Friday, March 16, 2012

F is for ... Forgetting

For me, part of being Pagan is alot of "forgetting".  While it sounds negative, it really isn't.  It isn't about forgetting who I am, what I believe, or where I'm going in this life.  It's more about forgetting the negatives of the past.  Forgetting the negative structures of the religion I was raised in.  Forgetting to judge people based on what they believe.  Forgetting to be so worried about "getting it right".

See, lots of forgetfulness going on.

By forgetting the negatives of the past, I don't mean to forget entirely.  Just, to try not to be influenced overly by them.  This also included the negative structure of the religion I grew up in - Mormonism.  Plenty of people, including other Christians, view the LDS Church as a cult.  That's not entirely accurate, but it is a widespread opinion.  In fact, many Christians do not consider Mormons to be Christian, they are somehow "other".  But that's really besides the point.  The negatives I'm referring to are primarily the Mormon Church's views on men and women's equality, roles and the importance of each, as well as some hypocritical opinions the Church and its members hold.

In the Mormon Church, men hold positions of power and leadership, while women are expected to follow; there is no priesthood option for women; essentially, the Church implies, if not outright states, that a woman's place is in the home, supporting her husband and raising the children.  She should not, if she can avoid it, go and find outside work, and it is certainly not the man's place to "be in the home taking care of children" while she works.  This is really quite detrimental to a girl growing up in the Church, to be told that, basically, she is not as important as the boys and men in the view of her religion.

Then, there are the hypocritical opinions, besides men and women's equality.  Many years ago, before African-Americans really had any rights in this country, black men did not have the right to the priesthood in the LDS Church.  When the laws changed, all of sudden, the Church's prophet received a revelation that black men should now be granted the priesthood.  Women's rights have similarly affected the Church's stance, and I can only imagine how the Church's opinion on the LGBT community will change if/when the laws change favorably toward those individuals.

However, moving on: In the beginning when I first discovered Paganism and Witchcraft, even though I knew being Mormon wasn't for me, it just didn't add up, it was difficult to overcome, to "forget", my lifelong conditioning.  It took me a few years to sufficiently put it aside to really move forward spiritually, and ultimately to get to where I am now (and still progressing!  I certainly haven't learned all there is to know :)

Another thing that I was raised with, is while I was supposed to love everybody, I was taught that only people who had chosen the One True Church (aka Mormons) would go to heaven.  I was taught, indirectly, to discriminate against those of other Christian faiths, and don't even get me started on the impression I was given of non-Christian/Judeo religions.  I had to do another bit of forgetting to get past that as well.  I was lucky, though, because my parents had not be raised in that religion, only converting after they were adults, so they were more open-minded about other religions than people who had been indoctrinated since birth.  My mother taught me respect for all religions, making a point of allowing me to attend other services with friends, and accompanying me later when I wanted to go but knew no-one to go with.  My parents were also more lenient when it came to judging people based on their choices.  For example, the LDS Church prohibits drinking coffee, tea or other "hot" drinks (but allows hot chocolate, and Coca-cola), alcohol and smoking.  Well, my grandparents drank coffee, tea and smoked.  My dad smoked and drank beer until he converted to the church.  My parents were not so quick to judge people who did these things as evil, therefore allowing me the room to form my own opinions.

Pagans, as a whole, tend to accept people for who they are, not what they do or what/how they believe.  I have always accepted this principle, but it did take some time to fully put it into place, and I am still not perfect.  We are open to the idea of many "right" paths, and that no one person's opinion is entirely true for anyone other than the person who holds that view.

Even so, as I have traveled on my chosen path of Eclectic Witchcraft, there have been times I've gotten stuck, simply because I was afraid I wasn't "doing it right" or I "didn't know enough".  I've had to learn to forget about that, too.  Because there is no right or wrong way, as long as you work from your heart and do what feels right.  And while there may be a lack of knowledge or experience, you don't gain that knowledge and experience by sitting back until you have it, you have to "do" in order learn and grow.

So, after lots and lots of forgetting, I'm at a point where I don't feel the need to undo, or forget, what I grew up with, I can move forward and change what needs changing as it comes. 


  1. Great post! Not something one immediately thinks of, but you are right. As Pagans, there is a lot of forgetting we need to do, especially in the early days. Hell, I've been 20 years into this and I still have moments when I doubt myself or feel some of that old Catholic conditioning rearing its ugly head!

  2. I think this is a very good blog, and point. On my path, I also have to a lot of forgetting. It's easier for me being alcoholic, recovering yes, but moments of remembering, then saying "oh crap did I really do that?" better left to doing amends, and forgetting. Blessed Be sister with love and light <3