Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I am an oldest child.  They say that makes me a leader and a perfectionist (and these can be exchanged for other words like "bossy", "over-achiever", and the like).  I will claim all of them, as they are probably mostly all true. I have realized that I can accept other people as they are, but I expect myself to be at the top of whatever I am doing.  I do not have to be "the best", but I have to be "my best." 
However, there is one thing that I just cannot deal with.  There is one thing that has been bothering me so very much these days that I can hardly stand it.  Hypocrisy.  And the Mormon church- as I see it here- is overrun with it.  Please try to follow my train of thought here:
1.  When this organization has put together a "handbook" that covers so many topics about life in very general terms, it becomes the job of local people to interpret what was meant by some handbook-writer in another state, or heck, maybe in another country.  When these men are given control over  a group of people, they are given control over their membership in the church, their standing within the church, and how much work they will be asked to do for the church.  These men are handed this handbook, and are supposed to use it to decide what to do with these people. 
2.  So, in one ward, a young couple ends up getting pregnant.  The bishop performs the wedding for them.  They are never disciplined.  In another ward, a young couple ends up getting pregnant.  The bishop disfellowships them.  This is discipline.  Why the disparity?  Who knows?  Why is one couple helped out and one couple punished?  The sin was the same?
3.  A man in a ward is cruel to those who are not as "perfect" of a Mormon as he is.  He has people who try to avoid him because of his attitude.  He looks at those who do not follow the rules to his liking with great disgust (trust me on this, it is a horrible thing to face on Sunday morning).  He is  made a leader.
4.  A man who was excommunicated tells his ex wife that he cannot re-join the church until he catches up on his child support (which would be that article of faith about obeying the laws of the land).  And then, a few weeks later, he is baptized.  Huh?
 Yeah, and this same man cruises around wearing a hat with a naked-lady silhouette on it.  You guessed it,  that would be him honoring the temple of the woman's body that was made by God. 

And my attempt to connect all of these ideas:  There is no consistency!!!!!  Men do what they want to do, or what they think is best, or what their counselors think is best, or what they hear in the gossip mill, or- who knows why they do what they do?  These men are the worst type of hypocrites. They act like they are perfect, they act like they actually know what they are doing, but they don't. 
One member of the bishopric goes around cursing all the time- no problem.
One church leader makes other people stop attending church because of his cruelty- no problem.
One bishop supports a woman in her actions until he changes his mind and tells her that she is wrong, once her actions cannot be stopped- but he can't explain why they are wrong-no problem.
One woman acts out of love and in the privacy of her own home- kick her the hell out.

LESSON NUMBER THREE:  There is no consistency in the LDS church.  It is just a bunch of imperfect men without the capacity to judge going around and judging people as their whim dictates.
MY TESTIMONY:  God is love.  God does not want us to judge one another.  He is the great judge.  I know I will stand accountable before Him one day and I will accept whatever consequence He chooses to give me for my actions on this earth.  I will humble myself before Him, and He will see my heart.  I do not accept the authority of men who do not know me, my actions, or even their own law.  What I have done has been done in love, has brought joy to the world, and life to the world.  I do not regret my choices.  I do not take them back.  I will not cower before men and give in to their unholy acts in the name of God- for God does not condone cruelty and the doling out of pain as a punishment for bringing love to the world. 
MY RELIGION:  I am a Christian.  I worship God whenever and wherever I am.  I want to be an example of Christ to all that I meet.  That's what it all boils down to I guess. 

Friday, June 11, 2010


One of the most difficult aspects of losing the support of the LDS  church was the people I thought I was losing.  These are the women I had been "friends" with.  These are the women I have served with, talked to, visited with, and considered to be my friends for the last ten years.  In our technological world, I had many of these women on my facebook page, they were my friends who saw what I posted, on the rare occasion that I posted something.  Was it one of them that started talking to the Bishop?  Was it one of these friends that began this ordeal that ended in me losing my church family?  I didn't know, and looking at their faces broke my heart, so I unfriended all of them.
Some of them messaged me and wondered what technological glich had unfriended us.  Some of them thought it was for other reasons, but they still wanted to be my friends.  Some of them I could not bear to keep on, but some of them I decided to think about.
One day, while she was unfriended, one of these friends drove into the baseball practice fields and dropped her son off.  I was sitting on the sidelines watching my child practice on another field.  She didn't see me.  But what if she had?  Would I have ignored a woman I have known for ten years?  Would I have walked right by a woman I have worked with and cried with and laughed with?  And the thought of not knowing her was so terrible, that I went home, emailed her this situation, and added her back as a friend. 
Soon after that, she sent me a facebook message telling me that she had a dream in which I was at church crying, and that she tried to reach me but I left too fast.  Oddly enough, this was just before a church event I went to for my child.  I told her I hoped I didn't cry.
Funny, but the day of the function arrived.  I was sitting at a table with my child, waiting for the event to start.  This "friend" walked up to me, put her arm around me, and said she was glad to see me there and glad that I wasn't crying.  And then she didn't talk to me again for the rest of the night.
It was funny that some of these ladies didn't want to lose me as a facebook friend.  It was funny that these ladies all said how glad they were to see me at this church function.  It is funny that they told me how much they cared about me.  What really just makes it all so funny is that that is all they said.
They didn't come by my house to see what happened.  They didn't call to see if I was okay.  They didn't sit and talk with me throughout the evening.  They just want to feel like they were doing the right thing.
I know that if it were a true friend who was in trouble or in need, I would go to them.  I would not wait to see what they did, I would not stay away, I would do what any friend would do- I would go to my friend and I would put my arms around her, and I would tell her that I was a friend, not because of a church connection, but because I wanted to be.
Funny- what you learn about friendship.  Funny- I don't miss any of them.  Funny- I thought that I was unfriending them and I felt bad for it, but that was before I realized that they had already unfriended me.  By leaving their church, by renouncing the rules that guide them, I was apparently renouncing my right to claim them as friends..  So even though I thought I was the one choosing to give up these friends, it was really a two way street- I removed them from my facebook page, but they removed me from their hearts.
Now I live with the consequences of not only losing a religion and a church, but of losing the people that had manned my world for so many years. 
It is nothing more than another loss.  It is only more pain.  The scriptures say that we as humans will be purified by fire, that through trials we will be made strong.  I know that these trials have been brought into my life by my own actions.  I know that through these trials I will be made stronger.  My faith in God is as strong as it has ever been.  I struggle to see him without the Mormon church to guide me.  I miss the routine, the safety, the easy answers, and the knowledge that I was never alone.  I still believe that there was a better way for these men to handle the situation of me.  I still believe that the Church is run by men, and because of this, is subject to error and misjudgement that hurts people and goes against the will of God.  I cannot believe it is intentional, but I believe that it is wrong.  It still hurts, I just don't think about it very often now.
LESSON NUMBER TWO:  Friends love you because of who you are, not because of anything else.
MY TESTIMONY:  Now, I hold onto God's love for me, and my desire to be an example of Christ.  For now, this is enough.