10 May 2009

Center

Today in Sunday School I announced that I was leaving and everyone was so upset. Teach told me later that she cried for me today, and she's not a crier. She realizes how hard it is for me here and can't understand why my parents can be the way they are.

The lesson was really good. We talked about living the religion, aka "how to not be a snooty bitch." And living it with truth. When we are down, and struggling, and bothered to no end by bigots, we simply need to remember this. Christ is the center. He is the everything. And everything, absolutely everything, he did was selfless. This is all about how we treat others, not anything else.

Most Mormons are masqueraders, and damn good ones at it too. They live by the book, they stick to the rules, and they follow their mold. And people like me don't fit that. I'm real, and I'm gritty. I've been hurt, and I've made serious mistakes.

And? My testimony is stronger and more powerful for it. See, most of these "God-fearing," unbending, close-minded Mormons don't know the meaning of true faith. They don't know what the spirit is really about, they don't know how to hear it, to recognize it, to understand it and, least of all, how to follow it. So they stick to their safe zones - their rituals, their parades, and their traditions of Mormonness. And they end up being snooty bitches to those who kick against their bullshit.

We are not. We've built our faith on blood, tears, sweat, and pain. We are the true followers and disciples here. And because of it, we live our religion differently than the rest, and that bothers them. They want to judge us, they want to condemn us, they want to think less of us. And I won't act like I'm completely beyond that either. When I first got here and saw that my teachers - the people giving me my spiritual recourse every week - seemed mostly inactive, swore, and seemed more interested in the lastest gossipy events than teaching me a lesson... I was ready to judge. I was ready to question. I could scorn, sure. These weren't "real" believers. They weren't "real" followers. What did they know about being spiritual or righteous?

No. No, no, no. These people are friends. True friends. And they have testimonies that beat out other members entirely. Others haven't been depraved alcoholics on the street fighting for a reason to keep moving forward. Others haven't fathered children out of wedlock and then had to deal with the stigma afterward. Others haven't had to reconcile parts of who they are to fit with the way they worship and love. The largest majority of them have been cut-and-dried, from-the-get-go followers, and I think deep down they are suffering for it. They are all teenagers desperate to find the way to move forward; and like deceptive, secretive, shameful lemming-like creatures they pander, and preen, and follow one another, always checking to make sure it's by the book, by the letter, and the way it's always been done. And even some who do know what it's like to be different try and cram themselves into the rules and the rituals and the way it's supposed to be, comparing they way they live their religion to everyone else, and trying to fit in as much as possible.

This is wrong. How many of these people I look at in Sacrament Meeting as I spout off words of a hymn telling me that my home should be a heaven on earth actually have that? How many of them don't have vices and secrets and problems? How many of them truly, deeply, wholly live and move every moment by the power of the spirit and allow that to govern all they do and say and are? How many?

I think that our (I can't remove myself entirely from being at fault here too) falsity, our professed faith, and vain meanderings measure up to nothing less than Rameumptom-discipleship. And it's hurting us as a Church.

Whenever I begin to doubt, and I begin to waver, and I am discouraged, and fed up, and tired of bullshit, I need to remember.

Remember that I live my faith, and my actions are real. All of them. I don't pretend to read my scriptures every day, I don't pretend to pray when I get up and go to bed. I don't do fake Mormonism, rules, rituals, and motions. I give of myself to others. I remember the center. I remember Christ, and I follow Him, and I try and be like him. I strive to find the Spirit, know the spirit, and follow the Spirit. I'm HONEST about my faith, and most of all, I'm humble about following Christ. My job is to serve and to love, the end. I'm not here to promote myself, or show you what an awesome Mormon I am by getting up and bearing my testimony while I cover up my vices and my problems. Too many people forget that as they work desperately to prove themselves within the church, to be on display - look at me magnifying my calling! I'm celestial material!

Forget the nay-sayers, and the mockers, and the doubters, and most of all, the haters. Live your religion the way you want, and I will live mine the way I know. The way that burns to my core, pulls at my heart, and pleases my God. This is my religion, and yes, it's the same as yours, only I live it differently. And that's okay. And it needs to be okay with you too. This is truth, and this is real, and you can't take it away from me no matter how hard you try to push me away or get me to follow your "proper way" and pretend nothing's wrong with me and that I never mess up and I never struggle or that everything is easy and perfect. Never.

4 comments:

Captain Midnight said...

There are a lot of good people in the church, but I honestly think the best people I've ever met in my life are either former church members or non-members. That's just based on a few people I know, but yeah.

Over the Rainbow said...

:)

Andy Foree said...

I agree with you, 100%. I have had countless conversations with my friends on the stupidity that is the "perfect Mormon". Like you said, their pride is hurting the church as a whole. Thanks for this great post! Keep up the good work! Fight the good fight! :)

Kythe said...

I can't say I agree with this %100. I think most members of the church are bleeding out in some way and a genuinely trying to love God. We are humans. Each of us hurts and feels guilt at not "fitting the mold." Just because someone grows up in the church and tries to "fit the mold" does not automatically make them a "snooty bitch." There are of course those who like to parade, but just because someone is going through the "rites and rituals" of Mormondom doesn't mean they're just trying to show off how much better than everyone else they are.

Do I have to get up and admit my faults to everyone so as not to be portrayed as such? Do I have to show off my sins to prove that I too am a sinner? I hope not. I hope I can admit them to myself and to Christ, and from there do the best I can to become more like Christ.