I have a really good friend. We met in high school, and we’ve remained friends ever since. We sat next to each other in our American History class, and we used to play chess on paper during the lectures. We were in the Model UN conferences together. We did all the high school geek stuff.
Then, in college, we’d debate. Philosophical stuff. The nature of truth, reality, etc… I from my own Mormon perspective, he from his own point of view.
He joined the Army, and we saw each other a time or two after that, but then there was not a whole lot for a lot of years.
Finally, and I don’t remember how, we hooked up via IM and started chatting on the ‘net. We still talk religion and philosophy, and, aside from a few bumps early on, we’re both pretty respectful. In the process I learned that what was going on for him in those late high school/early college years was that he left Christianity and became a Wiccan.
In the process of our discussions now, we talk a lot about what we each believe. He’s much more reflective and respectful of Mormonism, and I’m a lot less “afraid” of Wicca.
Recently he took some time to tell me his “conversion story” of his path from Catholic, through evangelical Christianity to Paganism. I was surprised to find a lot of similarities in my own experience. I found it interesting to realize that his experiences led him away from a belief in Christ, where mine brought me deeper into it. As I revisited and remembered my own experiences, they became real again for me.
I mention all this because he blogged about me about a week ago, and had some kind words to say. Even though he used to bait me into arguments like he tends to do with Christians, there was a part of me that enjoyed the banter. First of all, he asked me a lot of the tough questions, and as I answered them, it became much clearer to me what the real answers were. Also, I enjoyed it because he would often approach his questions from a mainstream Christian perspective, and then be surprised to find that question answered by Mormon Christianity.
Of course, there were still a lot of things that we simply ended up agreeing to disagree.
Still, I remember at one point ribbing him that he’d make a good Mormon. The ironic part of that is that this Wiccan has made me a better Mormon.MRKH