This past week I have spent visiting my friends and mentor down in Texas. I was staying with a friend and his family, who are not LDS, but are Episcopalian. Today I went to church with them and it was an interesting service.
Just as a preface, this was my very first experience with a church service that wasn’t LDS. I have grown up going to church every week for just about my entire life, I think I have missed about a dozen Sundays in my life. Throughout this week I had the opportunity to visit with many of the people whom I mingled with at the Episcopalian church and I realized that there is a large difference between the Episcopal (and I am assuming most other non-LDS religions) and the LDS faith.
The difference is that for all the flack that the Mormon and specifically Utah-Mormon culture gets it is what really defines us. We are not a church in the common respect. We do not just come to church on Sunday, take the sacrament and then go about on our merry way not taking into account the lessons and teachings learned at church. Granted many people in the LDS faith do this and many in the Episcopalian church do not do this, but from my experience it felt as if the LDS church wasn’t a Church in the traditional sense but it was instead a lifestyle.
It is a lifestyle that dominates all of our actions and forces us to constantly think in the eternal perspective. How often do you (particularly those in a bubble) schedule any activity on Monday or Wednesday night? How often do you find yourself repeating a scripture or a hymn throughout the day as a tool to lift your spirits? I think that I do not belong to a church, granted in legal terms of the nation it is one, but in practice it is not a church. It is a way of life. One that I am glad for because I believe that God and religion is either an all or nothing concept. That is it is either not important or it is the only thing of importance in this life. And I believe that it is the only thing of importance, granted a family is vastly important but it falls under the jurisdiction of religion and God.
I hope to always stay in the LDS church, but if for some reason I discover that what is right and truthful lies outside of it and I follow it and am excommunicated (I do not feel that I will ever take my name from the records of the Church by choice) I will continue to seek after not a church, but a lifestyle. Not the Gay lifestyle but the lifestyle modeled after the LDS church. I probably would continue to try and find meaning and solace from a ward and become a part of the ward family even as an ex’ed member because to me it is the only structure that makes sense and even then not fully but it does the best out there.