Monday, February 9, 2009

The Positives

To answer Mary's question about if there are things I've gained from the church that I still value I sat down and made a list. I was surprised because it actually ended up being more difficult then I expected (probably because I didn't include things that I most likely would still have gained had I never joined the church). But it wouldn't be fair to say that the church provides nothing valuable, in fact it would be a lie. Some things I'll continue to carry with me:
  • Journals - I have come to love chronicling my life and recording my thoughts and feelings (both on my blogs and in a private, written journal).
  • Emergency Preparedness - I may not feel the need to have a 1-2 year supply of wheat (as I no longer believe in the reality of a biblical Armageddon) but having a financial reserve, a well stocked pantry, and 72-hour kits are still important to us.
  • Gratitude - We may not pray before our meals, but we still like to take a moment to express our gratitude for the food on our plates. We still say something we're grateful for, and something we're grateful to each other for each night before we go to bed. Life is so much nicer when we take a moment to appreciate it.
  • Lucy - Had it not been for my membership in the church I probably would have postponed my family for quite some time. And while I can see the advantages to being childless while young I wouldn't change the fact that I had Lucy when I did. She brings so much joy and love into our lives. We love having her here and now. Besides, since I am a younger mother I don't have to worry about running out of energy chasing after her once she learns to walk. And I'll probably get to enjoy being a young grandmother as well. So that's cool.
  • Unique Fun - There's no denying that Mormons have to be creative when it comes to thinking up things to do for fun. The prohibitions on behavior mean that Mormon college students don't fall into the routine of partying every weekend that some (SOME) non-Mormon coeds do. I might not have learned to love games like "Killer Bunnies," "Bang," "Guillotine," etc.
  • Adam - I met Adam, and some very dear friends, at BYU. Had I never joined the church I certainly wouldn't have gone to BYU. Granted, I'd probably have made other friends and met someone I'd spend the rest of my life with. But I like Adam. And I like the friends I did make. So I'm including them in my list.
  • Some Great Art/Music - I was exposed to some beautiful hymns through the church. Granted, they'll never hold the same amount of meaning for me as they once did. But I'm not so disaffected that I can't enjoy religious music and art (who doesn't appreciate the Sistine Chapel, or the David for example?). And while I've always found most LDS art to be vapid, sickeningly sweet, and downright bad (hardly worth the canvas it's painted on) there are some very important exceptions (much of Walter Rane's work, and Minerva Teichert come to mind).
I'm sorry the list is so small. I would have liked to think I gained much more than that. But, while the list is short, there are some important items on it. I guess the question to ask now is, was it worth it? Are the things I gained worth the price I paid?

I think so. But honestly, I haven't given it much thought. What's the point? Determining whether it was worth it or not won't change that I did, in fact, pay that price. And I can't change that. So I'm certainly not going to spend the rest of my life wondering how much I should regret it.