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True Peace of Mind

One of the selling points of Christianity, and other religions, is that it offers peace of mind.  One of the things Mormon missionaries are taught to say is that we know where we came from, why we're hear and where we're going after this life.  This is supposed to give a peace of mind, having finally answered all of life's big questions and giving hope for a brighter future.

The truth is, I did not have peace of mind while I was Mormon.  Yes, I did believe in a wonderful afterlife, and I did hope for a better future.  But, the simple fact is that I was never certain I would make it to the Celestial Kingdom, I wasn't even sure that I would be able to make it.  I put on a strong face for everyone else, because that's what I do, but I was uncertain.  I struggled for well over a decade trying to overcome my addiction to pornography and masturbation.  I was told by my religion that the innate feelings I had toward males were unnatural, that I needed to "overcome" those "tendencies" in order to be made whole.  I never had any real peace of mind.  A hope, yes.  But it was not an enduring, peace-giving hope.

I believe that knowing and facing the truth brings peace of mind.  The first step of the 12-step AA program is to admit powerlessness.  I have adapted that step for my own life.  I have admitted a lack of knowledge of what will happen at the time of my death.  This brings me peace.  I am no longer worried that my actions in this life will not measure up to the standards of some unknown deity.  I am no longer worried whether I will be with my loved ones or trapped in a lower degree of glory, unable to share with them the joys of their inheritance.  I used to say all the time that I know this or that about the next life.  The truth is that I don't know anything about life (or lack thereof) after death, and the truth is that no one does.

This has truly spoken peace to my mind.  I know that I am in control of my own destiny.  I can choose the things I want to do with my life.  I don't need a dogma telling me what innate feelings are good and which ones are bad.  I can decide for myself what is good and what is bad.  I have a conscience and the power to reason.  I have an innate desire to do good, to help other people and to contribute to society.  I know that if I live my life according to the dictates of my conscience, I will have true peace in life.  I don't need to worry about what will happen in the next life.  If there is something awaiting me, I know that I will find peace and joy there based on the fact that I lived my life well here--completely unrelated to whether I followed some arbitrary set of rules established by a religion.  If there is nothing after this life, I will obviously not care either way since my consciousness will no longer exist.

So, I have finally achieved a peace of mind.  I know that I seek to do what is good.  Of course, I can and should accept input from other people to help me continue to improve myself.  But, I do have a conscience and I do follow it.  I know that my own desires--my sexual desires, including the fact that they're toward people of the same sex as myself--are of themselves merely part of who I am and that they become good or evil only based on how I act.  Being with Conrad is not evil, in fact it is one of the best things I have done with my life.  I am able to share a love with him that I have never shared with anyone else in my life, and both of us are much happier than we were before we found each other.  If I were to act in other ways on desires I might have--for example, to be promiscuous--then perhaps that might be evil.  At the very least it would have the possibility of breaking Conrad's heart, and I believe that in itself would be evil.

At any rate, the main point of the post is that you're wonderful just the way you are.  You have the ability to see what is good and what is evil and to decide for yourself what you want to do with your life.  You don't need the approval of some imaginary god who has sadistically placed you in a world where he cannot contact you in the attempt to prove you worthy.  You are worthy.  You are amazing.  Let your light shine, just the way you are.  Be the best you you can be.  You don't need to check off items on a list that someone wrote in order to get into heaven.  You just need to be as fabulous as your potential will allow you to be.  Maybe you're destined to be a mom, maybe not.  Maybe you'll save people's lives, maybe you won't.  Maybe you'll go through three or four marriages before you find the right one.  Maybe you'll find the right one the first time.  Maybe you'll never marry.  But, you don't have to fit someone else's mold of perfection in order to be perfect.

To me, true peace of mind means knowing that I am in charge of my own fate.  I control what I do with my life.  And, most importantly, I have relinquished any preoccupation I had previously over what will happen in the future--particularly after death.  I will live the best life I can live and let come what may.

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