"As for me, all I know is that I know nothing." Republic
It just seems that way sometimes. The more I read and study and learn, the more I realize I really just don't know anything. I feel so inconstant. A precarious personality attribute. It makes me feel I am balancing on a fine line of being faithful to new truth, and being blown about by every whim. Which leads me to my second Socratic thought for the day,
"The unexamined life is not worth living." Apology
I can't say I wholly agree with this, because I do feel life is precious gift from God worth living, no matter the costs. But I think I understand what he was saying. I was listening to an interview this last week and the interviewee altered this quote slightly to mean,
The unexamined religion is not worth following.
This struck a chord somewhere inside me, because a deep examining is precisely where Brent and I find ourselves. I can only speak for myself because while our faith intricately connects us, it is very individual as well.
A note on authoritarianism....
I think it is important to note, looking back, this journey began as I found myself questioning the authoritarian model of understanding I have always leaned so heavily upon since youth. As I became disillusioned politically, my faith in mainstream anything started to fail me. The newspaper, television, books, the internet. But a conundrum arises. I cannot discover everything experientially or first hand. Therefore, there must be a place for authoritarianism in defining my personal ethos. I have to trust in the expertise of others in some circumstances. The question becomes, which authority do I trust? This dilemma arises in questions of nutrition, economics, politics, religion... basically anything that is important to me.
This post starts a series of posts pertaining to my examination of my religion.
I begin with a caveat: Somethings I do know experientially.
I know I have had the experience the scriptures describe as being "born again," or "becoming a new creature in Christ." I was 15 years old. I will never forget the circumstances, the overwhelming emotions, the understanding welling in my mind, the connection with the Savior. It was a grounding experience. Powerful enough to carry me through whatever trials of faith come.
Immediately following this came a similar experience regarding the Book of Mormon. Whatever questions I may run into about its origins or historicity, I know it is the word of God as revealed to Joseph Smith.
What these two experiences solidify in my mind is the reality of personal revelation. I think this is where the crux of my belief must lie. As my authoritarian view of life has crumbled and led to close examination of so many things, it has opened my mind quite a bit. Now my attempt is to seek for truth. Not truth as someone has already explained it to me. It is daunting, and even exhausting, but crucial. I feel I have a jump start, because some things I already know.
I also know a life of faith and devotion to the Savior, family, and the LDS church are for me. It is what I want for myself and my children. This search doesn't feel like an issue of losing or shaking my foundational faith. But instead, a reexamination of the origins of my religion, who and what I place my faith in, and what the doctrines of my religion truly are.
Here are some of the things I am working through, in no particular order of relevance...
the nature of God,
grace versus works,
prophets and apostles,
doctrine versus culture,
blacks and the priesthood,
women and the priesthood,
changes in the Book of Mormon,
It is both invigorating and challenging. I think that non-comprehensive list is enough to last me for quite some time.