I don't know where I'll be living a month from now. I don't know when I'll get a new job to replace the one I'm leaving on Monday. I don't know if I'll get a chance to date the man I'm interested in. I don't know if I want to start being a little active in the LDS church or have my name taken from the records.
The first two have been impending for a while, but seeing them coming hasn't, unfortunately, helped me figure them out. The third I didn't really hope for until a few circumstances changed and he started calling me by a certain nickname. The fourth I thought I had figured out, but then I got Rick's letter.
The letter itself didn't mention the church and the couple of letters that followed (before he went silent again) were mostly about books, but they made me think about churchy things. After reading it, I looked back over the whole of my correspondence with Rick, and I found a version of me I'd forgotten about. In one of my letters I said that "I can honestly say I believe in the church now." This was while I was in Argentina, the semester after Prop 8. I'd forgotten I ever felt that way. I'd forgotten what I was actually feeling and thinking back then.
(I'd also forgotten a letter I wrote to him about conflating the holy spirit with conditioned mental responses—felt a flush of pride at that one. My argument still feels solid, which isn't something I can say for all of my old writings.)
Remembering the old me was important. After relying on memory to keep my history for a few years, it got distorted. I forgot what I knew, or what I thought I knew, and even that I thought I knew it. I forgot the texture and nuance of my internal debate. I remembered that I never really solved the old dilemma of what I believe about Mormonism; I just shelved it. That was a good thing—even the right thing—for me to do, then, but it's been four years since I graduated and shelved. (Already? Jeez.) Now that I'm coming back to the states (where I can communicate, drive cars, and do other grounding things) and now that I've had years of experience away from the church, I think I'm ready to de-shelf the church.
But here's one thing I'm certain about: The church isn't all it projects itself as. Its vision of eternity, particularly of eternal progression, resonates with me, but after Prop 8, where they supported bald lies and fear-based arguments, it's impossible for me to believe that the church always fights for the side of truth and God. Whatever I come to think about the church in the coming months and years, it's going to have to come around that known thing.
And whatever I come to think about the church, I will not be muzzled, and I will not be silent.