the new Missionaries & Santa

The other evening as I was preparing dinner, three young women knocked on our door. They introduced themselves as the “new missionaries” in town and wanted to “share a message” with us. I politely declined, wished them a good evening and closed the door. They looked mildly surprised, but took my rejection well.

Kid2, who was with me when I opened the door, had questions: what message, why did they want to share it, why did I say no thanks.

How does one explain missionaries to a child?

As it is nearing Christmas, I used an analogy that they might relate to. Kid2 does not believe in Santa, and we’ve had numerous conversations about that, so I decided to start from there.

So the first question was why were they going door to door to share a message?

“It would be like if you believed in Santa so much you wanted to tell everyone so you went door to door to share that. You feel everyone should believe in Santa so they can get lots of presents, because if they don’t believe in Santa they won’t get anything.”

Kid2’s brow wrinkled in confusion. Clearly this was not about Santa.

So what message are they sharing?

They’re most likely talking about the story of Jesus. You know, the baby from the Nativity play, and the man who was on the cross in the Mission we visited last summer.

Yes. Looks confused. Why do they want to share that?

Some people believe very strongly, that stories that in the Bible actually happened, and they have based their entire world view off of them. They feel they have to go tell everyone about this, so other people can make people change to their way of thinking.

Why didn’t you want to talk to them?

I have a different world view than they do. I know about Jesus, and I’ve read the Bible, and I don’t agree with their world view, and that’s okay. We can politely disagree with people, and we don’t have to talk to people who randomly knock on our door about religion, it is also time to get started on dinner.

*****

Kid2 took it at that and I’m sure we’ll have more opportunities for these conversations as time goes on, particularly around the holidays, as Kid2 has proudly informed their class that “Santa does not visit our house because we do not have a chimney!” and Kid1 has proclaimed “I don’t believe in Santa, I believe in Mommy!”

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Return of the Mormons Part 2: Religion, Guilt & Motherhood

For part one: Saint Kat of the Sparkling Water


Mormon Missionaries often inspire unintended lines of thinking (I’m pretty sure they never intended to push me to secular humanism) and this time was no exception. Something about the afternoon’s encounter bugged me, and it took some time to sort out why. Then I found it:

They noticed that the kids had come to the front door, and started their spiel on how Mormons honor their mothers, and how motherhood is the most important job, and they really respect that. I got the impression they were saying what they thought I wanted to hear, their religion reveres mothers, and their version of God and Jesus makes family important (or something.)

They were, intentionally or not, trying to guilt me into joining their religion because it was the best thing for my family and my children. Because, as previous missionaries have implied, if I don’t raise them properly with a relationship with Jesus, we’re going to spend an eternity separated from God. This is one of many points on which the Missionaries and I disagree.

I’m sorry Missionaries, you picked the wrong angle. My children have played a huge part in why I left Christian Science — and why I have not sought out another religious movement. From Kid1’s difficult transition into the world, to the ER trip for a sprained elbow, and any number of other incidents, I could not put myself, or my children, through the pressure to demonstrate healings that often never materialized (or that just got better with time because the human body is amazing.)

I am going to do my best to instill freethinking humanist values in them. We are striving to raise children who think for themselves on religious and ethical matters, and who are generally kind, empathetic people. I think this is a much more reasonable goal than telling them they can control the weather with their mind, or Invisible Sky Daddy Loves them (and is a completely sadistic bastard — see Job). I want my children to understand the world, and to be empowered to make truly informed decisions. I don’t see any religions offering that. Do like the Noble Eightfold path, but I see that as more of a philosophy than a religion.

Yes, motherhood is important, family is important, I can agree with those things. Yes, I take steps to make sure my family is safe, and I put our familial interests first. Yes, I’d like the best for my children (actually I’m ok with “good enough” because really, “the best” is often an unattainable goal that will only bring stress and misery and that’s not helpful for anyone).

This is one of the very few places Ms. Eddy and I can agree:  I don’t feel motherhood should be the pinnacle defining feature of women if they don’t want it to be. You know, consenting to being a mother, and the choice to become one (or not). I have a complicated relationship with motherhood, my first pregnancy nearly ended with my untimely demise, and I lost a close friend shortly after the birth of my second child because she didn’t feel I was appropriately appreciative  of my children. They’re wonderful, and I love them, but I’m not going to post that everything is sunshine and rainbows. Apparently I didn’t sugar-coat my Facebook posts with enough appreciation for the fact my then-two year old TPed the living room for her liking. I digress. I don’t know enough about Mormon theology and church structure to comment on their views, but the way these young men latched on to the motherhood trope was slightly off-putting.

