I’m Done Hiding

My secret’s out.

I’m a Mormon. And a liberal.  In Utah, where I  live, I’m an oxymoron.   I remain committed to my religious beliefs, but I have learned through education, study, respectful discussion, and yes prayer, that I cannot truly call myself a Christian  unless I subscribe to a liberal world view.

I have been told by well-meaning friends on both sides of the spectrum, that I must be confused. And I am: by people who assume that they know my mind by  knowing my religious or political affiliation.

I am confused by liberals who misunderstand me as a Christian.

If it was good enough for Einstein (who was a Jew), it’s good enough for me.

Many liberals put me in the category of religious zealotry, believing I must be narrow-minded and uneducated . I have a master’s degree in liberal arts. The world is round.  Gender preference is something we are born with. The book of Genesis supports the theory of evolution. Other liberals think I live in a fantasy world of magic and witchcraft. I love fantasy! I’m a huge fan of Harry Potter.  I also love historical fiction that tells about Christians who believed in witchcraft, but I don’t treat such books as scripture.

I am confused by Christians who misunderstand me as a liberal.

Get your T-shirt here.

I’ve been told that only conservatives are righteous, and that all liberals are atheists building Hell here on earth. Many members of my congregation assume that there are no liberals in their midst because liberal is synonymous with Satan. I am confused, because they read the scriptures but violate the second greatest of all commandments: “Love one another” and forget that Jesus said “judge not, that ye be not judged.”

I am confused by Christians and liberals who misunderstand me as a Mormon.

I’m mostly confused by the Christians, but liberals tend to do it too. Both groups have the mistaken idea that Mormons worship a guy named Joseph Smith, believe in a book that replaces the Bible, and practice polygamy; I don’t do any of those things.  Conservative non-Mormons in Utah see Mormons as self-righteous bigots who believe that they are the only ones in the world who will make it to heaven, and are out to convert them. That may be true for many Mormons who don’t truly understand the religion they were baptized into; it’s definitely not true for me. Christians outside of Utah see Mormons as fundamentalists who couldn’t possibly be Christian, and have been led astray through coercive, cultist  tactics.  Not at all true.  I love the Bible.  Jesus is my savior. And I was raised by my Mormon parents (my father was a bishop) to question my religion and come to my own conclusions through prayer and study. I have no doubt that my prayers are answered.  Not through magic, but through loving communication of spirits that has not yet been explained by science.

So yeah, I’m a bit of a peculiarity. Mormons are a peculiar people.  I’m just more peculiar than most. I can’t avoid being who I am, and I can’t separate my liberal nature from my understanding of my god.

I am a liberal; and even though I have joined LDS Dems, and am registered as a Democrat for voting purposes, I cannot commit myself as a party person.  Parties divide. United we stand; divided we fall.

On a Mormon Assault Vehicle no less. BTW I love this blog. This guy has the same problem I do.

Just so you know, I hate arguments, and I won’t allow people to make disrespectful comments on my posts. I often use this blog to respond to social networking statements and news stories that really get under my skin. This blog is for people like me–people who think in shades of grey. I don’t mind if you see your world differently. In fact, I welcome your comments–whether you agree or not.  Just remember that we are not discussing matters of right vs. wrong or black vs. white. You can state your opinion.  I can state mine, and if we don’t find common ground, then we can agree to disagree. No arguing allowed.

20 thoughts on “I’m Done Hiding

  1. Marianne – I have read your writing with interest and enthusiasm. You are singularly gifted in your ability to think through complex and divisive issues with wisdom and compassion, to adhere firmly to your belief without ever questioning the sincerity or validity of another viewpoint. You write with conviction but avoid condescension. I couldn’t be more proud to call you friend and to know you are in the world fighting the good fight. I am anxious to continue reading, learning and enjoying. Thank you so much for sharing this with me.

  2. I’m so glad you wrote this! Jas and I were just talking about what sort of identity crisis so many Mormons have– that to be a liberal Mormon in Utah is so very frustrating and confusing for so many that they actually leave the church, and that being a liberal Christian almost anywhere else in the U.S. makes people look at you funny. We’re right up there on the ‘extra peculiar’ side with you! It takes time for things to trickle down, but since there are more Mormons outside the U.S. than in, and since these issues are largely local culture, and thankfully not doctrinal, I’m just waiting for the larger Utah/American tones of this church finally start to fade as more diverse people join.

    • I think the church leaders are doing a good job at addressing many of these issues, but they are soooo embedded in the culture.

  3. I am inspired by your title, and am comforted by your thoughts. Yeshua was clearly anti-state, but only insofar as he was anti-oppressive. And, first and foremost, he was anti-oppressive. He helped the sick and injured — the Romans didn’t. He helped the poor — again, not the Romans. He forgave the adulteress — the Pharisees wouldn’t. In the end, “bleeding heart liberal” is just a mean-spirited buzzword for “compassionate individual”.

  4. Fantastic post! Sadly I think a lot of people have been turned off to Christianity because it’s become so tied up with right wing politics. There are liberal Christians out there but they’re not as loud about their views. I respect everyone’s poltiical beliefs, but the way some conservatives put words in Jesus’ mouth makes me sick! I doubt he would agree with some of their views.

    • Sooooo true. I think those of us who are liberal are just used to being shut down by the overriding insistence of conservative “righteousness.” Jesus was never about forcing his ideas on others.

  5. I didn’t know division existed in the Mormon church too. But congregations have always been divided over doctrines as far back as the early church and Paul and Timothy’s time.People will always have differences of opinion about doctrine and the interpretation of scripture. I love the t-shirt. Great post.

  6. Great post! I’m mormon too. I love it when people recognize that just because your LDS doesn’t mean you have to subscribe to a singular political frame of mind. Not everything is black and white.

    • Thanks, Julie. So glad you stopped by! I have noticed that it’s not just Mormons (that’s the good news). It seems that members of all religions tend to polarize around a moral dogma until they learn that they are not alone as children of a greater god in this big world. I hope that made sense.

    • Do you live in Utah? I have heard so many complaints about liberals from members in Utah (many of them are close family members), that I worry about letting my political affilliation be known. I just moved back to Utah after living out of state, and am sincerely nervous about “coming out” at church.

  7. Pingback: I’m not going to take your word for it. | Latter Day Liberal

  8. Matt-Politics are everywhere. Any place that is set up with governing authorities is subject to a political system. This includes the following: homes (a mother and father), workplaces (your boss and board of directors), schools (principals, administrators, and teachers), and even churches (pastors, bishoprics, ministers, stake presidencies). You make a good point about the politics of a nation though–they need to be kept completely out of church, school, and the workplace. I try not to give my opinion unless someone gives me theirs first. Unless, of course, it’s on Facebook. Here in Utah, people tend to view things in black and white. Forgive the allusion, but it IS okay to think in shades of grey. A difference of opinion is not an indication of righteousness, nor is a person’s attendance at church.

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