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Starve your fears

I just had a friend post the saying "Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death." on his wall.  I have heard this before--many times, actually, and I certainly believed it when I was a believing Mormon.  But, now that I look back on my life and see what it was like, I believe the opposite.

At the moment, I have no faith and no fears.  I do not fear death.  I do not fear the possibility that Christians are right and that there is a judgment after death and an eternal assignment at that time.  If that is to be, let it be.  I really do not fear for anything in my future, and there is nothing in my past that is worthy of fear.  I suppose, if I'm to be completely honest, that I do have small fears.  I worry about whether my students will like me or do well on their tests.  I worry about whether my parents will attend my wedding. But, these are minor fears that do not affect my life greatly.  I am still able to function fully well and press onward with confidence.

However, when I was a believer, I had lots of fears.  I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to make it to the Celestial Kingdom, where I knew believed Karen had gone.  I was afraid that people would find out that I'm gay.  Believe it or not, I even worried that at some time in the future (perhaps 20 or 30 years, when homosexuality was more accepted), I would have a male student in my office trying to come on to me in order to get a better grade and that I would not be able to resist the temptation--that I would give in and do something inappropriate with him.

I was afraid that pornography would destroy my life (and, for a long time, it was very damaging to my marriage and my academic career).  I was afraid that I would never learn how to control my body and avoid looking at pornography and masturbating.  In essence, I did what the church taught me to do--I feared God.  I feared his judgment.

Now, I'm not worried about any of that at all.  I concede that the scenario with a student begging for a grade is entirely possible, but I know that if a student--male or female--ever did suggest anything, I would be able to resist.  I am happy with Conrad and I don't need attention from any other source.  I no longer feel a need to look at pornography because my needs are being met.  (Of course, I also no longer think that pornography is damaging--only addiction to it, which can cause the same problems as addiction to any substance.)

Still, I think that perhaps for some people, starving their fears by feeding their faith may possibly work, and if it does, then I'm happy for them.  Fear can be debilitating.  But, as for me, I have found that the more I accept reality and the less I trust in unseen and quite likely mythical powers, the less I have to fear. Embracing all that is true and real has been a very empowering journey for me.  I'm not done.  I don't know everything.  I never will.  But, I do have that as my goal.  I want to learn truth.  I believe that knowledge is empowering, and that it is capable of dispelling fear.

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