Peace and Peaceability: What your antagonism toward others might be saying about you.

I recently read an article by Greg Trimble titled “You Should Not Leave Mormonism for Any of these 5 Reasons” and I have to say that while his post needs so much editing that it is literally painful to get through, he makes some of the clearest, most concise points I have come across in a long time. It is definitely worth the read.

Greg says that there are five main reasons people give for leaving the Mormon church:

1. Being Offended

2. Not Understanding the Doctrine

3. It is Just Too Hard

4. Anti-Mormon Literature

5. Sin

What I found most interesting, however, and the reason I am sharing this with you today, is what I found in the comment section. One by one, people chimed in declaring, in no uncertain terms, that Greg is an idiot who has completely missed the mark, and that they left the church for reasons that are not nearly so “simple” or “obvious” as those. They then go on to share those reasons…

And wouldn’t you know it? Every single reason (as convoluted as each writer tries to make it via description/justification) fits one of the five excuses that Greg presented. I found myself asking: Why are these commenters so up in arms about Greg’s post?  It immediately brought to mind the scripture in 1 Nephi 16:2, the bottom-half of which reads:

…”wherefore, the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center.”

I’m consistently amazed to find that those who leave the Mormon church will swear up and down (all day long, and into the night, in any forum that has the misfortune of attracting their attention) that they are blissfully happy and “at peace” now that they have left the church. However, I find it interesting that these Ex-Mormons now spend large quantities of their joyful, opression-free time, attempting to tear down the Mormon church. It begs the question: Why aren’t they just off being overwhelmingly happy?

There is an “I’m an Ex-Mormon” youtube video campaign dedicated to saving people from falling victim to the enticements of the Mormon church. There are entire websites dedicated to tearing down the most sacredly held beliefs of others. Have you ever created, updated, and maintained a website? Or produced a polished video series for youtube? These sorts of activities take time, and a whole lot of mental and emotional energy.  I’m baffled as to why happy, fulfilled people are willing to spend that hard-won joy-time (gained via their exodus from the Mormon church) participating in hateful, vindictive activities.

I am not saying that people should not be allowed to question the religious beliefs of others. That would be silly. Everyone has the right to question, search, ponder, pray, not pray…. all that good stuff. It is everyone’s right to find their truth. What I find interesting is the inability of ex-Mormons to respect the space of their faithful, believing counter-parts. It seems an impossible feat for many of them. Why is that?

I don’t feel the need to attack the Baptists, Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, or Atheists of the world. I am happy. I am busy. I have three kids, a beautiful wife, and a full-time job. Where would I find the time? More importantly, where would I find the desire to tear down the faith or belief system of another?  I am utterly without any desire to do so. If atheism is the only thing that makes sense to someone, I respect it. It doesn’t bother me. One might be so bold as to suggest that this may (or may not) be because I am actually, legitimately, genuinely happy, and not simply proclaiming to be so.

One might argue that I am no different from those who attack members of the Mormon church. Here I am, sharing my point of view. But I am simply pointing out what I find to be fairly obvious. People who have left the Mormon Church aren’t feeling nearly so peaceful and happy as they claim to feel. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be hearing from them so often, nor would they be using the tone and approach that so many tend to use. I don’t spend my time policing Catholic (or Atheist, or any other) blog-posts in an effort to push my views on others. I am just over here in my own little slice of the blogosphere shedding a little light on a topic that is long overdue.

Here are some of the comments shared over on Greg’s post. Let’s go ahead and take a look and see if these don’t fit perfectly with at least one of the five “reasons” Greg highlights.

 

Was what Greg said insulting? Offensive, even?

 

Not only is this person offended, they are “greatly” offended. I wonder if this “taking of offense” is limited to only this post, or if this person is offended quite regularly?

Also, 5 of the least likely reasons anyone would leave the church? How can anyone know that? What a perplexingly irrational statement.

*  “Perplexingly” is not an actual word, but it should be. IMO

Offended, not understanding doctrine, offended by humans being unable to “get with the times” fast enough, delving deep into anti-Mormon literature, (with the intent, I might add, to find reasons to excuse oneself from the responsibilities of church membership because “it is just too hard” for many.)

Sadly, the call of the world, and the need to be accepted by the inhabitants of the great and spacious building trumps the need to be a humble follower of Christ in good-standing with God. It’s not easy to work hard, study, and strive every day to better yourself only to be grouped into the category of “sheeple” because you have faith in the unseen.

It’s not easy, but many of us do it anyway. This is because, for many of us still in the church, the alternative (deny the truth and forsake our faith) is worse than the labels that others put upon us in an attempt to bully us and diminish our resolve to stay true.

But nothing is worth losing the peace that I feel. The same peace that many have sacrificed on the altar of pride and a desire for acceptance in the world. The peace that many claim to possess, but whose actions indicate precisely the opposite. Peaceful people don’t wage war on the beliefs of others. Peaceful people are too busy building, and growing, and creating to find the time (and more importantly, the desire) to attack others.

Let me reiterate: It is completely fine that people rail against the teachings of the church. It is okay that they are angry and feel the need or desire to be antagonistic. You have the right to your own experiences. Your path is yours to travel, and your journey is valid at every turn. Your agency is yours, and it is crucial that you use said agency to create the life that you want. I would also suggest that maybe, just maybe, it is okay for others to use their agency to believe and create something different. To walk a different path. And if your current belief system makes you feel restless, defensive, angry, offended, bothered, antagonistic, misunderstood, or upset in any way toward another person or organization…you may want to ask yourself:  “Hm, why is that?”

Then again, you may not want to investigate those feelings at all. Who knows where that might might lead? And that is okay. Agency reigns supreme here on earth, and your choices are as valid as mine.

The question is simple: Is what you are currently doing/saying/believing/proclaiming, truly bringing peace into your life? And if your answer is an emphatic “YES!” then, what is there to argue about?

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