When I met Carter, I assumed that because he was a Scorpio we were meant to be. To add to this, his Myers Briggs personality was INTP, supposedly the ‘golden’ other half to my own personality type. When I told him about our supposed magical compatibility, he scoffed, asked me to massage the invisible knot in his upper back, and then proceeded to text me like I was his overdue homework. Needless to say, despite all the stars in the astrological sky aligning, our companionship was less than stellar.
I guess now would be a good time to tell you my star sign is Cancer. “I knew it! That’s the first sign that sprung to mind!” — is probably what you were not thinking. Growing up I would read out of a giant horoscope encyclopedia like it was the bible and dream of being the peacekeeper it said I was destined to be. Did I really share innate qualities with the 19 million living humans that shared my birthday? Not to mention, the other millions of humans who were born between June 21 and July 22? Because if so, there would probably be a lot more peace.
Perhaps it’s silly to believe horoscopes can determine your future, decipher your past, and explain why the occasional crap you roll around in your present day never seems to cease. Perhaps it’s silly to believe that I’m most romantically compatible with Scorpios like Carter who needed a sports massage, not a girl with weak wrists, to eliminate the immortal knots in his back. Perhaps I shouldn’t change my name to Moonchild and wear jewel-toned sweatpants on rainy days just because the psychic in a magazine said so.
My very miniscule obsession with horoscopes stemmed from the fact that a star sign doesn’t require anything except existence. Contrary to cultural and religious cards that I was dealt at the conception of my life, a star sign doesn’t have pre-requisites. I found out they could fill, at least a little bit, that void of direct guidance from God.
So yes, the crux of all this preamble is that actually my relationship with God is on the rocks and that scares me.
God seemed to be a constant fixture of my life growing up. My birth was God-sent, maybe not prayed about to begin with but definitely prayed about afterwards. I was given a name and a blessing when I was brought to church for the first time and it seemed I spent as much time on Sunset Road chapel as I did at school.
I turned to God every day. I would talk to this mysterious being, imagining him sitting on a throne as I poured out my heart and soul to him every night. I begged him to give me guidance and to help me through difficult times. I thanked him for all the little things I was given, including the trees and the bees and the beautiful sea I grew up next to.
Then I was introduced to Jesus. The son of God, a man who was perfect, understood all my pain and suffering because he chose to. Because he loved me, I would be able to overcome my pain, my mistakes and my weak physical body and thus reach heaven spotless.
But unlike horoscopes, belief in an all-powerful, all-knowing deity is a little bit more complex.
Because when your horoscope tells you that you are going to have a successful marketing pitch that will be approved by the whole team, you don’t get a migraine trying to figure out how it could be so inaccurate because you are just a waitress and you don’t think suggesting a new soup really counts.
On the flipside, when you feel like God tells you are going to meet people that will change your life, and that you should look after them, you get a migraine when you realize they just want your money and will stop at nothing, even you, to get it. Sounds overdramatic. But this happened, and it wasn’t pleasant.
That is when you wonder whether God is inaccurate. Or possibly non-existent. Because I can take full responsibility for my own actions — if something bad happens because of my human mistakes and my naiveté, then fine. I mean, that sucks, but it’s fine. But what if you got some kind of undeniably powerful spiritual experience like never before? What if you simply cannot deny that you had an experience that defied logic and science, and was a direct God-given instruction? You would follow it right? But after following it, what if it felt like it completely destroyed the ground under your feet? How do you explain that? Can you just believe, just like before?
I’m aware that people reading this include my fellow Mormon friends. I’m aware that I spent 18 months telling people to trust in God and keep holding on, even though it’s hard. I’m not saying I don’t believe, I’m saying I’m hurt. And in order for me to process that hurt and move on, I had to take responsibility for the events that transpired, and believe that people are people and bad things just happen by chance and by consequence. It wasn’t planned by God, or anything like that. The spiritual experience, though I believed at first was undeniable, needed to be denied and deleted.
So, I stopped wanting to get answers from God about a year ago. When I met God, I assumed that because he was a Heavenly Father I was meant to be his child. To add to this, his son was perfect, supposedly the ‘golden’ antidote to my own personal sins. When I told God about my gratitude of being raised in the church, he blessed me, asked me to serve a mission overseas and tell the people of my miraculous witness of his Son in my life. Needless to say, despite my fiery testimony and tenacity, my success in being heard and accepted was less than stellar.
Perhaps it’s silly to believe that a God above can determine your future, decipher your past, and explain why the occasional crap you roll around in your present day never seems to cease. Perhaps it’s silly to believe that I’m most romantically compatible with other Mormons despite the cultural and racial divides that seem a bit too big to cross. Perhaps I shouldn’t change my name to God’s child and wear longer shorts on Summer days just because the apostle in a pamphlet said so.
My belief in God stemmed from the fact that being his daughter doesn’t require anything except existence. Contrary to cultural and socioeconomic cards that I was dealt at the conception of my life, it seemed like God didn’t have pre-requisites. I found for the most part, being God’s child, could fill, at least a little bit, that void of not fitting in with my community, not fitting in with my ethnicity, and the country I was born.
But maybe I was wrong. Maybe in order to drink from the fountain of happiness (which according to Utahns, is made out of caffeine-free soda) and achieve identity and belonging, I should just stick with star signs.