Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Where are we now?

Leaving Mormonism is huge.  Sometimes it makes me feel lonely, afraid almost everyone I knew from my past might be ready to cut me off over this.  We're just stepping into letting people know who wouldn't be friendly to us having made the decision already.  For someone like me who has a very high need for a sense of community, just cutting ties off without going somewhere else would be nearly unthinkable.  For a lot of reasons, we made a kind of slow transition.

When LDS church services were being so overwhelmingly spiritually and emotionally exhausting for me, we hit a time period where the kids were getting a lot of colds and so one of us would either have to take that kid with us to our own meetings or we'd have to stay home to keep all the other nursery kids from getting colds.  Neither of us felt like we were getting enough out of church to want to go on our own so we spent a lot of Sunday's with no church at all.  Eventually I got the idea that we could use these Sunday's to visit other churches.  The Episcopal church was the first one we tried.  From spiritual, intellectual, aesthetic, and emotional dimensions we felt an immediate and powerful appeal.  They were in Lent season and they explained to us that as a result the services were more subdued than normal.  Even their sad and subdued services felt to me to be full of joy compared to what I was accustomed to.  We decided we wanted to share their Easter celebrations with them no matter whether the kids were sick or not because if their lent was that joyful, what would their Easter be like?  We weren't disappointed.  Though we did consider other churches either by looking up information about them online or by visiting, we've stuck with the Episcopalians when we made our break with Mormonism.

So what about them was so compelling?  Well, for one thing the priest is a superb sermon writer.  We'd gotten very used to bad quality talks in church- such as a ward deciding to have all the talks for an entire month in a row be on the same subject with no differentiation, or to have talks be nothing but a summation of a talk given by someone else.  To hear sermons given delivered by a trained  clergyman with a background of having a history phd was amazing.  For another matter, the worship structure in the Episcopal church is a work of art.  From simple yet profound public affirmations of faith to the organ music played by a real organist, to the ornate stained glass, the services are Christ centered to a degree we'd hardly imagined possible, emotionally moving, and spiritually satisfying.  For the first few months of attending I was often crying with happiness because of how overwhelmingly I was able to respond to it.  After spending months and months resisting emotional engagement with worship because of so many of the negative things I found there, I was able to worship with my whole soul again.  There are many other things I also enjoy about worshiping with the Episcopalians- many of which can certainly be found in many other healthy denominations.  After suffering for the lack of a spiritual community for so long, its been good to find a place I can call my own.

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