September 27, 2006

This one's for you, Tony!

Disclaimer: Tony, I'm not poking fun at YOU here. I've obviously taken liberties with our actual conversation. Please don't take it wrong.


CONVERSATIONS WITH TONY

SML: After reviewing much evidence, and considering all that I was taught my whole life, I have come to the conclusion that what I was taught was in fact made up, or NOT TRUE. I now know that blue is NOT the only true color on the face of the Earth.

TONY: But how can you KNOW that? I mean, here you are telling me that blue isn't the only true color on the Earth, and you're basically saying that I've been BRAINWASHED when I say I believe it! It's what they taught me at church! I feel a testimony that it's true when I hear it even now!

SML: I'm not exactly calling you brainwashed. OK maybe I am. Heck, I'm also saying that EVEN I was brainwashed. For 34 years I thought that blue was the only true color as well. I knew there were other colors out there, but blue was so pretty and it made me feel good to look at it. I was told by my parents whom I love and trust that blue was the only color I should like, so that's what I did. And heck, blue was PRETTY! It felt good to look at it! I was told that in order to be able to live in God's presence in the next life, I'd have to love True Blue and live the True Blue lifestyle my whole life. My entire wardrobe was blue. I thought all my thoughts in blue. I DREAMT in blue. But then I fell in love with and married someone who preferred red, and not because some church told him he had to prefer red either. And lo and behold, he was an OK person without blue in his life. How could this be? I was always taught that happiness only comes to those who choose blue!

TONY: And I married someone who prefers green. So what?! Can't I also choose to believe that blue is best? I happen to LIKE blue! The color blue makes me into a much better parent! Without it I'm certain that we won't be able to teach our kids all the things they need to know.

SML: And I believe you can. Since I found out blue wasn't the only color I could look at, I've been so amazed by the colors I can see and the true beauty in my life! I'm at peace not listening to anyone tell me that only one color is the best. I'm able to see for myself that God loves me no matter which color I choose as my personal favorite, or even if I choose none of them. That's why he blessed me with my inner compass, so I can follow my heart and know what I should do that's right for me. What a gift! That's how I know my kids will also be OK, and will be able to learn all the things they need, because I am even closer to them on a personal level, now that I'm not so focused on the color blue so much.

TONY: You have such conviction that the color blue isn't the one true color, and there's nothing I can say that will convince you it is the color you should choose. It's like I'm talking to a brick wall! You are afraid people will think that Satan is influencing you to dislike the color blue, and it's hard not to think it too when I hear such strong conviction in your voice, and I see no signs of FAITH in the color blue when you speak.

SML: I found so much beauty and peace in looking at all the other colors, and there's no way I can cram those colors back into their little box and repaint my world blue again. Why would I? It's too beautiful to have all the colors inundating my senses right now! I know blue makes people happy, and good for them! The church has even worked hard to find the exact shade of blue that invokes the best feelings, and this is the blue they show the world. But once I discovered the blue the church started out with, and how ugly it actually was, and also how much better life is with ALL the colors at my disposal, why would I go back to only favoring blue? It makes no sense to me.

TONY: But you don't exactly seem very happy, even though you say you are happier than you've ever been.

SML: That's because I'm having to deal with letters and calls from people at church whom I specifically asked not to contact me unless it was in friendship only, without church stuff involved. And yet virtual strangers at church still insist on telling me all about how great the color blue is, and it's a bit irritating. Disrespect like that doesn't give me a lot of happiness. They think they are reaching out to me in friendship, when the real thing they are trying to tell me is that I'm being led by Satan to look away from the color blue. I'm worried that when my son goes to church without me, he'll come home with blue-tinted glasses on that he won't take off. That makes it hard to always feel happy, but believe me, I am still way happier and more at peace inside without the blue blinders on. Sometimes when I'm down, it makes me happy to fantasize about buying a paintball gun with rainbow colored paintballs that I can shoot the front of their homes with, as a little gift from me to them, in the same spirit as their love notes in the mail.

TONY: Every time we talk about this it feels so frustrating. I feel like we get nowhere! I just wish you could see that blue is such a great color.

SML: I'm sure it's a great color. It even used to be my favorite. But I see nothing wrong with loving ALL the colors, as I feel God would do. Heck, he even CREATED the colors. It makes no sense that he would have me limit myself to only one of his precious colors.

TONY: I don't know what I'm going to do. I know that it's probably good to look at other colors, but I just don't know.