I don’t want my children to be raised in a (patriarchy-heavy) belief system that thinks it is okay to push their views on everyone. Missionaries, I try to respect your views, but I disagree with them, and I don’t think you should be lobbying to have them legislated across the country (this applies to all church lobbying groups, not just Mormon ones). Please keep your opinions on what should be happening to my body, and in my bedroom, to yourself. Whatever you do, don’t even consider asking if I’m considering having more children (to their credit, these missionaries didn’t, although past ones have).

I’m not interested in joining a religion that has numerous active ex-support sites. I’m finally at a place where I can “out” myself as having grown up in CS to a select group of never-in-CS friends, where I can talk about some of these issues without bursting into tears. I’m working on building a network of ex-CS to help support those who are questioning, leaving and who have left.

Dear Missionaries, I know you think you’ve found the right path, and it may be “right” for you, but it isn’t the right one for me. Thank you for handling my criticism and rejection gracefully. Next time, I suggest you bring water, wear sunscreen and get a good hat. It is hot out there.

Return of the Mormons Part 1: Saint Kat of the Sparkling Water

Long time readers know I have a long and complicated history of relationships with Mormon Missionaries. They are one of the reasons I stopped calling myself “sort of Christian” and embraced Secular Humanism, they were one of the early influences of this blog, and in some ways, their optimistic faith reminds me a little of me when I was still deep in Christian Science.

A fresh set of missionaries came by recently, young, optimistic, and unprepared for an opinionated woman (who also happened to be a mother). It was the middle of a sweltering heatwave and they were overdressed in black pants, and long sleeves. They noticed that the kids had come to the front door, and started their spiel on how Mormons honor their mothers, and how motherhood is the most important job, and they really respect that. I got the impression they were saying what they thought I wanted to hear, their religion reveres mothers, and their version of God and Jesus makes family important (or something.)

They got a polite lecture on Old Testament morality, human sacrifice and Paul, and why I’m now a Secular Humanist. I politely explained we obviously had come to very different conclusions from reading the Bible, and no thank you, I don’t need any extra assistance. I tried to keep it short, I didn’t want to completely lose my cool in front of the kids. Polite as ever, they thanked me for my time, went on their way in the sweltering heat.

The kids and I left to run errands, and the missionaries were a few houses up the street. I pulled over and offered them some bottled sparkling water, I don’t know why, it felt like the right thing to do. They were very appreciative. One told me I was “a saint,” I told them I wouldn’t take it quite that far, I’m just trying to be a decent human being, and really it was hot out. We may have drastic differences in theology, but they’re still people and on a day with temperatures soaring over 100*F, people walking around in the heat need water.

Kung fu fighting, Dancing queen Tribal spaceman and all that’s in between

68bfd84ec9a37a8d0502862dc4ad280eFrom elementary school through college one of my closest friends was a boy named William (1). We met through our local Christian Science Church — we both regularly attended Sunday School, and, for a time our younger sisters were Best Friends. One summer while William was visiting extended family, he had a nasty bicycle accident — head first into a brick wall. William wasn’t wearing a helmet.

I was never told the details of the accident, except that William had been taken to a hospital, and he was in a coma for a while. The lasting effects were a scar — hardly visible under a thick head of hair, and occasional seizures for which he may or may not have regularly taken medication (his father was not a Christian Scientist).

As the years passed, we never really talked about the accident, or the seizures. We were two carefree teens, we argued about politics — we were both incredibly politically conservative, we talked about movies — he was a huge Star Wars fan, we discussed school — we both had an interest in computers, we talked about travel — he desperately wanted to tour Europe and I’d already been there. We talked about the future, did we have one together? Probably not, but if no one else was interested, what about a back-up-plan at 30?

We dated for a few months, we liked each other, but never really made the “romantic” part work. We were friends, we cared deeply about each other, he was like a brother, and you don’t go around kissing your brother. He jokingly proposed marriage, I turned him down, I was fourteen, not ready for that kind of commitment.

Part way through high school William had a seizure. A friend told me he’d started shaking and had to be wheeled out on a stretcher. It seemed pretty serious.

We didn’t really talk about it. It was a chink in his armor, the armor of God, like the scaly hide of a crocodile — we learned about that in Sunday School. William carried on, to him it was just a flesh wound (2). Some other friends joined our group, we were the Grand Triumvirate, the Gruesome Threesome, until one of us had  a car we hung out at Wendy’s, the park. Later, it was the local bookstore and $1 Cinema.

Towards the end of high school William had a second seizure. His moods changed a bit, they got darker, he got a bit meaner towards several mutual friends.

William and I didn’t really talk about it. He graduated, lived at home, working and attending community college. We talked about Harry Potter instead. We discussed the new Lord of the Rings movie that had just come out. We debated the finer points of the Matrix. We went to my senior prom. He jokingly proposed marriage again, I turned him down, telling him to be careful what he wished for.

