Josies Writing Workshop this week is all about our beliefs and I knew straight away which prompt I was going to choose. Religion is such a personal topic and it raises a whole mixed bag of opinions. I hope I dont offend during this post. That is not my intention. My intention is to share my experience of religion and belief's.
2) How have your belief systems changed through your lifetime?
How do they compare to when you were a child? What new beliefs have you discovered?
What old ones have you let go of and why?
I had a great childhood, despite my parents splitting and Dad not being reliable with visits life at home was good. I lived in a lovely big house, was very well fed and clothed, I was surrounded by a massive extended family and was happy. I was raised a Mormon by my Mum and Stepfather, which most of the time was a fab experience. I had lots of church friends who I'm still in touch with now thanks to social media. Good friends who I share many fantastic memories with. Friends who I think the absolute world of. The Church has a second to none social life. The problem was I struggled to believe in its teachings.
I tried...I mean really tried. I was asked to pray for clarity, asking for Heavenly Father (God) to basically 'show me the light' but it never worked no matter how hard I prayed. I wanted to believe but it just didn't happen and because of this I often felt inferior to everyone else.
Mum was what I would describe as a decent and genuine Mormon living by her beliefs, she did her best to instill good values into her family. Mum taught me the importance of trust and honesty, she taught me the value of integrity, how to be a good friend and all about loyalty and respect. Mum was a Good Woman just as most Mormons that I know are. However just like in all religions there are a few hypocritical bigots and my Stepfather being one of them was a complete D***h**d.
He raised me for ten years and to be honest he wasn't around that much, most of the time he was either at work or doing something for the church be it home teaching, playing football or just doing churchy 'stuff'. He was rarely home but when he was I found him over bearing, aggressive, judgemental and would constantly spout religion at me. When I picture him now I see him sitting in the arm chair, his scriptures open on his lap, telling me how evil I was and that I was definitely going to 'hell' for wearing a skirt above my knee's.
Basically at age 14 this is what I thought of him and his crazy, messed up idea's and would often do the 'up yours' hand signal as he glanced down at his bible in between preaching sessions.
I decided pretty early on that I did not believe what the church taught to be true. I did not believe in God or church teachings. I did not believe in a heaven or hell and my conflicting beliefs with my stepfather caused me no end of trouble. He would make me feel like crap because I
I did return home when Papa and I were first married but by this point Stepfather was on his way out the door. Mum was tired of him and his abuse and was in the process of divorcing him. Mum also left the church that year and the atmosphere at home was completely different. Mum and I became best Friends that year.
So what do I believe if not in God...Everyone has some belief, Right?
I always swayed more towards paganism, mainly because its not rigid in its believe system. There are no real set rules and you don't have to attend a church to feel accepted in its community. Pagan's do not worship the devil or sacrifice their kids at burning alters like I was raised to understand. They are not sexual deviants or harm people or animals. They believe in Mother Nature, at being at one with the natural world. Pagans are a mixed bunch and their beliefs are diverse, some concentrate on certain Celtic traditions or Gods/goddesses, Wicca and ecology. They are generally Eco conscious and strive to minimise any harm to our natural environment. To me this 'sits' better in my brain, it makes more sense to me to worship our precious planet rather than a God.
I also believe in Evolution, I believe in Science, I believe in Love, I believe in positive energy, I believe in strength of character, I believe in good people, I believe Life is what we make it, I believe we all have the power within ourselves to be happy. When I'm having a rubbish day I believe there is always someone out there worse off. I believe in Myself and my right to believe in whatever I choose. I believe in Free will.
What do you believe?