SML: You've got to find it out for yourself, or not. It's OK either way. That's what I've been trying to say all along. I don't judge you for liking blue the best. I just want you to respect my choice to love all the colors if I want to.

TONY: I do. I do. We still on for lunch on Friday?

SML: Of course! See you then!

15 comments:

Cele said...

Great colour analogy. Great conversation.

SocietyVs said...

That was an awesome post, I like black but that's just me.

Matt said...

Interesting idea. Nicely put over.

By the way, yes, please do link to the Picture This post if you wish. I feel honoured that someone would want to link to it.

lawmich said...

SML ---

Would it be too much disclosure to tell me what city in Montana you are from?

I lived in Huson, MT for the first 12 years of my life. It is outside of Frenchtown, which is outside of Missoula.

Reading your posts has lead me to the conclusion that we have a different perception of what it means to have faith. Faith for me means just accepting that I don't know everything and that I believe that this is Christ's church. It essentially entails forgiving Brigham and Joseph, and admitting that I will someday understand all the apparent contradictions when they are viewed in a larger context. I would not blame a skeptic dismissing my so-called faith as mere brainwashing.

If, with regard to the church, I was always saying, "Hey, this all lines up and makes perfect sense." Then for me, it would not require any faith.

In contrast, the fact that I am continually required to accept things even though I have no proof for them is a testimony to the truth of the church. Why? To the natural mind that sounds like craziness! But to me, it means that my faith is always being tested.

If it made perfect sense it would be too easy, and would cease to require the excersise of my faith.

That is why I think that your doubts are really just an opportunity to exercise your faith.

Perhaps we are missing each other.

---

Montana is beautiful. I would love to return. I am in Michigan and the sky is somehow not as big as the Big Sky.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Lawmich,

I'd love to disclose what city I'm in, except that I don't "know" you very well. If you could disclose your other active blogs, I'd love to read them, and decide afterward if I wanna tell you where I'm from!

I'll respond about my faith in a while...please check back for my response.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Lawmich,

I'd be more than happy to disclose my exact whereabouts for your viewing pleasure, if you'd care to first disclose all your other active blogs for MY viewing pleasure! I'd rather "know" you a little before I disclose.

One of my favorite wildlife artists is Julie T. Chapman, and she lives in Huson. Her website is here.

I do appreciate your faith in the church. You said, "the fact that I am continually required to accept things even though I have no proof for them is a testimony to the truth of the church."

This is where I disagree.

How exactly does simply accepting what JS taught as "truth" tell you that it is in fact TRUE? That's the point I'm trying to make with my color blue analogy. Just because someone told me that it's true that the color blue is the best color in the world, and this belief is required for exaltation with God, doesn't mean that he's right. My deciding that the church isn't true doesn't mean I've rejected God.

It seems you are assuming that stepping away from the church's teachings of "God's Plan" isn't exercising total faith of another kind. Anyone who believes in God at all is exercising faith, don't you agree? I've never seen God, at least not that I can remember, yet I believe He's there and that He loves me. I can revere Him and worship and pray, and I can do it in my own way, and I'm certain that He will understand me and appreciate that I love Him very much indeed. I feel extremely blessed.

Let's say the LDS church made perfect sense. Would it still not require absolute faith to believe that God lives and Jesus is the Christ? That still requires our faith. I agree 100% with you that my doubts are indeed causing me to exercise complete faith in God.

I'm really enjoying our discussions. Thanks for the comments.

SocietyVs said...

"Would it be too much disclosure to tell me what city in Montana you are from?" (Law dude)

That's a little personal for someone to reveal don't ya think? Funny thing is Montana is just south of where I am from, Saskatchewan, Canada.

"someday understand all the apparent contradictions when they are viewed in a larger context. I would not blame a skeptic dismissing my so-called faith as mere brainwashing." (Law dude)

Well of course your brainwashed, if there is contradictions galore with no reason or rhyme for why, how can you follow by faith at that point? Shouldn't your faith have some 'reason' to it? If not, and you recognize that, then start questioning it (or is out of line to question your superiors?)

"If, with regard to the church, I was always saying, "Hey, this all lines up and makes perfect sense." Then for me, it would not require any faith." (Law dude)

Yes it would, faith in God requires faith, not faith in church history. Church history is factual and does not require faith, it is all written down. God is mysterious and cannot be totally proven, that requires faith. Believing for someone to be healed, that requires faith. Believing Smith or Young made some mistakes isn't a faith thing, it's a fact.

