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Thank you. On Being is one of my favorite radio shows to listen to, I find it balanced & thought provoking, which I appreciate.
This particular interview was very personal & expressive of many of my own feelings, complexities, & history, with the culture & religion in which I was raised. Though I find much to relate to in many of the On Being broadcasts, I identified very strongly with what was expressed today. I felt compelled to respond in writing because, as was pointed out in the interview, it is very difficult to express who you are & why, to others not familiar with the culture. Perhaps this is partly because the Mormon religion is also a very strong culture, which (for better or worse) integrates itself into very non-religious & separate components of your life. Yet for its own survival, the early history of the church & its people were forced to be separate (both physically & ideologically). This separateness is not unique to Mormons. I agree that much of the scrutiny comes from the relatively short history of the church, as much as from the details (I imagine that if one were able to go back to the times that other established religions were formed, you would find as much conflict & derision in those beginnings, remember that history is written by the victors).
Unlike Joanna, my current status is outside of the church, by my own choice (I know that I am considered, even at age 50, a 'lost sheep' & am welcome when I choose to attend). Most (definitely not all) of my family does practice & I do relate & participate from that position, in some family settings/circumstances by choice, because the culture & church are, & always will be, a part of who I am & I still respect much of what the church teaches & believes. I see no conflict there, as most of the issues (not all) that lead to my leaving the church in my late teens, are the same issues that I have with many other organized religions, with which I am familiar. Though it has been some time since I've seriously questioned my decision to break with the church & broaden my belief system, I've spent many long, hard hours, over & over, examining & re-examining who I was, where I came from, what I believed, & where I wanted my life to go. Perhaps, as indicated in the interview, this aspect of soul-searching is also an integral part of the belief system that formed the foundation of who I am. While listening to the broadcast I felt a strong kinship with Joanna, and I wanted to express that I appreciate her voice.