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Your Religious Past

tmottestmottes Veteran
edited September 2011 in Faith & Religion
I was raised in the LDS (mormon) faith and I have held on to a lot of resentment and anger toward the church. Since really practicing buddhism, I have been able to release a lot of these negative feelings and see the positives that come from religions (despite the negatives). We did a decent amount of singing in church and every once in a while I still have a song that pops into my head from days long since passed: I would like to share it with you. The mormon faith really focuses on "good deeds", so this isn't just feel good music, but a reminder of what actions we are to take. Are there things from your religious past that you can look back at now and have a new appreciation for them?



Lyrics:

Because I have been given much, I too must give.
Because of thy great bounty, Lord each day I live.
I shall divide my gifts from thee with every brother that I see,
who has the need of help from me.
Because I have been sheltered, fed by thy good care…
I cannot see another’s lack and I not share-
my glowing fire, my loaf of bread-my roof’s safe shelter over head,
that he too may be comforted.
Because I have been blessed by thy great love dear Lord,
I’ll share thy love again according to thy word.
I shall give love to those in need. I’ll show that love by word and deed,
thus shall my thanks be thanks indeed.
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Comments

  • Are there things from your religious past that you can look back at now and have a new appreciation for them?
    Hi Tmottes

    This is normal & excepted when we come to Buddhism and find happiness, understanding & inspiration. However, this also happens when we have not fully learned & understood Buddhism. The more we learn about & understand Buddhism, the more we can learn & understand that the Buddha taught all of the themes above before the emergence of Christianity (except for the 'God' part).

    One needs to be careful to not give Buddhism due credit for our awakening by giving too much appreciation to religions that did not really generate our awakening.

    But as I said, this 'projecting the clarity of Buddhism onto other religions' is normal & expected. It happens to many Westerners (like it once happened very strongly to me).

    If we wish, we can read about the Buddha's version of 'Blessings' at this link:

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.2.04.piya.html

    All the best :)

  • @DhammaDhatu Thanks for the reply and I will apply that advice in my current mindfulness practice. I wrote the post from the approach of accepting my past and accepting others who are currently practicing my past faith. That being said, I know that I could not have ever found in Mormonism, the clarity or the wisdom that I am learning through a Buddhist practice.

    Thank you for the link I will peruse it well.
  • MindGateMindGate United States Veteran
    Well, I like Gospel music in general. So thats a plus. :p
  • @tmottes I see each step before this one as a stepping stone. And I am here today because where I have been.And that is beauty. I grew up in a southern town in a Methodist church. By the age of nine I was skipping out of sermon to volunteer with the pre-school kids (what a rebel right?)but I remember the sermons. I remember learning about helping others but yet I was not home. So I joined the Unitarian Universalist church and even though each sermon began with "welcome home" and I was surrounded by "friends" I wasn't happy. I never missed a sermon and I learned about other religions and about friendship. I would say that even though I am gone the "UU" is still my second home. Each place we go is a stepping stone.
  • I went to a Church of England primary school, and we used to sing a song about a magic penny:

    Love is something if you give it away
    Give it away
    Give it away
    Love is something if you give it away
    You end up having more.

    It's just like a magic penny
    Hold it tight and you won't have any
    But lend, it, spend it, and you'll have so many
    They'll roll all over the floor

    For love is something if you give it away...

    (and a load of other verses)

    Very Buddhist in essence, I think. I also used to like saying grace before meals and I still actually do give thanks before eating.
  • I was raised Quaker for half of my childhood. A Quaker saying that remains with me is: "Seek that which is of God in everyone"

    Of course, I don't take the 'god' bit literally these days, but I still believe we all have a Buddha Nature, somewhere, maybe deep inside. We are all striving for Enlightenment, whether or not we know it.

    At college, I became a rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth fundamentalist (which I wasn't good at due to the Quaker trait of always asking awkward questions). The one Bible verse which still makes me laugh goes something like this:
    "Do good to your enemies, for in doing so you heap coals of fire upon their heads"

    In other words, the most irritating thing you can do for someone who is mad at you, is to be kind to them. I have found it works beautifully - it drives them nuts and then they are forced to prove they are a better person than you by being even nicer to you. Ultimately, both of you forget about being enemies and the being nice becomes a habit. It worked with my MIL!
  • B5CB5C Veteran
    I was a Lutheran for most of my life until I started READING the Bible and understanding Christian ideals of evil and suffering. The Buddha's teaching on suffering is a better philosophy to follow in my own opinion.
  • well i was christian then pastafarian (mostly as a joke) then atheist then christian but i wasnt happy at all in any of those then i decided to look into budhism couldnt be more happy. well i could if i stuck with it but you know what i mean.
  • I was a athiest hanging with arty and musician crowd. Addicted to my own feelings and ego, have no solid belief in anyone thing but just drift along with all the other young people blaming the wrongs of this world on other people.

