Religion has been on my mind a lot recently. Discussions of God, homosexuality and faith, religions, religion within societies, and such. So far, Sentry, I have met straight and gay people that are nearly every shade of religious and non-religious possible throughout my life. I'm sure there are many more varieties but for now, I feel that I have experienced enough to discuss some of this with you, Sentry.
So what does religion and faith mean to you, Sentry? What are your experiences with faith and with organized religions? As is probably obvious, I was raised Mormon. I do not regret this and am not ashamed of that. My parents taught me to be honest, hard working, charitable, quick to forgive, and eager to learn. These lessons are still with me. They may no longer carry a God-oriented attachment to them, but they still carry the force of importance in them that they've always had while growing up.
My family came across the plains with the Mormons on my father's side. My great-great grandfather helped settle the Cache Valley area of Utah. My mother's side crossed the plains after the railroads connected the American coasts. They settled up in Montpelier, Idaho. My own parents were married in an LDS temple. Each of my siblings and I were baptized and raised in the Church. My sister's oldest son was baptized into the Church earlier this year. All the boys in my family received the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods. My older brother and I both served missions. My parents are still heavily involved with the Church to this day. All of my mother's friends are Mormon these days.
My point in sharing that, Sentry, is to show a small amount of the impact religion has had on my family's lives. Religion has influenced my life. Since my mission I have taken a look at other religions to see how they think and believe. I have gone to the Hare Krishna temple south of here, the Evangelical Christian church that meets in a converted car mechanic shop, the beautiful cathedral of the Catholics near Temple Square, and the small Episcopal chapel in the town I live in. A small number, yes, but enough to allow me to discover diversity of religious views even in this state.
It's my hope and desire to talk with you further about religious subjects. After all, religion is a powerful thing. It has occupied the minds of billions of people throughout history and around this planet today. Thinking it's no big deal is childish at best.