After my post yesterday about the downside of LDS culture, my brain was pounding away so hard at my mental typewriter for the next post instead of sleeping. While I confronted the downside and griped about bad attitudes that isn’t the end of the discussion. There are always more sides to a story and answers to a situation. There is an upside!
I spent a good portion of my mid-to-late teens and early 20’s not giving a flying flip about my religious beliefs or the faith I was raised to follow. During college, I studied other religions and found myself asking a lot of questions. A biological anthropology class even threw me for a serious loop on where I stood in my belief system. Yet, I always come back to what I was taught as a child. For me, it makes the most sense with the best answers to my questions. I’m insatiably curious, but I am aware that some questions can lead me down a dark rabbit hole and I need to take a breath, wait, have faith.
I’ve come to understand that my belief system is a very personal one. It’s between me and the Lord, where it belongs. I do not fit the LDS culture mold; not in any way, shape or form. To urge me to fit the mold makes me run in the opposite direction. I have to figure it out myself. However, there have been moments where I really wanted to fit the mold.
– getting engaged at 18. What’s more Mormon than that?
– 3 months of wanting babies so much I could taste it thanks to the cute kids that sat in front of me every Sunday (Eddie & Christina B. made some seriously beautiful kids).
– making a fool out of myself countless times with men I thought I could make it work with (I hope that Chris S. has forgotten that embarrassing episode).
The mold is a piece of fiction.
It’s not real. It’s the myth of perfection pressing on you. It’s the mistaken and globally shared idea that we MUST be perfect at everything and never show weakness or fault, even when it’s impossible to achieve perfection in this lifetime. Showing our flaws is not easy. It can even be painful, but wouldn’t you rather share your experience and save someone else in potential agony? Telling the world my struggles with my marital status, my place in the world or in my faith isn’t easy. If I help one person, it’s worth it.
You are your own person. There is no other like you and you should never force yourself into a mold that doesn’t fit. God created you specifically with all your glorious faults and flaws! How you figure out this life, how you decide what you will and will not do, is all between you and the Lord. Your experiences are not like anyone else’s. Take comfort, peace, and confidence in this: YOU know best how to navigate the life granted to you.
Something I often have to remind myself of (and boy do I struggle) is that people are generally good, charitable, loving and kind. They want to get to know you, to assist you, to help and to love you. They follow the same God you do! Some of them just don’t know how to be kind and seem to always target you, no matter what you do or say. They are stuck in the habits they see exhibited all around them. They are human and oh so fallible. Just like me and you. They are also children of God. It’s hard to remember that in the face of criticism, accusations, embarrassing moments, shame and other negative facets of behavior.
I mentioned Greg Trimble in my post yesterday and last night I bought his e-book “The Cultural Evolution Inside of Mormonism.” It’s a tremendous read! I want to paste full chapters here. He says exactly what I want to say and in such a kind, thought-provoking way, plus he backs it up with words from prophets, apostles and scriptures. One of my favorite things is a quote from his grandmother, “How can I ever stand before my Heavenly Father unless I have been kind?”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the Lord’s church. It’s Jesus Christ’s church. It’s the Utah Mormon’s church. It’s the Jack Mormon’s church. It’s the inactive’s Church. It’s the non-member’s church. It’s everyone’s church. The sign on the building says “Visitors Welcome,” but really, if it’s Christ’s church, we are all welcome, no matter where we are in our progression.
Single Mormon Lady