Pocket of Perspective: What It’s Been Like to Open Up

At the beginning of 2022, I changed my Instagram username from Pocket of Poetry to Pocket of Perspective. It was a shift in more than just name, a pivot from sharing content solely about books, words, and writing to talking in an authentic way about my religion, faith journey and deconstruction. I was raised in the LDS church, and I’ve had a complicated relationship with it for a long time. I’ve spent years struggling with all the shades of grey in life that my religious culture of origin chooses to ignore or minimize. I grew up being taught the gospel of Jesus Christ in a very simplistic way, and while at its core it is simple, I’ve grown to realize it’s not only inaccurate but also dangerous to dismiss the complexities of life when teaching religion.

After several years of listening to other nuanced voices and hearing the perspectives of people who don’t fit neatly into the church boxes, (I’m going to go out on a limb here and say almost everyone doesn’t fit in in some way), I finally felt very strongly that I needed to start sharing content of my own. I started with sharing some of my favorite nuanced/progressive Mormon accounts, and from there I have expanded into sharing some of my own thoughts and insights on issues ranging from clothing choices and small ways to promote inclusivity at church to women’s and LGBTQ+ rights in religion via reels and Instagram stories.

I wanted to make this post to go into more depth on what my experience has been like since deciding to start sharing these things. There have definitely been terrifying moments, moments of second guessing myself and wondering if I “should” be speaking up and sharing my thoughts and opinions. My whole life I internalized the message that to disagree with the church or challenge current policies was a terrible sin and that having doubts meant I was lazy or looking for an easy way out. I’ve since learned that this is absolutely not the case. The people that I know who take the time to think for themselves, to gain their own revelation, to speak up for those who do not have a voice, are some of the strongest, most courageous and intelligent people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Those that struggle with their faith are not weak, they are incredibly strong for taking the time to weed out what no longer serves them and align themselves with their highest truth. I have learned from and been inspired by so many people like this, and I honestly owe so much to them as they’ve helped me gain the needed courage to put my own thoughts and beliefs out there.

Anyone that has been indoctrinated in a strict religious tradition is going to have some inner work to do in order to completely release themselves from shame and fear. Shame and fear mongering have been tactics used by religion for centuries, but I believe that as a new generation, moving onward into the 2020’s with light, love and awareness, we can start a revolution of healing the wounds that have been inflicted by religion and letting in the pure, beautiful, accepting love of God to replace it. Even if you have decided that any sort of religious belief is not for you, I hope that you will join this revolution of healing the shame and the pain of those who suffer.

While there was a time when I seriously considered leaving the church I was raised in, I’ve now made the decision to stay for a few reasons. A big part of it is that this is my culture. This is what I know. It’s the religious tradition of my family, and there are so many beautiful things about it. Everything in life has it’s good and it’s bad. Every organization on earth is made up of imperfect human beings that will inevitably make mistakes. But while there are mistakes and problems abounding, there are also so many good, wonderful souls who do so much for the people around them. There is also so much love and goodness and supportive community. These are all things that I treasure and love to be a part of. The wrestle and the struggle was necessary for me to find my purpose within the church. I believe that part of the reason I’m still here is to help be a voice for those who need it, to increase inclusion, and to speak up against harmful policies. In short, I’m here to love others, to make space for their pain, and serve where I feel I’m needed to serve.

It definitely isn’t always easy. Some days I truly feel like tearing my hair out in frustration. There is still so much ignorance and false aspects of culture that are taught as doctrine, things that have harmed people and families for years. But I see the potential for what the Church could become in the beautiful online community of nuanced thinkers I have found, and I see the potential for a brighter future in each child I teach at church. My only goal is to be able to do what God wants me to do and spread his love as much as I possibly can.

I still have a tiny following online, which in some ways has made it easier to be authentic and vulnerable. I don’t know how much my following will grow in the future, but I hope that what I’m doing now can be practice for that day, because it is easier to share things when I know only a hundred or so people will probably see it. Putting yourself out there is scary! Which is why I try to lean on God as much as I can when choosing what to share and hope that whatever I’m putting out will find who it needs to find. (I’m not perfect at this, but I’m trying every day.)

If you read this, I am as always sending you all the love and light.

xo,

Olivia

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