In response to “where will you go?” I say, “those who wander are not always lost,” and there is “joy in the journey.” The first part is a popular quote from J.R.R. Tolkien, the second part is from the 1998 EFY theme and together they sum up what my spiritual journey is, and has been.
I was born and raised in the Church. From a young age I strived to do what my parents and leaders expected of me, yet as I got older this expected obedience began to chafe. Along with that was a growing longing to know more than the sanitized and correlated lessons we received every Sunday. I also craved the ritual and deep theology I saw in my friend’s faiths.
As an adult I became not only more aware of the systemic problems found in a Church that seemed to have forgotten some of its founding principles (such as Article of Faith 9), but that I wasn’t alone in my pain. I was stifled by the expected role of me as a woman, and doing what church leaders had told me to do did not yield their promised rewards. I began to resent God.
Ironically, discovering the Mormon feminist and activist community placed me on the path to reconcile with God. After years of trying to shore up my already broken shelf I had a powerful spiritual moment where God told me He loved me, and that it was OK for me to find a better spiritual path to walk.
I have met so many amazing people, each on their own spiritual paths, and have learned so much from them. I’ve also discovered not only fulfilling rituals in my new spiritual home, but more about the teachings and folklore of my old spiritual home. I wish the LDS leadership was secure enough to openly discussing the Church’s history, its wealth of theory, folklore, and teachings.
In the end no matter what Leaders, such as Ballard, say. They do not get to control my spirituality, nor my access to the Divine.
“Where will [I] go?” Wherever my soul takes me.