Monday, November 12, 2012

Dealing with Religious Indigestion

I believe there is an element of learning to digest some food that seems foreign or even a bit "yucky" upon first taste - a process of acclimation where we develop a taste for some things that are good for us but not necessarily "tasty" initially. I learned that lesson on my mission to Japan - and now I absolutely love sushi.  However, when that idea is used to insist that we dull our sensitivities and ingest things that, in that moment, with our current digestive systems, would make us sick or possibly even poison us - that is when I have to insist that I follow the dictates of my own conscience and take responsibility for the results of my choices. I learned that lesson on my mission to Japan - and I flat-out refuse to eat natto.  (Look it up; you'll understand why.) 

I believe in the concept that there is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven - but I'm not convinced that the concept includes as many applications as many people assume. I believe that pure laws are more like large umbrellas that cover many potential applications (like categories of food), and that there are fewer of those large umbrellas than most people believe. As long as I am eating a balanced diet (obeying the broad laws), there are many individual entrees, appetizers, beverages, desserts, etc. from which I can choose (more narrow rules that fit me individually) without harming myself or becoming sick. That also means, as Paul pointed out in the New Testament, that I am free to choose to NOT eat certain things that would put a stumbling block in front of those around me - even if, in isolation, those foods would not harm me in any significant way.

I believe deeply that we will not be punished for striving to understand and follow the dictates of our own consciences and trying to live as closely to Him as we are capable of doing - even as we get indigestion sometimes as we try to figure out the spiritual diet that will work for us. I think God will forgive indigestion in a sincere attempt to taste the full fruit of the Gospel far more readily than He will reward limiting ourselves to only what is easy to digest but never causes growth and enhanced health. However, I also don't think he appreciates it when we assume out of pride that we can handle anything we want to eat at any portion size.

Indigestion is not always cause to quit eating. It only means we need to adjust our diet - and, to me, pure Mormonism provides incredible flexibility to do so.


Patty said...

I like the analogy of spiritual indigestion. Makes me wonder what spiritual rolaids or prilosec would be... prayer? repentance? the Holy Ghost? :)

Unknown said...

I am allergic to onions, which is a constant source of making me aware of my physical diet. With so many packaged foods containing onion powder, I end up making most soups, sauces, meats, and salad dressings from raw ingredients. It makes me very aware of not just how many foods have onions, onion powder, green onions, shallots, etc., but also how many other strange and unnecessary things are included in so many on today's processed foods.

Over the last 18 months or so, I have also realized how many things are added into our spiritual lives, as members of the LDS church, that we sometimes fail to recognize. None of them are bad, but they may be "filler" that keeps us from noticing some of the things that might have higher spiritual nutritional impact. I miss worshiping with other saints, taking the sacrament, and especially fast and testimony meeting. (I have physical problems that keep me home and mostly on bed rest, for now.) while I also miss ward activities, I recognize that if there is a choice between that and prayerfully helping someone in a faith crisis talk through their fears, there is no doubt which one feeds my soul more.