Sunday, April 4, 2010

No they can't take that away from me

My name is Pablo. I'm a Mormon. I'm an eighth-generation Mormon to be exact. I don't say that to brag. I say that to give you a bit of context. Being Mormon is a very funny thing--especially when it's in practically in your blood. It's the legacy I've inherited. It's an inseparable part of who I am. It has brought me happiness. It has been a burden. It's complicated.

I know I'm not the only one who grapples with what it means to be Mormon. I want to own my heritage--to understand its meaning in my life, to accept the good and the bad of it, to reconcile all of it as best I can. If you're reading this, maybe something I write will resonate with you. Hopefully, I gain some insights if you decide to comment, which I hope at least some of you do.

This is not an anti-Mormon blog. Neither is it a blog to defend the church. The church has amazing potential to be a force for good in the world. Its members are generally good people. But the church has flaws, its members are simply human beings and Mormon culture can be both welcoming and infuriating. To me, the gospel, the church and Mormon culture are distinct, overlapping spheres. What I want to write about in this blog are my experiences living in those spheres and how I have struggled to find meaning and understanding in each of them.

I believe reasoned criticism has an important place. Our human brains allow us to question, search, experiment, believe, doubt and wonder. I like to study things out in my mind. I hope to enjoy the journey such active inquiry involves. I'm not so worried about the answers as I am exhilarated by the process of questioning itself. I like assurance as much as the next person I suppose. But "knowing" isn't what motivates me. What keeps me going is the fact that we have this amazing gift that lets us contemplate, examine and challenge.

Ultimately, this is about my experience as a Mormon. I don't limit that to my membership in the church, although that's obviously a big part of it. I am officially in full fellowship in the church, but I wouldn't call myself "active" or "believing" as those terms is most commonly used. Church authorities may have the ability at any time to determine my official status in the church, as is their prerogative. Individuals in and out of Mormon society may determine in their own minds what kind of Mormon they believe me to be. I alone have the power to determine what being Mormon means for me. No one can take that away.

I promise you that I will be critical and opinionated. It's my blog after all. But I try to be courteous, fair-minded and accurate. You'll find that I have some emotional baggage when it comes to the church and what it means to be Mormon. (I wouldn't be blogging about this if I were perfectly content now, would I?) I have no doubt that many people will disagree with my opinions. That's fine. I also presume that there will always be people with whom I'll disagree. But my experiences are my experiences and my feeling are my feelings. Those are realms where arguments serve no good purpose. Relating experiences and expressing feelings give opportunities to share and expand perspectives. With any luck, doing so here will advance at least some degree of mutual understanding, acceptance and respect. Call me naive, but I believe we can express strong opinions and be civil.

It was written long ago that there is "a time to keep silence, and a time to speak." Except for a circle of trusted friends, I've mostly kept my silence. Now, it is a time for me to speak. And hopefully for you too.


  1. A. Go eighth generation LDS members! haha. Im one as well.

    B. "I like to study things out in my mind. I hope to enjoy the journey such active inquiry involves." I like these lines in your blog, because as we talked about at lunch I think that it would be better to have followers who use critical thinking and logic and not have a herd of sheep following the church around. I would take one of you over 5 Peter Priesthoods that accept what they are told without question any day if I were leading the church. lol.

    C. Im really looking forward to hearing what you have to say and think on here!

  2. Just found your blog. I look forward to 'getting to know you' better.