Thursday, May 14, 2015

How to Stay Mormon When You're Tired of Mormons


A couple of years ago, there was a blog entry that made the rounds called "Being a Mormon Misfit." I loved the message of hope and belonging that it provided. I also appreciated this friend's response, reminding readers that many of the Mormons we think of as "mainstream" probably have a lot more going on under the surface than we think.

I think the Mormon Misfit does exist, if it only means someone who just feels like they don't fit in. They could in actuality fit in, but just not feel like they do.

Because God knows I've been one of those people--someone who feels like they don't fit in. Modesty makes me grumpy, I have a second piercing in my right ear, I am pro-gay marriage, and you guys, I have a tattoo designed that I want so so so badly. But I've also felt a confirmation of many of the truths of the Gospel. And sometimes that puts me in a contradictory place.

So over the years, I've found a way to carve out my own space in the Church. It's an ongoing process, but I thought I'd share some of my tools--a practical guide to how to carve out your own space of belonging. Some of these tools may work for you, some of them may not. Spirituality is so so personal. But if you sometimes sit in sacrament meeting and wonder what the hell you're doing there, know that I've been there, and sometimes I'm still there, but remembering the following things help me to keep perspective.

6 Things To Remember When You're Tired of Mormons

1. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks of you--just what you think of you, and what God thinks of you.
This is probably the biggest guiding principle in my life. And it's completely impossible to truly remember and live by all the time. But it's really what everything else in this list comes down to, and when you can remember it, it's empowering. So what if the Relief Society President thinks you're immodest? She's not in charge of your eternal salvation. And even if she or other leaders have a hand in your eternal judgement, God's judgement will override any of that.

2. Personal revelation is more important than anything else. [I think I was unclear in this section, so I've added a few additional clarifications in orange, as of 11:00 pm Monday, May 18th. I apologize if that makes anything in the comments make less sense...I couldn't think of a better way to address these things!]
In our Church, we speak often about the importance of obedience, of faith in the Church, of following the counsel of leaders even when we don't understand it. And there is value in those things...we can grow and learn from doing those things. But there may be times that your own conscience may dictate otherwise. Those are painful moments, and it can be really really difficult to trust that you're doing the right thing in following your own heart. And maybe sometimes it's NOT the right thing [to follow your own heart]. But your responsibility as a human being is to take everything you are told to the Lord. And if your own personal revelation says something contrary to [what leaders of] the Church [may say], trust it. [I'm not talking about things like commandments. Personal revelation will not be contrary to the COMMANDMENTS. I'm talking about things like leader's opinions on the Big Bang, or the best way to be a parent, or what legislation should be passed. I honor and sustain the men and women called to lead this Church, but recognize that it is not meet that we are commanded in all things, and that sometimes something that seems like revelation for the entire Church may not be when you seek confirmation of it.] Others may judge you for [your interpretation of statements by leaders], but those who pass judgment are not in charge of your eternal salvation, so it doesn't matter what they think.

3. You have permission to leave if your pain exceeds your nourishment.
I mean this on a short-term basis, although I think it can apply long-term. But since the point of this post is to help people stay active if they want to, I'm mostly focusing on short-term. It's inevitable that someone will say something in one of your meetings someday that rubs you the wrong way. You may never have a day when you go to Church and 100% agree with everyone around you. Most of the time, you can just shift your focus, listen to the Spirit, dig into your scriptures on your own, find some way to help you stay grounded. But sometimes the sheer effort of doing that distracts from the actual nourishment you could be receiving. So if you need to step out for a few minutes, for the rest of the meeting, or for the rest of the day, give yourself permission to do that. Take your worship into your own hands. It's almost always best to stay. But if you're not getting anything out of Church, put yourself in a situation where you ARE being spiritually nourished.

4. God's children are flawed, imperfect, fallible, messy, emotional wrecks. 
That includes:
- The elderly man who takes his sacrament talk as an opportunity to share his personal opinions on abortion and gay marriage
- The bishop, Relief Society president, the Elder's Quorum president, and any other leaders
- The lady in Sunday school who says the only sex ed children need is the story of Joseph and Potiphar's wife
- The Stake President's wife, who tells everyone from the pulpit that you will feel the Spirit more if you shower every day
- The guy in your ward who says he gets to tell you that your stick-on tattoo is against the Honor Code because "he has the Priesthood and you don't" 
- The Sunday School teacher who dismisses the comments a woman makes about the lesson, and then welcomes the EXACT SAME COMMENT when it's made by a man
(All of these are based on true and personal stories, BTW.) The point is that, like everyone is always saying, "The Gospel is perfect, the people are not." And as difficult as it is to remember, this also goes for the prophets and apostles. Which takes me back to point #2--personal revelation is more important than anything else. If a leader says something you don't feel comfortable with, you have a right to take it to the Lord, figure it out, maybe even reject it. But no one should have to censor themselves to your own standards/beliefs...Even the idiots have a right to be here. They have a right to say whatever they do, and you have a right to dismiss it if you feel you must.
(Also note, you are a flawed, imperfect, fallible, messy, emotional wreck.)
The other part of this truth is this: In the words of an old friend, "If somebody seems perfect, then either #1, they're Jesus, or #2, they have something to hide. Probably #2 though." This is where Val's point about the Mormon misfit being a myth fits in. Many of the people you see at Church may seem "orthodox" and "perfect," but are likely carrying things the rest of us can only dream of. Don't fail to imagine others complexly.  

