Ok, living in Utah we have to admit, there is a culture here that is unlike anything across the United States and even the world. Growing up LDS and having served a LDS mission in the southern states, Georgia to be exact. Ray Charles sung about it and its true "Georgia [always] on my mind", it was an awesome breath of fresh air to experience two years outside of Utah and be thrown into such a diverse culture melting pot where in one day you would meet every religion. From Jewish, Muslim, Baptist, Methodist, Buddhist, Hindu, etc. You name it, everyone! I remember exchanging a Book of Mormon for a Qu-ran, that was quite the experience! Coming back to Utah, I could say I definitely had some depression, expecting to come back to something more, or different as I had experienced but it just wasn't the same. I guess I could say I have been on a journey since then. Finding my place in this familiar world of Utah but trying to get back or reinvent that diversity that I loved so much.
We have all heard the saying, especially in Utah, "They're not LDS but they're a good person." I really find this saying humorous, what is that supposed to mean? What has a religion become, to use that phrase? Is it simply saying, as the south would put it : "Well, they're not us but bless their heart" I can't help but wonder what brings people to say something like that. Shouldnt we try to look beyond stereotypes and get to the heart of a person?
I don't know, sometimes, I really consider myself as a liberal "LDS". There are many things that have been taught, where I really listen to that gut instinct of mine and have found to be true, yet, there are many other things that keep us hanging on the branches rather than fighting to get to the root. Religions, organizations or what have you preach many different things and operate in many different forms and fashions but I like to stick to what I believe is core. We are all in this world together, nothing gives anyone a right over someone else, we have only been given rights for ourselves, our own individuality. There are kind and loving actions that we can "give" to another. There are also mean and hateful actions we can "give" as well but there are consequences that come from either that we have no right to choose the outcome.
I love the truth of not knowing. For example, one experience I had when it came to my mission, a dear friend I met out there asked me a question concerning a religious topic, my answer was sincere, "I don't know." She looked at me and said that was the most honest answer she has ever heard and she had met with Doctorates of Religion, Preachers, Pastors, you name it. But she accepted my answer as the best one. Why? I believe that is the most honest answer we can have within us. Truth and answers come, in their own time and way to everyone. I have grown to love "I don't know." That doesn't mean you just sit around because "you just don't know". You take action that you have the right to do in the first place, whether it is through meditation, prayer, going to church, going to the mountains, whatever it takes for you to find those answers.
That is the beauty I believe that we have in this life, to know that we just don't know everything and that is ok. Maybe, it's just my personality of easy going figuring things out as they come, I think the worst thing someone can do is worry. And coming from a culture such as Utah and this grand and big religion that we have here, with many people living certain standards and expectations it is so easy to fall into this worry, of failing or what have you. Trust me, I have been there, I've lost many nights of sleep because I've just been in a state of worry. I worry what someone will think, what someone will do, what someone will say of me. But on this journey I have had up until I am writing this as I type, there is that constant war within my soul that I just need to be of good cheer, choose to be happy from within, not from things that come without. God is great! There will be a day I believe where we will know for a surety of all things but we must understand that we all go somewhere when we pass, this life right now is the experience of a lifetime (literally). I get excited knowing what lies beyond, of course I get nervous of how I will get there but the one thing I have to always remember is we are here right now, this very moment. Tomorrow is promised to no one, the past is something to learn from and today is the chance to act. So act well towards each other. Thanks for letting me express my thoughts and heart, there is a lot more to this but for now thats all I got.