You are good. But it is not enough just to be good. You must be good for something. You must contribute good to the world. The world must be a better place for your presence. And the good that is in you must be spread to others.
1844,The Mayor of Nauvoo and the city council ordered the destruction of a printing press after it released one news paper. What was the name of this news paper? What was the reason for suppressing this press?
Behold, this is the promise of the Lord unto you, O ye my servants.
Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come.
Doctrine & Covenants 68:5-6
I want you to understand that this isn’t meant to offend or enrage… There’s just something I’d like you to know.
I grew up a Mormon, and it’s not what you think…
Forget all that enters your mind when you hear that word, and just listen for a moment.
What I have to say is not about the religion, that is not where my concern is. My worries, my heartache, what sparked this conversation and my decision to leave the church, was not the religion. It’s the culture that has grown amongst the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (a.k.a. LDS or Mormon).
From the outside, there’s generally three concepts people have about Mormons: 1) WTF?? POLYGAMY?? AMISH?? IDK!! 2) Super sweet, kind hearted, big big families, wanting and willing to do everything they can for others.
3) 100% full of them selves, bitter, closed minded, conceded a-holes.
From the inside there’s generally three concepts of Mormons too: 1) I’M SO CONFUSSSSSSED… but ok… whatever you say… I guess…?
2) I love these people, my people, we can bring the light of Christ to the world.
3) 100% full of them selves, bitter, closed minded, conceded a-holes…. I DON’T BELONG HERE!
Let me tell you this… No one is perfect, not even Mormons, and that’s ok. I don’t expect them to be, and neither should you. But… Here’s the problem that has me hurting so much…
No matter what concept you have about Mormons, there’s a mold, and Mormons are expected to fit that mold. But… I, among others, just don’t…
No matter how much I love God and my faith, I am not, nor will I ever be what is expected of a Mormon.
Have you ever been in a situation where you felt you didn’t belong? Where you felt so out of place and unnatural? Now try to imagine if that was simply your life.
I attempted being my truest most sincere self as I was encouraged to, but once it became apparent that my natural self was not what the mold asked for, a mask was pushed on me instead. My hemline measured by passing glances, my interests criticized for not being quite what they should be, my differences made into insecurities, by Mormons and non Mormons alike. The common criticism being “You are Mormon, and that is not how Mormons are.”
Concepts and stereotypes that were constructed by our parents, that have now fallen on us. A culture that has grown around us but isn’t necessarily our own. A culture that has become about putting on faces and getting into our places. A culture… that has removed God from church….
How much I pray, what clothes I wear, my past, my opinions, what my mind and heart contain, it’s none of your business. I’m sorry, it’s not. I’m not sorry that I do not fit into your mold of what a Mormon should be. I love God, and I love myself, and I know he loves me too. He made me different and he didn’t make your molds, so he does not expect me to try to squeeze into them for your comfort.
I understand that right now, I do not have a place in the culture I grew up surrounded by. Maybe one day I will. But for now… I’ll say goodbye. I will love God in my way and he will love me in his.
With this goodbye I ask just one thing…
Forget the molds, forget the culture, look at the individual. Allow people to be unique and not what you’d expect. Let them blossom. You and I were not meant to fit into societal boxes.
Forget what you have come to think of what a Mormon should be… Because it’s not what you think.
I haven’t been writing my own content for a while… tbh I’ve been avoiding it because that means I have to sit and think about spirituality and shit instead of just lazily reblogging stuff for the rest of my life.
These days I think about church and spirituality and all that and feel….
There’s the whole Mormon thing–yada yada. Simmering anger there, not the intense fires of rage I was feeding before.
There’s the whole atheism thing. I technically call myself an agnostic atheist (because I can’t KNOW for sure), but let’s be real: I’m an atheist. God doesn’t exist. Gods don’t exist. Nothing happens to us when we die except for bodily decomposition. That’s how the universe works. It’s all very scientific. It makes a lot of sense.
Then there’s the Unitarian Universalist thing. And that’s where I’m feeling kind of weird at the moment. When I joined the local congregation here, I was so happy. A place of diverse thinkers and crusaders for justice and caretakers of the world we call home! Amazing! There was, IS, so much good in Unitarian Universalism. My best friends are UUs, and I cherish every moment with them. But the whole UUism thing has lost momentum in my personal life. I agree with the Seven Principles (http://www.uua.org/beliefs/what-we-believe/principles) wholeheartedly. I don’t have any issue with anything UUism stands for. I’m just realizing how…organized…it is.
I guess after coming straight from the Mormon church, Unitarian Universalism seemed extremely loose and free, and really, it is; just not as much as I originally thought. I’ve started experiencing more aversion to the concept of organized religion in general, partly because there are some really obviously bad things that can happen when organized religions have a lot of power, but also because, honestly, it’s just started to feel kind of weird. I want to use descriptive words like creepy…or culty…but that seems so negative… I’m turned off by talk about regional and national conventions and seeing other UU church news and events from around the country, by the UU lingo and the UU inspirational quotes that pop up on my social media, even by images of chalices, simply because they remind me of the discomfort I feel with the organized, institution-feeling aspects. I’m turned off by the idea that it’s an actual CHURCH.
While I’m soul searching and stream-of-consciousness tumblr-ing here, I should be honest with myself: the spirituality piece is starting to weird me out, too.
I was excited about finding ways to be spiritual at first, even if it wasn’t having a connection to a deity or something, but finding faith in the human spirit or myself or whatever. I looked forward to gaining inspirational truths about life from various texts and belief systems. Now that I’m becoming more and more logical, the idea of being spiritual seems, well, kind of pointless. And that fact, the pointlessness of spirituality, is unsettling to me. I WANT to be able to be spiritual, but the logical part of me says, “yeah, well wanting something to be true doesn’t make it true.” Wanting to, and choosing to, believe in some kind of spiritual connection to the universe doesn’t mean there is one, and why would I choose to believe something like that “just because”? Isn’t that basically the same thing as all religion?
I’m in this weird, angsty place in my life where I yearn for spirituality but can’t figure out how to make it work for me. I have always been a deep person, someone who loves metaphors and stories and abstract connections, and this missing spirituality piece is leaving quite a noticeable empty space in my soul. If there even is such a thing as a soul…because I honestly don’t know…it doesn’t really seem likely…it would be nice, but just deciding I like that idea doesn’t mean it’s true. UGH. SEE WHAT I MEAN?