5. The purpose of Church is to nourish everyone, including those who are just beginning.
For those who have been members for many years, or for the intellectual types, Church can sometimes just plain get boring. There is so much insanely interesting stuff in the scriptures and in Church history...complicated details that deserve our time and attention. And 99% of the time, that's NOT the stuff we talk about in Sunday School. But that's because everyone is at a different place in their progression and testimony. What if someone is returning to Church after a long hiatus? Or what if someone just got baptized? Or what if they're just investigating? Discussing the connections between LDS temple ceremonies and Masonic ritual is NOT going to bring them closer to Christ--it will probably overwhelm them. I'm not saying that studying those things is bad. In fact, I think it's really really good and really really important. But that's what personal study is for, or discussions with friends and family. This is totally the "Gospel According to Liz," but to me it makes sense to say that while there is overlap, Church is primarily the time for nourishment, and personal study is primarily the time for learning.

6. For most of us, life is better with the Church than without it.
This is the ultimate truth that keeps me in the pews. Because I haven't always had the Church in my life. And there have been times when I've had the Church, but not as fully. And here's what I think. Life can be painful and complicated and overwhelming. And that's true whether you're in the Church or not. So if it's true, you might as well continue to receive nourishment where you can. I know I can use all the help I can get when it comes to life, and the Gospel is the best source of help I've found.


The Rock Wall
Here's my final thought. An institute teacher shared this with me years ago, and it's a FANTASTIC analogy. Your testimony is like a rock wall. (Don't worry about the purpose of the wall--the analogy doesn't stretch that far.) Everyone is constantly building to their walls, stone by stone. And every now and then, you may stumble upon a stone and not see exactly where it fits. It may be labeled "gay marriage" or "visiting teaching" or "hymns are boring" or "why do we have so many freaking meetings and why are they so freaking long." But that doesn't mean you abandon the wall. It means you set the stone aside and keep building with what you DO know. And as you build, you may suddenly see where that stone fits. Some people have likened this process to a jigsaw puzzle, but that implies that everyone's testimony looks the same eventually. I like the stone wall better because everyone's will look completely different, and have different foundations, but all of them are still valid. It can be frustrating to feel sometimes like you're surrounded by stones you don't understand. But hang in there. You'll find their place eventually. And as you do, you'll find your OWN place, too.

169 comments:

Carrie Lynn said...

I love this so much that I don't even have words to express how much I love it.
I think I laugh a lot as a way of coping with people who think so differently from me in the Church. They might see the world totally different from how I see the world but if the fruit of my interactions with them are good then I'm happy to sit next to them in the same pew :)

Jason said...

Lots of good positive vibes here. I like you're emphasis on building and patience. Truly, the path of latter-day saints requires patience. One item that concerns me though: your words on personal revelation. I am sure your thoughts were expressed with the best of feelings, I only worry what others may interpret... However, If you define personal revelation as a learning experience involving personal, sincere, and honest study of the scriptures, words of prophets, general conference talks, and prayer–asking in faith to know the truth then I agree with everything you said!

I've always thought of personal revelation as aligning oneself with the will of God. I trust that my leaders, such as President Monson, are much closer aligned than I; so I trust his counsel. My doubts, when I have them, are eased–or at least addressed–when I pursue confirmation in prayer.

Well any who... Spiritual development is tough! As you've pointed out so well, it's important to remember to wait for understanding rather than become frustrated. What a well thought out list of helpful points!

Heather said...

I love this!!! I feel like we could be best friends!! I'm starting to think there's more Mormons "like us" than we realize. Thank you!!!

Ally said...

It's like you went in to my brain and typed exactly what I think! Thanks for sending this to me Heather! We are not alone!!!!

Corrina Baker said...

The true stories here about jerk-like comments make my blood boil. OLD BOYS CLUB. don't you think you could find better church in your closet?

Bill said...

I have to agree with many of your points and feel that you're on target. It seems that sometimes there are two wards for every official one; one for the 'standard' Mormons and one for the rest of us misfits. Really enjoyed reading this!

Russell Petersen said...

I love the article, but of "7 Things To Remember When You're Tired of Mormons" I only saw items 1-6, is #7 the wall of testimony?

Katie Cox said...

That picture is of my church building growing up! Also, I really enjoyed the article. You are a great writer.

Anonymous said...

I've actually had personal revelation that at face value doesn't seem to agree with current positions on marriage and women's equality, but in the long term big picture does. He has told me to be patient and faithful, but also continue to act in respectful ways to progress towards better equality. I've been flat out told that since it contradicts current church rhetoric that it's wrong because it is not exactly what leaders say. But I know that it is not wrong, it's just that I need to have faith, be patient, and continue being an agent of action.

Matt said...

I feel I can relate to most of this. I think the problem arises when personal revelation contradicts church doctrine. How do you reconcile believing something that opposes what the church leadership says, while still accepting them as called of God? I believe this is why many people leave the church. They believe things such as the church opposing gay marriage are simply wrong. The church also use to teach that birth control was an "abomination" and now it's routinely given to newlywed women at the BYU and BYU-I health centers. Evolution was taught as being a lie and is now taught as fact in church school science classes. To me when the church is wrong they just adapt and attribute incorrect teachings by prior general authorities to being just their opinion.

