Friday, April 13, 2007

C & E Mormon?

I went to church on Sunday, which happened to be Easter. It was my first time attending in about four years.

I traveled "home" for the weekend with my parents. I knew they would be going, and there were people in the congregation that I genuinely liked and missed. Attending church was more a social call than a spiritual trip for me.

I thought I might feel guilty, attending Sacrament meeting again. But I didn't. It was an overall nice experience. Partaking the Sacrament happened quickly. It was a small branch and there were almost as many people passing the Sacrament as there were taking it.

Back when I went to church I would read hymns during the Sacrament , and I did again. My choice this time was "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief." I always liked that one, because of the message about kindness and helping each other. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (Matthew 25:40)

Even though my parents know I'm not a practicing Mormon, nor really a believing Mormon, they did pass the tray to me, instead of handing it back. It was nice to have that opportunity from them, instead of being judged unworthy. I thank my parents for that gesture.

I didn't really pay attention to the talks. The parts I did tune in for were boring. Christ based, but boring.

I'm grateful for the opportunity I had giving talks growing up. I was comfortable speaking to a large audience of "grown-ups" by the time I was 16. I'm glad I have public speaking skills now, and I really wish I could use them more.

This doesn't mean I'll start attending church again, but... maybe someday I can look at it as "It's just church," and not worry about everything else that goes with it. But setting my alarm clock on the weekend is not tempting.

Friday, February 23, 2007

"Sometimes I think you wished you married Peter Priesthood."

My husband is an atheist. We met in 2002, when I was still pretty TBM. It started out as one of those situations where we were both out to convert the other one. To make a long story short, he won, mostly. And we've been married for almost a year.

My husband is wonderful. Right now I'm working and he's not. So he has dinner ready for me practically every night when I get home from work. He's a great cook. He makes candles. A couple weeks ago he decided to learn how to sew and already made two quilts. He really is a Susie Homemaker, except, well... he's a guy. He also has great taste. And most days I feel incredibly lucky to have him. He's a great catch.

Sometimes I have .... I'll call it a relapse. I'm slightly bi-polar. I don't think it is bad enough for me to go to therapy or get on medication. (Plus, I HATE meds.) Even when I'm having a down, I can still function. But I do tend to lash out at those closest to me, which is my beloved husband.

After I did my venting/unloading/"My life sucks" spiel to my husband during my last relapse, he turned to me, and said. "Sometimes I think you wished you married Peter Priesthood."

The sad thing is, his statement is partly true. Part of me does wish I fell in love with some Mormon boy and he was Peter and I was Molly and I'd be a housewife and we'd live happily ever after with our house and dog and yard and 2.1 beautiful children, sitting in the second pew at church in nice dress clothes, never late to Church. I think wow, life would be so much easier. He'd have a nice well paying job and be the breadwinner. I wouldn't have to work. My student loans would be paid for by him. I'd be rescued!

And I'd be an automaton, and truthfully very miserable. Because even when I was TBM, I was still a rebel, and I was still a somewhat of a feminist, and there were still aspects of Mormon Doctrine that didn't sit well with me.

I had a moment where I could clearly see my life if I choose the Molly Mormon route. And I knew that wasn't what I wanted. I decided I would rather take a "lesser glory" and still be with my dear husband, than shoot for the Celestial Kingdom, and be a lone or a second wife, and be stuck in eternity with a bunch of people I really didn't like.

Quite often, when I have a relapse, religion is typically part of the issue. Growing up Mormon, in a strict religious/military household means having a lot of guilt placed on you. (Don't get me wrong, I love my parents dearly, and my father is a REALLY cool guy, now that he's retired.) So when I get down, a lot of that strict Mormon upbringing comes back to the surface. And I'd feel guilty for my life choices. That type of relapse happens less often, now that we are married.

The other issue that usually brings on a relaspe is usually work/career related. I was the smart kid in high school. But it was all about getting into BYU, not about getting a job after college. The sad thing is, the main reason I wanted to go to BYU was to get hitched. I graduated with a worthless BA (not family science, but almost as bad), and failed to get my MRS. Working as an Administrative Assistant while having a degree is very depressing.

