Journey to Humanism

Sandy Usry

July 1996

Although I am not afraid of death, I am terrified of public speaking! Now you are in store for more information than you ever wanted to know about me! I guess I will start at the beginning. I was born October 2nd, 1950, in Los Angeles, California. I have one sibling, a brother, who is 18 months older than I. My mother is a religious woman with a Presbyterian background. My father was nonreligious. Both of my parents were, in their own way, good role models. Both were liberal democrats, full of compassion and humanity.

I have both good and bad memories of my childhood. Life is not easy and my family was not spared its fair share of trials and tribulations. I was a good student, but after graduation from high school, eager to get on with life, I chose to get married. We had one daughter and the marriage lasted five years.

During the five-year period of my marriage, my brother had joined the Air Force and had been stationed at Hill Air Force Base. My parents had also retired and moved to Utah.

Following my divorce, I moved to Utah to be near my family. I lived with my parents while I found employment and got settled. They were a great source of love and support and took care of my daughter while I worked.

I grew to love Utah but never adjusted to the predominant religion and culture. I tend to think I was a good LDS person's worst nightmare: a liberal, divorced, nonreligious female from California.

It was at this point in my life that I began to ask myself all the customary questions: Is the Bible true? Should it be taken as the word of God? Does God exist? Must morality be derived from religion? I came to the conclusion that the answer to all of these questions, for me, was "No"! I began to formulate my own belief system. About two years ago I ran across the book Unitarianism in Utah, written by Stan Larsen and Lorille Miller. I identified myself as a Unitarian. That discovery led me to South Valley Unitarian Church. At South Valley I picked up a brochure entitled "The Faith of a Humanist." I identified myself more specifically as a humanist.

Contrary to popular opinion, my life has been enhanced through this shift in reality. My relationships have a greater depth and meaning. Life in general is sweeter. No belief system can lessen the pain of the loss of a loved one, but I have grown to accept the reality that loss is an indispensable part of life and growth.

My life has been enriched through my association with this Humanist community. I hope that our community will grow and eventually we will be able to develop a humanist center that will have a positive influence on Utah culture.

Finally, to bring you up to date on my current life, 17 years ago I met and married my second husband. We have two daughters: Jenny (15) and Jamie (14). So far so good!