The more I start following my heart and not basing my personal beliefs on what the "general authorities are saying" the more free I feel. I'm not sure what that means for my future in the church, but it's nice to see others can relate to me.

punkguyutah said...

Basically if you oppose current doctrine and or practices and want to keep your membership you have no choice but to keep your mouth shut and pray for a change of heart lol.

mandy_moo said...

That crazy moment when... You read this cool blog post that a recent RM friend of yours posted on FB, and you continue looking at various posts on said blog, and realize the blog author was your roommate at BYU-I TEN YEARS ago!! And then you realize that the blog actually has posts from the time you were roommates, and you spend half an hour reading and reminiscing and thinking how truly incredible your roommates were and how very much you underappreciated them.

Hi Liz, it's me, Mandy!!!

Anonymous said...

Liz I really enjoyed your article. Great insight!

Russell LeSueur

kelly said...

thanks and amen.

Anonymous said...

Full Disclosure: I am an Atheist.
This was a good read. Still, there is tension here as others have pointed out. How can one call herself Mormon, but reject some of the fundamental tenants of the Church? I believe thoughtful and intelligent people such as this author will always struggle with contradictions such as these until they evolve to a point where they base their ethics not on faith, but on reason and compassion. Peace and Love to all of my Mormon and Non-Mormon brothers and sisters.

Chloe said...

This is me too! I'm married in the temple, strong testimony, etc etc, but I grew up with all brothers and have the hardest time relating to LDS women that aren't my mother. Mormon culture just doesn't fit me. I usually bury myself in the scriptures or my journal and try to pick out the good spiritual bits that pop into my mind while I'm at church. I'm stuck between failing to contribute to the spiritual nourishment of the people around me, and feeling too different to be capable of an acceptable contribution.

Anonymous said...

Birth control was never taught to be an "abomination" simply that we needed to be mindful that there were spirits wanting to come to earth and receive a body, and we needed to not be so selfish we wouldn't give of our time to families... Always the church has "guided" only have as many children as you can care for.. If you don;t feel you can care for children at all.. don't have any.. if you feel you can take care of three, go for it.. but these families that have 16 or some ridiculous number of children and live on welfare should not keep having children because THEY do not believe in birth control! Evolution was never taught as a "lie" when applied corectly... We humans did not evolve from Apes or Fish.. That is where the church has taught that evolution is wrong.. Their stance on that has not changed.. The church has taught that in the bible men lived hundreds of years... then much later we know the life span of man was around 30-40 years... now we are taller and live to be 80 + years... that is all evolution... but again.. Never has the church changed it's stance that we did not evolve from anything other than being made in God's image.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for This! It is a breath of fresh air that we are not alone in our feelings!

NauvooGeek said...

The personal revelation thing can be a slippery slope. That being said, there are times your personal circumstances don't fit. I take everyone's counsel with a grain of salt, except for the prophet and apostles. I remember a devotional talk by an apostle that said we need to evaluate our own circumstances.

I loved everything else. I've known a lot of "orthodox" Mormons that feel like misfits within themselves.

Anonymous said...

Love this!
Just as a side issue re. evolution the church has NO OFFICIAL stand. No need to interpret.
"The scriptures tell why man was created, but they do not tell how, though the Lord has promised that he will tell that when he comes again (D&C 101:32-33). In 1931, when there was intense discussion on the issue of organic evolution, the First Presidency of the Church, then consisting of Presidents Heber J. Grant, Anthony W. Ivins, and Charles W. Nibley, addressed all of the General Authorities of the Church on the matter, and concluded, Upon the fundamental doctrines of the Church we are all agreed. Our mission is to bear the message of the restored gospel to the world. Leave geology, biology, archaeology, and anthropology, no one of which has to do with the salvation of the souls of mankind, to scientific research, while we magnify our calling in the realm of the Church…."

R. Millard said...

Why are you naked?

Andrea Chesley said...

This was well-written and relatable enough to keep my attention, but the horrific "personal stories" would be enough for me to end it right there or at least speak up about it which would probably end it for me (it did.) And what is with the "she may be naked" meme? It's very misleading and out of place.

Anonymous said...

Good points, but it is also important to note that apostles and prophets have spoken over the pulpit about the evil of evolution as well, including Joseph Fielding Smith, Elder McConkie, and Elder Packer. Are those men not speaking as prophets when they say this?

I think the Church in general wants to take a careful stance on the matter, but it becomes hard when prophets and apostles speak out against evolution.

Anonymous said...

Good points, but it is also important to note that apostles and prophets have spoken over the pulpit about the evil of evolution as well, including Joseph Fielding Smith, Elder McConkie, and Elder Packer. Are those men not speaking as prophets when they say this?

I think the Church in general wants to take a careful stance on the matter, but it becomes hard when prophets and apostles speak out against evolution.

Anonymous said...

