Today we're talking with Hannah Thomsen, author of Hannah Reborn: Maturing and Healing the Soul Beyond Organized Religion
FQ: You said that “We need to find our own voice and sing our own song.” Now that you have completed a long and arduous journey discovering your own “song,” can you briefly tell us how this journey brought peace and contentment into your life?
By being able to tell my story freely and truly is to fully accept my journey and embrace it.
FQ: At one point you even began to question the strict Mormon beliefs and their “one plan to salvation,” by asking yourself if it was “really fair that God would let 99% live in unbelief and lost.” Can you briefly describe that moment or moments when you decided to turn away from the LDS church?
That was properly what made the journey as hard as it was. There were moments when I had little flashes of insights when I realized that there were other truths outside the LDS faith. I felt I had been confined to one room all of my life and then suddenly I was allowed to peer out of a little window and see a whole world outside that revealed as much beauty and truth as the one I had been confined to and had been told was the only one that existed. But at the same time, those moments were usually followed by a tremendous fear of doing the wrong thing, following the wrong promptings or just going against God. This is what created the immense struggle that I tried to describe in the book.
FQ: This whole soul searching process was very difficult for both you and Ed, to say nothing of your children. Do they adhere to your beliefs or have they chosen to go in a different direction?
I don’t think it’s about whether they believe the same as me and Ed or even if they are going in the same direction, it actually has more to do with supporting and loving each other regardless of one's beliefs, goals and dreams. Our parenting has been more about allowing our kids to find their own truths and their own love for life. And I am very grateful that they have all grown to believe in themselves and their dreams. Whether or not they believe mine and Ed's story is irrelevant, they are living their own truths. They have their own journeys and I wouldn't have it any other way.
FQ: You stated that “Thinking that the Aesir were just my own mind made me feel very alone and lost.” Do you still feel that uncertainty or are you secure in feeling that they were indeed real? Do you still have encounters with your spirit guides?
Yes, I still have encounters. Yes, they feel more real than ever. I have learned so much more, and my next book will embrace this topic.
FQ: You very briefly touched on the philosophical concept of dualism, specifically in reference to “seeing evil and good instead of seeing different choices.” Perhaps you’d like to expound on this concept a bit, especially since you have received a calling to an interfaith ministry.
It is a very good question. This is a difficult topic to talk about, as I have tried to understand this better in my ministry. I do feel that evil can be represented by different choices and so it depends on how you look at it, but I also believe that there are opposite forces and when we experience an opposite energy to our own, it can be very damaging, and that's what makes us call it evil. I believe that the most important thing I can do is love and embrace what is; and shine my light even brighter. When each of us shines our light (or sings our song) we will not be affected by the opposite, or what we might call evil. There is much more to say on the topic, but it would take up another book.
FQ: Many people are interested in prophecy, a concept that was not specifically referred to in your book, but how do you feel about it? Is it something that meshes with your belief system or not?
I do believe in prophecy. I also believe that it has been misused and taken advantage of. I feel there is much controversy surrounding the topic in form of prophesies that have not come true. People have expectations when you deliver prophesies and I wanted to avoid that. I do believe in it and see it as a form of intuition that we are all capable of receiving in one way or another - like a mother who knows her child is in danger or a feeling of warning that might come over us not to go somewhere. I have had my own intuitions; many have come in forms of dreams and some have come as promptings not to do or to do something. However, I know Ed gets into the topic a bit in his appendix, and he is looking forward to expanding on that topic some more in a future book.
FQ: When you were trying to reason with the new concepts and ideas and thinking about separating from the LDS church, a church you were raised in, you said your “mind raced around in circles” and your “soul was tormented more and more.” How do you feel today now that you have gone through the process of separation?
Peace, bliss and a calm mind.
An earlier question was about the process of leaving the LDS church which was both insightful and very terrifying because of the belief that this was the only true church. When you are raised by the belief that there is only one truth, the pressure is immense to find that one truth and to be true to it. So letting my mind rationalize about the truth was hard because some things made sense and some didn’t. Some things I could actually find an answer to and others I couldn’t.
At some point I had to decide what it was I wanted and then actually change my thinking to bring peace. The process is what I try to explain in the book, the result that I have experienced is just without words. Now I don’t doubt that God wants us to have peace and love in our life. This is what propels me on to maintain the peace I have found. God is not confusion, pain or hardship. This has become my message: God is love and to follow God should only feel good.
FQ: The Thomsen marriage seems to have held up through all the crises and turmoil. In conclusion perhaps you’d like to talk about how this entire journey into the unknown has affected your relationship with one another. Has it strengthened it? Do you feel closer and stronger for having traveled though it together?
It has definitely strengthened us and it has also brought us much closer. It made us stronger because we chose to stand by each other. Our love has grown into something that is completely indescribable. No matter what happened, or how broken and depressed I would become, Ed would just listen. He would embrace me, and allow me to be who I was in that moment. And because of his love and goodness towards me I wanted to accept him for who he was. It has been a two way street of accepting each other, no matter how we reacted and who we were. Love has kept us going and it continues to strengthen us.
To learn more about Hannah Reborn: Maturing and Healing the Soul Beyond Organized Religion please visit our website and read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.