Title: Nurturing my Garden- Original Acrylic Painting
Materials: Oil paint and acrylic on 16x20 hardboard
Frame: Hand-made pine frame by Grant White
I’ve been at war with this subject for a few months now. Something kept telling me that there was truth in what I was painting but finding the words to describe this idea has been failing me, until recently.
This piece has a working title of “The Heart and the Mind” At first, it was originally titled “Faith and Reason” But as I dug deeper, I found that reason and faith are both acts of faith, and making the claim that reason wasn’t faith was false.
My claim on the idea of reason and revelation is that they are not antithetical to one another, but completely harmonious. In fact, I believe that one, when outweighing the other, can cause some extreme unbalance and disorganization in the human spirit.
I will try to demonstrate through examples in my own life what an unbalanced spirit looks like.
For years, I led my faith with purely my heart. This brought about many miracles and spiritual experiences. My faith looked like; Pray about something: get a clear voice in my head giving me an answer that was undeniably celestial. It also looked like acting on a whim and following promptings. Logic didn’t matter to me, because the gospel was alive and magical until it wasn’t. At age 22 or so, I was faced with some hard facts about church history. I hadn’t used my mind enough, my reason was a weak muscle, and I felt totally incapable of facing the truth. Because my logic couldn’t hold up to scrutiny, my once wonderfully magical emotion and feeling-led testimony went numb. For years. Until one day, after a series of sincere desires to “figure my crap out spiritually” I felt an overwhelming push of confidence from God. The answer sounded something like this, “Carly, if you care about truth, I will help you find it. It will be messy, but I can help you work through it.” and thus, my faith deconstruction began. I began exercising my logic and reasoning muscles, and with time, I felt those muscles get stronger and stronger. I found resources I could trust, which felt impossible at the beginning. I learned that there was a community of people who could hold hard truths and beautiful truths in one hand, and slowly, I’m learning to do so too.
Now when I began thinking on this idea, I thought, “As a faith community, we as a whole, are scared of academia. We run away from logic and reason. “ But I soon realized that I was speaking for my reality.
I think many in a religion can rely solely on academia and reason. What does that look like? I think it might look beautifully like reveling in historical connections, being a scriptorian, or staying a member of the faith because “It’s a good way to live.” As I’ve spoken to the people who tend to lean this way in their lives, they have said their weaknesses can look like not praying because they don’t know if they can get an answer, thinking about principals in more black-and-white terms, and not leaving room for empathy of many different challenges.
My conclusion is that if you are a spiritual human who tends to lead more with the mind, try exercising leading with your heart more. If you are a spiritual human who tends to lead more with your heart, try exercising your mind muscle more. I believe doing so helps me keep my balance in a spiritual world that truly requires both, because both approaches are spiritual.
D&C 8:2-5 2 Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost… Therefore this is thy gift; apply unto it, and blessed art thou, for it shall deliver you out of the hands of your enemies,...Oh, remember these words, and keep my commandments. Remember, this is your gift.
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