In June, I made a short weekend jaunt to Utah for a family reunion and took the opportunity to catch up with some friends I don’t see often. One of the best things in the world is to fall into a friendship as if no time had passed at all. The trip was great as I was able to dive into some great conversations and find some personal understanding as well.
One of my favorite conversations was had at Cafe Rio (that sweet pork is to die for and I need a legit recipe) about a mutual acquaintance struggling in her religious faith. It is mind boggling how humans can completely overthink and worry an issue to the point that it’s twisted and illogical. Someone who isn’t sure they want to follow the gospel or have a testimony but is worried about dating a guy who can’t take her to the temple is a bit skewed. Throughout the discussion, I admitted something I don’t like to admit which led us into another topic.
I haven’t attended church consistently in about 9 months. My testimony is real, but when I moved to a new city, I missed twice and suddenly, months had passed. Weakness is real. We all have it. It’s nothing to be ashamed of and yet we hide it. We don’t share it or discuss it. It’s as if all LDS people are conditioned to keep up this persona of perfection. Telling anyone about a single iota of weakness, doubt or failing is a horrible thought in LDS culture as it could bring all sorts of comments, persecution and plethora of emotions. I didn’t say anything about missing church to anyone because I don’t want the looks or the disappointment in my mom’s voice. I also don’t want a rush of visits or FB messages or texts.
In mid-September, I convinced myself to go to the first hour of church and I am really glad I did. A woman got up and spoke real truth about serious problems she had faced. She talked about depression, anxiety and how perfection is the enemy of progress. She reminded me that you can still complete something well without it being perfect. As I’ve gotten older and stayed single, attending church has become significantly harder for me. I constantly feel like I don’t fit into the culture. It’s not that I don’t fit in to the gospel or the doctrine; it’s the social/culture aspect of the church that I fight. I fight the gospel of Public Opinion.
Going to church that Sunday just added to the other things I’ve been pondering – I can still have a good, gospel-centered, Christ-following life without worrying about perfection in the eyes of public opinion. Perfection in this life is unattainable so I’m better served working on the best version of me. The version that makes me happy.