Tuesday, April 5, 2016

LDS Conference and Faith Transformation

Something happened to my faith.

I don't believe the same things I once did.

I see things in a different light.

My perspective has changed: things like conference, once filled with magical expectation that God will reveal some new new doctrine or a significant milestone toward the second coming, no longer thrill me.

And in radically changing my perspective, lowering my expectations from a magical worldview, I longer get disappointed when the magic doesn't happen.

Conference has become a bit of a "meh" for me, probably for some time now.  I hear some good points, and some very narrow perspectives.  What impresses me is how incredibly human and mundane conference is: well-intentioned men and women trying to express the inspiration they feel from the spirit within them.

Their words point to something, but the object of their pointing is often vague.

It's an art form.

And like art, my experience with it is far more important than the intention of the artist or the form of the art itself.

My believing friends and family believe they heard a masterpiece inspired from on high.  I heard failing human words, mostly.  What I perceived as divine was not those words, nor do I think the artists were particularly inspired, but rather, I perceived something deeply human--people trying to find their Way.

As are we all.

Indeed, something happened to my faith.  But it hasn't weakened or been destroyed.

It also hasn't "transitioned" -- a word that connotes going from one "thing" to another "thing".

No.  Not transitioned.

My beliefs have died.  The God of magical intervention has gone away for me.  And with it, my magical expectations for Mormonism have died as well.

Yet, something was reborn this weekend, and not because of conference, but rather, conflict.  Watching negativity arise around me over some word or phrase, some trigger here or there, I realized that while validating the hurt we feel in losing our beliefs is real, the need for human connection is far more important.

Faith is that connection.  It's a kind of hope born in adversity and not-knowing.  It's found in the love we need, and in love we give.

Faith is about transformation, not transition.  Transition disconnects from one thing and moves to the next.  It may be necessary for many to do so, but if we do, it's not about faith, but something else.

Faith transforms.  Faith is about rising above our human frailties to embrace something more -- not an independent embrace, one where it's between me and that more and to hell with you.  No, faith is really found in the literal embrace of struggling humans discovering love beyond the words.  My faith is nothing if I am not connected.

Faith saves.  I know we say that "Jesus saves", but who is Jesus without our faith?  In saying this, faith in Christ does not seem to be believing certain things about Christ, but rather, knowing Christ...as in being connected to the source of being, the I AM.

And being connected to Christ, means authentically connecting with all around me, including my very human LDS believing friends, family, and...leaders.

This...is a different kind of faith, one that doesn't transition, but rather, abides in love.

It's not easy.

Faith is a leap into the unknown.

Yet I will try.

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