Somewhat relatable and interesting point of view. I was baptized LDS at 8 and now at 48 am proud to say I am developing a relationship with my Heavenly Father. It's a work in progress, but one that I am finally embracing. I have never verbally denied the truth of the church, God the Father or his son Jesus Christ, I just wasn't ready to commit to all the things that would be asked of me. I guess you can ask yourself if that is some form of denial or I just wanted to live on my terms for years. Liz, as I read your thoughts I am not sure how I feel. I understand them, I can relate to them, but I also feel some sort of sadness that I will try to explain somewhere in my point of view. Aren't we all trying to navigate these waters and figure these principles out to the best of our ability, and comprehension of them? I can read in your words that the way other members express themselves is a challenge for you. I guess the growth of character enhancement can sometimes be spoiled with a dash of character flaws. The world (including the Mormon community) is filled with voices, some of which are compassionate, empowering, eloquent in their delivery, and infectious. While other voices are stern, straight to the point, garbled, and are simply not relatable. You have been given a special gift to write well and be heard. It's a powerful, exciting and scary tool to have. The social media platform is a very large one and can touch and influence many. I never respond to people, so I hope this puts a magnifying glass on the power of your written word. Please understand you can bring about change so before you hit send based on any intense emotion, or harbored feelings, please sit back, lets those thoughts simmer for a day or two before you post them.

At 48, my mom just learned that I did not read a lot of her letters that she had been sending over the years because they were always scripture or church based. I guess I just couldn't relate, and I couldn't figure out why she couldn't separate being just a normal mom from being this church woman. It took me many many years to realize this is my mother, and the principles by which she speaks to me is her life. This understanding of the fact that her beliefs were a part of who she was even when she spoke or wrote letters to me was a huge breakthrough. I use to get so frustrated that she couldn't keep her religious thoughts separated from a normal conversation. Just this past year I opened and embraced ALL of moms mail. I have lots to read and catch up on (many years worth). I think she would be shocked I am writing you.

Continued below...........

Anonymous said...

Continuation from above.............

For me I guess my title would have been, " How to Stay Mormon when you are tired of Fighting Yourself." I was and am the only person that is stopping myself from all of the principal that I have been asked to follow. Rules, Principals, Commandments, Mandates, Ordinances are hard, confusing, and sometimes just plain suck and don't fit my lifestyle or my thought process. This feeling of mine encompasses a lot: Religion, Politics, Work agendas, Road laws, Govt. Assistance, Charitable Donations percentages, the list can go on and on. It doesn't mean I still don't embrace these things, and that is what I hear from you. I guess what I do know is that the bigger picture may not always be conveyed to me, or my understanding of it might be a little short sided. That's the hard part of this entire process is to move forward, trust in others that have been entrusted with the vision or words to help, and last but not least have faith. There are things I agree with and things I don't(even in my job) but there are a lot of sacrifices to have a better life. Can you imagine if everyone did what they wanted because it's how they felt? Can you imagine the things that wouldn't get done, be built, or the lives that would not be saved if we all weren't willing to make sacrifices in our lives? Can you imagine if everyone in the world only followed the laws and principals they believed in? Can you imagine if we didn't have to go to school if we thought it was long and boring?

I have fought my thoughts and feeling for years. I stopped going to sacrament meeting because it was too long. I hated having to put a dress on when it was my days off from work, so that became another excuse. I stopped going to Relief Society because they just would just randomly call on you, and I was petrified I would hear my name and would not know the answers to the questions. I wanted to show up late for Sacrament, so I didn't have to take the sacrament not feeling worthy. I only said prayers when things were wrong with my life. I have felt so many feelings that I no longer have or are dissipating due to growth, trust, faith and handing it over to my heavenly father.

I love your rock wall analogy but let me add another thought process to it. Do not do what I do and put aside the rocks you do not understand. I have put too many of them aside, and I am now 48 starting from ground level. The wall may need those rocks that don't always make sense to us. They may be the big heavy ones that we can't lift alone or the perfect but sparse baby pebbles needed to fill that little gap for that perfect formation. Don't wait until you understand what every rock is for before you put it in its place. Don't turn down the tools such as a wheel barrel( the guidance of your leadership) that will help you lift those heavy ones because they are the foundation that is needed. When the wall is complete, it will all make sense and provide the protection and sense of self-worth we all strive for. We choose to disagree and make our points so we may be heard, but the only people we fight that limits our wall from being built is ourselves.

I am not as eloquent with my words, but I hope this was somewhat thought-provoking or insightful.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for bursting everyone's bubble but this is not what the gospel entails. This falls more under scriptures in 2 Nephi 28 where the summary of the chapter reads "They will teach false, vain, and foolish doctrines—Apostasy will abound because of false teachers". Specifically it brings to mind verse 8 which says: "And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God."
I feel like I could agree with the rock analogy but the rest of it is exactly what Satan wants you to believe. I think the most disturbing thing is that the writer believes that leaders in the church somehow have higher standards than God. Are you kidding me!?! Have you read the scriptures at all?!?! God isn't just some bff that we have to make us feel good. The only way we return to God is through TRUE repentance. That requires real change over time. I've seen people overcome all types of addictions and habits because they REALLY used the enabling and cleansing power of the Atonement.
Also the personal revelation thing..."And maybe sometimes its NOT the right thing"???? what??? When does God EVER want you to do something that's wrong?
Also, you never have permission from God to leave the church. It's a commandment. Simple as that. It's only going to strengthen you, even when you don't think you're getting something out of it.
Christ's sacrifice doesn't cover us when we just obey the commandments when it's easy. We even have to obey when it's hard. Nobody that has ever done anything to help their own spirituality and God's work go forth if they give up when things get difficult. That's what separates those that have real faith and those that are just watered down faith.
If you listen to general conference and just think they are talking about some perfect ideology that would be nice and would be true in a perfect world or that they are just trying to scare you into obedience but that isn't really how things are...you have another thing coming to you. Don't listen to this girl, listen to people GOD has called to HELP YOU get back to Him.