    Then after a brief crazy period getting confused with metaphysics and "all religion are pretty much the same" I've finally been saved by the Buddha.

  • Here's the short version:

    Raised Catholic (but didn't go to mass very often)

    High school: agnostic

    College: Church of Christ (its a long story)

    Mid-1990s: agnostic, some interest in Daoism and postmodernist philosophy

    Late 1990s: "liberal Christian" with interests in mostly Christian mysticism, involved in the Greek Orthodox Church >>> Episcopal >>> Unitarian Universalists >>> Quakers and then...

    2001: Atheism, existentialism, Daoism (very loosely), basically "wandered in the desert" for nine years

    2010: Buddhism (primarily Soto Zen)

    Makes my head hurt just thinking about it all now LOL

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
    I was brought up in the religion of the intellect, a world every bit as confused and sometimes painful as what ordinarily passes for religion.

    After practicing Buddhism for something like 40 years, I look back in gratitude to the accuracy and usefulness of Swami Vivekananda's observation that "The mind [he meant intellect] is a good servant and a poor master."
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    When I read the title to this thread, I was reminded of when I was a school principal. Every so often the district would begin a new series of inservices on some aspect of learning. My teachers would often say something along the lines of, "Glad we're done with 'x'. Now they want us to change and do 'y'". My message to my teachers was always: "Wrong. Now you have a certain group of strategies under your belt. It's time to move on to a new set of strategies. And when you have a student who isn't learning at an appropriate level, you've accumulated all these different strategies, and it's time for you to pull out a different strategy to improve learning. It's not this strategy OR that strategy, but be like a good doctor who finds just the right treatment."

    I think I've begun thinking of religion in that way. When you "become" Buddhist, it doesn't mean you have to throw away wisdom from Methodism or Mormonism or Catholicism. It's just a part of your little bag of tricks of accumulated wisdom.
  • @vinlyn I guess that is where I was coming from when I started this thread. In the past few years I have started to listen to people more openly, even if I thoroughly disagree (personal or otherwise). I have made a conscious effort to take genuine interest and non-judgement with different viewpoints and ideas. It can be rather challenging, however I feel that the more perspectives that I can accept (so to speak), the more accepting I am overall.

    By trying to see all perspectives, I end up seeing no perspectives.

    P.S. Glad to see you are back :) we have been lacking in your perspective ;-)
  • edited October 2011
    My earliest days as a Christian were spent in an evangelical church empty of spirituality and void of wisdom.
    I was baptized a Catholic, but my mother fell away from the practice and turned to that church. I have no idea why.

    Eventually, my mother started practicing Catholicism again. Even though I was baptized a Catholic and went to Catholic grammar school, I didn't know much about the religion.

    It took me a long time to see anything good in Christianity, as the belief system has always confused and frightened me. The best thing about Christianity is its followers. The Christian people I've met have been kind, understanding, open-minded and intelligent. Otherwise, I have nothing to say for the religion.
  • The best thing about Christianity is its followers. The Christian people I've met have been kind, understanding, open-minded and intelligent. Otherwise, I have nothing to say for the religion.
    I've often remarked that that its a good thing Christians aren't too terribly consistent with their beliefs.
  • I was Mormon. The longer I'm not Mormon, the more I appreciate not being Mormon. :nyah:
  • edited October 2011
    I was Mormon. The longer I'm not Mormon, the more I appreciate not being Mormon. :nyah:
    An ex-Mormon told me about the religion.

    What is so appealing about it? The story of the Latter Day Saints kind of sounds like that of a bad fantasy novel.

  • I also came from a LDS background and no I can't say I can really appreciate anything from the religion. I avoid the main body as much as physically possible and tolerate the things that my family in law say about their Fundamentalism.
  • Grew up Lutheran, and never "got" organized religion. I never bought into the idea that some guy eating an apple a million years ago meant that I was somehow a bad person who needed "saving" by a vengeful, spiteful "god" that I needed to "fear". It just never sank in with me.

    When I was an adult and started reading about Buddhism, I realized that although I didn't know it, I'd pretty much always been a Buddhist in my beliefs.
  • MountainsMountains Veteran
    edited October 2011
    The best thing about Christianity is its followers. The Christian people I've met have been kind, understanding, open-minded and intelligent.
    Come to the bible belt here in America. Sadly, I can introduce you to a large number who don't fit that profile *at all*. Some of them within a literal stone's throw of where I'm now sitting.

