to barbs while that trust is maintained.

    There are currently three methods to maintain that trust:

    Respect
    Religion
    Shame
    ( Sparta used barracks life and religion, but barracks life for an entire culture is a damned hard row to hoe )

    Northern European civilization is based on respect and respectability. Southern European ( and Latain American ) is based on religion and religious guilt. Asian civilization uses shame, primarily.

    All three work, and are needed, lest the barbarians overrun us all.

  3. George, I’m not a Mormon, but I have good friends who are. One has told me about Nauvoo, but I was unfamiliar with Palmyra until I looked it up because of your article.

    Well done on a nicely written piece. My only disagreement is that the people who drove out the Mormons are long dead (~8-ish generations in Nauvoo, assuming a 20-yr gap). To me, it makes sense that if you’re going to judge folks, judge them on the merits of what THEY do. If feminine hygiene product characteristics are still present in the modern descendants, then you have a point. Otherwise, why hate somebody for the actions of somebody they’ve never met?

  4. I wish you luck on your journey in becoming a better Mormon.

    I am a Christian, raised in a southern baptist church, but i’m not what the church would consider a “good Christian”. Many years ago I had a falling out with organized religion that took place over the course of 3 different churches I attended. Long story short, there’s too many hypocrites around here and I refuse to listen to someone tell their congregation they’ll go to hell for doing something they were out doing the night before

  5. its good to see that you are able move out and about. I never understood the anti Mormon thing. what are these protesters protesting? Whats their beef? you are probably going though Ohio eventually (Kirtland) I wish I could meet you but I am working a lot of hours. probably a good thing because after initial pleasantries the next words out of my mouth are going to be “when is the next uprising book coming out” which I am sure you have been asked a zillion times already.

  6. I am not an Mormon. I am an atheist. I know the book of Mormon is hidtoticly inaccurate to an absurd degree.

    I don’t consider this trait unique amongst religious texts, which range from the very silly, to the dangerously insane.

    That said, amongst all of the religious groups I have had interactions with, the Mormons are the most impressive. They take their faith seriously and have build a strong global community based on honesty and accountability.

    When some Mormons were found doing unspeakable things to children, the church didn’t conceal or ignore it. They brought the hammer down. When morality counted, they had the courage of their conviction and did the the right thing.

    George and I disagree about a great many things, but character counts and he’d be a welcome guest at my table any time.

    1. Indeed. I’ve never understood how some folks jump from, “I don’t believe in that” all the way to, “you can’t believe in that, either.” There seem to be a small but militant number who cannot tolerate others thinking differently (some are atheists who cannot tolerate religion, and some are religious individuals who cannot tolerate other religions).

      If someone is a good person because of religion, or rational self-interest, or aesthetics, or some philosophical treatise he read, or /whatever/, why should I care about the reason? If he’s a good person, that’s the end of the story. Similar if he’s an evil bastard.

      Actions are what matter.

  7. Thanks for sharing your experience and testimony. I am a Mormon also. I remember visiting Palmyra, NY and Hill Cumorah as a teenager and it was a great experience I will never forget. I grew up in northern Maine and went on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Salt Lake City. It was an awesome experience. I ended up moving back to Utah and starting my family here.

  8. I don’t know why people persecute others for their religion. Do they think God’s not able to do what needs to be done? He’s so weak he needs their help?

  9. After a lot of years I have come to the conclusion that “God” if such exists in this universe as we conceive him/her/it has pretty much left doing “what needs to be done” up to us, for better or worse…

  10. What appeals to me about mormon doctrine is the simplicity of it that frankly even your average Mormon doesn’t quite get. The after life is not that much different than life as we know it now, just elevated, without the pinheads and drama. Meaning there is not a Hell to speak of, nothing that anyone reading this blog can do to get in there anyway.
    Therefore everyone eventually will get to heaven which takes care of the “if God really exists, He wouldn’t allow all these bad things to happen” schtick and why apathy (atheism) is so prevalent.
    Jesus said his Father’s house has many mansions and he is going there to prepare a place for all of us. The reason Mormons proselyte is that the goal would be to do good here on earth and inherit the highest mansion in Heaven. Well heaven is a big big place just like America is, and there is room and beautiful places for all to live and fulfill your dreams. What about the bad people you ask? Well that’s what Purgatory or prison is for spoken of in the Bible. Bad people will be and are “imprisoned” until Judgement Day and are paying for their sins. But that final Judgement is not Heaven or Hell. It’s rather what mansion (think acreage) you are inheriting, paid for by the blood and Grace of Jesus Christ. Your place of inheritance will be in neighborhoods and communities of like minded people who did the same amount of good you did. That way you are comfortable in your community. Kind of like how life should be on earth in this country if it weren’t for greed, envy and pride.
    Hell then for mormons is really a state of mind. Knowing you could have inherited all God wanted to give you, but settling for something fantastic, but not quite what He had prepared for you. I personally could live very happily with 1,000 acres of Rocky Mountain high forest land, but I have a finite mind.

  11. I found this quote from Hugh B. Brown=
    “One of the most important things in the world is freedom of the mind; from this all other freedoms spring. Such freedom is necessarily dangerous, for one cannot think right without running the risk of thinking wrong, but generally more thinking is the antidote for the evils that spring from wrong thinking.”
    It has made me realize that each one of us is on our own journey and its okay to ponder on things that are hard to figure out. I was at a stake conference in which a GA said some things that pissed me off. I didn’t leave the church because what he said made me mad. What I did do was study, think and pray. I am confidant in my position.

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