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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hard to care for what you don't respect

And now for your Thursday dose of introspective gloom. I was listening to the Conception album Flow in my car yesterday, as I have been since I got a burned copy of it two weeks ago--it takes about eight times before the lyrics really start to sink in. And so I was driving along, singing in my charming off-key voice, and this line hit me in the teeth: "Now I know enough to hate myself/for heaven's sake".

Well. Well, I said to myself. It's like Khan knows me. Many of Conception's lyrics contain scintillating bits of atheist soul-searching, but this was the first one to really make me say Hmm, because it is a perfect encapsulation of something I bet lots of Mormons deal with. Presumably lots of Christians and other denominations too, but I have only my own experience. Which is this: it is, in the words of T.H. White, so fatally easy to make children believe they are horrible. To this I would add it is also easy to make people of religious fervor believe they are bad people--it's the understated mission of some churches. After all, if a person believes in themselves, believes they are neither fundamentally good nor fundamentally bad but completely, totally HUMAN and that is quite correct, what use does the church have? And once you know just exactly how bad you are, how carnal, how sinful, how futile and pointless and hopeless, how boring and wretched, you know there's no WAY any deity could ever love you.

This is the point of the Atonement, of course. Nothing you ever do can be good enough, so Jesus has to step in and make it all ok--the fact that in order to make it all ok he got to chill with some really huge nails, a spear, mocking soldiers, traitorous friends, and the sins of everyone who will ever live is just another burden of shame and guilt for you, the poor mortal, to carry (note: this God is an ASS HOLE).

Hating yourself pre-emptively, so that when you get to Heaven and realize God hates you too it doesn't hurt so bad, is a Skill.


Donna Banta said...

Love the quote from T.H. White. It's taken me a long time post-Mormonism to get beyond the guilt. It still resurfaces from time to time.

Diana said...

Yep. Generally I think I'm over that mode of viewing myself and thinking about the world, but every now and then it creeps back in. Insidious. The memories of being young and feeling like I had to repent for everything, for not reading my scriptures one night or for wanting to kiss a boy...what a toxic way to live.

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