Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. FFRF.org

Honorable mention — High school essay contest: Natalyn Groke

Vol. 36 No. 06 August 2019
Natalyn Groke                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Responsibility = Self-Reliance = Healing

By Natalyn Groke

I’ve found that, as people grow up, we become responsible for more and more things.

I’ve also found that the more things we become responsible for, the less we want to help when anything does go wrong or when something does need to be fixed. We make excuses — we have so many other responsibilities to take care of, after all — and we get wrapped up in the fallacy that someone else will clean up the mess. I’m still technically a kid, so I might be wrong, as I haven’t had the time to conduct a proper survey, but many such people rely on God to clean things up and put everything back in place. They expect God to fix world hunger and lower the suicide rate and get rid of discrimination and restore the environment. I am sorry I’m the one to break the news, but that’s not how it works.

I was born and raised a proper Mormon girl who believed in God more than she believed in just about anything else. I relied on God almost as much as I relied on my own parents. I would pray for God to do everything — from healing my sick relative to guiding me to the location of my missing shoe. So, it’s easy to imagine that, when my family and I first left the church, I was lost. I couldn’t tell which way the ground was without God, much less stand on my own two feet and take care of my own problems by myself. I began to fall apart. I spiraled into a depression and did things I shouldn’t have. Who was I without God? Who would take care of me if not him? It wasn’t until last year that I realized that I needed to be the one who would watch out for me. I needed to take care of my problems.

I learned a valuable lesson, and it’s one that I think can help the world. We shouldn’t passively wait for a god to solve our problems — large or small. It damages not only us, but those around us — people we love, alongside those faceless strangers. Rather, we should take the initiative. If there’s a problem, take care of it. Don’t rely on someone else to fix everything — do it yourself. Learn to rely on your support system and on yourself and then as you progress, look out at the world and ask, “What can I do to help?” There is no shortage of problems. More than half of the Great Barrier Reef is dead. Discrimination exists. There are nearly 130 suicides daily. And th

ese are things that can be ameliorated, if enough of us try. Rely on yourself — not God — to get things done. Don’t let yourself become a bystander in your own society.

Natalyn, 18, is from St. George, Utah, and will be attending the University of Utah, where she is planning to be in the school’s new criminology program. She has already earned as associate’s degree that she has worked on for the past three years. “I am both a dog and a cat person, though I prefer dragons above all else,” Natalyn writes. “I have a great sense of humor — despite what my sisters may proclaim—as I know for a fact that wordplay is the epitome of class.”