Being a Mormon

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When I was a sophomore in High School, my American Studies class studied the Transcendentalists. My friend Ashley and I - (always kindred spirits), agreed that if we were not Mormons we would definitely be Transcendentalists. Reading this quote from Emerson's Self Reliance changed my life -  " Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood."

I felt misunderstood then - as does probably every High School girl, and I felt so inspired by the Transcendentalist's. Their quest for truth through thought and nature was beautiful in a new way.

Then in college I took a class about Judaism and this was our text book. (Which does not read by a textbook at all.) It explained Judaism clearly and concisely and actually - very beautifully. My appreciation for the Jewish culture expanded and I began to really appreciate the history of this sacred and devoted people. Wouk says that his work is, "For people who have at least an open mind on God, and who would like to know something about the Jewish way to him.While reading I often thought to myself - if I were not Mormon, I would convert to Judaism. 

 I was thinking about both of these experiences on my long commute to work. About Transcendentalism, about Judaism - about Mormonism. It seems like every day I see a new article on Mormonism (many having to do with my friend Mitt). There seem to be  a lot of people lately who have a lot to say about my religion. In some ways I think it is wonderful and it some ways I feel much like Emerson - - that we as a people are terribly misunderstood. That we are seen as maybe something we are not. The thing is though, I am not a Transcendentalist. I am not a Jew. I am a Mormon - and I am a Mormon very consciously, despite having been raised one. 

I have explored other faiths, I have studied them and I find truth and beauty in almost all of them. In a time where many are afraid of religion or perhaps merely apathetic to God, I find need for Him more than ever. Wouk's title, "This is My God" is very appropriate for this time where Mormons seem to be misunderstood and sometimes judged because of "Our God." We get to choose our God and I have chosen mine decisively and resoundingly. 

I think if we took the time to learn more about other faiths - other belief systems, we would understand each other much better because even though Emerson says to be great is to be misunderstood, I want people to have the chance to understand me and why I believe what I believe

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Brittany said...

You are just spot on, per usual. I couldn't agree more with every single paragraph and thought. I so valued my humanities education at BYU because instead of conclusively affirming my beliefs, my education made me question everything I knew to be true. And of course, I believed it all that much more because of the questioning.

I get frustrated when I feel misunderstood--I often even feel misunderstood by other Mormons because I think my brand of Mormonism may be a little unique in this area. I have to remind myself of what Emerson said a lot. And it's not even that I'm greater than other good, worshipping people. It's just that I've found the faith, the practices, and the God that are greatness for me.

Thanks, Mandy. Beautiful post.

Life is Good said...

Love this!

Katrina said...

Great post. :) Hope you're doing well.

Ashley Hamlin said...

Beautiful, beautiful post! I am Protestant and have a Mormon best friend. I think your faith is beautiful and I have nothing but respect and admiration for it. And you as well, after that post!

Callie said...

Beautifully put Mandy. I'm sure so many could identify with what you've written. Thank you!

Lizzy said...

Oh Mands, this is great. Thank you for posting this. I'm kind of thankful for all the media about Mormons because it gives people a chance to understand us better.

Scarlett said...

Humankind often despises and denigrates those ideas, which challenge their own. Life on earth!

Spirituality is such a personal journey to one's own truth. *Your* truth, *Your* journey is one being lived with eyes wide open, willing to love.

Opening one's soul to *Love* is a testament ALL can stand a lesson.

Lovely post.
Lovely young woman.

Alycia (Crowley Party) said...

I loved reading this! I have studied many different religions as well and I have found a love for all of them. I too have a special place in my hear for Judaism - I think that it comes from the Scriptures.
Anyways, I totally relate to this. I feel like "Mormons" are a hot topic right now, and it has been cool, and strange to have it in the spotlight. Great post!

AshCall said...

You may have been thinking that I do not exist in this world anymore. But I do. :)

I loved this post so much. First of all, the shout out warmed my heart like nothing but a blog-shout-out can. But I also loved the clarity of what you said, because I think it's what we all want to say and sometimes don't know how.

So thank you. Excited for Thursday.

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