My hands tremble a little. Maybe it’s the cold of the October morning, or maybe it’s the anticipation, or maybe it’s the lack of sleep, but something offers its resistance.
This is a dangerous moment. I’m hesitant to take it.
But I have to start somewhere, so I start in the Begining.
In the begining was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
As I read it, I know that the Joseph Smith Translation renders it differently, cleaning up all the ambiguity, taking all the mystical out of it, removing all hints of trinitarian heresy. But I ignore it. This is to be a reading without the need for clarification, without the undue influence of Authority or Tradition.
And the Catholicism of my youth and Mormonism of my adolescence make me feel dirty. I feel blasphemous, like I’m switching sides in an eternal game of capture the flag.
The Reformers are vilified in Catholicism. Depending on who you ask, Martin Luther just may have been the Devil. Mormonism lauds the Reformers as trailblazers who made way for the Restoration. Just a means to an end. Now that the last days have been ushered in, there is no need for so-called reformers; who needs reform when you’ve got a prophet who speaks to Jesus face to face?
And yet I feel a certain kinship to those who stood apart from the powerful institutions who insisted that they and only they had the ear if God. I feel closer to strangers than I do to my spiritual kin.
When my father surrendered his parental rights, besides visiting rights, he made one request–that we be raised Catholic. Sure, we would be raised by strangers, but we would have the faith of our fathers. Our God would be recognizable to him and we would share that spiritual heritage.
Spiritual heritage is no less important in Mormonism. “Hey, baby, what’s your tribe?” maybe be a joke bandied about with sneering affection, but it belies a solid truth. Who you are tied to–sealed to–is important.
It is not enough that we are grafted onto the line of Israel. We’re also Judahites, Danites, Benjaminites, Manassahites, Ephraimites, or any of the other -ites. When the literal Gathering occurs, you go where your people go.
But when I read that one verse and contemplatee the expanse of what came into being through him, I look around and there’s a gulf between me and my people.