Yet now as a 29 year old young adult my faith story is not quite so simple. And I am not alone. My generation (go millennials!) is having a tough time connecting with religion the way our parents did. Of course there are many reasons for this. A recent survey shows why fellow Mormons are weighing the pros and cons of sticking around, echoing similar experiences for flagging faithful of all stripes. We live in an age of war that doesn't make sense to more and more young people. The long term economic crisis that hit right when I graduated from college has turned a lot of the societal truths upside down and brought an increased awareness to corruption, the emptiness of consumption and the problem of inequality. And for many privileged middle class millennials the recession has brought perhaps our first taste of an economic pinch and opened our eyes to the suffering that is present around us in the USA and in the world. Technology and social media have brought information of all kinds to our minds and have in some ways really shrunk our interdependent world yet at the same time exponentially increased our viewpoints as we can easily access millions of different thoughts and perspectives. The changing bond between religion and politics has left a sour taste in our mouths and many are carefully chewing deciding whether to spit it out or swallow it down convinced it's good for us.
Many issues weigh on my soul and cause me to question, ponder and pray. I was raised with the hope and belief that if I did these things my Heavenly Father would guide me to the truth. Yet as Gandhi learned in his lifelong pursuit of the divine "What may appear as truth to one person will often appear as untruth to another person. But that need not worry the seeker." I have very much grown into a seeker of truth and divinity. Do I still believe in God? Yes, but it is no longer something I take for granted and my relationship with him/her (see what I did there) is constantly changing and evolving as I learn, live and grow. Am I still Mormon? Yes and no. I still identify as LDS but at times that brings me great pain and confusion along with peace and hope. I am not exclusively anything and do not believe in "The One true" blank. I am a Christian and a Mormon, but I am also very much a Buddhist aspiring to end all suffering as a Bodhisattva. I am a progressive Unitarian Universalist, a humanist promoting justice, reason and ethics, a Taoist seeking the unification and healing of all living things and so much more. This is my experience with faith in the 21st century.
My hope for this blog is to share my faith experiences and insights (or lack thereof) in various areas including: homosexuality, women, video games, climate change, inequality, spiritual gurus, technology, science, women, current issues and much more over the weeks and month to come. It is quite probable no one will read this and I'll have a nice "deep thoughts" by Jared, journal blog. However I do hope that you read then share comments, questions and most importantly your own experiences and that we may help each other strive toward being more compassionate, nearer to the divine human beings.