Anonymous said...

Great points to remember. I think its also important to remember that no one is a "standard mormon." Once we get rid of that label, we will see people as individuals. We are all misfits. We think others are standard because they appear to be similar to "everyone else"..but we don't know how everyone feels or thinks. We all belong :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this. It was an enjoyable read. Here you seem to be suggested a sort of middle path approach to Mormonism. I've tried this for many years and eventually came to discover that it wasn't just the rank and file members with whom I disagreed, it was much of what was said in conference by modern leaders. Gradually I began looking at Joseph Smith, and found that I disagreed with a lot of what he said, even that which he claimed to be revelation. I came to the conclusion that I didn't much believe many of the LDS church's fundamental claims and that I really didn't feel like there was a place for me in it. I still attend for family purposes. But I recently informed my wife that I intend to steadily decrease my activity in it. My main point is that the middle path is hard to maintain. There are a lot of expectations in Mormon communities, and when you don't live up to each one of them, you get treated second class. The Iron Rod Mormons control the church, at general and local levels, and they are making it a place that is less and less hospitable to Liahona Mormons.

Pattybear56 said...

I too, am a square peg trying to fit in the round hole. I like the stone wall idea, it reminds me of line upon line, and precept upon precept, how we grow. If the stone doesn't fit, lay it aside until Heavenly Father brings forth that confirmation of knowledge and wisdom. But one point...I must remember, the church will not be adapting to my take on the issues, or my murmurs of discontent...it will be my murmuring that will come to the light and be adapting to the church, as I become more one with God in my understanding. Between now and somewhere down the road when Jesus returns, so many people will come through the doors of this church, and most will be misfits or "dontfits", like me, and I trust that this will be addressed so we are prepared to help the new Saints. This blog is thought provoking and honest, and most likely not material soon to be heard from the pulpit, however, it is how many of us misfits (dislike that label) more like, don't fit types really feel and struggle with a different take on understanding of Mormon church concepts, doctrine, standards, culture, etc. I often feel not so Mormon-esque when I can not embrace full understanding of every revelation, gospel standard, WOW, etc. For me, I have just adapted an attitude of acceptance because I felt an instant knowing in my very soul and being that the church IS the real deal when I was introduced to the BOM, so for many things I pray for patience to wait for the light bulb to turn on with a way for me to understand and accept. and I am still waiting on a number of issues, since I can not deny what I feel in my heart even if it is contrary to what is doctrine or culture. But again, personal revelation is just that...its personal, and I know that understanding will come but not necessarily when I want it, but in my Father's time. So, It all boils down to my self will becoming at one with his will, and being at peace with that outcome in understanding. Pray, fast, study, be present,keep a sense of humor and don't be too hard on yourself or others, take time outs (good point)if needed, but don't ever stray, and carry on in love and charity.I know by faith that God will straighten out all our questions when we go home, if not sooner. My best to you all...Patty

Anonymous said...

Sounds real powerful comeing from some one afraid to put there name.... grow up, life isn't black and white. Nothing she said contradicts the gosple, and most of all stop trolling.

Dave and Melissa Geddes said...

You may have had an experience (or more) where this was the case, but generally people of the church are kind and understanding about someone asking questions.

Darn It Janet said...

Lifer here. I have spent the last couple of decades trying to separate LDS doctrine from LDS culture, because I notice that it's easy to confuse the two, and only one is necessary to embrace. The gospel is simple, but the members have fluffed it up into an unnecessary set of traditions that not everyone fits into (or wants to). One example is the lady in my stake who brings a baggie of candy to church so she can reward the young men who wear suits to church - suits, not just white shirt/tie. What about the convert kids? The poorer kids? Why has she set herself up to pass judgment like this? It may seem silly, but if you're the parent who can't afford a suit for your kid, this is the kind of thing that may stick in your craw no matter how devout you are. Enough with the fluff - love God, love your neighbor, is what it all boils down to. I wish we could all focus on that instead.

River Dog said...

6. For most of us, life is better with the Church than without it. I agree , Im just in the Non-most-of-us group, Life makes sense when you don't have to be deluded.

griff nielson said...

Liz,

I am curious to hear some of your thoughts and feeling on what these people wrote in response to you.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Tracy said...

I like the intent of this post and the fact that you've reminded those who forget that the church is where we go to fellowship one another within a gospel setting and worship and connect with God. I found some comments sounded judgmental and like you may have forgotten others are on a different place in the straight path than you are. When I am tempted to judge unrighteously that others are judging me, I remind myself that what they think of me is none of my business. My business is only to love them and serve them as my neighbors, just as Christ commanded. It helps me keep snarky comments that may be directed at me in the proper place. Thanks for your viewpoint

Fairbanks Family said...

