I’ve attended church two (now three) times since taking my religious sabbatical. Given that I attended church every Sunday since I was a child, minus the handful of times I was sick, this has been an interesting experience.
When we first moved to Kirksville, I tried out a Methodist church. It was very friendly, interactive, and refreshingly open about their finances. But I wasn’t ready. I was still dealing with church related PTSD and needed more time.
Three months after moving to St. Louis, I decided to try out the Latter-Day Saint ward. I grew up Mormon, you know, and thought it would be a nice experience. It wasn’t. In fact, the sacrament meeting (or sermon) had all the elements that disillusioned me in the first place. Frankly, I didn’t just leave; I ran.
Today, I decided to attend a different church. One I grew up mocking as a sad break-off from the LDS church: the Community of Christ (formerly RLDS).
The sermon was fascinating. They focused on issues like world hunger, talked about Jesus the entire time, and included passages from scriptures I grew up with (like the Doctrine and Covenants). Included in their program was a financial statement that they update weekly. At the back of their program was this message:
“What kind of good news was Jesus announcing? It was good news of forgiveness from sin, of the promise of eternal life, of restored relationships with God and others. And it was also news of tangible improvements in the lives of poor people. Jesus was bringing freedom from conditions that trap people in poverty, hunger, disease, and powerlessness.”
-Alex Kahtava, emphasis mine
That is the Jesus I understand and will gladly follow.
A man gave the sermon and both women and men passed the sacrament. Female and male priesthood leaders occupied the stand. In short, gender did not occlude women’s ability to fully participate in leadership positions and Sabbath services.
I’m still unsure of where my spiritual journey will end, if it ever will; yet, I am enjoying fully exploring my options.