Revisiting the Past

In nine days I fly to Taiwan to visit old friends and relive sentimental memories. I spent a year there teaching English after college. I am super excited to go back!!! I am also curious about how it will seem to my friends that in 5 years I've gone from uber-active mormon proselytizer to agnostic.

While I lived there, one of my friends (my supervisor) met with the missionaries a few times. Hearing her pray during the first lesson was one of the most beautiful experiences of my time there. Even now, as a nonbeliever, it's still a precious memory. After a few lessons my friend realized the church wasn't for her. Meanwhile, it was a great bonding experience. The experience whet my appetite and definitely contributed to my decision to serve a mission a few months later. I sent in my mission papers before I left Taiwan.

During this visit, I'll be traveling with my former roommate. She is a very believing Christian who also attended weekly church while we lived in Taiwan. I sent her a Book of Mormon from the MTC. In her response (which I received a few months after arriving in "the field") she explained she would not be reading the BoM and wished I would be more willing to investigate my own church...

Hmmmm. She got her wish. ;)

Man I can't wait til next week!


Hypatia said...

That's so exciting! I hope you have a wonderful trip! I'm sure your friends will still see you as the same person, even though you no longer are a believing mormon. You're just in a different part of your journey.

And I thought that last part of your entry is interesting. A lot of people who grow up in the church never investigate it. I think people just take it for granted and just accept it as the "way things are."

Daniel said...

Okay, so tell me if this pops up in your travels.

Christians (especially those of the Evangelical stripe) love it when I tell them I'm an ex-Mormon. In some cases they're unsurprised. One guy said, "Well, if I'd been a Mormon, I'd be an atheist, too." Grr.

But they think my atheism is unfortunate. They think all I need is to hear about True Christianity™© and I'll get saved.

It's an absolutely maddening attitude. They don't seem to see that their claims are equally unfounded. Their ability to absorb information stops right at the boundary of what they're willing to accept. (A worryingly seductive tendency, I will admit.)

So I'm curious if it comes up for you, and what your reaction is.

simplysarah said...

Hypatia - it really is unfortunate that self-awareness (as a church) is considered detrimental to faith, isn't it! Not healthy.

Daniel - you're right - I'm pretty sure my friend would/will consider my rejection of christianity unfortunate, and would wish me to know about "true" christianity. But lucky for me she's a very respectful woman. She lived peacefully with three different mormons over the course of 2 years without religion becoming an issue. I'm even more impressed in hindsight!

Anyway, I'll be sure to report back. :)