Ok…so if you thought this was the post where I was going to rail against growing up Mormon, you are wrong. But how can you say you feel ruined by the Mormon church and this isn’t a post against Mormonism? Well, fool, because in this instance, it is the opposite. When I say I was ruined by the Mormons, it was because being Mormon as a child changed me. It made me seek certain types of religious experience. It taught me that certain religious experience was somehow even, more valid than others.
Ok that is kind of ok but kind of out there. What do you mean more valid? Well, of course, as an adult I know that there is a rich variety of religious experience, heck, one of my favorite anthropology books is named the variety of religious experience. It is one thing to intellectually know that one type of experience of worshiping God is as valid as another, it is quite another thing to actually worship and feel so connected by one type of experience and so NOT connected by another. That is precisely what I mean by ruined.
Mormons are reverent. Their worship consists of traditional protestant catholic songs set to organ or piano. Even though they change the words to be more Mormon, the music is the same. They take sacrament (Eucharist) every Sunday and have a certain vibe to their worship. This is what I connect with when I thing about what is sacred. This is what I was raised with. When I go to church after church after church with rock and roll bands and even acoustic guitar, it….well…it hits me wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I know it is valid. I know these people are really worshiping and it they are down with the big G-O-D too but the Mormon church ruined me. I can’t do it. I can’t raise my hands like that. I can’t be okay with churchapalooza.
So…stop being so put off that I say that the Mormon (or Catholic…or whatever) church ruined me. I found the Episcopalian church because I was ruined. I NEEDED a church that had organ music. I needed reverence. In fact, I love that the Episcopalians have ramped it up with candles and incense. What ruined me is everything good and wonderful about being Mormon. I attached feelings of being close with my Heavenly Father…and my Heavenly Mother for that matter, with a certain lovely, amazing, sacred tenor that I had a damn hard time finding elsewhere. If I didn’t love it so desperately, it couldn’t have soured me so thoroughly to other worship styles. What ruined me wasn’t something rotten about Mormons…it was everything beautiful.
Of course there is so much more to unpack here. Suffice it to say, when you leave a church as all encompassing as the Mormon or Catholic church. You never leave it. A part of it colors your world no matter how far you run. I say it ruined me because I couldn’t connect to the modern style worship that is ubiquitous among my age group. However, there is so much more to the story. There is a wealth of good and bad. The bottom line is that right now, I relate to being an Episcopalian. I would have never found my way here if I related to those other churches.
Being “ruined” in certain ways by a group once attended is just a way of saying that certain experiences hard wired us to seek out those experiences even when we cease to associate with the group in question. The Mormons would say, I can’t let the church go. They’re right. I’m ruined. I was ruined towards one type of sacred experience and against other types of that sort of emotional, spiritual, sacred expression.
If this offends you. ok. it wasn’t meant to be offensive. it just is.