UU Mormon

Archive for June 2010

Rebecca J. at By Common Consent has written a post called “Petitionary prayer: the monkey’s paw of my faith” that describes the difficulties with prayer I mentioned in my last post far more eloquently than I could do myself.  Highly recommended!

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I confess, we haven’t been to church in months.  As my husband pointed out, I’m now inactive in two churches.  Maybe I should go looking for another church to be inactive in.  Maybe I could set some kind of record.

The thing is, I’m just not very spiritual.  I always enjoy church when we go, I’m happy we went, but it doesn’t fill any particular need for me.  My life and psyche don’t suffer from a lack of spirituality.  Not that I’m fulfilling my need for spirituality in some other way, but that I really don’t have one.  I suspect a lot of people won’t believe that.

The way spirituality is expressed in the LDS church makes me deeply uncomfortable.  I don’t know why, because I did grow up with it, but I don’t like it and break out in a cold sweat if I have to participate in it.  I will go to great lengths to avoid public prayers, I’m uncomfortable even listening to them, and I hate hate hate testimony meeting.

I don’t even like personal prayer. When I stopped praying entirely it was like a huge burden was lifted.  I think this is because prayer has always been an expression of my anxiety disorder.  It was about my fears — I had to pray to prevent bad things from happening, but, as you’ll hear in any testimony meeting, if you don’t watch how you phrase things, prayer can make bad things happen. If you want to be a better person, God will make you suffer. As a “test” or to give you the “opportunity to grow”. So praying was a dangerous activity, but not praying was dangerous too.  What a horrible trap to be caught in. So being able to stop was a sign I was getting better.

Spirituality at the UU church is much nicer. It’s about love and kindness and being your best self.  Good stuff with no trickster gods or commandments to be perfect.  I enjoy it.  I’d like to go.

But it does feel optional (part of that lack of commandments about obedience and perfection, probably).  And when my daughter doesn’t wake up until nine on Sundays, I can NOT bring myself to wake her up.  Her need for sleep feels like it outweighs my nonexistent need for spirituality.

We went to the church picnic last Sunday, since it was in the afternoon and I didn’t have to wake anybody up. And the kids wanted to go because, well, there were snowcones.

The only problem was that I only know three people in the congregation and none of them were there.  I have not done well at making connections.  That’s really not my strong suit.  The funny thing is that I’ve become closer to several people in my LDS ward since I stopped going to church.  In my entire life I’ve never had friends in my ward and now I have a bunch.  How does that happen?

I’m going to get more serious about going to church, though not immediately, and not for my own sake.  But as my kids get into middle and high school I would like them to have a peer group where the focus is on treating others with kindness and respect. Also, they have to take OWL.