Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Leaving the faith

As a former Mormon, I have a unique amount of sympathy for anyone trying to leave a faith. Actually, I feel very strongly that anyone should be able to leave any organized religion at any time - for any reason.

Protest signed today at the Hague

Some Muslims signed a petition at the Hague today to have the right to publicly renounce their faith. I don't see how this could be a bad thing.

The irony is that some evangelical religions (not necessarily Islam) actually encourage people to leave their current faith and join a new one. In that sense, someone leaving a faith was encouraged - as long as they were joining "the true faith". The families, the obligations to the old religion/church were downplayed.

Since I grew up in a very Roman Catholic area, there were many former Catholics in my LDS ward. I remember them talking about the pain their families experienced when they had joined mormonism. It was always spoken of in the sense of "but now I have the truth".

One YW leader (youth teacher) woman in particular talked about how growing up she had the cross to remember her faith - but now she had the young women's medallions. (This seems incredibly ironic to me now, but that was her experience. For the non LDS/former LDS readers out there, often mormons will claim to be different/better than Catholics since they don't have/need symbols like crosses).

Please don't misunderstand me - I am not advocating the end to religion or people forcibly leaving religions (any religion) without study and knowledge.

I support the right to have faith in the God or higher power of your choice. I support non belief.

But faith should be a personal experience, and the exercise of that faith should be according to one's own conscience. Not the dictates of a society or organized religion. And if someone wants to leave (or join) any religion, they should have that freedom - without fear of retribution.

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