Today I have spent the majority of the day re-reading my Harry Potter books. I’m on book three now at 6:20 pm, Mountain Standard Time. The inscription inside my paperback Prisoner of Azkaban reads, “Happy 8th birthday, Brooke! Love, Uncle T, Aunt K, Jen and Jor.”
My copy of Year Three was taped back together again today. The first 100 pages had stopped holding to it’s binding and the binding has been chewed by my dog, Navi. To say that book has seen better days is an understatement–but it’s probably my favorite book in the whole series. I will never replace that copy.
How much I love that book got me thinking about another book I have that I wish was as loved and tattered.
It also got me thinking about how much I want to go to church tomorrow and how much I need to re-commit myself to my faith. This next part may come as a shock to some: it’s the Jesus Christ Church of Latter-Day Saints that I miss. Only some of my closest friends, and obviously my friends from that church, know that I was baptized in June of 2014 into the Mormon faith.
Back when I invited my family to my baptism my home life kind of went haywire for about a month. My parents were certain I wanted to join a cult, my grandmother was befuddled and couldn’t comprehend why I would want to be baptized when I had already been baptized at 12 into the Methodist church. But I remember the feeling I had the day I was baptized: total and utter cleanliness of the soul.
Since then I have been a truly appalling Mormon. I simply stopped going to church. I stopped abiding by the holy doctrines. I stopped caring. I forgot about the whole reason I even wanted to be Mormon. I wanted to be Mormon mainly because of the emphasis on family. I fell in love with the church community because of the YSA (Young Single Adult) group that met weekly for good clean fun and worship. I needed the church because I needed a new start–the previous school year in college had been a bad one to say the least. Things happened that I can’t even bring myself to repeat here, things that only my husband knows about.
That church was everything I needed. As summer of 2014 came to a close I met with the Bishop because I was afraid that by going back to college, and by being so far away from my safe and loving community I would have another horrible year. But Junior year of college was wonderful–I drove back home on FHE nights when the YSA met. I attended church and was happy.
Then in the spring I stopped attending church on Sunday because I was scheduled to work on Sundays. Then, when my schedule changed and I was able to go to church again I just didn’t out of laziness. Slowly, inevitably I retreated into old habits and more or less forgot about my relationship with God until probably a few months ago when I began listening to the conference talks on my phone on the last few trips to and from Maryville before moving here, to beautiful Colorado.
Then this past week… I just felt this need to go back to church. Not only to repair my relationship with my faith and with God but also to be honest about my religion with everyone, finally. As I type this I’m trying to figure out why I’m so afraid of people knowing I was baptized into the LDS faith. Maybe because people think we are crazy (which isn’t true), because people think it’s a cult (also not true and kind of hilarious), or perhaps because my family reacted so badly the first time around (ah, we have a winner).
I don’t mean to blame them, my family. But when I was a faithful Mormon, was I really so different a person? No. I did feel like I had more purpose, though. I did feel a stronger sense of who I was. For the first time in my life I felt like I really got something out of church when I wasn’t at church camp (see post called “Camp-sick”).
This begs the questions: Should it really matter what religion you are if you are happy and feel fulfilled? Should it really matter what religion you are if you are living faithfully, and spreading the love and word of God the way we were intended? Should it really matter to anyone else other than yourself what you practice so long as you aren’t hurting yourself or others?
Religion was once described to me as a feeling of “coming home,” and that if you don’t feel that in one place then you best keep looking until you find it. Well, I found it.
It is time that my copy of the Bible become just as tattered as my favorite series. It’s time I stop worrying so much about what other people think about my faith–at least I have faith. It’s time I start showing God that I appreciate all I have been blessed with, regardless of the house of worship I’m in. It’s not like he isn’t listening no matter what.
Until next time…