I've occasionally referred to my childhood and teenage years belonging to an evangelical Christian sect, but I've always dodged or avoided mentioning which sect. This has not been out of any shame or fear. In fact, I have many very fond memories of my childhood in that church, though not so many fond memories from my teenage years. In all fairness, though, I don't have all that many fond memories of any sort from my teenage years until I hit, oh, about 25 or so, at which point I had already gone the better part of a decade years without attending any church. It was my faith, or in the absence of that faith, what I had learned as a child that later had a great influence on my journey from conservatism to libertarianism, and by extension, from there to my current views. No, the reason I have been eerily quiet about the church I attended as a child is because I was so deeply conflicted about it, about life, about sorting out what exactly it is I believe and who I am. Also, I didn't want to have myself associated with a faith's name unless I actually had some belief in the existence of God, and I figured "why give an answer if I wasn't sure?". As of now, I still don't have the answer to that question, but I've reached a point in my life where I have to confront my past before I can move forward. Perhaps it's sad that it took me so many years to get to that point, but however it turns out, this is what I've needed to do to go forward with my life. To be honest, it's long overdue, and perhaps one of the reasons it's taken me so long is that I'm a procrastinator. As of today, I will still be in the closet in my public life about the doubts I have about the existence of any deity, but I will no longer hide my religious and philosophical underpinnings online.
Now that I've given my caveats and apology, I'll finally spit it out: From a cultural perspective at least, I'm a Mormon. It was the concept of "free agency", or free will, or however you wish to term it, that led to my more libertarian thoughts. It was the fact that, growing up, political discussions were and remain taboo inside the church that influenced my belief in the separation of church and state. I could go on and on, but you get the point. Oh, and I prefer my green gelatin dessert (term used to avoid advocating a specific brand name) with pineapple (mmm, tasty), if it needs any fruit at all. I've heard legends about Mormon funeral potatoes, and I understand they're truly memorable. On the more serious charges of misogyny and racism, well, I guess I must have missed that in my attendance of several hundred, if not north of 1,000, sacrament meetings and Sunday school lessons when the teachers and speakers spoke about loving one another and other common Christian themes, or when I knew, even from a very young age, people from various ethnic backgrounds and just saw them as who they are instead of how much melanin they have in their skin. I won't say that I learned tolerance there, because I was never taught intolerance; rather, I was taught that intolerance was and is evil and that respect for other people is good both at church and at home, which I suppose amounts to the same thing. Over the last 20+ years (including the rather lengthy gap when I attended no church at all), one of the most consistent threads of discussion has been the importance of the family and strengthening those relationships. For those who are interested, the official position of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was against the Iraq war, which was a very unusual step for the highest levels of the church leadership, and they were fairly early in the game when they said so. As for emergency preparedness, (I don't know how many actually adhere to this in my area, but not me), the suggestion is a 3 month supply of food and water. As I've ranted about ad nauseam, I live in a hurricane zone, and when I was a toddler, Hurricane Frederic hit, knocking out power and water in some areas for a month or more. How useful do you think three months of food and water would be then? In another instance, I've known people who were able to survive on their emergency supplies and needed to do so because of financial hardships. This isn't "apocalyptic thought"; it's simple prudence. An old saying goes, "In every life, some rain must fall." In that context, food storage is an umbrella. This is the church I grew up with and know, and while I may only be a Mormon from a cultural perspective, I'm not ashamed. For those who charge Mormonism with "End Times" thinking, well, all the ones I've met over the years certainly don't want to actively bring it about, and that is, or should be, the greatest concern about that aspect of this, or any other, evangelical Christian faith among those who are concerned with this type of thought.
Oh, and I can and frequently do curse better than some and as good as most; I have an itchy middle finger; I have and will probably continue to watch R-rated movies; I have developed a degree of misanthropy over the years; and I stopped consuming caffeine for health reasons, not religious reasons. In short, I'm not a pod person.
As for the music, although the tenor is different from most of the other stuff I post, that's only because I recently found this YouTube video. My tastes in music are much like my tastes in food: Many, extremely varied, and a lot of it. This features one of my favorite instruments, the glass armonica. Oh, and I think the guy's outfit is odd too. Enjoy.