Lately, I’ve found myself attracted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Why? I don’t know. I suppose I can point to members of the Mormon religion who impress me, folks who seem to have good heads on their shoulders and solid foundations under their feet. Or perhaps it’s this restless, empty feeling I have inside. Some folks would surely call it a God-sized hole in my heart.
Truth is, I don’t know much about the Mormon religion. Not really. I’ve read a bit here and there, and, like a lot of folks, I’ve seen the South Park episode that mocked it. I suppose I laughed, like a lot of folks, and then moved on with my life.
Religion has always been hard for me. Mostly always, that is. There was, in my childhood, one brief moment of stillness I can point to. I was twelve years old and convinced the world was about to end. Maybe I saw the news reporting some prediction or maybe my brother had told me earlier that day to frighten me. I don’t recall, but I do know I was worried and unprepared and alone. My family had gone out, leaving me by myself in the house. I covered up on the couch and tried not to cry as I thought. I prayed, inspired by fear, and kept praying in my own obsessive way. I remember being worried that I’d never see my family again, and I remember the exact moment when that worry went away. Maybe the praying worked, or maybe I just exhausted myself, but it’s probably, no definitely, the only time in my life I’ve ever felt . . . what? Happy? Peaceful? Content. In that moment, it would have been okay to die.
That night the world didn’t end. I woke up the next morning feeling silly, and soon I was back to being myself.
Anyway, as an adult, it’s always been hard for me to believe. Logically, I can accept the possibility of a greater intelligence in the universe, a higher power, if you will. But how can I reconcile myself with the idea that any one religion has its finger on the pulse of that big potential unknowable?
I want to believe; I want to believe so much. In some ways, maybe I need to believe, because otherwise I’m stuck with these nihilistic thoughts, this sense that nothing matters and that all of life is a joke. A part of me usually manages to convince myself that sixty, seventy, eighty or so years of life is noble enough. And, well, that thought definitely keeps me alive, but I don’t know that it keeps me fulfilled.
I don’t know. As time passes, I’ll probably look more into what it means to be a Mormon. I’m guessing joining a church requires a calling. I’m afraid what I’m feeling might be just a confusion.