Community

A few years ago, when I officially took leave of the religion in which I was raised, I felt lonely. Leaving a religion that had been a part of me for my whole life – or, a religion of which I had always been a part – meant that I not only left the organization, but also the community, the social structure and many of the people. My life had been about meetings and scriptures and more meetings. My social life had circled around my church. My friends were all in my church. My family members, for the most part, were all in the church. Church in every aspect of my world.

For a long time, after my exit, I felt disassociated and dislocated and I sought a replacement. I wanted friends who had like-minds and with whom I could relate in healthy, non-religious ways. Because I left on my own terms, without any ire or angst or disgust toward the church, I didn’t really blend well with the typical ex-Mormons who, for seemingly years after their departure, had a bitter axe to forcefully grind. Because I didn’t care what the church (and still don’t, for the most part) was doing “wrong” toward all of mankind, I didn’t get wrapped up in the indignant tirades that many of them would lead.

And, sadly, because I had relied for all of my life on the words of the prophet, the church leaders, my teachers and my parents to tell me what I was supposed to do and when, I had no idea where to turn or how. I had a difficult time making decisions on my own and even more difficulty deciding what to do with my time, now that I had so much of it on my hand. In this space, I discovered a new place to learn. After having so much of my life committed to religion, when I was asked to commit only two hours each week to learn about being the best me possible, I jumped in with both feet and said, “Absolutely, YES!”

I believed – and still do – the basic principals of the gospel. Treat others as I wish to be treated. Love one another. Follow the ten commandments and be charitable to those around me, etc. Although I left the religious organization, I did not leave behind my values and still adhere to the basic “goodness” with which I was raised.

Although, some things have changed. I now believe that everyone has a right to be happy – no matter their age, race, gender, gender preference, religious beliefs or financial class. I also believe that we live more than one life – that our souls are eternal and return to this earth realm time and again at the soul’s discretion to learn whatever it is they want to gain during this life. And I believe everyone is going to heaven.

Along the way, I’ve discovered that there is community outside of religion. I’ve discovered there are good people that believe in the same things I do and are not part of any particular religion. I have found that there are people who want the best for this world and believe in heaven and that we are all worthy of love, but have never attended a religious service. I have found a group of friends that believe empowering one another raises all of us to a higher level, together. That when one of us succeeds, all of us succeed. That no one is going to be left behind simply because they have chosen to marry someone of the same gender, or have chosen to not get married at all. I have a group of friends that believe in helping one another to find their genius attributes and to live in that genius is beneficial for the whole world.

I feel blessed to be part of such an amazing community. I feel happy knowing that each new day is a chance to prove to myself and to God that I am Love. I am the woman I was sent here to be.

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