"If it were proven that there is no God there would be no religion....But also if it were proven that there is a God, there would be no religion." ~ Ursula K. Le Guin (American Author, Poet)
I didn't say the words. This is the first time I've ever disclosed that information; although I realize that this is not the same as disclosing, for example, where the Lindbergh Baby was.....it's still significant to me. The religious, traditional ceremony of becoming confirmed into the catholic church requires the young person to repeat certain phrases under the direction of the priest (e.g. he says it, you say it). I didn't say the words. I didn't want to get confirmed and my parents (by which I mean my mother), in their infinite wisdom demanded that I get confirmed. So, I did. It wasn't like the other aspects of my life that I stood fast by - like the idiots I wanted to date, or a particular set of pot smoking friends I wanted to associate with. The important stuff. But, it was important enough to me that I didn't say the words - no one could control that.
This decision was greatly influenced by my equally inquisitive friend who was mentioned in a previous post. He rebelled enough that his parents couldn't make him go to the confirmation ceremony and, even though I wasn't ready for an act of rebellion this big, not saying the words was the most I could conjure up at the time. I remember standing up in the church, alongside of all my childhood friends who had been with me in Sunday school and the ongoing years of catechism classes. They all said the words. I wonder if they believed in them or if they were saying them mindlessly? I have no idea.....church and faith weren't topics we teenagers discussed outside of complaining about having to go. And I complained a lot - mostly to my parents who continued to insist we attend church on Saturday evenings. Who the hell attends church on Saturday evenings? If I was going to be forced to go, could we have not at least attended on Sunday mornings like other normal people? Apparently not.
After the confirmation ceremony I did not feel any different, but I chalked that up to not saying the magical words that officially gave me the invisible stamp of approval from the catholic church. However, my friends didn't appear to feel or look any different either - and they had said the magical words. Weird. I don't remember any of them talking about feeling the hand of god placed upon their shoulder or experiencing a transformation of any kind that would suggest that they were no longer mere humans but part of something holy and bigger than me. What this confirmed for me was that whether or not you said the words, it was likely that nothing significant changed, or may be this is what I wanted to believe so that I could validate my own experience. What did change was the demand placed on my sister and I to attend church after that point, which made getting confirmed kinda worth it. There was a shift at some point where I remember my parents attendance at church slowly changing, eventually leading to us becoming what is known as "C & E's," Christmas and Easter church attender's. Those were the two religious holidays that needed to be honored by attending church in my household - and that was fine by me.