An Exit From Fundamentalism

Jake and I value our relationship with family and friends. We strive to live in honesty and honor, while rooting our family in the unconditional love God gives. Sometimes joining these concepts within these mediums isn’t always clear on how to do it smoothly. Our family has resigned our membership to our religion, but not in our faith. It is difficult to know how open we need to be and with whom. Many aspects about being open with our transition makes me(Heidi) uneasy. A part of uneasiness comes from defining ourselves, which doesn’t align with my value of, everybody is on equal playing grounds. Any type of seclusion or separation of our Self depletes humanity. It would be nice if we all tapped into feeling and perceiving our fluid connection with Life. A natural progression to  personal communication with this topic is ideal. While other times may require the authenticity for Self to speak up. We imagine this news may be heart-sinking for some who know us and view this post. If questions arise, we are willing to respond with simple answers if that is your desire. Because we value our relationships, we have no intentions of persuading others to change their course of direction. A common misconception when people leave their religion is that they have been offended, are unhappy or desire to ‘sin’. But in reality, it is because they have a tendency to ask questions, seek truth, and want understanding to their cognitive dissonance. This transition to a new chapter in our family’s journey is hard-earned. We persevered in pondering, praying, searching biblical scriptures and researched most all controversial topics about our religion. We are happy with our decision and feel at peace. We continue-on, heeding God’s Divine Power to navigate our family with ‘special needs’ children. The ideology is to raise our girls in the healthiest way we know how and/or have parental control over. Undergoing this awakening of truth, allows our faith and spirituality to develop directly under God, who isn’t limited by anything Earthly. We wish for a dual acceptance in each of our life- journeys. We hope you will trust us over time that we are making the best decision for our family.

Warm Wishes,
Heidi and Jake

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Giving Peace and Comfort

Some are more inclined than others to focus on spirituality. Finding the best avenue may be like searching for the right doctor. For 10 years I was a massage therapist and if you came to me with sciatic nerve pain, on our protocol would be Piriformis muscle which is located inferior/ underneath the Gluteal muscles. However, if you went to a Neurologist, they would have an entirely different protocol. A while ago I was feeling spiritually stagnant. I methodically came to realize my beliefs and perception needed to be more inline with God’s. It takes time to understand His words and will. Progressing requires patience on my part and the ability to adapt. When I understand a new spiritual concept, my ability to input spiritual knowledge expands and allows room for more enlightenment. Occasionally the realignment is uncomfortable, like the last unexpected deluge.

It was just another adversarial verbal-combat through a meltdown, with a certain 3-year-old whose name shall remain anonymous. (wink-wink) During pre-season meltdown, the referee(myself) took a time-out to my bedroom.  I am grateful Jake was not traveling for work and was home to take on all the nightly rituals. My affliction held out to a ghastly length. The details of my foe are too tender to share, but certainly the enlightenment can be disclosed. The muttered complaints were mostly to myself, but I guess God took it personally because he sent the Holy Ghost to boldly comfort me with, “You have everything you asked Me for.” It was the nicest way anybody could have told me to “Shut the hell up.” God is right, and all that He’s given adds joy to life. Before His words of comfort came, my personal drama was like involuntarily shoving my own face into a hot-sloppy, muddy- reality and only in submersion could I make meaning out of His words, “Landmarks of success don’t bring peace!”  Past experiences with peace has always been a struggle. Therefore I can expect the same for the future.

A variety of sources lend peace and influence individuals differently.  I was diagnosed with Anxiety/Panic disorder at the age of 21 and what my internal voice has told me is, “If it improves an aspect of your life without harming another aspect, try it.” For the practice of grammar I’ll include a personal illustration: Somewhere imbedded into my sinews is the muscle-memory of running on Utah’s Wasatch BLVD. Animate alongside the Wasatch Mountains with cars whizzing by and my feet making contact with the asphalt; provided an intermittent space of peace throughout all four seasons of the year. ‘Running’ is retired because the function of my body morphed and the amount of its influence wouldn’t be as impactful. Today the Pacific Ocean is an undiluted source of outpouring peace and prevalent for my body. Even though I am an advocate of all organized religions, I don’t think these institutions are singular to knowing God. So yes, the ocean brings me closer to God and helps reset my beliefs to what is true.

God is a good, reliable source in giving peace. His words cannot be bound by earthly cares or effective my the Periodic Table of Elements. His way of providing peace adapts to each person’s unique needs. Like, when these scriptures below were in my studies the day after my ‘time-out.’ He knows I’m a typecast for a dark comedy movie, so the first scripture is enjoyably humorous. Then I’m reassured of not being the only one and to keep my chin up because I am progressing. Then He gives me a job to do so I feel needed.

