Are you happy?

June 20, 2012

The past three years of my life have been the biggest roller coaster when it comes to me and my relationship with the church of Jesus Christ of later day saints…. I want to tell you most about the past six months but first let me recap my  history. I was born into the church and raised to be the star pupil of any Sunday school. I was raised in the kind of household that I’m sure many of the readers of this blog are familiar with. I have very kind loving parents but all to often the church routine meeting style was reflected in all family gatherings. For an adolescent young man It’s the kind of thing that turns what is supposed to be a nice family get together into just another boring meeting to be endured in order to earn some freedom to spend time with my non Mormon friends. All through high school and  into my freshman year of college I was always the Mormon kid in the group. The kind of kid who would go to parties but wouldn’t drink, the one who would talk about sex watch porn regularly but still somehow maintained his virginity, I was a classic line treader scared to death of breaking the rules but sure did love getting close. Come to think of it  back then I was even a bit of a jerk. I really enjoyed putting others down.  To me just re reading over this I see that i had the classic symptoms of an insecure bully. Deep down inside I was never truly happy I was always beating the crap out of my insides about one thing or another.

Thats when I went off to my freshman year of college, I went to a small junior college in small townWyoming so really very little changed for me in that space of time. Although I do remember that attending church regularly became a pretty tough exercise for a little while there. That December I put in my mission papers so that I could fulfill yet another expectation that I didn’t fully understand. At this point I think it’s important to brief you a little more about my family. I have four older brothers all of which completed two full years in the mission field, so in the back of my mind all that i could think of was my mother crossing her fingers for a perfect score. I did want to go on a mission, at least that’s what I told everyone. I had no idea what I was about to get myself into.

Eventually the mission call came and it was to the Durban south Africa mission. I was giddy with nervous excitement. It was around this point that I decided to quit lying my mom and actually read the book of Mormon for myself. I powered through that book three times in one week, and ended up with quite an extreme affirmation of its truth, which ended up making me really want to go if only for the sake of that little book.The next step was the temple… This is where it gets interesting.

I was like every other nineteen year old Mormon kid. I had heard tons of clues as to what goes on in the temple but I just couldn’t quite piece it together. it was the ultimate mystery in my mind at that time. Then I went through…. And I thought I was confused before.

Il be honest with ya on this one, I was freaked out . I would have been totally cool with it if I had been told where it came from, but no instead it just had to be a weird ass mystery that no one really wanted to talk about. So now I’m stuck with a fork in the road on one hand I had a overwhelmingly undeniable testimony of the book of Mormon but on the other hand I had no idea what to make of the temple situation.

But I was one of the lucky ones. I have an older brother who I never really new because he was so much older than me but it always seemed like my parents were less pleased with him for some reason. Little did I know how much he knew.  Several phone calls and visits later and i was all of the sudden extremely interested in church history and gospel doctrine. This feeling that I had about it became an obsession to the point where I would wake up in the morning and just want to read more and more. In a one month span i changed my mind about a huge amount of things. It was a major transformation, I went from saying I would never drink a beer, to standing up for beer overnight. Just when I thought thingscouldn’t get any more interesting I left on my mission.

We would e mail every Monday and as soon as I figured out how to use the printer, the Internet cafe became my printing press. I ended up filling two three inch binders with materials that I had read. This thing was full of the classics, like max scousens templesoother he words of Joseph smith, and a history of the temple endowment, And a bunch of assorted posts from my favorite blog sites.

I was like the kid with marijuana in high school and my mission president was the principal. And after eighteen awesome months I guess I had answered one to many elders questions, and handed out one too many of my printings, and I was sent home. I won’t go into all of the details about that here but let me just say there was quite the witch hunt conducted by the zone leaders assistants to the president and the president himself an I was sent home for living a different religion than them.

Im not bitter about it because if it would not have happened I would not be living  the lifestyle that I currently do. Right now I live in the woods most call it camping but I do it on a more permanent basis so I call it living. I’ve turned into a regular pot smoking hippy and I love every second of it. Im poor as dirt and to me that’s pretty rich. I feel closer to god every day I’m out there. These days I’m truly happy, and I’ve noticed it reflects on the way I treat others, I’m much nicer now. I think there truly is something to be said for dropping all your shackles totally transforming yourself  and bidding babylon a fond farewell.

Its really a revolutionary concept if you think about it, the idea that you can be happy and content with life right now in whatever circumstance your in. The idea that the play is much funner if watched from the audience. I love life and I am constantly happy since I moved. I feel like your religion should make you happy. My religion is to love your neighbor. My religion does not bother me. I enjoy practicing my religion. My religion involves my friends. my religion has nothing to  do with church. my religion is to love your neighbor.

Before my mission I don’t think I could have said that about my religion. Can you say that about yours?

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13 Responses to “Are you happy?”

  1. Rob said

    “Im not bitter about it because if it would not have happened I would not be living the lifestyle that I currently do.” That I think is what makes such a huge difference. Recognizing that helps free us. It’s really cool how you are doing what you are doing right now.

    “I was sent home for living a different religion than them.” I hit that point a few years ago and said it one time while speaking with a relative who is LDS. I said that I believe in a different God and have a different religion. They didn’t like that, but it made complete sense.

    So how did your mission companions react? What about DL’s and ZL’s?

    • well my whole mission all the way till i got home the people below the level of zone leader all loved me usually so they couldn’t quite get why i would be sent home.. . but for the 1/3 ( odd that thats the number ) that were in higher leadership, i was usually disliked so they were probably glad i was gone.

  2. Dan said

    Well done sir. Your experiences are changing you. You are finally clay in the hands of the potter, sit back and enjoy the massage!