    I like Gandhi's quote:

    “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

  • Come to the bible belt here in America. Sadly, I can introduce you to a large number who don't fit that profile *at all*. Some of them within a literal stone's throw of where I'm now sitting.
    I live in the Bible Belt as well (the Gulf coast). I've heard stories, but I've never lived them. I think I'm just lucky, LOL.
    :p
  • Funny, I didn't expect so many ex-mormons on here. I also have noticed that there are very few ex-mormons that have anything good to say about the religion. @tamm and @swaydam were you converts or raised in the LDS church?
  • I wasn't expecting so many either! Most ex-mos I know are strictly atheist. I was born and raised LDS. There's a lot of things that have left a bad taste in my mouth with that particular religion. It's pretty hard to make it as someone who is outwardly ex-mormon in a mormon run community to the bone.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Funny, I didn't expect so many ex-mormons on here. I also have noticed that there are very few ex-mormons that have anything good to say about the religion. @tamm and @swaydam were you converts or raised in the LDS church?
    Well, to some extent, ex-anything will be negative about what they left.

  • @tamm where did you grow up (born and raised)?

    @vinlyn fair enough. I just got tired of holding on to the negativity. I was born and raised a mormon, but it wasn't ever really mine.

  • edited October 2011
    Utah county :p so church central!
    I wanted to add though that there's a huge difference between being an "ex" member and an "anti" member.
  • oooo Happy valley :)

    I am glad I was up in Weber County. I wouldn't have survived very well down there :)
  • LOL yup! It's not all that bad by way of being safe, we have that to enjoy. But there's a lot of downsides. Like the ward members banging on my door early in the morning or being the only non-LDS person in a class. I had some family up in Weber but that's about it!
  • Where do you live now if you don't mind me asking.
  • Provo-Orem area. You?
  • Oh so you are still down there; I suppose I didn't take into consideration that I don't have it in my face all the time anymore as I am living in Santa Fe, New Mexico now. I haven't lived in Utah for 5 years now.
  • Lucky lucky! My best friend lived in a few other states like Arizona and Colorado and she loved the environment a lot more. Of course this week has been worse than usual with the fever pitch that is conference week.
  • swaydamswaydam Veteran
    edited October 2011
    I was Mormon. The longer I'm not Mormon, the more I appreciate not being Mormon. :nyah:
    An ex-Mormon told me about the religion.

    What is so appealing about it? The story of the Latter Day Saints kind of sounds like that of a bad fantasy novel.
    I was baptized only a couple years ago. My parents have been members for over 10 years.
    The members are actually really good people. Its just the mind-numbing incessant regurgitating of unverified viewpoints that repulses me. I can see that many of the converts have found happiness and a sense of greater meaning from joining, and that's great. You know, I talked to the local LDS bishop about Buddhism and such, and he said the church encourages reading other spiritual texts outside Mormonism. Also, they believe that one can learn spiritual truths that aren't in the bible. So, I think Mormonism is a lot less fundamentalist than some of the other Christian churches, but in the end its still a belief system.
  • Negativity toward the negative side of Christianity will just make you commit more of the unwholesomeness that your complaining about.

    It's your mind seeking for a "fight" caused by your greed for fame.

    "stupid Christians, intelligent buddhist, me!!!!"
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Negativity toward the negative side of Christianity will just make you commit more of the unwholesomeness that your complaining about.

    It's your mind seeking for a "fight" caused by your greed for fame.

    "stupid Christians, intelligent buddhist, me!!!!"
    Exactly.

  • I was raised a devout Christian. I actually started questioning it in the 4th grade when I asked my Sunday School teacher "How do we know we're right!" The response? "We just do." Well that never worked for me.

    In high school I began questioning it more and more and a year or two after I graduated, I considered myself agnostic/atheist. I stayed this way for a decade but I became increasingly angry.

    Recently I began having even more trouble focusing and relaxing. I would literally come home from work and think about work. I'd want to get lost in the TV instead of enjoying time with my family.

    I decided to look into meditation and about a month ago, I started. It was then that I starting reading more about Buddhism. It really fit my beliefs all along.

    It's taught me a lot. Before, I was an arrogant atheist who liked to mock Christianity. Buddhism taught me not to be concerned with what others believe. Let them live their lives. It's only the beginning. I now look forward to everyday,

  • Oh my this is a long topic for me, but unlike a lot of people I do not have a negative past with the faith of my parents. Well maybe 17-19 when I was feeling really rebellious. Otherwise I am very grateful for my caring and open minded Lutheran upbringing. In fact one person I knew in the Lutheran church (I was in an Eastern Orthodox church at the time) said I defended the Lutheran church more than most members.

