10 December 2002

on sunday i walked out of church. i've never done that before. i could feel myself becoming frustrated and anxious and decided that simply sitting through it wasn't worth the anger i would feel afterwards. so i left. very simply, out the side door which was right next to my seat. the speaker was talking about his mission, which covered the north side of the traditional Bible belt. how mormonism destroys other churches' false doctrines and revisions of the scriptures. always circling back around to the language of battle and destruction and conquering. that bothers me immensely, to speak of another religious tradition as a mistaken, misshapen thing to be banished and smashed by the all-powerful weapon of the truth. i do not agree. i believe there is truth and beauty to be found in almost every religious tradition (the qualifier only because I do not know every religious tradition). and while there are differences and while i may even point to some of the differences and call them mistakes, i am much more interested in hearing people out, in finding out how they think about things, than in shutting them down. constructing walls and barriers, creating distance, declaring a triumph--that can only end in lamentation.

i returned to church when the speaker was done. i like church. it has immense power to make me happy. i wish i could see the statements such as those made in that talk as only the outward manifestation of imperfection that they are. but i can't. i expect more. and when i see such backwardness i cringe and do not want to be a part of it. someday i need to overcome that. for now, i need to find a way to manage the anxiety that invariably arises because of it.

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