During this time I started dating “Philip,” he also happened to be one of Williams’ co-workers (it was a small suburb, there was a lot of overlap in social circles). Philip started complaining to William that I was “no fun” because I “refused to put out.” William told me about this and my relationship with Philip was short-lived. William dated a series of petite girls with curly/frizzy blond hair and similar sounding names. We didn’t date again, although he did nickname me “Kat the Great, Goddess of the Universe” and on at least one occasion worshiped me — for context this was after we’d been stopped by some well meaning Mormon Missionaries and they very quickly let us continue on our way.

A year later, I graduated high school and went on to Principia College. He turned 21 and started experimenting with the very forbidden alcohol. I wasn’t thrilled by his occasional drinking, but I saw the appeal — something that was so forbidden by our religion was now “legal” because of an arbitrary age change. I was at Principia, and only home on breaks. He started dating someone, I started dating someone, and we kept in touch, seeing each other when I was home from college — usually at church. Work kept him busy, he was climbing the ladder of success at a major grocery store chain, attending school nearly full time, and taking martial arts.

The last time I saw him, was Winter Break my sophomore year. He was transferring to the local university, he had so many ideas about what he wanted to do, and he wanted to share them with me. We made plans for Spring Break, I’d be home for two weeks with not much else going on. We exchanged a very awkward hug — our parents were watching — and promised to keep in touch.

It was a Sunday morning in February when I got the phone call from my sister, she was in tears. “William is dead.” I didn’t believe it. “He had a seizure and suffocated in his pillow. Do you have our Sunday School Teacher’s phone number? His sister wants to talk to her.” I found the phone number in question, rather incredulous that my mother didn’t have it on one of her many phone lists.

When I got off the phone with my sister, I called our mutual best friend “Marie” to share the news. Marie was in shock, she too was away at college and hadn’t seen William in months. I also called “Beth” — a friend with whom William had a falling out after his second seizure — who was the only one of us who managed to make it to the memorial service. When I got home for Spring Break the three of us wept together over our shared loss. Marie and I visited his small grave marker and left yellow roses, then went to Wendy’s and the local park where we all used to hangout.

Attending the local Christian Science church became nearly unbearable. His mother did her best to carry on as if nothing had happened, but something had, you could see it written across the faces of his younger siblings. It was open knowledge that William and I had been friends (and in a relationship, although the congregation had speculated it was more than it had been, in the end we were friends), one member of the congregation took it upon himself to “inform” me in the most casual way:  “did you hear that William passed on?” accompanied by flushing and giggling.

I met up with my then-boyfriend (3) over that Spring Break as well, as he drove around looking for places to make out he pulled up at the park William and I had often visited. I was too emotionally wrecked to make out in the same place William and I had picnicked and competed to see who could swing higher, so I dissolved into tears. My boyfriend was quite confused and asked what was wrong, out poured the story of my relationship with William, his death, how it never worked out, how he was still one of my best and closest friends.

My boyfriend then asked if William was still alive, would I leave him for William. I really should’ve seen this as a sign and dumped him on the spot, but our relationship held on for nearly a year. The following Summer Break Marie and I visited Williams’ grave again. As we were walking back to her car, it hit me, William treated me better than my boyfriend ever had, and we were friends. William never had to write memos (joking or not) to himself to be nice to me, he just was. Even after his seizures which clearly altered his moods, he was still nice to me. As soon as we got back to Marie’s house I called my boyfriend and dumped him.

I miss William and think about him often. I make sure my husband and children always wear their bike helmets. I randomly tear up when I hear Spice Girls songs, and have to watch Star Wars with a box of kleenx near by. I keep in touch with Beth. Marie and I had a nasty falling out (yes, Christian Science played a role). Williams’ mother remains “in Science” but his siblings have left.

I often wonder what would’ve been different if he hadn’t been in Christian Science, if he hadn’t died so young. He had so much potential.


  1. Names have been changed
  2. This was also a favorite T-shirt of his, he loved Monty Python
  3. This boyfriend https://kindism.org/2013/12/01/agape/
  4. http://youtu.be/9wfpXI5PKlw – Spice up your Life

Images via Facebook

A Letter to the Jehovah’s Witness Lady

I found this to be a most enlightening piece, I was not aware that MBE’s coming was foretold and by prophecy and that the signs were fulfilled. I may have to keep this piece on hand if the dear Mormon missionaries ever come back to visit.

The Ark of Truth- Mother's Hood

A Jehovah Witness has been visiting me off and on for over two years now and she finally asked me what religion I was of.  I purposely did not want her to know, but since she finally asked I told her I was an Independent Christian Scientist.  After the latest visit from my Jehovah Witness friend I wrote the following letter as I really did not have time to tell her much about Christian Science.