"the fact that I am continually required to accept things even though I have no proof for them is a testimony to the truth of the church. Why? To the natural mind that sounds like craziness! But to me, it means that my faith is always being tested." (Law Dude)

How is accpeting things, based merely on faith, a proof to the church? Because your PERSONAL faith gets tested, little selfish of you ask me but okay. You faith about the history of the church cannot be tested as I mentioned earlier, but if you wanna believe the LDS church is 'where it's at' then cool, but to say because I have less proof than you is why, that's like saying I have you have a grade 8 and I have a grade 12, but your grade 8 grad meant more.

But who made Joseph Smith a prophet? I am guessing prior to him there was no LDS church whatsoever. Could it be he made this all up to have a religion where he would be respected and have things done to his specifications (egotistically). I'll bet if we check Joseph Smith had some run-in's with people from mainstream church at some point and left to do HIS own thing.

Harsh? Sorry, but I have to address some of the things I read and how you reason (makes faith look like baloney).

lawmich said...

Do you believe in God and Jesus, or do you just believe in a Universal Supreme being, who might have earthly ambassadors such as Jesus, Mohammed, Budha etc.?

Ok, I am not really questioning your belief in God and Jesus (although I don't at present know your stand on Jesus). Really I am just trying to say that someone could pick up your color analogy and use it against your belief in God (and Jesus), the same way that you are using it against the church. By saying the idea of God is just one of the many colors out there --- the idea that our ancestors are gods is another color, the idea that Zeus is a god is another color, or that there is NO God is another color --- One could ask: why do you limit yourself to God as you understand him/her?

You can see how any logical analysis of God seems to slide people into a relativistic mush of admitting, "I really don't know."

For me, it is easy to say: Jesus is God's son. Jesus organized a church on earth. That church was lost. Jesus restored it through imperfect people who stumble towards making it what he wants it to be. If I am not mistaken, we are the only church that claims this.

In the end, the same faith that helps me believe in God is the same faith that helps me accept that I don't understand everything about why the church is the way that it is.

Anyway, this doesn't perfectly address your observations about what I wrote earlier.

My other blog sites are family/freind/picture type sites that I am not comfortable sharing. What is it about sweet comforting anonymity? (though someone could track me down if they really tried)

SML - I like our conversations, but I am taking up more than my fair share of space. I think the thing that attracted me to the blog in the first place was rather selfish:

I don't like seeing people deal with doubts that I have dealt with, and then turn around and leave the church. Sometimes (perhaps not in your case), the person triumphantly acts like they are they discovered the truth about wicked wicked JS or BY --- In the mean time, I feel like, c'mon: intelligent mormons all over the world are confronting these same questions and issues and finding the faith to see the bigger picture; intelligent mormons all over the world have read BY's incorrect teachings, and have faithfully reconcilled them with the fact that this is Christ's church.

Then I feel like saying: don't leave! don't dismiss it! faithfully struggle with it and open your heart to the church and see if God fills it with a knowledge of the truthfulness of the church.

Then I say to myself:

1. they either already have struggled, or are convinced that they have

2. they dismiss it as more brainwashing

3. they think that I am just appealing to emotion

(anyway, LONG --- no wonder I keep myself anonymous)

lawmich said...

SocietyVs ---

Your comment was as harsh as an arrow missing the mark, because that's exactly what it did.

Do you know anything about the church? My comments were meant for those who do.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Hi again, Lawmich. Your posts aren't too long. I appreciate thoroughness in thought vs. short and sweet when it comes to faith discussions.

I have faithfully struggled. I also prayed and prayed with real faith and real intent, having perfect faith that the truth of it would be made known unto me, and the answer I got was NOTHING.

I learned many times at church, I even TAUGHT that if you want to know the church is true, you'll get an answer if you inquire of God with real faith. I did so. Got nothing. Now why would God do this to me, if the church really were true? Why on earth would a loving Heavenly Father leave me dangling, especially when he knew my heart and knew that I WANTED the church to be true.

I didn't ask to lose my faith. It happened. I didn't go into this discovery process with the intent to disprove once and for all the church was true. That became evident to me as I studied and prayed, and it's every bit as valid to me as your faith is to you that the church is true.

