As you learn about me from my posts, you will find that my journey to the Catholic faith has been a very, very windy road. In fact, my road even loops once now as I have been “here” (the Church) before.
I was baptized and raised in the Lutheran church, but found that the children tended to grow up and “graduate” from church – perhaps to come back when they have children of their own to continue the cycle. To me, this didn’t really bode well for the longevity of the church – in fact, that particular building no longer houses a congregation. Thus, I began my search for the true church.
After I left home, I sampled many churches including the Episcopal, the Presbyterian and eventually a rash of “Bible” churches where I remained for awhile, getting married and having children. I was even re-baptized there, being promised I’d feel an amazing change – but I didn’t and felt let down. My feelings grew worse as I looked around and sensed hypocrisy… people who lived a one-day-a-week faith or who were there for the wrong reasons – and I certainly did not see many fruits of the spirit. I saw cherry-picking of what they wanted to believe when the Bible clearly said particular things which they chose to ignore. Among the other directions I sampled were the ultra-conservative groups including the Mennonites. Then, I found a dear friend who was a traditional Catholic and, for the first time ever, I saw someone who had a faith that I wanted… needed.
That decision was the “final straw” in the story of my abusive marriage and I soon left, taking my children with me – to the Catholic church. I had previously gone through every single doctrine of the Catholic church until I was happy that they were all substantiated in scripture as I had been brought into adulthood with “sola scriptura” and “sola fida.” I was content that even if I had to live the rest of my life alone, it was better than where I had been.
Life began to crowd out some of my basic teachings and my life experiences outgrew the box I had designated “church” – unable to reconcile these differences and expecting a child out of wedlock, I left the church – and felt a release that I hadn’t felt in a long time – though I guess (now) that was simply the feeling of the Holy Spirit leaving my life at that time. (I’m sure it never totally left me, but it stopped being an active part of my life.)
During this time, I became pagan, aware of the “divine feminine” which had become part of my life thanks to the Virgin Mary. I kept searching for truth. One of the things I missed in those early days was the “personal relationship” I’d had with Jesus. I searched for an alternative among my pagan friends. No one had an answer for me – no one had a god or goddess they knew personally. I figured I had just not found the right person to ask yet.
My experience broadened to Jediism (a philosophy which, strangely has many similarities to the more esoteric realm of Catholicism.) Because of the automatic ridicule experienced by many Jedi (because of the origin of the modern version of this philosophy), this remained secret from most of my non-Jedi friends. This pagan to Jedi phase lasted 10 years.
My route back to the flock began in a surprising way. I met a Mormon woman who rescued us out of a modern “hell”. She did not push her faith onto me, but asked me about mine. I told her about the divine feminine in the form of a mother goddess which most pagans believe in. She told me about the Mormon belief in the “Heavenly Mother” in the belief that God was not a single parent. To be honest, I think this was probably the only path I was open to at the time.
In time, I was baptized Mormon. I hoped that this would, at last, be my spiritual home. There were things I dearly loved about the three places I attended. However, as I received the bread and the water every week, I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that I was missing something – and that that something was the Body and Blood of my Savior! Having had it before, I knew what it could be – what it should be. I knew that I needed it again.
Four months after I stepped foot into the Mormon church (and precisely three months after being baptized again), I walked into Confession for the first time in 11 years and cried my sorrow to the kindly Father who received me. Leaving, I knew I was “home” again – and that I must never stray again.
I hope to share with you, in this blog, some of the things which have been instrumental in bringing me here and back again. I pray your faith will be strengthened through it.