I love your post. I'm a convert to the church and have been for 13 years. When I was dating my husband everyone thought that he was a convert not me. Anyhow, I only bring that up because of how much the LDS church means to me. However, the flaw I find in our church is the acceptance of others and their choices/free agency. I wish that our leaders would push harder for lessons that we need to be accepting of everyone. We do not have to agree with them or do it with them, but we need to love them none the less just like Jesus would have done. In doing so, I feel that those who are troubled with dealing with crutches in their lives, like drinking, smoking, coffee etc are the ones that need to be baptized so they can come to our churches and feel of the spirit and have those around them that can support them not judge them. We need to open our eyes and act like Christ. Feel for them, understand we are not perfect. Only one had been Jesus. Thank you again for your post!

Anonymous said...

Thank you fairbanks family

Amy G said...

Thank you! Yes.
I think sometimes we feel less important or not validated so much that we justify unique standards that contradict the church...to make us feel more comfortable.

People talk about sheep like it's a naive, ignorant or boring concept... Christ is our Shepard, we are the sheep. Bottom line is, the commandments are the same for everyone. If it's truly revelation from God, it will NEVER contradict his commandments. If we think it does, we are misinterpreting it.

Amy G said...

Thank you! Yes.
I think sometimes we feel less important or not validated so much that we justify unique standards that contradict the church...to make us feel more comfortable.

People talk about sheep like it's a naive, ignorant or boring concept... Christ is our Shepard, we are the sheep. Bottom line is, the commandments are the same for everyone. If it's truly revelation from God, it will NEVER contradict his commandments. If we think it does, we are misinterpreting it.

Anonymous said...

I'm currently and have been in local church leadership. What I've observed is we're all so imperfect. We all think and feel differently. Our knowledge, experiences, background, and understanding varies. We really do need to be so very patient with ourselves and others. Keeping the two great commandments goes so very far toward personal happiness..

Mike said...

Your institute teacher's rock wall analogy is completely reminiscent of Elder McConkie's talk "How to get your own Plan of Salvation". I think the talk's principles echo the same principles you are conveying in your post. Thank you for your integrity and posting something I was at first skeptical of, but now fully appreciate what you have written.

FYI, Elder McConkie's talk can be found here:

https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/bruce-r-mcconkie_how-to-get-your-own-plan-of-salvation/

Anonymous said...

Do not adjust your religion to suit your lifestyle. Adjust your lifestyle to suit your religion.

Anonymous said...

D&C 1:31 For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance;

dear Liz
I do not mean to jugde your personal life. But articles like this one make me really sad as an LDS. Selectve obedience is simply a sin.
I think your intentions may not be bad. But you are currently one of Satans weapons to lead others stray. Others may feel the same way and instead of seeking repetance and change of heart, they find shelter in people like you. By what you are stating,you are not living the Gospel and saying thats ok. Modesty is not an opcion once you are truly converted. I think you havent taken your endowments yet, otherwise you would feel really different about your body and the promises we make in the Holy Temple. God knows we are not gonna be perfect in this life, but we still have to try to live all the commandments.
REPENT REPENT REPENT

Tyzsweets said...

Mormon misfits, I urge you to seek truth. Perhaps why you feel like a misfit is because your religion is lacking. I was a Mormon misfit for over 25 years. It was a really difficult time but I thank God for that now because it led me to finding Him. Reading this article, I am reminded of trying so hard to do everything I needed to be that prom and proper, ideal Mormon girl. Just like everyone else. But the truth is, a lot of the things Mormons believe and strive for are not important. Gods word is clear. For example, God cares about modesty but he doesn't care about garments (I know there is more to the garment than just modesty, I'm not getting into it) no where is it written about garments being a saving ordinance. God doesn't care about tattoos and piercings, he cares about your heart. Seek truth, read the bible. His truth is in the bible. God should be the only focus in your life and everything else will come into its place. Many Mormons believe in so many other things as being important but the ONLY thing that is important is God. Once you lose focus of Him, you are lost. I will pray for you Mormon misfits. I pray God will open your hearts to truth and you will receive it.

Anonymous said...

As another commenter asked, I am curious too what's the naked thing all about? Nuthin wrong with being nekid, just why are you naked here? ;)

Afton said...

I thought the examples of comments you've heard over the pulpit and in Sunday School were a little far fetched until some of the commenters referred to you as a tool of Satan. I think all of this proves we can be holding onto the iron rod and moving towards the Tree of Life and still have a lot to learn. I love that Christ has room for as many who will come to Him and His atonement can heal both the searching heart and he unforgiving heart, and so, so much more.

Anonymous said...

I think you've made some good points and some very misleading points. What would make someone searching for something want to join the church after you've portrayed it this way? I'm tired of blogs acting Mormons are just so crazy or perhaps I've just always ignored all the negative after letting it get to me after a day or two. Who cares what people have told you that is absolutely crazy? You're right! We could have a contest all day about who has offended who more or the crazy comments that happen in an LDS setting but I dot think telling everyone about it speaks about the good positives that over shadow the negatives this church has to offer. But I guess a blog post about how amazing some people in this church are isn't very exciting.
Sincerely, a fellow LDS who's just trying to make it through the next day like the rest of them.

