Monday, October 05, 2015

"I Feel Like I'm Taking Crazy Pills"

A few weeks ago I had a post where I noted how my blog has inadvertently turned from a conservatarian critique of American government to a Mormon perspective on modern society. I outlined then a few reasons this might have happened, but one I didn't get into is my declining interest in American politics. That might seem weird, since more and more aspects of American life are being politicized (if you want to make it with the smart set, there's an approved list of films, musical acts, books, and television shows from which you will need to select your favorites), but as the world ramps up its "us against them" dichotomy, it is becoming more obvious to me that the answer doesn't lie in "us" or "them," it lies in "me."

No leader is going to retard the progress of decay. It doesn't matter who runs for president in 2016, let alone who wins. The rot will stop only insofar as each of us decides--individually--to stop being rotten.

So I've turned from political to social issues, and from macrosociety problems to microsociety problems. The problem isn't that abortion is legal, it's that people want abortions, and the only part of that problem I can control is whether I want an abortion and whether I make the case for not murdering defenseless infants. In a sense, I guess it's narcissist politics: only I matter.

In a larger sense, this is just one more example of how I come to think something, only to have almost the entire world around me continually tell me that I'm wrong. This first happened 11 years ago, when I began thinking that maybe I was supposed to quit my secure, well-compensated job in city government for...well, I didn't know why. And every family member, co-worker, or ward member I talked to told me this was a terrible idea. But I read books by motivational speakers who made the case for pursuing my passion, and I read the scriptures that counseled me to trust in God. I had one guy in my ward who was of the same mind as me, and everyone in the ward thought he was a fool. When I started talking to him more, my family members grew concerned. One time this guy and I had to perform a church duty together, and as we rode in the car we talked about our discontent with the wisdom of the world. He said to me, "What did your wife say [about quitting your job]?" I said, "She was okay with it." He said, "Aren't great wives so important?"

I wrote earlier "almost the entire world" was in opposition. Remember the Sliding Scale of Belief? Over the past decade, I've been able to find blogs that help me feel less crazy. Now, I know the danger of getting doctrinal ideas from blogs. But as I continue to check the concepts presented there against the scriptures and the words of the prophets, I feel I'm being brought closer in my relationship with Jesus, not farther away, and that's the standard by which we are to judge.

Over the past three years or so, I've been reading more about the Mormon concept of Zion, and I've come to understand that Zion is not something that Jesus will bring with Him upon His return; it is to be built by people here on Earth to meet the Lord when He comes. And if I apply narcissist politics to Mormon Zionism, I get this: only I can build Zion.

Of course, the world is setting up its dichotomy again. The forces of annihilism versus the Constitution. And here I am, saying I'm growing less enamored of the Constitution every day. Does this mean that I'm an annihilist? Of course not. It means that no paper document can stop annihilism. Only people deciding to not be annihilists will do that.

It was reassuring this past week to read this blog post about another Mormon who has come to see the Constitution as a useful tool that isn't the panacea some make it out to be. And the feeling of taking crazy pills abated slightly, for another week or so.

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