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Holding to the Rod

Losing faith in LDS doctrine and its origins was like watching the Iron Rod I had clung to so tightly for so many years turn to dust in the palm of my hand. The words of God are no longer clear cut and laid out for everyone to follow no matter how smart or simple the listener might be. Turns out that what I thought was the word of God, as spoken by God himself, was nothing more than men proclaiming the right to speak for God while God himself may have had no hand in the smelting of that rod whatsoever. The words of these men sounded Godly, and made since to me, and even promised great rewards, but in retrospect, copper and aluminum can be pretty and shiny as well.

For months after seeing the religion that I had been part of exposed, I had no idea what to do without that rod in my hand. I couldn’t imagine that God would place us here with no instructions. The word of God, that Iron Rod, had to be somewhere. I looked at a lot of other religions and philosophies but there was just no getting around the fact that all of them begin with a man making unverifiable claims that God spoke through him. Apparently over the centuries God has chosen to speak to a lot of men and women to impart his will. The problem is, these people all contradict each other. My question today remains the same as it did the day I knew the LDS church was no different than any other religion- “where is the word of God?” Where is that Iron Rod that I can hold on to, and know I am on a path back to God if He really does exist. I think for many this is the beginning of where their belief in God can no longer be logically sustained. A year from now I may very well be forced to agree with them.

For now, something inside of me believes in a higher power. Describing what that feeling is can be like describing what salt tastes like. But that doesn’t mean that religion is a necessary component in whether God exists. If there is a God He exists with or without religion, the presence of religion is not proof that God exists, and acts of humanity will exist in harrowing acts or a simple smile to a stranger whether God exist or not. I can’t prove God. And if I ever become completely atheist I will never be able to prove to the believer that he doesn’t exist no matter how sound my arguments.

When it comes to the existence of God, nothing is verifiable. Once I realized this, the question of the existence of God seemed to lose a lot of weight. If you believe in God and that belief helps you be a better person than how can anyone justify room for judgment? When a mother comforts her child, or a stranger gives a homeless guy a few bucks do I really have to care whether they believe in God or not? If there is a God I have a hard time believing that he is more concerned with people believing in Him than he is about acts of charity the person imparts to humanity.

Along this journey I have never stopped praying. If He does exist someone in the Bible decided that God was so aware of us that He would know when a sparrow hit the ground. He knows I am not completely sure of his existence but if he does exist, he is completely aware of my existence. I welcome his help; I welcome the comfort I feel when I pray. Whether he chooses to help me or not is completely up to him, but isn’t that case even for those who honestly believe he does exist?

I have stopped searching for the word of God in other people, or in organized religions. Today I believe God can only be found within each of us. The question is: will I listen? Will I be true to the voice within me that is screaming not to flip off that driver who really deserves it but I’m going to feel bad later so just stop now?

My Iron Rod is: doing something for the simple purpose that it is the right thing to do. Today my Iron Rod is made up of what some have claimed to be the word of God but may actually be made of many different alloys. It really doesn’t matter to me if God said them or not, if they seem to feel right then they become part of the rod I’m allowing to guide me in this life. In essence my “rod” is my personal truth. I have learned through trial and error that living according to my personal truth requires being honest with myself. No hammer of God is going to drop down and dole out punishment like having to confess to a bishop or not take the sacrament. It requires me listening carefully to what feels right to me. Principles like those found in the 10 commandments encompass that “rod” or personal truth. The beatitudes seem like something that would lead to a good life. Eating healthy and indulging in things in moderation seems like a good attribute to have. If there is a God I think he would be pleased with what makes up my personal truth or iron rod. And if there is no God, I would imagine that at the end of my life, it will have been a life worth living.

I have come to the conclusion at this point in the journey that life is not about committing to an organized religion. There are no words on this earth that can be definitively traced back to God as the author. If anyone finds comfort and community at a church, than that is where your personal truth is leading you and you should be there. I have found my spiritual home is right here within me. Maybe it’s because I no longer trust placing my salvation in someone else’s hands. There are few things I know for certain at this point but one of them is that I will never trust in the arm of flesh again. I believe that if God does exist I will be judged one day for who I became. Not what religion I belonged to.

If this essay seems as though I constantly waffle between the existence of God and no God, it’s because that is where I truly am right now. I don’t know. I don’t have answers for anyone else but me and what feels right for me. The best I can offer in this world is to lead a good life. And if I’m wrong, and I am cast down to hell, well it won’t be the first time that the iron rod in my hand turned to dust. I pray that God is more merciful than that.


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Welcome to The Peacewriter.

We all want to belong somewhere, to someone. It is a basic human need.

If you have ever experienced a period of doubt or questioned your beliefs in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you know that this is not a minor thing. It is tantamount to a crisis, and one that can be life altering.

Lose your testimony, and you stand to lose everything that matters.

There are those who exist on the fringes of the Church, who feel disenfranchised, even unwanted. If you are single, gay or lesbian, feminist, atheist, or uncorrelated, it can be tough to feel like a part of the community. You may feel that you do not belong.

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