not in Primary anymore

walk the line

Walk the Line

I keep a close watch on this heart of mine.
I keep my eyes wide open all the time.
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds.
Because you’re mine, I walk the line.

I find it very, very easy to be true.
I find myself alone when each day is through.
Yes, I’ll admit that I’m a fool for you.
Because you’re mine, I walk the line.

As sure as night is dark and day is light.
I keep you on my mind both day and night.
And happiness I’ve known proves that it’s right
Because you’re mine, I walk the line.

You’ve got a way to keep me on your side.
You give me cause for love that I can’t hide.
For you I know I’d even try to turn the tide.
Because you’re mine, I walk the line.

-Johnny Cash

You know, I’ve never been a Johnny Cash fan, but one of my roomate’s favorite movies is Walk the Line, which details his somewhat sordid life story. But the title of the movie, which also happens to be the title of one of his popular hits, really stuck with me as it seems to apply to my current life situation more and more.

I read the song lyrics from two different perspectives: one pertains to my one-time view of the church. Because it’s always been mine, I’ve tried to walk the line, to “be the good girl you always have to be.” When you’re expected to be an example, you walk the line. When you don’t want to break someone’s heart, you walk the line. When you fear the unknown, you freaking cleave unto that line like it was, well, a lifeline.

But the second perspective is more of a self-reflection. It’s me. I’ve now started to walk another line, and its destination is unknown. And it’s freaking scary as hell because I’ve been taught that some lines lead to the tree of life and some lead to a misty darkness and I’m really not sure I want to end up in either place. Right now, the line I’m following simply leads back to me, and I am suddenly the one I walk the line for. Because I have to keep myself on my mind day and night. Because for me, I need to be the cause for love that I can’t hide. And really, because I need to keep a close watch on this heart of mine, because I’m still trying to figure out what it wants.

However, the line that is becoming more and more impossible to walk is the one between True Believing Mormon and Inactive Skeptic. It’s like trying to have one foot on either side of an ever-widening fault line. I now know there are things that I can’t believe, can’t even stomach: subjugation of women, flip-flopping of the POV of an “unchanging” deity, treatment of our fellow LGBTQ brothers and sisters and the unnerving historical contradictions. However, when I think about the sense of community I feel with people who share the only heritage I’ve ever known and when I ponder the great acts of charity I see from people who are sincerely trying to be good, not to mention some of the uplifting aspects of Mormon beliefs (eternal families, a Heavenly Mother, and an understanding Savior), it makes it extraordinarily difficult to completely break the ties that bind. Some might call it cult indoctrination or Stockholm Syndrome, but for me, it just feels like a constantly aching heart being pulled this way and that way.

I’ve read posts on other blogs by people who say they wish they could go back to the simple days when “I find it very, very easy to be true.” Others claim that, like with Plato’s allegory of The Cave, they would never go back to the shadows and be prisoners of what they now feel to be false. I find myself, in my journey as of now, to be caught between light and dark- not the kind that represents good or evil but the kind that separates sure knowledge from uncertainty.

the cave

Plato’s allegory of The Cave

And it sucks. It reeks. It’s uncomfortable and I don’t like it. I’m at the point where I either want to fall in line or fall out of tune, but I can’t seem to do either. No one ever speaks of a fence sitter in a positive way, and the scriptures tell us that “no man can serve two masters” (or trod two different paths, perhaps. But do I get a pass because I am not a man)? And as much as we as feminists talk about the importance of self-care (which is important and necessary), I can’t always take the advice I believe in. I have an acute phobia of upsetting my family, who are mostly all TBM and who have been through so much. If I, the only child still somewhat active, “fall off the wagon,” I know it would hurt them, and that hurts me. Plus, what if it’s all true and I find myself in a kingdom lower than where those I care about are? How would I bear it? Would it really be so bad?

But what about a God who is supposedly controlling the strings which pluck out a tune of patriarchy, telling us women that we can’t attain or lead quite as much or well as a man can? Anytime I think about the many injustices, I feel a queasy surge of anger. If this doesn’t qualify as a conundrum, I don’t know what does.

Husband_Wife_RolesAs it stands, I’m not sure that the church is true. I’m not sure that it isn’t. I’m sure some things aren’t true. I’m hopeful that other things are. And that, for now, is why I still try to straddle the line.

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2 Responses to “walk the line”

  1. kat

    not sure how helpful i can be on this difficult spiritual quest you’re on. i have thought, pondered, and struggled with the same things you have mentioned in the above post.
    i know i am a woman who can lead, and who has talents and abilities that help the home and extend beyond it.
    i am an LGBTQ rights supporter.
    right now i reject D&C section 132: i have never felt the spirit when i read that section.
    i reject what the church authorities did in CA during proposition 8.
    i even have some questions about the W.O.W regarding tea and coffee.
    but i’m still active. i love attending church, the temple, and i’m a returned missionary.
    for where i am at in life right now, i have found a way to sort of reconcile these feelings with my ever evolving testimony.
    i believe that the GOSPEL is true, not the church. when i bear my testimony i don’t say “i know the church is true”. i know the Gospel taught by Jesus Christ is true and i believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints has the fullness of that Gospel. i also know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and that he loves me. i know that Heavenly Father is there and loves me too.
    the way i feel about the above issues in the church i have defined as opinions and opinions that i have strong feelings about.
    but when i stop and think about the Savior, i realize i don’t want to leave and i have faith that one day those things will be fully reconciled when we receive all truth.
    this church is not done and it will always be flawed (until Christ comes again). i believe there is more to be revealed about women, gays, polygamy, and maybe even tea and coffee.
    and there will always be things to test our faith.
    and i don’t think there is any shame in choosing something else. if someone is shaming you for your opinions and feelings, then they lack empathy and are not worth your time.
    we are not here to judge, that’s Heavenly Father’s job.
    sit on the fence for as long as you need to. seek knowledge.
    hope this novel helps 🙂

    Reply

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