What My Religion Tells Me To Think {It No Longer Does}

by January Harshe on January 3, 2015

I recently shared this picture on Instagram.

january harshe

With this message.

january harshe

A woman nicely asked me what my religion thinks of me posting a picture they would not approve of.

I thought about it and this is my response…

“My religion is not my mind, does not control my free will, and it is not all of who I am.

My religion does not control my body.

My religion does not define me nor do I allow it to put me in a box.

I won’t be confined, especially as a woman, to the labels of religion or what men tell me I should and should not do or be.

I will always express myself how I see fit in hopes that my daughters and other women do as well.

I will learn and grow regardless of the limits my religion tries to put on me and sometimes that means growing past or beyond the boundaries a religion has.

Women’s rights is a continuous issue in most religions and my religion (Mormonism) has been no exception.”

I hope that this clarifies things a little and will make people think about the deep rooted fears and guilt associated with organized religion. Religion does not need to define us wholly and keep us from thinking and using our free will.  Our morals and ethics should be based on what we innately feel is right and wrong, not what someone outlines for us. We are each on our own journey and spirituality is not the same as organized religion.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Shelby-Ann January 3, 2015 at 1:46 pm

I absolutely love this. I grew up in the Morman religion and I decided to seperate myself from it because of all the pressure I felt to be the perfect Morman girl. I absolutely love all that you do and reading all the stories. It makes me so happy to see such a strong Morman woman. 🙂

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alicia January 3, 2015 at 1:57 pm

I look up to you! You inspire me.

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Shelby January 3, 2015 at 2:05 pm

Thank you so much for this post. I often struggle with the tension of celebrating my body as a temple of God and the shame that I have been taught to feel as a woman. You are an inspiration as a mother and a woman of faith.

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Jaydene January 3, 2015 at 2:36 pm

Beautifully said January. That is all.

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Christine J January 3, 2015 at 9:13 pm

Ah..women are beautiful. You embody it perfectly. Thanks for the lovely share!!

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Kristen January 5, 2015 at 2:50 am

The bible says that we were created in the image of God, “wonderfully made.” If it simply “religious” or a “way of life to follow rules,” then yes, it is very restrictive. Christ died so that we could live a whole, FREEING life in him. It does not mean that we can live as we please, but rather that our lives are for a greater purpose/good. It’s about a relationship with God, and people miss that fact. There are clear right and wrong morals laid out by God’s law. They were established for our own good, and we cannot some how decide what is right and wrong. Having said that, you may have had negative comments by people who believe they were acting in a “righteous manner.” The gospel is one of mercy, grace, and forgiveness, and I am sorry if you have not experienced Jesus’s love.

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Molly January 6, 2015 at 11:06 pm

If you feel such a way about your religion then why do you stay in that religion? Why would you purposely be a part a something if you do not want to abide by the teachings and beliefs?

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CrystalLee January 29, 2015 at 12:11 pm

Oh I can not love this enough. I wish more people understood that religion should not define a person. That is like when people list attending church as a factor that makes you a good person…your actions make and define you not your beliefs about God; those beliefs define who he is. My best friend growing up finally separated from the Mormon church…I’m sad for the loss of a such a beautiful confident strong woman…and the example she gave to me and others to be our selves . She received a lot of grief and judgment over her tattoos and piercings but never regretted them. She said “my body IS a temple, I decorate mine differently than you do yours”.

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CrystalLee January 29, 2015 at 12:24 pm

Further more what seems to be picking and choosing to some may not be. For example I may choose to not abide by a specific teaching…it does not change the other things I know or feel to be true. That is why I don’t leave the religious organization I am a member of. I will not be chased away because I do mot fit into somebody else’s mold.

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MandaD April 5, 2015 at 8:39 am

I think a lot of people mistake religion for a relationship with God and a faith. Keep doing what you’re doing January, you’re amazing and i love your perspectives! 🙂

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