I read a piece by Kiley a few weeks ago titled Would You Really Change the Past? and it brought up so many things for me that I thought I would like to post my response here. Kiley wrote her piece in response to a post that she had read at N.O.M (New Order Mormon), which asked “If you could have all the things and people you love in life and erase Mormonism from your past present and future would you do it?”. Kiley answered “no”, I answer YES!
I side more with another viewpoint I read this week. Eliza R. Snitch talks about her experiences at BYU (Brigham Young University) -
“I felt that I’d been cheated out of the college experience that I’d always dreamed of, and I was pissed off about it– and rightly so!.......So there you have it. How to get through BYU without going crazy. But really, the best way to survive BYU? LEAVE. As soon as possible.”
I hear you Eliza!!!
I hear you Eliza!!!
Although I cannot attribute all of my faults/weaknesses to Mormonism (wouldn’t that be somethin’!) I do feel that I was shaped in a very big way by my religion. From where I stand right now I do not like what I see. I know that if I had grown up without religion that I would most likely have chosen some very different directions in my life. I would also have grown up minus a shitload of guilt and shame. Now that is a Maureen that I would like to see! Bring on the Star Trek type parallel time dimension!
Even without the guarantee offered by N.O.Ms scenario (that of keeping the same people in your life etc) Rockstar and I both agreed that we would still do it. I guess that might be because we don’t believe in destiny or soul mates. We figure that we each would have found people we love just as much as we love each other and that we would have had happy, fulfilling lives.
Kiley said “I don’t think that different decisions would necessarily result in a better life”. I disagree. I believe very strongly that my life would have been markedly better had I been raised non-religious. I feel jealous of my friends who were raised this way.
Now, I do acknowledge that I gained good things from Mormonism (In fact I’ve been thinking of writing a piece about that and I think it had better be the next one I do eh) however I would much rather have learned my life skills elsewhere, you know, minus the baggage.
I agree with Kiley that I need to “…get over it, get past it, learn from it…” and I agree that I have grown a lot in the last year, II can also use my experience to help others through the tough ‘coming out’ process. I see these things as the silver lining of a very dark cloud. I find it very easy to identify with Kileys description of feeling like a survivor. Kiley, that does not sound pretentious to me, it sounds real. It feels real. I don’t want to downplay the scars that religion left on me. I feel like a survivor. That’s why I like to thrash it out in my spin classes, sweat off that anger.
Then I get to the end of Kileys piece and she says -
“Truth be told, there are few people put in a position to have experienced such sweeping changes in their lives and ways of thinking, than people who believed and lost. As painful as such an experience is going through such things provides a point of view and perspective of the world that few others will ever earn.”
I do feel like I’ve been through the fire and I feel damned lucky to have made it to the other side. I even think, Kiley, that you may have convinced me. I surely would never choose it again (being born in the covenant) but for this life, the one that I am living now, I think I can live with it and possibly be somewhat proud of the journey and the tremendous opportunity for growth. As Christopher Hitchens says, I am glad I grew up.