This morning I set my alarm to head down to Oakhurst, CA, where I attended my first LDS Church meeting since September.
I want to tell you that it felt good.
I want to describe to you the confirmation of truth I received from the spirit.
I want to express my feeling of foolishness for leaving my beloved church behind.
I WANT to tell you those things. But they would be lies.
Wending my down CA-41 from Fish Camp to Oakhurst, I listened to Trail of Dreams, a Mormon Pioneer musical that I have referenced before.
"Past the farthest farmhouse, to the open plains
every step we've taken, one less step remains!
On, like ancient Israel, leaving Egypt in their day,
and praying God will lead us and will open up the way!
to sage and pinion!
to the plateaus!
to make the mountain valleys blossom as a rose!"
One of my favorite things about Mormonism has always been the Pioneer Heritage. I belted the songs out loud, which moved my soul to a great extent--I had tears rolling down my cheeks as I drove.
My heart palpitated considerably as I arrived at the Chapel, finding not a single parking space. I ended up parking on the curb, which placed my "No On 8" bumper sticker facing almost everyone who'd leave the lot. It was partially obscured by my bike, but it made me feel conspicuous anyway. I spied at least one "Yes On 8" sticker, and my heart tightened.
I remembered vividly the whole experience of why I left.
Walking inside, I thought it must have been ward conference--apparently, they had just combined two wards, perhaps in a money saving measure, but it meant that now the cultural hall was perpetually necessary to accomedate the memebership.
The hymns, which are usually my favorite part of a meeting, were especially bad. They picked hims I could care less about, and the congregation sang with about as much spirit as a man dying of starvation. Timid bland vocals sung at whisper volume. Why are we as Mormons so bad at Worship?
I didn't feel much at all during the whole meeting. I honestly tried to be optimistic and open minded, and sought out the truth in what people said during their testimonies. However, unlike my distorted memories, the spirit didn't speak to me at all. I felt like I was listening to old woman after old woman telling some anicdotal bullshit story and then lamely tying in the gospel. No one referenced scripture, no one quoted the prophets--the Bishop spent more time making allusions to Ben-Hur than describing the story of the woman and the well. (John 4:4-42).
I do miss the church, but I miss it in the same way one might miss a friend that use to be very close and important to you, but whose actions changed your opinion of them. They are still there, you could still hang around with them--but that isn't the person you miss--the person you miss is gone.
That's my latest thoughts on the church.
Contrast that experience with going to Yosemite afterwards, and feeling nothing but JOY and PEACE and happiness for being in God's beautiful creation, this beautiful earth. It's like night and day.
Speaking of night, it's about 2am now, so I should head to bed!