Monday, February 25, 2013

One more chance, again and again

There are several things I have been taught for years as a member of the LDS Church, and our current ward has been a testament to the truthfulness of those teachings.

1. Have your own testimony of Christ and God; Do not rely on someone else.  If I didn't have my own testimony of Christ and what his life and death and resurrection meant to me, this ward would have driven me to atheism long ago. The beauty that I see in Christ's mission: loving the downtrodden, the outcast, the forgotten seem to be lost on this ward. Oh not individually, but too many comments I hear in church bespeak of a mean Jesus who is more concerned with his 401k and wouldn't heal the sick, saying instead, "You did it to yourself."

2. Do your personal scripture study: There have been only a handful of times in the last 2 years that I have left church feeling like I have been spiritually fed and uplifted. Most Sundays I walk home wondering why I am a member of this church. I feel as if spiritual Dementors have sucked me down to an empty, soulless husk of a human, leaving me miserable and hopeless for humanity and the church. The only thing that has helped me are conversations with Loyd and my own ponderings of the scriptures. That has given me enough hope to continue going to our ward and participating in the discussions.

3. Attend the Temple, Remember your covenants: Last May while in Japan, attending church and hearing some of the same awful comments that I heard in Orem, Utah, caused me much grief. If I am hearing the same caustic, uncaring, self-righteous nonsense across the ocean maybe it is a church-wide thing. Maybe this church is not the place I want to be. I struggled and thought about what to do. If 1 and 2 were already happening, then this church really isn't leading me to Christ, but was quite pushing me far from him. So what to do? i prayed and I cried and worried and was lost. And then it came to me to remember my covenants I made in the temple and in baptism. I didn't promise them just to God, but to all humanity. I wasn't sealed just to my husband, but to all humanity. I had to keep striving with the church, with that ward, because they deserved to be loved and cared for because I promised I would do that. They are struggling through this life as I am, trying to make sense of things, just like me, and I have to love them for what they are now, who they are now, not what I wish them to be. I have to accept them as they try, just as the Lord accepts all of us and accepts me as i try and struggle then try some more. He even accepts me when I give up and think it is all pointless and too difficult. So I have to keep attending the temple, to remember all that (and more!).

4. Serve. Serve. Serve.:  This one has been a struggle. I think because it is putting into action number 3, not only knowing it in my heart. It is living the belief. And it is a constant battle to not be what I dislike. To serve and love these people forces me to shelve my bad feelings and give each individual the opportunity to be known as a person. When I serve them I am able to see them as children of God who really want to do good in this life. Writing them off as a bunch of neo-conservative, hyper-capitalist, selfish, unloving bigots is, to date, the most energy expending challenge of my life. But those times where I have been able to stop being the same kind of ass that I despise so much, I have been able to love people and think good thoughts of them. When I have persevered enough to serve, I have been blessed with the peace and understanding that only charity, the pure love of Christ, can give. But it is hard!

I am sure there are many other things that I have been taught throughout my time as a Mormon, but these are the big ones that continually come to my mind. These 4 have given me hope. Every week I write off the ward, every other week I write off the church as a whole, but in the days in between, I remember my lessons. I remember my covenants. And I give it all just one more chance, again and again and again.


  1. Hang in there, sister. Thank you for sharing your heart and your journey. I appreciate your honesty and frankness. We all struggle with loving those around us, and these are great things to remember as we work on becoming "one". Love you. I am sorry it is hard. It seems like it shouldn't be that way, but sometimes reality sucks. xo

  2. Thank you—this was pitch perfect, and something I needed to hear.

  3. I love your strength. I feel like I can get closer to God away from other people currently... Church can be so hard.