This process of figuring out my beliefs has been a painful one (not that it's over yet). I've been forced to look at the things I've always held dear in a completely different light. For those of you who have never been through a "faith crisis" before, let me explain exactly what happens. Let's pretend your faith is like Humpty Dumpty sitting happily on the wall. Suddenly, for whatever reason, he takes a great fall. Now he's on the ground in a zillion pieces, which is a problem, because Humpty Dumpty can't really be Humpty Dumpty if he's shattered into pieces. So there are a few options. 1) You can ditch Humpty Dumpty entirely and try to forget he ever existed. A lot of people do this and I can't say that I haven't considered it. 2) You can take your favorite pieces of Humpty Dumpty to be reminded that you loved him and he did some good things on that wall. Or 3) you can try to reassemble Humpty Dumpty. Now, this one is hard because no matter what you do, you'll never have the undamaged version of Humpty Dumpty. You'll never have him looking as pristine and flawless as he did before. There will always be cracks and chips and maybe even a few pieces missing. Not to mention that you might wonder from that point forward if putting Humpty Dumpty back together again was the best option. You might not totally trust him up on that wall anymore. After all, he toppled over once, he could do it again.
That's where I'm at. Except that there are a lot of pieces of my Humpty Dumpty that are gone. Vanished. So not only will he always be damaged, he'll never be whole. And the worst part is that the chastising has already begun. I've already had people I love tell me that I shouldn't have been careless enough to let him fall of the wall in the first place. That's right. It's MY fault. Never mind that Humpty Dumpty is round and off balance and fragile (as I suspect is the case for most people). I'm not trying to deflect blame as much as I'm trying to get people to see that the church is a personal faith crisis waiting to happen. The ebb and flow of "prophetic revelations, " can be extremely troubling for many members. For instance, if God is leading this church, why do "revelations" seem to come at such politically convenient times. Because I'm thinking that God wouldn't cave to government or political pressure. Seriously, how on earth could God have thought it a wise decision to withhold the priesthood from black members for as long as He apparently did (actually it never should have happened in the first place). The fact that the revelation came after such intense pressure from the government to conform should at least make you wonder. I see the same thing happening with the gay marriage situation. At this point, the church should be paving the way for other Christian denominations to follow. Because like it or not, gay marriage WILL and SHOULD be legalized. It might take a few years, but there will no doubt be intense pressure to allow gay couples to be sealed in the temple as well. My guess is that the church will dig in their heels until their tax-exempt status again becomes too compromised. And then? We will most likely be blessed with another revelation. I don't know what will happen with the Ordain Women movement (which I fully support by the way), but I wouldn't be surprised if eventually they cave to that as well (and they should).
I'm not trying to be catty and disrespectful of the church or it's leaders. Really, I know there is a LOT of good that comes from the church. There might even be enough good for me to hang on to. But I think there are some extremely questionable and troubling things as well. Sometimes I feel like we've gotten SO far off the path of just following Christ's example (which is what I believe will matter most in the end) that we can't seem to remember why we're doing what we're doing. Does it really matter what I wear or what I let my little girls wear? Does it really matter how many earrings I have in my ears? Is it possible that we've put so much pressure on boys to serve missions that they feel shunned if they don't? Has the church unintentionally created a platform on which people stand and judge each other? I don't think these things came from bad intentions. But I do think they came from men and not God. I get the argument that God is using imperfect men to run his church, and that sometimes the prophet speaks for God and sometimes he speaks as a man. But do we do with that? How do we know when he's speaking for God and when he's just giving us his opinion? How do we know what is a "commandment" and what is just advice? That's actually how this all started for me. I had been trying so hard to follow everything we've been "commanded" to do and not do, and I hit a breaking point. I couldn't do it all. It was virtually impossible. I started researching church history in an effort to find a little inspiration from our early leaders and that was it. Humpty Dumpty came crashing down off the wall.
I don't know where I'll go from here, but I appreciate so much the people who have been willing to talk things through with me and avoid passing judgment.