Friday, February 7, 2014

I See How I Need to See, and Others See How They Need to See

I have known I was heterodox since I was very young.  I read the Book of Mormon for the first time completely on my own when I was seven - and I remember clearly thinking:

"This doesn't say what people at church think it says." 

I knew I loved and admired and respected those people (that, by and large, they were really good people), but I also knew that, in my mind, according to how I interpreted what I read, they were wrong about many things they believed regarding what the Book of Mormon actually said.  Ironically, perhaps, it was the very things about which I disagreed with others that were (and still are) some of the strongest aspects of my testimony - why I absolutely LOVE that book. 

Fast forward 40 years:

I've had similar experiences on a regular basis about various other things in the Church.  I am about as orthoprax as it gets (meaning I live an absolutely stereotypical Mormon life), but I still am heterodox in many ways.  I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as I understand it; I love "pure Mormonism", as I understand it, and still am blown away regularly by its cosmic grandeur; I love the LDS Church, even as I disagree with various things here and there; I am frustrated by some aspects of the culture, but I love the people who create those frustrating aspects. 

In a very important way, I'm still that seven-year-old boy who realized that I just see things differently than almost everyone around me.  The difference is that I now accept that the relative darkness of the glass through which I see is different than the relative darkness of the glass(es) through which others see.  I no longer think I'm right and they are wrong; rather, I understand that I see how I need to see and they see how they need to see.  I have peace; they have peace.  I now am able to be happy for their peace, even as I am not happy always about what gives them peace. 

That has been a true liberation for me.

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