Matt 18:20  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Today at homechurch we talked about prayer and meditation.  We also listened to a message about giving with willingness and the kids updated us on their individual charitable projects.  Then Ellery gave a talk about how nice it was to not worry that what she would say wouldn't be what the "Church" wanted her to say and that she doesn't feel like a freak anymore.  Ellery came up with the idea to have each of us write 4 topics of personal interest and then over the next few weeks we would all give talks.  The list reads:

1. Overview basic beliefs of a variety of religions
2.  God
3.  Historical accounts of people's contact with the Divine.
4. Hell?

1.  Patience
2.  What is egalitarianism
3.  What is social justice
4.  My personal faith journey (Childhood to present)

1.  Faith
2.  On "feeling like a freak"
3.  Divine intervention
4.  Truth

1.  How Africa does church
2.  Drinking
3.  Tattoos
4.  Love

I am so excited I can't stand it.  I am feeling more myself everyday.  It is slow progress--no harp yet and yesterday I stress ate.  Those will be the next two things to pack in my little handcart of faith--harp and healthy eating.  I am getting more vision of what our family's journey could look like free of religious label and walls.  I found hope today in our little rickety church.


Packing the Handcart

This post is dedicated to the September 6, those intellectual pioneers that were made to leave their covered wagons in the middle of the trek.

Pioneers follow truth.

"I felt earnestly that this was what God had prepared me to do, to present these problem areas in a context that allowed for faith and still acknowledged what the anti-Mormons or the critics would bring up, but to say: "Yeah? So what? These are human beings." God works with fallible human beings, whether they're your parents or your prophets. This is a way of understanding it and maintaining faith."  --D Michael Quinn

"Elder Packer said, 'I have a hard time with historians, because historians idolize the truth."   --D Michael Quinn


How am I to proceed?

 Soren highadventure Colorado 2012
 Cyler and Soren highadventure Colorado 2012

Ellery Saratoga Springs NY
 Times Square NY NY
 Buddha face Heather
 Broadway Book of Mormon production
 Subway NY NY
 Boston after the Freedom Trail
Where the revolutionary war turned from embryo to fetus

What do I do now?

I consider the year 2000 to be the time when I became intellectually independent.  I have gladly ridden the mental/spiritual rollercoasters I either built for myself or those that others invited me to join with them on.  I enjoy debate, observation, experimentation, thinking, reading, making up new questions, turning the answers upside down to see if they still ring with truth.  I can see where capitalism is great and where it fails.  I can see where communism is great and where it fails.  I see how great that we are not all Democrats, I see how great that we are not all Republicans.  I could argue benefits of all sorts of family structures.  I can argue for or against many types of segregation, revolution, cultural movement, governmental policy. 

 I love that:
The legalist finds equality and happiness in the rule of law
The fundmentalist stays on the literal, unmovable, unchangable rock
The conservative orthodox has the confidence that they are right and their way makes things better
The liberal progressive is comfortable and excited with change to make things better
The agnostic is honest in saying "I don't really know"
The non-theist takes full responsibility for action and knows (s)he has one chance to make it count.
The anarchist finds equality and happiness in acting without being compelled

Which one am I?  How am I to proceed if I have internalized them all?  Why do I use labels when I hate them?  Where is God?

July 2012 I am tired of the heart/mind rollercoaster and want to get off.  How do I proceed with no questions, no quest, no opening myself to another's view, no establishing a view only to dash it against the wall tomorrow, no wondering whether or not a certain outlook is 'true."  No trying on different definitions of what truth is.  No wondering, for example, if JSmith read Emmanuel Swedenborg and if he did, why wasn't I taught that the idea of a tripartite heaven originated in his visions that commenced April 6 1744.  Just tell me the whole truth--I can handle it.  I have wanted to know, to believe.  I have lots of faith.  I have lost of faith.  I don't want to have faith in things that won't benefit my kids when they walk out of my house as adults in a few years. I love god and my fellow men.  Do I show it enough?  Jesus's teachings--is that enough?  I have no idea why scapegoatism has to be an eternal principle where living things have inside them the ability to self-heal.  Can I say that out loud?  Why can't I be like so-and-so and not ask or care about this stuff.  For the past 12 years I have woken up to the many of the same questions that I lay down at night only to pick them up again the next morning. And while I have tried to raise my kids, stuff seeps in.  My dad  breaks my heart with an honest response.  Confidants judge-(why don't you do it my way, Heather).  I lose balance. I make mistakes.  My kids say things reflecting attitudes that curl my toenails.  Stuff I struggle against but maybe I'm doing so in vain?  Give my liberty away for something I can't tell anymore is valuable enough to merit the sacrifice.  God, I'm tired.  Am I allowed to say that?  This would be one crazy testimony at the pulpit.

Faith journeys have to include crisis.  Maybe all learning does.  I have tried to do mine in public thinking it helps.  Have I learned?  From what my family members have said, I feel like I'm running out of time.  I can't control what they believe.  How do I proceed from here?  I am retreating from learning--ideas, questions, critical analysis, others' opinions of truth or of how they think we should proceed and especially me telling others my opinions and how I think they should proceed.  For a few weeks my family is going to live with 2 ideas.  We love.  We want quiet.  I am now ready to proceed.  I retreat.