Monday, August 30, 2010

Antisocial, introverted, or just happy with myself?

Two of my close friends recently ended their relationships with their boyfriends.  Both of them are understandibly sad and feeling down and missing the person they broke up with.  When I started blogging a year or so ago, I was very dependent on other people to make me happy.  I hated being alone and even got panicky if I wasn't talking to or texting someone.  I felt down if I didn't have anything to do on weekends and felt like a loser for staying home by myself.  I took rejection pretty hard.  My happiness depended on other people, and even though I'm an introvert I felt like I needed to be at every party and get to know every guy.  "Needy" is a good word for what I was.  I feel like I'm different now though...I don't have to know what friends are doing every minute of the day, I don't have to fill every minute of my time to feel good about myself, and most of all I don't mind being by myself or just hanging out with family.  I usually tend to stay in more often than go out, and I don't mind it. 

My friends tell me I'm antisocial...I don't interact with very many people at parties, I don't have that many friends, and I don't look for opportunities to meet people. I don't "put myself out there."  One of the friends I mentioned above kind of made fun of me for not dating anyone recently.  I've kind of taken the antisocial label for myself, though, as well.  It's my way of coping with rejection and lessing the pressure of being an introvert in social situations...if I call myself antisocial then I can act that way and be okay with it.

The thing is, though, I don't think I'm really antisocial (although my friend says I'm in denial).  Asocial maybe...I don't interact with too many people and I'm kind of a loner. I don't care about having a million facebook friends and I'm perfectly fine sitting on the sidelines most of the time.  But I don't think that's necessarily bad anymore.  I'm alot more comfortable with myself now that I was a year ago.  I can spend time by myself and not have a panic attack.  I get bored and crave human interaction, but being alone doesn't make me depressed or sad (most of the time).  I don't need other people to make me happy.  I agree that I would probably be happier in a relationship, but it's not a must anymore.  When refuting my friend's assertion that I'm antisocial, I told him "Why should my happiness depend on other people? If I don't enjoy my own company how will others enjoy it?" For some reason that made him mad and he stopped talking to me.  But I truly believe it -- if I can't be happy on my own then I don't have a good foundation and I'm dependent on others...I might be happy when others make me happy, but when they're gone I don't have a foundation to fall back on.  I see myself as taking baby steps...I used to dislike myself but I'm getting more comfortable and happy with who I am.  There are still things I dislike about myself, but maybe as I get used to liking myself I will be more social and reach out to others.  So for now, although I call myself antisocial, I don't really think I am...I'm just getting comfortable with who I am and less dependent on other people.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Why I Stay

Why do I still attend and consider myself a member of a church whose position is that I'm a bad person? It's something that I've been thinking about off and on for awhile.  I took the following stupid internet quiz and got this result:

You are 23% Mormon
You have some of the Mormon values, but overall you're far more normal than most Utahns. You realize life is out there to enjoy, family is important, and there are better ways to spend a Sunday than at church!

Should You Stay Mormon?
Take More Quizzes

I also took the Belief-O-Matic Quiz on (probably a bit more reliable) and got the following:

1. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (100%)
2. Liberal Quakers (83%)
3. Unitarian Universalism (74%)
4. Orthodox Quaker (72%)
5. Baha'i Faith (71%)
6. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (69%) 

So, why do I stay? Especially since, in its simplest form, I've made a conscious decision to disregard some of the teachings of the church and rely on God's mercy but understanding his justice? To be honest, I'm not quite sure.  Part of it is probably just inertia, I've gone my whole life attending church on Sundays, and so it's just part of the routine.  Second is probably family pressure:  my whole family are strong, conservative Mormons, and I don't really want to rock the boat.  Third, I want my kids raised in the church.  I attend with them on Sundays since their mom doesn't go much anymore. 

But fourth, it's because I believe in most of what the church teaches.  I believe in God the Father and that he created us and is the father of our spirits.  I believe Jesus is the son of God and gave his life for us so that we can be forgiven of our sins and return to God's presence.  I believe the Holy Ghost can help guide us and influence us.  Although it seems somewhat far-fetched that God would deliver his gospel to some insignificant desert tribe like the Hebrews, I guess he had to start somewhere.  So I believe the Bible to be the word of God, mostly. It's gone through the hands of many different people with many different agendas, so it's definitely not God's literal word.

So far, so good. I'm at least Christian.

