Monday, November 29, 2010

Life is hard and then you die.

Endure to the end.  Or as my late FIL always used to say, "the first hundred years is the hardest."  (He wasn't yet 100 when he croaked so his life is still hard somewhere, I'm thinking.)  Maybe it's just the crap load of snow outside and the freezing temperatures but life seems gray and icky right now.   A horrible drudgery.  Something to just be gotten through, like really bad sex.  It's led me to do too much thinking.  I'm not a good thinker.  It makes my head hurt.  But I've been thinking a lot about joy. Or the lack thereof.

Which brings me to the question, are there any truly happy Mormons?  I'm not talking about the drugged-to-the-gills-till-I'm-smiling-vacantly kind of happy.  Or the I'm-doing-what-I'm-supposed-to-so-I-can-be-happy-in-the-next-life kind of happy, either. I'm talking joy.  Now.  I've been told to find joy in my children.  And I do!  They are usually pretty awesome and I like being with them.  But they can't be my whole life.  Living vicariously through your children is just asking for disappointment.  And what about finding joy of my own?  Where does a person find joy and fulfillment in their life when they no longer believe The Church is the source of joy?   Education?  Career? Travel?  Friends? Spouse?  A cause?  Where do I need to look to find my joy?

A recent blog post that hit me hard right in the gut talked about courage and cowardice.  I've been trying to decide how much courage I have.  Do I have enough to go after joy?  Or am I a coward and so I'll just stay where I am?  Existing.  Enduring. Waiting for that 100 years to be up.    

Well this post is a downer!  That's what I get for thinking.  A depressing post and a headache.  Ain't life grand?


  1. I think Mormonism works well for some people, but I could be wrong... Thinking back, I thought I was happy as a teen, but I really wasn't. I think you're happy because you're supposed to be happy, and that's what people expect to see, so that's the face you show.

    I think you get happy when you leave, but it takes a while. A LOT of deprogramming has to take place, but slowly you find yourself.

    I've been having teenage flashbacks recently. Not to the Church times, but to the times I was with my non-member friends and I could be myself.

    I used to be a fun person - like really fun - and not so much childish, but more just optimistic, excited and willing to help anyone or try any new experience.

    My mission and subsequent Church life beat it out of me, but I think the real me is coming back.

    Your post made me think about that more, so it ended up being kind of an upper for me.

    While I don't typically like the man, one GBH quote which I still think is relevant is the old... Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured. Great words, even if he wasn't a true prophet.

  2. No -- I do not know any truly joyful Mormons, not among the devout. And to the extent they have joy, it is *despite* their oppressive religious beliefs. I know this sounds presumptuous on my part and it probably is, but it's my honest opinion based on my own observations and experience. From what I have observed over the years -- and I have observed a lot -- Mormons have to work very hard to find happiness in a belief system that imposes impossible burdens, obligations, and lots and lots of guilt. There is a reason why Utah is a pharmaceutical company's dream.

    The Church never was a source of joy for me. It taught me to consistently give up what I wanted for what other people told me I was supposed to want. I suppressed my wants for God. That is oppression and the opposite of joy. I now find my joy when I figure out what *I* want and stay true to that. It's about living your life for you -- and that does not make you selfish. In fact, it increases your capacity for love and healthy relationships.

  3. Okay, I had a huge EPIPHANY about this post at 4:00 am. However, now in the cold light of day and without my hubby's incessant snoring it has flown away.

  4. I totally agree with CD, in the fact that there's too much guilt to go around in Mormonville to be truly free and happy. Unless you have a high ego and feel like you're one of the elite that will be exalted just because you're you... not many feel that way. Too many Mormons I know just keep trying and trying... and they always fall short of their many lofty righteous goals.

    I also agree with Koda, that de-programming is important to be able to find the real YOU again. It could be a several year long process. I'm getting closer and feeling each day the lightness and freedom I wish I would've found 20-30 years ago. Better late than never, right?

  5. Koda,"I think you're happy because you're supposed to be happy, and that's what people expect to see, so that's the face you show."

    That's exacrtly what I think. But it's not real happiness. There really is deprogramming and it's a hard process. I think I used to be a fun person too.

  6. CD, "It taught me to consistently give up what I wanted for what other people told me I was supposed to want."

    Exactly. I now I can't figure out what I do want!

  7. Fanny, YES! Better late than never. I'm not dead yet.

  8. Coffee Blogger, some help you are. Next time text your epiphany to me before you lsoe it. I need all the epiphanies I can get.

  9. "I think you're happy because you're supposed to be happy, and that's what people expect to see, so that's the face you show."

    When I was going through my depression a few years ago, people at church didn't know how to take it. I didn't put on the face and pretend. No one expects you to be honest when they ask, "How are you doing?"

    As a result, there are lots of unhappy people going along pretending that they have it all together. They are in sacrament meeting talking about how perfectly the follow the rules and how happy their family is. They are in relief society extolling the virtues of selfless service, charity, visiting teaching, and supporting the priesthood. They are wearing their plastic smiles and while on the surface they look and sound happy, they are really miserable and empty.

  10. I think there are some Mormons who are comfortable in the community, and that provides some happiness. But it's hard for anyone to be truly happy in Mormonism because the church fills everyone's days with so much busy work, and imposes so much guilt.

    Your comment about being told you need to find joy in your children is telling. The church is always ordering people (usually women) to be happy. "Find joy in your children-marriage-calling-food storage-ironing etc." If a church has to spend so much time telling people to be happy, then there's something deeply wrong.

  11. Tex, you hit it right on the head! You have perfectly described 99% of Mormon women.

    Donna, busy work and guilt. That's it exactly. It's left quite a hole in my life that needs filling with something good!

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  13. Get out of Utah. Everything's better out here.