    It’s time to gAther the last of the ‘few’

  3. Taryn Fox said

    My parents asked me that “are you happy?” question more times in the few months after I left their church than in the whole rest of my life put together. Somehow, though, no matter how many times I answered them they never accepted my answer.

    I feel like I worry about too many things, still, and I wonder how much of that’s my fault. Thank you for prompting me to think about that.

  4. Kevin said

    It’s nice to read of someone living what I consider “the dream.”

    Even during my staunch TBM years, I was always struck by how materialistic the church and culture were/are. When the leaders are overwhelmingly selected from the top 1%, it’s easy to see how material wealth is confused as a sign of righteousness and why Utah is the affinity fraud capital of the universe.

    And I’ll spare you the details of the experience, but the Spirit has confirmed to me that cannabis is sacred. Just please don’t refer to it as the “M” word. That’s a prohibitionist creation designed to manipulate the masses. imho,

    • alright good call 🙂

      • Nephi said

        Hi, Sounds like a freakin awesome life. I’m almost 17 and I’ve never been in the church. We live in a polygamist community. I’ve done my share of cannabis smoking and didn’t know if I should feel guilty or not but after reading this I think maybe not? I would really like to meet you someday, if you ever get out to the Moab area you should let me know. I feel like I’m in a spiritual rut right now and would really like to talk to someone like minded. Just trying to get and stay on the right path. Whatever that is.

  5. Wildrose said

    I have no idea whether smoking anything brings true happiness or not, so I won’t comment on that, but might I suggest you look into getting married? I see the church much the way you do, so I’m not trying to attack your chosen way of finding happiness. I just know with a certainty that there is no way to happiness greater than struggling with the difficulties of marriage. It’s the best way to “love your neighbor.”

    • I didn’t mean to make it sound like smoking weed was going to bring you true happiness, its not a bad guide to it though:) thanks for the advice.. i have been looking for a wife since the first day i was back on my mission and i have been back for six months and trust me I’m still looking, i never thought of putting that off. actually have my eye on a very good one right now… she’s not a member, smokes with me to… hmmm

  6. Wildrose said

    Glad you’re looking for a wife. When I say I don’t know if smoking anything (weed or anything else) will bring you happiness, I’m referring to the fact that there are set laws to happiness. I’m not sure where smoking comes in there. I’ve never tried it. But I have tried marriage, so I know that it brings happiness, or it can, more happiness than anything else can–including weed ;).

    Whoever you marry, be sure you get sealed to her–and I’m not talking about the temple ceremony. So many people are married in the temple ceremony and then shocked and dismayed when life goes bad on them. If you understand sealing to be a spiritual thing, not a ceremony in the temple, then you aren’t going to be disappointed by it.

    Lots of adventures ahead of you.

  7. Hope For Zion said

    I love your blog. I wish you would post more. One thing I’ve found is that time is an essential part of learning and that every phase of life and all the experiences lead to a better understanding of self and everything else. Enjoy the truth you have found, and as that truth changes and shifts move forward with it. You will grow and find that everything really is relative, even relativity itself. For instance I once thought that I totally understood absolute submission to God. Now I laugh at what I once thought was absolute. Hopefully 25 years from now I will laugh at what I think today.

    My experience with the church led me into the woods too. When I was finished I returned and brought with me all that I’ve learned. The love, the patience, the humility, the tolerance, and the desire to truly sacrifice my own desires. And the strength I’ve gained is changing the world right in front of my eyes. Entire congregations awoken to the state of misery we often find ourselves in. I’ve helped to change a hundred times more hearts in the last year than I changed in my two years of infantile service. I am grateful for how it shaped me in the same way that my mistakes have.

    Some choose to leave the fold and find others wandering in the woods and some choose to join other folds entirely. The reason we Wander is to Wonder. And when we Wonder with Purpose we Ponder. And when we Ponder with Faith, we grow Fonder. May we grow fonder of what we have been given and share it with every creation we meet. Please keep sharing it with those who are listening. You have a greater gift than you even realize. Live it. Enjoy it. Share it.

  8. Shawn Warner said

    I’m curious what you were spreading that got you so in trouble. I was a line rider in my mission too. Not breaking rules or being against the teachings, just not ‘conforming’ like they wanted me to. After I was home the mission called my stake pres and wanted me to call them back to apologize for things I had done. Of course I said no and that I wasn’t sorry and hadn’t done anything wrong.

    Keep it up hippy. Don’t forget though that a smelly homeless looking guy can’t attract seekers of Christ very well (not to mention it’s super hard to hitch a ride looking that way). Even Jesus washed his feet…

    • the mission president didn’t like me asking missionaries if they cared that the city creek center was built with tithing funds, i taught from the book of mormon to missionaries about the severity putting ones trust in man, i told a lady that if canabas made her cancer go away she should smoke it, i disscussed the adam god doctrine with other elders, i discussed the theology of the doctorine and covenants in a way that made me seem slightly bhudist, and rastafarian. told elders history about poligamy blacks in the priesthood, beer, and everything in between.

      but of all the things i told elders the one that put the mission president out the most was THE DAVIDIC SERVANT AND THE SETTING IN ORDER OF THE CHURCH because i firmly believe this is what members need to be educated most about at this point these are the closing scenes of our socioty as we know it and “the world” is going to “end” and we need to get ourselves through to the next begining. so my only advice is start by searching for the one mighty and strong within yourself, find that and it will never die it may be marred but it will never die.

      p.s. lol shawn because you said that I’m going to assume you haven’t spent enough time around smelly homeless looking guys. jesus was walking around fasting for forty days at some point i doubt he cared what his feet looked like. not refuting your point just saying 🙂

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