Both topics to challenging to discuss, especially with those close to us.
I don’t recall my parents talking about politics with their children or with each other. When I was very young, my father worked at a Junior High School, and sometimes he’d take me into his classroom. One time I remember he turned on a black and white TV to listen to the Watergate hearings as he worked.
I assumed my parents were Republicans because they backed Reagan and Bush Sr. And they were Mormon. At an early age, it was made clear to me that Mormons were Republicans. Democrats were dangerous. Nevermind that Nixon was Republican.
It would be many years later while attending the University of Utah that my political views began to lean Democrat. My interest in Mormonism also began to wane as what I was told at church didn’t match up with what I believed or felt inside.
I wonder what path my children will take?
Kim and discuss politics around the home quite often. Religious discussions happen in our home, but not as much as before. If they do, it’s because I bring up the topic. I’m proud that my children are being raised outside of any religion. Young minds are too fertile to taint with religious dogma.
As a parent, I want to allow my children to find their own path. To experiment. To make mistakes. To experience sorrow and joy. I don’t assume my path is the best fit for them.
I’m excited to see what they do with their lives without the pressure of belonging to a certain religion.
When I joined Facebook back in 2006 or 2007, I thought it was new and exciting to connect with friends I hadn’t seen since high school. And it was exciting for a while.
By the time the 2016 election rolled around, Facebook had become a platform to spout your political views and argue with anyone who didn’t espouse them. Rinse and repeat until Trump took over the white house and I’d had enough.
Hello, my old blog!
But I’d changed. I wasn’t in the habit of writing longer posts, and I assumed posts shouldn’t be fleeting, short thoughts like I added to Facebook and Twitter over the past decade.
Then I noticed something that Dave Winer, author of Scripting News, was doing. Each day he was adding one or more short posts to his blog. He might add four or most posts a day and yet none of them would add up to more than a paragraph. Was he treating his blog like one might treat adding content to Facebook or Twitter? I dunno, and I didn’t care.
I found myself coming back to his blog a few times a day. If the content was interesting, who the hell cares about the word count? I decided to do the same last week. I’ve only managed to add a post a day, but they are much shorter than what I used to post.
It feels great to get back to my blog. I’m building something again that doesn’t belong to anyone but me. And I don’t feel any pressure to wait till I have that polished thought to post.
Thanks, Dave, for getting me back on track.
Leaving the cesspool called Facebook. It’s toxic and bad for the soul.
Then leaving Twitter. It’s nearly as harmful as Facebook.
I left Instagram but returned because my kids and few close friends post pictures that bring me joy.
Leaving Mormonism has helped me leave other groups and communities and platforms that were taking rather than adding to my life.
Who knew leaving a religion would have such a positive trickle-down affect.
I don’t like them.
They make me feel insignificant. They make me feel awkward.
If I find myself in a big group I will move to the edges. And then watch.
Tonight my teenage daughter told me she feels the same. We connected and spoke the same language.
I do much better 1×1. As I get older there is nothing I enjoy more than connecting with my spouse, one of my children or a close friend 1×1.
Throw your big parties. Invite a dozen or two. Many will find joy in the crowd.
You’ll find me on the edge.
The ability to say, no.
No, don’t touch me like that.
No, I won’t get in your car.
No, I don’t feel comfortable doing that.
When you can say, no, you are in control.
Learn it early. Use it as needed.
What did I sign up for?
What did I commit to?
If I intentionally signed up to perform a task, deliver a product or help a friend, I should do that without much confusion or hesitancy. Both parties are on the same page.
What are you expected to do that you didn’t sign up for?
Are you expected to go to a certain college or study a certain discipline because that’s what would make your family proud?
Are you in a relationship because you’re expected to be? Did you have children when you wanted to or when you felt others expected that of you?
Do you drive a certain brand of car or dress a specific style because that’s what people in your line of work or neighborhood expect?
Do you attend a church because you signed up to attend? Or is it the church of your parents, and you never really considered anything else? For years, I assumed I’d found the only true church and was rocked when I began to research its history.
Did you sign up for your political affiliation, or was it handed down to you?
Consider what you’ve actually signed up to do. Is it what you want? Or are you doing it to please someone else?
It’s not easy to say, “Hey, I didn’t sign up for this.” You may lose friendships. Others will shun you when you step outside their tribe.
But it might be the best thing you ever do.
During my faith transition, I’ve found support in a number of podcasts. Most focus on why the person left their religion which can bring up a number of charged topics. That makes it difficult to share with family and friends who are still involved with the Mormon church.
Then I found the Wardless podcast. They are different because they focus on “what’s next” in a person’s life. And after over five years since my transition, I’m much more focused on “what’s next” than any doctrine or policy concern I had years ago.
Last week, I was invited to tell my story through an interview with Oliver. I’m really proud of how it turned out and have shared it with a number of close friends of various degrees of Mormon belief. Their reaction has been overwhelmingly positive so I’ve decided to share it here with the rest of you.