KLD said...

No one has to keep their mouth shut. Problems arise when you try to drag others down with you and lead people away from the church.

Cathy C said...

I don't know you, but I like you!!! Thanks for a terrific read.

Gary Benson said...

Mr. Anonymous (or Mrs.), why don't you man up and state your name? It's easy to judge someone when you can remain anonymous. It would mean a whole lot more if you posted under your real name. But then you might be exposed for being a sanctimonious hypocrite and we couldn't have that.

Posting as anonymous is weak and cowardly. Say what you want to say, but say it as yourself. If you are afraid to say it as yourself then maybe you should reconsider saying it. If you want to call someone to repentance then do it and accept the consequences like Paul and Peter and all the others. Don't hide behind anonymity like Judas.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but you missed the point of her post. Some people struggle and it is a very real and difficult struggle. As one of those people, this post is very relatable to me and helpful. I think the author had real intent in wanting to help people like me (and the others) stay in the church and eventually gain a stronger testimony.

dustin kallis said...

Anonymous, you are missing the point. What he was saying is how do you address the things that you believe that contradict the church in its current form? Just saying "well, they are men too, and sometimes make mistakes" isn't satisfactory. Once you allow that line of reasoning, where do you stop? What are the untouchable truths and what truths can you just dismiss as "man's theory"? For me, the more I actually studied the gospel to find what the "eternal truths" are the more I found the LDS gospel was the philosophies of man mingled with scripture. The only enduring truth I found was LOVE. I is transcend and in all religions and non-religions.

dustin kallis said...

The direction you are "dragging" is a matter of perspective. To some trying to address issues the church ignores like early church history among many others things is "dragging them down". If I try to have an intelligent conversation about polygamy and Joseph's contradictory practice of it, I'm labeled as an "apostate". All I want is answers and all I'm met with is contempt. If you share your feelings that don't conform than you must be an antichrist hell bent on destroying God's kingdom. The LDS church organization has no room for personal revelation. You are lying to yourself if you think there is. It is contradictory to the top down organization. Correlate or die.

Matt said...

I'm not trying to start a debate, but I do want to respond to the guy who tried to refute my claim that the church once taught the use of birth control by married Mormon's was taught as a sin.

“When the husband and wife are healthy, and free from inherited weaknesses and diseases that might be transmitted with injury to their offspring the use of contraceptives is to be condemned.”

- Prophet David O. McKay, Conference Report, October 1943, p. 30

Just one example, but the list goes on. To address evolution, Ezra Taft Benson taught:
"As a watchman on the tower, I feel to warn you that one of the chief means of misleading our youth and destroying the family unit is our educational institutions. There is more than one reason why the Church is advising our youth to attend colleges close to their homes where institutes of religion are available. It gives the parents the opportunity to stay close to their children, and if they become alerted and informed, these parents can help expose some of the deceptions of men like ... Charles Darwin."
There are many other example of official church teachings refuting evolution such as "The Origins of Man" from the first presidency back in the early 1900s. Evolution isn't taught is LDS college campuses today as only evolution of animals, but including evolution of humans as theorized by Charles Darwin. For a biology exam we had to memorize the 5 main evidences of human evolution. This clearly contradicts what Ezra T. Benson was trying to accomplish.

My point is, Our church has a stance on many controversial political and scientific subjects. In the past, God apparently was telling them something was a sin or a lie, that now days, "they have no official stance on." I can't help but believe that subjects such as gay marriage(not homosexuality) will also eventually fall into that category. I can't help but question that source of truth, when the truth changes to adapt with current culture. Don't take this as an attack on your beliefs, but rather my explanation of one reason I feel pushed away by the church I was raised in.

Alison Moore Smith said...

Anonymous, with all due respect, I think you are either not old enough or not aware enough to have seen the "evolution" (if I can use the term) of thought in the LDS church. It was very Evangelical Christian in many ways and, even in my lifetime (I'm 50) and has changed many positions on things such as birth control, appropriate sexual relations, race, gender, and, yes, evolution.

Anonymous said...

You hit the nails right on their heads.I am speechless. You said everything I feel. Thank You!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rachel said...

Funny....My relief society president from a couple of years ago said that wearing flip flops (and ALL open toed shoes,not just beach shoes) to church was immodest and disrespectful to Heavenly Father. I'm pretty sure my garments are fully covered no matter what kind of shoes I'm wearing. I think her (author) point was, everyone can interpret modesty (aside from the covering of garments) differently. Some women still believe floor length skirts are not modest for church....again, garments can be covered without a floor length skirt. I would dare say 90% of women in that RS meeting had open toe shoes on...they began hiding their feet as if they were ashamed. I personally did not. I still wear open toe shoes without a flinch and I know I am not breaking my covenants, being disrespectful or immodest. What about the women who think bright colors are too flashy and calling attention (immodest)..? Long story short, I don't think the author was saying go to church wearing a bikini or a mini skirt and tank top..I think she was simply stating everyone's ideas of modesty is not 100% the same.

Anonymous said...

Awesome, I was hoping I could find someone to teach me the precepts of men, mingled with scripture. Not like God's house is a house of order, he just wants us to do whatever feels good to us. Surely if we belong to a church that believes in prophets called by god, popular societal trends would be more important right? Love those precepts of men, so long as there is a little scripture in there.

