Friday, March 2, 2012

Thinking For Yourself

I was always a big believer in thinking for yourself.

Even as a true-believing Mormon, I always placed a high value on thinking independently, coming to your own conclusions and making your own decisions.  It's part of the reason why I felt like I belonged in the LDS church.  I loved being part of the peculiar people.  I felt that, unlike my peers, I had the truth, and I was using that truth to make my own choices.

The choices that I made for myself were mostly not to participate in the sinful activities that the kids I knew from school were participating in.  Because I was enlightened, I realized that my choices not to smoke, drink, do drugs, bully people, cheat, and have sex made me better than those kids.  Those kids were blindly following the urges of human nature and human biology, but I was choosing to be different because I was actually thinking and making my own decisions.

But what I slowly began to realize, after an embarrassingly large number of years being a self-righteous prick, that I wasn't any better than they were.  In fact, I was exactly the same:  a product of my environment.  While many of the non-Mormon kids did the things that was normal and acceptable in their families and backgrounds, I was doing what was normal and acceptable for mine.

I was raised in the Mormon church by two parents who were also raised in the Mormon church.  I was the product of multiple generations of indoctrination and brainwashing.  I grew up thinking that the worldview I grew up was purer than and superior to everyone else's.  I was conditioned the believe that the non-Mormon kids were sinful, evil and ignorant.  When I saw them doing things that contradicted what I'd been taught were wrong, that reinforced my understanding that my belief system was better.  It took me a long time to realize that this was circular logic.

Growing up in the Mormon church taught me not to think for myself and it also taught me that doing so was thinking for myself.

That doesn't seem right to me.

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