    I think it is important to understand where we come from and give our parents credit for trying to do what they thought was the best for our spiritual future. In their own way most of them gave us the impetus to find what was right for us rather than limping along in what did not work.
  • I was raised Pentecostal, but went to church and didn't argue out of respect for my parents even though I never fully bought into it. I can't say that there are any positives from my church experiences, I think the whole brainwashing slowed the process of me feeling OK about erasing the slate and starting fresh about what I believe.
  • I was Episcopal, but is the important thing really where we've been, or where we're going????
  • I was raised a Southern Baptist, very devout, and went to seminary. I was ordained a minister and served as a social worker (MSW) in a church related children's home for a few years. Under the pressures of the ministerial life my wife and I decided to leave to join the Episcopal Church. That was a short passing until I became a Catholic 19 years ago this month. However, Buddhism has been lurking in my life ever since I read Bob Dylan was interested in Zen. That was in my teenage years. So at 53 I am finally taking refuge in the Three Jewels. It really is a relief to finally settle on what intrigued -- and haunted -- me for years.
  • I was raised in a devout Christian household, but my parents were always extremely liberal. I came into Buddhism about two - three years ago and it completely and utterly changed my life.
  • I was raised in the United Church, but my family isn't really religious. When I was in university I became more serious for a very short time - the more I studied, the more I couldn't swallow most of the doctrine, and I called it quits. Stress/anxiety brought me to Buddhism, and has changed my life. People now say to me, "You seem so relaxed," or "Why aren't you more angry about ____?"

    You know how this site says "Welcome Home" when you log in? It's 100% accurate.
  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    I was raised Buddhist. My Catholic Nana (Grandma) used to sneak me off to Mass.
    My teens and early 20's were spent in the deep South of America, so the UU Church provided me at least a vast group of Buddhist to be around. All this....what did I take away?
    I have no ill feelings for the hours of time spent at those services with my Nana. I stayed diligent with my study and meditation, and like all things, the practice helps you transition into different stages of your life.

    Just a Lay/Householder point of view.
  • I was raised Christian (Baptist) but didn't agree with a good chunk of the things in there. I found Islam and disagreed with a good chunk of that too, and what do you know, I've found Buddhism and disagree with a chunk of it as well. But I agree with a lot more than I disagree with. I had never heard of a person having more than one religion before, so I told myself that I had to choose one. But I couldn't. The choice was too difficult! So I picked all three, and I am glad I did.

    Ha, what was I thinking, limiting myself?

    And I know the obvious question, why not be none? Why not just sit with that thought and meditate on emptiness or accept my beliefs without labeling them? Well, they have all taught me a lot. Especially Buddhism. Without the decision to follow all three, I would not have joined this forum, looked into Buddhism more deeply, and the concept of emptiness, meditation, and lack of self (there is no self, just emptiness) would have been lost on me.

    Wow that was long, haha.
  • christianity got me young with my mother being a devote follower. She fears Im straying if I 'convert' too buddhism.

    Im sorry but I dont care for people and a book telling me if I can't follow its impossible instructions Im a horrible unredeemable person but if I enbrace god I can get away with mass genocide and still go on to a happy afterlife


    as this video puts it:

  • I also came from a LDS background and no I can't say I can really appreciate anything from the religion. I avoid the main body as much as physically possible and tolerate the things that my family in law say about their Fundamentalism.
    I misread that terribly as an LSD background :S
  • My religious past is pretty much non religious. I was brought up in the UK by two people who were christened, but did not actually go to church or believe the religion itself, like a lot of the UK for that matter. I myself was never christened at birth, it seems to be a ritual of someone being born rather than a friedly welcome into a religon, so they left it up to me to decide where I would take things when I was old enough.

    In my teen years I was the typical angry, religious abusing atheist. I loved science and thougt anybody who was involved with any religon was ignorant, stupid and really delusional. Turns out that was actually me lol.

    Now I try to conform to buddhism and accept other religions and people who follow them.
  • I was raised Catholic but I fell away from that ever since the end of highschool I drifted until I found a good group of Zen and Chan Buddhists.. Still quite a work in progress.
  • So many ex Catholics (including myself) and Mormons here. Somehow it doesn't surprise me, both are very similar in terms of control, and the depth of how much there members believe and I think it's that, with other things that drive people away from them.
  • I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church, but apparently like many others, I too drifted away. I was bitter about the Church and dabbled in just about every sort of philosophy and religion before finally settling on agnosticism, which I remain today after a brief return to the faithful.

    I do not feel any hostility towards my old religion. I'm morally conservative by nature, so I tend to be at least ethically more of the viewpoint with religious people than non-religious. Although I hold no theological positions, I probably am closest to Judaism in social and ethical views.
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