And of course you are appealing to my emotions when you cry "don't leave!" It's what JS did when he created the church. He appealed to everyone's emotions, and he knew that love of family was foremost on people's priority list. Every time he did something that was strange to the people he explained it away using emotional reasons. Consider when he wanted to acquire another plural wife who was still only 14, as in the case of Helen Mar Kimball. He appealed to her love for her family and convinced her father to convince her that in marrying JS, she'd be "ensuring the salvation & exaltation of all her family and kindred."

Anyway, you asked what I believe about God and Jesus. I'm still trying to sort this out in my mind, but I believe I have felt the hand of God in my life, and that's why I believe in God. I think it's possible too that Jesus is God's son and did come and die for all of us. Do I know for sure? No. Did I once think I knew for sure? Yes. But it's fascinating to me to be unsure, and to forge my own trail, and I'm not talking about a trail through evil or mists of darkness away from the straight and narrow path or rod of iron, as the Book of Mormon suggests.

I feel like my very life is a gift from God, and I am honoring that gift by taking my gifts/talents and enhancing my life and the life of others, including my family.

Curiosity makes me ask: Do you comment only on my blog or are there other exmo blogs you frequent? If it's only mine, I'm flattered. My e-mail address if you'd care to share your active blogs with me that way is sistermary_lisa at yahoo dot com if you wish to remain anonymous to everyone else. I can't figure out how I would track you down off of the clue "lawmich" if I really wanted to... :) I'm not so computer savvy.

SocietyVs said...

Lawmich, I was stating what I saw in the response you gave. I am a Christian but my faith is based in history also, I cannot deny that. I now diddle-squat about the Mormon religion but I am more than willing to find out all of it's beliefs and church structure. Sometimes I even see some Mormon elders walking around the neighborhood and want to invite them in just to learn (which I plan on doing one of these good days). So I may be ignorant to what your religion teaches (especially from the book of mormon) and about the prophet Joseph Smith but I am not above having that explained to me (actually I wish it to be so). So I may have missed the mark (which is too bad) and that is true. But my faith was finished 2000 years ago and didn't need an addition to it to 'reform' it. But explain the reason for the extra book and I will more then consider it. I speak for the Koran also (which I plan on reading).

A soul, finally free. said...

Oh, Lisa! What a great conversation. You just sound like me! It is crazy. But this was very well put. I mean mormons believe that christianity is the easy way out..or at least the church I'm going to supposedly is. BUT IT ISNT. I am being tried constatly, but I am happy and even when I am frustrated, I have an inner peace that is like NO other. Anyway, I could keep going on about that forever, but I won't...but this is a great post. Well I love you!!! Hope all is well with you. yz

lawmich said...

SML --- I read sunstoneblog - it isn't really exmo. Unfortunately, a lot of their discussions are derivative (sp), formulaic, and predictable as gospel doctrine class.

I read others, but don't post much.

Societyvs --- I hope you get good, somewhat sophisticated missionaries to talk to you. They are mostly interested in baptising, as I am sure you know. I agree that your response was very responsive to the content of my message. But I also think that, because my message was kind of written in mormonlike paradigms, you didn't address all the context (nor were you expected to).

Soc -- I am just curious (not contentious) about why you think Christ would or would not have a church, a prophet, and preisthood power on the earth today. (you may know by now that mormons hang the hat on the belief that they are truly Christ's church on earth (governs my own personal beliefs as well). Any thoughts?

SocietyVs said...

"I am just curious (not contentious) about why you think Christ would or would not have a church, a prophet, and preisthood power on the earth today. (you may know by now that mormons hang the hat on the belief that they are truly Christ's church on earth (governs my own personal beliefs as well). Any thoughts?" (Law Dude)

I think Christ has a church, I think the prophetic gift still functions in society, and the priesthood I am not sure of the meaning of that (as in Pastor, Priest, Bishop, Pope, etc). I think the original Christian faith was good as is but humans can corrupt it, I admit. I am not talking a denomination here since those who profess Christ are under the same banner to me - unless they change Christ into something he is not (ex: hatred) nor claimed to be (ex: a prophet).

My big question for Mormons and others is how do I know what books to add after the original disciples works? The Quran? The Mormon additions? The Jehovah Witness additions? And whatever else additions there are out there. What is the determinant for any of these books to be added? Although they can produce sincere faith (which I have seen and like) they also 'add' things in to the mix which were never there in the first place.

Gluby said...

Hey, SML, REALLY nice metaphor. I liked it.