I believe in the restoration of the gospel.  At least, I believe things got pretty screwed up after Jesus died.  Studying the early Christian church is fascinating.  Tons of bloodshed, kidnappings, greed, blackmail, bribery, and everything else in the name of God.  Since I believe in a God that loves us, I believe he would do something to get things back on track.  I believe in the Joseph Smith story, and I believe that God revealed the true gospel to him.  I find it pretty easy to believe in the Book of Mormon as well.  It just makes sense that God would talk to other people besides his insignificant tribe in the Middle East.  The stories of how Joseph Smith translated it are pretty fanciful, but I still believe its God's word without all the baggage the Bible has.  I also find it pretty easy to believe in continuing revelation.  Again, if God loves us, it doesn't really make sense that the would set things in motion, talk to a few prophets a long time ago, send his son to earth to die, and then disappear.  It makes sense that he would continue having prophets on the earth to guide his people.  It also makes sense that he would authorize people to act in his name, rather than letting anybody do it on his own.

So...I'm essentially Mormon.  I don't know of any other religion that believes in all that.

But then things get sort of hazy.  I'm sort of following the temple recommend questions here when I talk about what I believe.  Do I sustain the Prophet and the Quorum of the Twelve as prophets, seers, and revelators, and other leaders as called? Well, sort of. But I don't believe they are infallible. Look at some of the crazy things Brigham Young taught.  Heck, look at some of the crazy things Boyd K. Packer has said! Do I believe the LDS church is the only true church? Well...pretty much.  Like I said, I don't know of any other church that teaches everything we do. But at the same time, who's to say God doesn't have other prophets he communicates with? If I believe he had at least two communities in ancient times, why not now?

Do I live the law of chastity? Do I keep the covenants I have made? Am I a full tithe payer? Do I keep the word of wisdom? Well...this isn't going to turn into a confessional.  Let's just say I'm not a perfect person.  But I do believe in the reasons behind these rules.  And I hope to find a husband and live the law of chastity with him.  And that sentence pretty much answers the question about if I support any groups whose teachings are contrary to the church. (The last time the bishop asked me that question, though, I answered "yes, I'm a Democrat." He laughed.)

So rules/laws/ceremonies/rituals....I fail the Mormon test there.  Which is why I don't have a temple recommend, or feel right having one.  But what about the spirit of the law?

Is there anything in my conduct with my family that is out of harmony with the church? Absolutely not. My kids are my life, and my goal is to be the best damn dad possible.  Does being gay prevent me from being a good father? No way.  Am I honest in my dealings with my fellowmen? Absolutely.  That is something I take pride in.  Do I believe in the church's focus on families, service, kindness, etc? Yep.

So, I guess I stay because it's what I believe and I can't get it all anywhere else.  I see myself as being on the outskirts of things in relation to most members of the church, obviously.  If I had to label myself I would call myself a liberal Mormon, or postmodern Mormon, or something like that.  But still Mormon. 

(End note:  I absolutely respect others' beliefs.  I'm a relativist -- just because something works, or is right for me, doesn't make it right for someone else.  Truth can be very broad.  Many mohos and gay people have very different opinions about the church, and religion in general.  Many have been hurt pretty badly by the church.  Feel free to comment and give me feedback, or ask questions.  Respectfully.)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Catching up

Summer has been pretty good to me, I've been keeping my demons at bay by focusing on myself and my family.  I've gotten into photography lately and have taken a bunch of road trips to combine some of my favorite things:  taking pictures, being outdoors, geocaching, seeing new places, and being with the kidddos.  I've been spending alot of time by myself doing things I enjoy too:  reading, watching movies, etc.  I feel like I've distanced myself from superficial people that bring me down, but probably unintentionally distanced myself from friends too, just to avoid getting hurt and because I don't really trust anyone emotionally any more.  I forgot to take my happy pills with me on one of my road trips and was doing just fine without them, so I figured I would detox myself from them and see what happened.  I told myself if I found myself crying for no reason or hiding from people in the bathroom that I would go back on that I'm back to the daily grind of a job I don't really like and not much time for myself, let's just say I'm going to go back on them :)  I did apply for a new job, though, and thought the interview went well...still waiting to hear back from them tho.  I hope I get it, because it would be a needed change.  Lonliness catches up sometimes, but like I said I'm not going to write many negatives in my blog anymore...don't want people to get the wrong idea about me or feel sorry for me.  I wish I could say I had an active social life with lots of close friends and did exciting things with them every weekend, but it wouldn't be's all good though, I'm making my own fun lately and learning to enjoy being with myself.  And of course, I have the kiddos to drive me insane, but keep me sane at the same time...if I didn't have them, I wouldn't be here anymore :)

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