Sit right back and you’ll hear a tale. A tale of the spiritual journey I never expected to go on, but went on none the less that led me to where I am today.
A little background, I grew up in a spiritually non existent home. I don’t say that to be mean, just that it was a fact, however, there were still little pieces of religion around me.
when I say that we weren’t religious, Christmas was about the fat guy in the suit, had no clue about Jesus, God or anything else like that. I do remember my grandma listening to kmox on Sunday mornings and they would have hymns and stuff, but never really talked about it.
My bio-mother was raised Catholic, but she was the a-typical cafeteria C&E’r (Christmas and Easter), well, actually worse than that, she never went to church or did anything that I would consider good, but would always tell people that she needs to have a priest pray over her when she dies….but anyway.
My first run-in with death/mortality was while watching Transformers: The Movie, which in the first 20 minutes had my beloved transformers die INCLUDING Optimus Prime. If you think that it didn’t impact me, here is a video my mother in law took of me while at the Transformers ride in Universal Studios December 2018. You can hear me choke up talking about it.
After that movie, I began to dwell on my own mortality and the big what ifs of the world. I remember asking my dad about the topic while sitting on the porch with him. He basically told me that “this” was all there was, which made me feel even worse, but I came to accept it (especially in light of all the other things that were going on).
My childhood best friend, a Roman Catholic tried to teach me it from his perspective, however, after an innocent, albiet horrible procedural snafu during a mass, I was bitched out by father Schmalzt and thrown out of “the church”.
The only other “religious” encounters I can remember worth mentioning was when my dad (unknowingly) sent me to a deaf camp over a summer where we were all encouraged to say “the prayer”….I do remember after saying it, saying that I don’t deserve it/or I wasn’t ready (whatever it was in the mind of a 10 year old) and feeling “whatever” it was leave my body. I also remember when I was about 5, my bio-mom who let (who I assume where LDS) a church camp take me for the day.
A pre-internet kid living in a small town had limited resources/access, so my spiritual search consisted of checking out school library books on out of body experiences and things like that.
Looking back at that time, I remember one teacher in particular trying to share Christian information with the class.
My next interaction was when I was introduced to my now ex-in laws. They were (I saw were because at one time they were good people, however, after the husband passed away, the women in that family went batty). They were the area’s typical Vatican I kinda familiar with Vatican II type Roman Catholics. Church was a required thing because its what you do. they would read the bible, but not outside of the RCC teachings. Book was a lot of stories, but the Church had everything. I was eager to fit in and went through all of the classes, being baptized (much to my fathers displeasure).
Things went along “normally” for the next 10 plus years and after moving to Texas, we became less C&E’s even. I laugh because it had been so long since we had been to Elizabeth Ann Seton church, they had done some massive construction/additions and when we took my now ex-mother in law to church, I exclaimed “Wow, they have really don’t a lot of work. This whole building wasn’t here last time.” The ex-wife was always good at lying and had been telling her mother that we had been going….when obviously we had not.
So, in the winter of 2004, after leaving a successful career to try to appease the ex-family (and couldn’t), quit my new job in Indiana and moved back to Texas…unemployed. I had quit smoking after reading info on whyquit and began looking for new work. Pope Benedict XVI had just been elected and, I’ll never forget this, made a comment on Fox news that the bible and dinosaurs were not in conflict as the bible was not accurate and to rely on the church. I don’t to know why, but that comment really resonated with me…so I started to do research.
After receiving permission to get high speed internet, I began doing research on the topic and was shocked at what I was “learning”.
I remember kneeling at my bed and praying that “I don’t know if you (God) are real or made up in my head, but help me figure it out whatever way it goes.”. I did find a sense of peace come over me after I said those words.
The next day I began conducting research and trying to determine what I believed and why. To make it as “Scientific” as possible, I broke it down into basics and relied a lot on various debates to get the basis for an arguement as well as the best/worst arguments for each.
I have a library of over 500 books that I have read along with the way, that I just began acquiring as one person would reference this or that book and rather than take their word for it, would buy the book and read it.
I basically started out at “ground zero” as an atheist (later learning that that isn’t correct) and the idea of duality knocked me from that position. Trying to explain it is that there is a mind/body. A few examples: 1) imagine an elephant in your mind. Is it real? But is it there non the less? and 2) there was a guy having brain surgery and they were moving his arm, but he was trying to stop it from happening. Then there is the Kalam argument and a number of others that I wont bore anyone with. The idea of beginning of the universe, etc.
From there I start looking at the top 50 or so “religions” and began investigating them.
<more to come>