We weren't originally planning to go anywhere other than church today, but then Mom came into the library and invited us over for dinner. So we were planning on going to that, which is part of why I spent so much time writing all at once instead of doing it a little at a time. But when we got done with it, she called and said they were having other people over, and those people would just want to play cards all night, and since the only thing on their extensive menu that we would have eaten was cornbread, and we really don't like cards, she decided to cancel. It's good for us, because we were looking forward to having an evening to read manga and stuff, and we had been planning on eating our Freschetta pizza for dinner, and now we can go back to that plan. But it does make me wonder, facetiously, if they're ashamed to have us around when their other company is there. In fact, one of the people they're having over comes into the library to check out a CD player every week, and she mentioned once how they hadn't seen us around in a long time.
Athena was kind enough to resize some of our Japan photos last night, and I was planning to post them today, but I'm already tired of being at the computer. If people bug us, I may post them as early as tomorrow, though!
I was also planning on posting the meme that's started going around again, but instead, I think I'll post our answers to the religion questionnaire kilerkki came up with on her LJ. Because it's good to say this stuff sometimes. For context purposes, kilerkki is LDS, like us!
1) What, if any, is your current religious affiliation?
We belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
2) What, if any, are your current religious beliefs?
Paraphrasing, of course... We existed before this life as spirit children of God, and we came to earth to get bodies and be tested to see if we can live with Him again (an interesting thing I learned from last week's lesson is that God didn't actually create our intelligences--they just always existed, eternally). We believe in the Bible, although we believe that a lot of important things were lost from it because of careless translators (as translators, we know how easy it is to make mistakes, too!) and scribes, among other things. Of course, we believe in the Book of Mormon, too. We believe that God does make Himself known to people as he has to prophets in the Bible and the Book of Mormon as well as in modern times. We believe that Satan is real and is trying to tempt everybody and make them as miserable as he is. We believe that there are different degrees of glory we can attain to after this life, as opposed to the "heaven or hell" theory, and that people will be given the rewards they earned. Most importantly, we believe in the Atonement, and that Jesus Christ suffered for our sins, so that we can choose to follow him and be saved, or leave ourselves to deal with karma on our own. Etc.
3) Growing up, what was your religious background?
We grew up in an LDS family with a father who was desperately trying to match up to his famous LDS historian father (our grandfather) and a mother who was wronged by enough fellow members of the LDS church that her belief in it wasn't entirely strong. Dad went a little too far in trying to outdo Grandpa, and possibly trying to escape his wife's complaints, and kind of started following his own little religion, and ended up being disfellowshipped because of all of that. He was kind of our religious pillar, so we struggled for a little bit, but we believe strongly enough in the truth of our church that we've managed to stick with it.
4) If you belong to a religious denomination, do you agree with all their teachings? If not, what beliefs or practices do you disagree with?
We definitely do believe in all the teachings. We don't believe that everyone in our church follows all the teachings in exactness, but nobody's perfect.
5) Do you consider faith or spirituality an important part of your life? Why or why not?
Yes. Whether you have faith in God or not, faith is important in everything. For example, we had faith that we could learn Japanese, we acted on it, and now we translate manga for a living.
Of course, we also believe that faith in God is vital, because He's helped us so many times. See below.
6) Have you had any religious experiences that have affirmed or changed your views?
A lot of little things. When we were literally out of money for rent and food, and our mother thought it was more important to tell us that we had overspecialized than to help us out, we got a lot of help from our ward, and there were some miracles, like the one time I saw a quarter appear that I'm sure wasn't there before, or the time we happened to get a box of cereal in a white elephant gift exchange right when we had run out of breakfast foods.
Our senior year of college, when we were completely ignored by a roommate we thought had been our friend and our family was in turmoil back home, we happened to be assigned some of the best home teachers and visiting teachers in the ward, so we had people to take care of us and people to talk to.
One time on our way home from college for winter break, we were riding in Celeste's truck, and it was running low on gas. She didn't stop at one gas station, because it was dark and scary and confusing, so we kept going to the next one, and her car stopped moving as we were on the offramp. We managed to push it as far as the ramp to the gas station, but it was loaded with all her stuff, and it was too heavy for the three of us. Out of nowhere, this guy shows up and helps us get the truck into the gas station, then drove off.
Back in eighth grade, we had an oceanography field trip, and I prayed that I'd have a good time. That day, we sawa group of... Reese? I don't know the spelling, but it was a rare kind of dolphin that we saw off in the distance. After that, a big group of common dolphins came and swam with the boat, and common dolphins are made of adorable.
Lots of things like that tell us that God is watching out for us, even if sometimes it does feel like we're talking to ourselves when praying.
7) Have you had any experiences with religious people that have affirmed or changed your views?
Thanks to a lot of Mom's experiences growing up, we've long realized that just because someone claims to be a certain religion doesn't mean they're nice people, and that doesn't make the church any less true. So no.
8) Do you believe in one true path, or that there are many paths towards salvation?
That's kind of an interesting question. I think yes. There are certain things you need to do in order to be saved (faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, etc.), and that you need to keep the commandments and stuff--like how you have to pass a test to get your driver's license, and then keep obeying the laws in order to keep them. But that doesn't mean everybody has to be exactly the same. It's okay for us to translate manga and somebody else to be an accountant.
9) What is your attitude towards conservative Christianity?
We wish the people representing Christianity in the public would be better Christians, and stop giving Christianity a bad name. Stop acting like they think they're going to heaven while everyone else is condemned to hell unless they vote Republican or something.
10) What is your attitude towards the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons)?
We like it a lot♥
Today I'm thankful for being done writing for today, the fluffiness of freshly vacuumed floors, plans to play DDR with people, cornbread, and extra time for reading manga.