“12  Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

10  But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle”

“5  For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

6  And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.

7  And our hope of you is steadfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.”

So, I guess my hope for the future is staying close to God and trusting He will lead me to more  resources contributing peace and my own false-landmarks will vanish. God gave me comfort and peace to pass on, so others may feel it as well.

 

 

 

Boiled Eggs and Poopy Diapers: A Life Lesson in Jokes, Religion and War.

It’s Sunday morning, the day of our church primary program. Our family and many others are excited and anticipating how our children will do. There is a wonderful feeling children bring when they sing about Jesus. On the car drive over Ivy poops her diaper. There isn’t a clean one because I’m planning to leave early due to a head cold. Brainstorming synapsis fire away. I can make it work! Go to the bathroom inside the church, clean out the poop, fold lots of toilet paper inside the diaper. We are good-to-go, problem solved!

Directly turning into the crowded church parking lot, a car is parked in a non-designated stall; along a curb where everyone who enters can see! The trunk is opened. Just below, on the freshly tarred lot, are at least 10 white manikin limbs, each having a section of bloody red dye at the base! I’m not Ann Rice or Tom Clancy, but try to imagine in your own words a disturbing scene. Completely caught-off-guard lightly palpitates what my heart feels. Thoughts occur: this is supposed to be a place of refuge, a place to heal my spirit, a place to enjoy my child’s primary program-where they sing about Jesus and feel His love. Wow! That’s one way to kill the spirit of the Holy Ghost. Could this be a joke? No, it can’t be. It must have been an accident. Someone was trying to get something out of their car. Their career is giving seminars teaching First Aid and they have these props that coincidently fell out. Right? Fiction or Non Fiction, the initial reaction to the ‘stage’ has been felt and imprinted into the sinews of each person affected.

Luckily the awful scene leaves my mind during the few minutes of Ayzia and Eden’s parts. Eventually Ivy is too active during the program and people sitting nearby are trying to enjoy the performance so I leave. In the car, I exit the parking lot the same way I entered. Three men stand by the car of the incident. The trunk is still open, but no bloody limbs scatter the ground. I pull out onto the road without an episode, but my eggs are boiled and they need to be shelled! I turn around, back to the men. Our exchange goes something like, “Were your guys involved with the bloody limbs?” A man answers, “Yes, this is my car and my friend thought it would be a funny joke. We have thrown the parts away. In the service of the joke, my tire got popped.” To my calculations they are standing around, waiting for the tire to be repaired. I don’t know if it is him or I who spoke next, but an apology is made. My feelings are relayed, “I had kids in the car, it was a disturbing image and most likely the people walking out of the church with their kids were also disturbed.” He admits, “It was too graphic of a scene for young kids.” Then he turns to one of the men and says, “He shouldn’t have done that.” I can only assume this was the ‘friend’ who played the joke. The ‘friend’ hugs close to a tree, with his arms folded and head down. His body language portrays his remorse, but his snickering face says he enjoys my complaint because it fits perfectly along with his joke.

I love to laugh. Years ago, I was the one to play the April Fool’s joke too far! I have since then learned my lesson. This man was older than me. One would think being wise in years gives the knowledge as to where and when these kinds of jokes are played. I say to the group, “I’m all about playing jokes and having a good laugh, but this was the wrong place at the wrong time.” Driving away, more thoughts come to mind. The bloody limbs aren’t just obscene for young kids. Real crime scenes look like this that afflict trauma on family members and friends. What about the people who fight in war and come home struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. Many of the members in our church congregation serve our country. Recently I was in possession of a graphic picture of a family member with an infection in their leg from a surgery. I am able to look subjectively at these kinds of medical photos. Unfortunately I tried showing a friend this picture, who incidentally fought in the war on terror. Shamefully I remembered his service too late. As I replay the scene over in my mind, I see on their face the trauma of war and will for the rest of their life. Of course, my phone-photo of an infected leg is real and the manikin legs aren’t. But it doesn’t matter whether it is fake or real, each person is affected differently with or without past trauma.

Reasons over shadow each other as to why this post is necessary. To the reader it is based upon their interpretation. Personally, some would be: repenting for what I did to my friend, to keep my kids innocent as long as possible, to be aware of my actions, respect people’s life story that isn’t similar to my own, to check myself before I think a joke ‘would be’ funny. One thing is certain, the reasons for war, an act of crime, and PTSD cannot be resolved simply by stuffing a diaper with toilet paper. When we share or re-share a video, a picture, a news clipping, a joke or display a dreadful scene; let’s ask ourselves, “Who’s hard boiled eggs do you really want to crack open?”