I was raised in a home with a Catholic mother who was active in the church and a Baptist father who was not. As far back as I can remember I disliked church. In my home it was used as an intimidation tool. I never listened to a sermon that resonated with me. I never felt the spirt. At least I don’t recall. I suppose the fact that I don’t reaffirms how I felt about religion in my youth. I just never gave it any thought. I was forced to attend church until I was big enough to stand my ground and refuse. I think I was 14-15. I didn’t hate religion I just didn’t want any part of it. In high school I did some independent study on the worlds religions but nothing in depth. Nothing really spoke to me. I am not a spiritual person.
In my young adult life I considered myself agnostic. I studied and practiced Wiccan for a brief moment in life. I stopped because again, I am not very spiritual. I found myself having a strange eclectic “religion” that held beliefs in a higher power, I believed in Jesus as a person but didn’t feel he was the Savior. I didn’t accept the Christian version of God. It’s hard to explain but I’m sure many can relate. It was an engrained belief although I didn’t believe it, like that was what I was taught and it’s hard to unlearn. I also held many pagan beliefs so I personally combined many of the two. But I still considered myself agnostic.
In my 30’s my husband wanted to find a church for our family after several personal experiences from friends and their church’s and our own personal journey of raising our family. We ended up at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The Mormons.
I personally didn’t like reading scriptures. I didn’t like it as a child and it wasn’t going to change in my 30’s. However I did enjoy listening to others and their personal testimonies either written or spoken. And I was especially inspired by my husband and his testimony. I think that looking back I wanted to believe. And there is much of it I think has merit, but again, I came to the same experience I had as a child, scripture used to intimidate and control, not encourage and inspire. And in fairness. It’s not one faith that does this and it’s not limited to a few organized churches. It’s not even limited to religion. How many times have you seen the 10 commandments posted in public spaces such as courtrooms and how often do you see the beatitudes? We should see more beatitudes.
I find much of society is still based of the heavy handed commands of Moses and the Old Testament and less of Jesus and his sermons.
I think religion is personal and not institutional. I no longer align myself with any one doctrine or faith. I consider myself a Christian rather than agnostic because I believe, in many of the teachings of Christ. I am a skeptical Christian in that I have a distaste and distrust of how some have perverted and profited from those teachings. I don’t want to be part of that. I don’t want to be associated with that. I don’t need a label. I don’t need to fit in any box. I’ll define my own faith.
So I’m probably not the ideal Christian, some days I probably wouldn’t consider myself a Christian at all, but that’s between Jesus and me.