And the truth is, I do blame the LDS Church partly for this. There is so much pressure at Church to get married and have children. At the ripe age of 25, I was beginning to feel like a freak/fluke/failure at Church in Relief Society. There was so much pressure to get married in the temple to a worthy Priesthood holder who served a mission. Who needs a career? My job will be to stay at home and make babies and teach my children and keep house. The possibility of a career and having to earn a living didn't even cross my mind until my last semester of college. Opps.

So now, as I approach 30, I'm contemplating the whole career thing, trying to figure out what to do with my life. And that sure can get depressing. What does it mean when you want a 5-10 year redo?

But I have my husband, and he is awesome. And he means the world to me. And I wouldn't trade him for anything. Besides, I'd rather rescue myself.

Friday, February 9, 2007

LDS Articles of Faith: 13

We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

Over all, I like this Article of Faith, and I have no real issues with it. I do think there's a lot crammed into this one, so I'm going to break it into parts.

We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men;

This part fits with my definition of being a "Good Christian." Basically, its being Christlike and following the Golden Rule. I think it is a wonderful standard to live by.

I don't think the LDS Church follows it very well though. There is a lack of honesty concerning the early history of the Church. I also don't think the LDS Church does a very good job at "doing good to all men" either. There is a history of racism, and there are comments in the LDS Scripture that can easily be considered racist. There is also the strong stance against homosexuals. Its one thing to "love the sinner and hate the sin," but from my point of view, this isn't the case. The strong push towards marriage within the LDS Church puts even a chaste homosexual on the outside. The doctrine of Celestial Marriage makes it even worse. It says that if you are gay, and you want to be exalted, you have to pretend to be straight. And that goes against the first two parts of this Article of Faith - honest and true.

We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things.

I'm not really sure what "We believe all things, we hope all things" refers to, so I'll skip that. The endurance part seems to feed into the martyr mentality. It signifies that there were challenges in the past, and that we are willing to put up with anything. It goes along with the "turn the other cheek" mindset.

To be honest, its something I have a hard time doing. I have limits concerning what I'm willing to put up with. One of my supervisors walks that line with me constantly. Since I'm typically non-confrontational, I put up with it. But I don't like it at all, and as I sit here typing, I'm still trying to come up with ways to "put her in her place." Not Christlike on my part, but I hate being taken advantage of, and that is how I feel right now. Wonderful timing.

I also think "enduring to the end" can be damaging. Lets say there is someone in an abusive marriage. Enduring to the end is the worse thing to do in that situation (in my opinion). Get out, run! Make life better. And I think enduring means that you will put up with things you shouldn't have to put up with. It prevents you from making changes and growing.

If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

I love this part. I use it to justify watching rated-R movies. (Well, now I don't care, but that is how I used to justify it, and if I do decide to go back, I don't plan to stop watching R-movies.) So many R-movies fall into the "good report or praiseworthy" category. The majority of the good, drama, Oscar winning movies are R. The movies that tackle difficult topics are usually R, and the more artistic movies are typically R as well.

Take Jerry Mcguire for example. That movie was incredibly popular while I was at BYU. I remember seeing students lined up at the Varsity Theatre hours before the box office opened, so they could get tickets to see the edited version. (This was also before Titanic and no more edited movies at the Varsity Theatre.) A lot of my fellow students enjoyed this movie. It had a positive message concerning greed as well as the importance of family.

This part of the 13th Article of Faith encourages open mindedness, learning and growing. And I'm one of those people with a (albeit lazy) thirst for knowledge.

LDS Articles of Faith: 12

We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

I consider myself a law abiding citizen. If something is illegal, I don't do it. That fact is sometimes a decision making factor for me. I admit, I do drive a little bit too fast sometimes, and there's been a couple orange lights I've gone through. But that is the extent of my illegal activities, unless I've been breaking some of those weird laws that are still on the books.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

LDS Articles of Faith: 11

We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

I have no problem with this Article of Faith. I believe it, and I try to practice it. However, I feel that the Church itself doesn't.

I don't see how it is possible to be a good-standing Mormon, and still worship "according to the dictates of our own conscience" unless our own conscience fits with the rules of Mormonism.

This Article of Faith conflicts with the concept of the Church being the only true church. With the amount of missionary work, along with Church Discipline and temple interview questions, it is hard for me to see how the Church allows all men to "worship how, where, or what they may."

I would love to have a someone explain to me how the Church follows this Article of Faith.