Tuesday, April 2, 1996

Thoughts of a displaced Mormon - The Nutshell

Hello, Brothers and Sisters... Let's see, it's been about seven years since I've spoken with any of you and I first just want to let you all know that I'm doing fine and have remained strong in the faith. For the last few years... Three years to the day as I'm writing this... I've been serving in the Navy as a Cryptologic Technician Collection... or CTR. In that time, I've been doing a lot of studying... I've had the opportunity to read the Book of Mormon, close to where the events actually happened, in Central America. I've had the opportunity to visit with the Saints in Panama, New England, Florida and Illinois... I've even visited the World Wide Web First Ward...

I hope to be able to relate to you some of the things that I've learned in recent years. I've been doing a lot of reading but I haven't been able to share much of what I've learned with people... but I think I've found a voice here.

A Few Thoughts on Personal Discoveries and the True Church

I learned something about myself in early 1994. I was at the Naval Technical Training Center in Pensacola, Florida, studying for a test. The topic was radio wave modulation and I was having a hard time understanding things like non linear mixing. I could memorize the definition, but I wanted to understand the reason behind it. As I expressed this desire to my classmates, one of them said, "Oh, he's one of those people who has to understand everything." In other words, I'm analytical. Too analytical for them and I admitted it. "I can't help it," I said. "I need to know the reason behind the fact, not just the fact itself. I can't just accept that an increase in period will result in a decrease in frequency..." I needed to know why...

One night, I realized exactly how analytical I am. I'll analyze something to death if it's at all possible. I can't leave well enough alone in some matters. I keep rethinking the problem and changing the answer until I totally get lost and/or frustrated. That's what was happening to me as I tried to study for my test that night.

After our study time and before I went to bed that night, I went for a walk and thought about my analytical behavior. It was then that I came to an interesting understanding about myself. As much as I analyze things, it's a wonder I'm a churchgoing man. My personality alone, leaves very little room for "Traditional" religion.

I've written in the past of how religion, traditionally, will usually have a single reason for everything. "Because God wants it that way!" I have also written that the Human spirit doesn't like that answer because we're all curious creatures with a need to learn. A need to progress. So, the all encompassing "God's will" answer doesn't cut it for us. We feel shortchanged by Traditional religion. It puts so many demands on us yet returns so little. Less analytical types seem to be satisfied with leaving it up to the powers that be in that department. That's not good enough for me. Analysts hate to be spoon-fed information.

So, what's happened here? Me, the analyst who will analyze anything to death in an attempt to understand it. What is it that I've found in this church that has kept me in it? That has made me an active and participating member? Don't I analy he church? Sure! I analyze the church more than anything else I know. I'm always tearing it apart in an attempt to understand it... at times, even in attempts to disprove it and just when I think I have found something to completely bring it crashing down around me, something comes to the rescue and prevents that while reinforcing the church's position at the same time. Sometimes, I look at what the enemies of the church have to say and test the church on it. So far, everything that I've come up with has been totally disproved by the church. And anything that the church does not answer right away is dogeared, if you will, and given a promise to be answered later. That's when my analytical self kicks in again and says, "How can I be sure that you'll keep that promise?" And I'm given examples, evidences, truths of how questions have been dogeared in the past and then answered when the time was right, when the people needed to know or were finally able to handle the new knowledge.

So, what have I found here? An analyst's dream come true. Something that will refuse to be torn down, no matter what you throw at it. It challenges me and blesses me at the same time. There are no vague answers here. There are the facts and, more importantly, the reasons behind them. The church has given me knowledge. It causes me to wonder, to study, to learn, to pray, to understand, to be happy.

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