Monday, November 11, 2013

Life After Mormonism

The further away from 'that' time in my life, the harder it is for me to identify with any part of it.

It was a piece of who I was for so long, too long, but now it seems so far away.

I never thought I would get to this point when I was first losing my religion. At first it seemed like it would always be there, haunting me. Hovering over me like a paranoid parent. But 5 years after my first big step away from life as I knew it, it seems so silly, so small and very much not who I am.

It's hard to think back to who I was when I was Mormon. I still know the tenets of the religion. I still know how to pray, how to worship, and how to dress if I were ever to end up in the middle of a Sacrament Meeting. But I feel so distant from the girl I once was.

I don't normally try to focus on the past, it only brings me down or causes me to focus on regrets, but I have been stuck in a circle of thoughts focusing around my eldest child. She will be turning 8 years old this coming February. Not normally a big stepping stone in the eyes of most, but in Mormonism, that is the age of accountability and the year children are baptized.

My daughter will not be baptized (I know, it's shocking); but I can't stop feeling like it's a big birthday. It is one of those things that I never thought would matter now that I walked away from Mormonism. It was a small thing that I didn't think of when I was stressing out and debating with myself and researching. But here I am, definitely not Mormon, but wanting this birthday to 'be' something.

I definitely don't believe that 8 year old children are old enough to truly to be accountable for much. She has been accountable for her actions for years now. So that doesn't really apply. She is too young to be accountable in financial or worldly ways, so I don't believe that truly applies.

A part of me wants to push these weird, inapplicable thoughts to the back of my mind. Back where I keep things I can never remember, like the social security numbers for my daughters or the reasons why I dated certain guys. But that quirky part of me wants to have a celebration, but make it secular. How do I make a strictly religious thing secular without it becoming a mockery of Mormonism as a whole? (As much as I can and do mock Mormonism, it's not my goal in life.)

As I was browsing the internet for some meaningful ideas, I happened across some posts about unbaptisms. You can even get a certificate. I smiled for a second thinking how cute she would look in a white unbaptism dress... but that wouldn't be something for her. That would just be for me. She has never been baptized, nor was she blessed into the church. (Mormons bless their babies within the first few months after birth. They give it a name and a blessing in front of the entire congregation.) Katelyn wasn't blessed into the church because my husband didn't have the correct 'level' of the priesthood to do so.  A lot of my Mormon friends have pictures of their beautiful 8 year old daughters in their baptism dresses. I think I entertained that thought just to feel like I thought I one day would, if I had stayed Mormon.

As of today, I haven't truly decided what, if anything, I will do when my eldest hits the big 0-8, but I know that even if I decide to let it roll by like the 2-7 years did, it will be a birthday that will remain in my memory as the year she would have been baptized.  And I will be happy with the thought that I saved her from it.

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