Back when I was an Evvie, it took me a year and a half to have a firm grasp of Mormonism. Its history, its belief system; how it's supported, why that it doesn't work. I was at my prime in a year and a half, and it was time. I sent a Facebook msg to a Mormon friend who was on a mission.
You know the Evvie drill: time to save a soul. Which was bullshit, I wanted revenge against the institution.
Who hasn't? There's no pretending that the main reason embittered people (read: mostly those with a big conflict with the church) like Mormonism is because we're virtuous and just "find it fascinating." I find psychology fascinating because it sometimes evidences that beliefs err on the delusional side. Not afraid to admit it.
What I am afraid to admit is that because of the church, I've become a better person.
Why? Because I shared my bitterness in the form of hatred for over two years?
Yes. That is entirely why I'm a better person.
Because from my bitterness, from my hatred for every logical delusion buried in the mind of a Mormon and because of what it meant for my life, I found my own logic to be delusional.
What makes the Bible any better than the BoM? And I don't mean qualitatively better. I mean what puts the Bible above the BoM in any logical sense?
I became a Universalist. I questioned my beliefs on Hell. I questioned my beliefs on gay marriage. I questioned the value of religion itself.
And not in a sense that religion is without value. I questioned it in a sense that Christianity is the only religion with "True" value, and everything else is "an abomination unto the Lord" (a founding Mormon concept that, honestly, Evvies like I once was believe just as wholeheartedly).
One year ago today, I sent that missionary my "I'd like to discuss some questions I have" message. And just yesterday,I had my discussion with that Mormon friend of mine. Met him at the local Mormon Institute, the only place I can currently see the girl who loves me (and I, her; for the past three years of god-dammmit-why-the-hell-is-there-a-temple-sealing pain).
I shared with him my experiences with Mormonism. An Evvie upbringing, a dance with Mormon criticism, a sudden insight from personal reflection, my Universalist upheaval...
and how I visited him today to share that I no longer think his religion is something I wish to deprive him of.
I was honest with him. I still disagree with some of the Mormon moral beliefs.
But I was also honest with myself:
Though I find Mormonism entirely false, with unjustifiable moral issues strengthened by (come on, guys) "spiritual" methods of fact-finding, I find that I can't still devote my time to defaming his beliefs.
I've found other things to do in my godless life that are meaningful and filled with a grand purpose. And they involve finding a way to get a long with the group of people I hold more contention for than any. other. group.
Throwing away my Christian beliefs--throwing away my selfish, Christian beliefs--I find that I can finally do as Christ commanded.
The most simple, remorseless command of all: to love thy neighbor.
And even, after all the pain and tears from a needlessly ended, Shakespearean of a three-year relationship...
to love my greatest enemy.
And that's how--after years of bitterness, hatred, and anger--I can say what, for years, I have found unthinkable:
Mormonism has changed my life.
And it has changed it for the better.