View original post 7,059 more words

summaries

I have a confession to make: I spend way too much time looking at my blog stats. Even when I don’t post any content, I try and check and see how many people have stopped by to look. I’m still slightly shocked anyone (beyond my husband and my BFF) reads what I post. I also look at the “Summaries of Search Terms” to see what people have looked for which has led them to my blog.

The top three search terms are as follows:

  1. unofficial christian science sites, blogs
  2. kindism
  3. christian science deaths

The first two are understandable, I am an unofficial CS-site/blog and it is called kindism (which is also a world view), the third “christian science deaths” makes me VERY UNCOMFORTABLE. I mean, I’m glad people are coming to my little corner of the internet, but that so many people are searching for “christian science deaths” makes me want to write a strongly worded letter to everyone listed in the Journal because they’re DOING IT WRONG, but I probably won’t, because instead of doing that I’m writing this blog post. Maybe one day it will show up on one of their google searches.

The top 10 includes “christian scientists and medicare” and variations on equality for gay Principians. Most of the CS-related ones deal with death, the church’s per capita tax, and CS who take medicine/drink.

  • trade edition science and health and bible – it is impossible to have too many copies
  • is christian science shrinking – well, with CS death’s being the #3 search term I think it’s kinda obvious!
  • filled up full with thoughts from god – I’m not usually for burning books, but I’ll make an exception
  • christian science and the end of the world – this experience isn’t “real” why would it matter?
  • losing a friend to christian science – I’m not sure if they mean this as CS-death, or like “losing a friend to a cult” both are possibilities

Then there are some generic church/god related terms

  • what is the matthew code – other than completely ignored by most CS-groups?
  • puritan birthday cards – did Puritans celebrate birthdays? I know good CS don’t.
  • inappropriate jesus christmas cards – I still really want to send these one day but my husband won’t let me…
  • church antibacterial – maybe other churches have hand soap factions too
  • breaking up with goddid that, thanks mormon missionaries!

The ones pertaining to Principia were interesting, and I’d like to think my blog is easier to navigate than Prin’s homepage when it comes to finding facts:

  • +gay principians – and variations on Principia Queer Equality
  • dangerous bluff principia college – there was a lawsuit
  • principia pledge Jesus couldn’t abide by Prin’s terms, what hope do you have?
  • can you take medicine and attend principia collegenope
  • principia college hater – rather hurt my feelings, I don’t hate Prin, I just think they’re DOING IT ALL WRONG

And then there were some search terms which made me go “wha?”

  • wooden school table – I hope it turned up this post
  • what is a dictionary – I have no clue…
  • dinosaurs in the old testament – well we all know about Raptor Jesus
  • elephants demons? – my best guess is that this turned up one of my musings on Buddhism

My favorite search term:

tax deductibility of christian science nursing facilities

I hope my post on Christian Science, Healthcare & the Government gave them something to think about, I’m not sure they were linked to that post, but I’m hopeful. I’d like to think that was looked up by some lifelong CS’s lifelong CS-offspring and that my blog gave them a lot to think about.

faith, hope & love

Elder Fox and his shadow TSOWG and the subsequent missionaries liked to talk about Faith. All I needed to do was have faith (and read a book and pray), and God would show me what was True.

In my quest for something greater, I began by picking part Hebrews 11:1, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

What is this substance? It is that which underlies the apparent; the basis of something, hence assurance, guarantee and confidence. That which stands under. A real or essential part or element of anything; essence, reality of basis of matter.

In Science & Health, (468:16-24) Ms. Eddy takes a more spiritual route:

Question. – What is substance?
Answer. – Substance is that which is eternal and incapable of discord and decay. Truth, Life, and Love are substance, as the Scriptures use this word in Hebrews: “The substance of things hoped
for, the evidence of things not seen.” Spirit, the synonym of Mind, Soul, or God, is the only real substance. The spiritual universe, including individual man, is a compound idea, reflecting the divine substance of Spirit.

What is Hope? Hope is a motivator to protect us from losing sight of God’s purpose. Faith is the foundation for our hopes/motivation to live good lives.

In 1 Corinthians 13:13, Paul reminds us: And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. In the King James, “love” is translated as “charity.”

Although I no longer believe in the God of the Bible and the trappings of Christianity, I do think some of the messages are good ones. Paul nails it when he says “…the greatest of these is charity.

Websters defines charity as

1: benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity
2 a : generosity and helpfulness especially toward the needy or suffering; also :aid given to those in need b :an institution engaged in relief of the poor c : public provision for the relief of the needy
3 a :a gift for public benevolent purposes b : an institution (as a hospital) founded by such a gift
4 : lenient judgment of others
*emphasis mine

If everyone, across all religions and systems of belief could be more charitable to one another I feel the world would be a better place.

“Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness and compassion.”–His Holiness the Dalai Lama, from “Kindness, Clarity, and Insight” by Snow Lion Publications.