April G said...

Lovely post, thank you. I needed this today.
After 15 years of inactivity I have been trying to go back for about 4 years now. I am twice divorced and have a fair amount of "baggage". I finally got my endowments 3 years ago but I haven't been back to the Temple since. I continue to struggle every week and every day.
For instance, I had vowed yesterday to to go Sacrament Meeting today. But this morning it was like I was wrestling with demons. There was such emotional and physical pain that I was vomiting and my head felt that it would explode. I finally gave up and went back to bed. This has happened more times than I can count.
My testimony is strong, and I do have a desire to do the things that define the "perfect" Mormon. I constantly go back to the scripture, taken out of context, in Mark 9:24: "Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief."
I believe so strongly in personal revelation and that it is actually more important to follow the true dictates of the Holy Ghost than those of our Relief Society President, Bishop, etc. The scriptures and the guidance of the general authorities are still of course the proper guidance for the vast majority of members in the vast majority of situations. But where situations in our lives don't fit into that perfect little box, we must seek out our own personal guidance directly from Heavenly Father through the Holy Ghost through sincere and faithful prayer. All the more reason to go weekly to a place where you are demonstrating your desire to be close to Heavenly Father, and renew your commitments and covenants. Right now, at this moment, it is my fondest desire to be able to do this on a regular basis.

Anonymous said...

Mmm...I enjoyed this article a lot. So much of this I agree agree appreciate that others believe the same or similar as I do. Funny how as you read down the comments at first there are thankful appreciative comments , then Molly & Marvin Mormon show up, as prime examples of what is the problem being adressed (to a point in the opinion of me). The people that belittle others to the point of not wanting to be at church and begin some contention and make the standard Mormon guilt, missionary crap. I have gone through a the steps, baptism , temple (so whoever up there that said someone must not have gone through the temple or they would feel differently . ..SERIOUSLY! Oh, and keeping your mouth shut part, nice touch) I have been in primary way too many times , yw press, & rs. Pres. Don't say I would feel differently . From the time I was about 12 and prayed hard as can be, I have always known I would be in these positions . I also knew I would have times of partying. I knew I would find an awesome husband that was not a member but later be sealed. All of this has happened . Some will probably say I made these come true , to a point maybe, but I didn't call myself to positions. I did work really hard to believe...all the steps...the universe (GOD) made things happen and for a reason, always does. The main belief that I have that agrees with what I learned in church , all religions have some portion of truth .LDS does too...some. I tried to build my testimony everywhere , especially when called to positions. Never has it increased. I have had good mormons around me my whole life, I appreciate being around them, if they are not trying to convert me. This was sent to me by a good Mormon friend. I don't know for sure if it is a "come back or there are others that agree", I think it was the second . Just like the author .

Leta said...

Our stake president has been speaking in conferences this year on the topic Be Not Decieved. Some of the comments here have made me think of a part of his talk (a little different in each unit we visit but same basic theme) as he addresses those concerns with so called "mistakes" of past church leaders. He says that 'none of us is perfect, and that church leadership on any given level is not called because they are perfect. Rather, they are called to lead us to perfection.' Let ye among you that is without sin...

Erin Bean said...

Thank you so much for this. I was raised by active LDS parents in an area where nearly everyone is Mormon and have struggled with my evolving beliefs for my entire adulthood (age 27 now). I live in a new area now and am trying to make friends (despite my social anxiety) and some wonderful people have reached out to me from my local YSA ward but I'm so uncomfortable with them! I will keep trying and know that I am still worthy of love and happiness.

Anonymous said...

Anon- people like you is why this post was written!
Thank you Lizard for hitting it right on the head!

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I wanted to agree with this article, but something felt... off about it. She has good intentions, but there is a lot of "pushing God's word aside for my more intelligent thoughts". Don't be so quick to discredit others who testify in the truth.

I do believe God does give us personal revelation occasionally, that isn't quite what you would expect. From personal experience, I dated a non-member and became more active in the church during that time. I felt really guilty and wondered if I needed to break it off between us, despite how close we were. I knew it wasn't good to date non-members with the risk of it dragging you down or creating a home without a good environment for raising righteous children. While having those thoughts, my own bishop said 3 words of encouragement to me "don't give up" that shocked me, because I knew that was the spirit personally telling me this, through my bishop. I knew exactly what those words meant. Eventually, he did become a faithful and righteous member with his own testimony, and I've felt so much joy with his decisions!
What I was getting at was that the personal revelation did not exactly contradict with doctrine. Sometimes the spirit encourages you to do something unusual, but if it is telling a prophet of God that what he is saying is wrong, I wouldn't stop praying about it just yet. Although the spirit is hard for me to understand, sometimes, the spirit has a very distinctive, unmistakable, voice.

Nathan Meidell said...

I love the spirit of this. I believe very much that if we concentrated more on our worship of the Lord, and not the foibles and blundering of all the imperfect people around us, the entire church would rise.

We do have pillars aside from personal revelation to guide us in what's good and right, and true, however. One of those is the guidance of Prophets and Apostles. I mean the Brethren called of God who sit on the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. Amos 3:7 is still true. And that is in part particularly important because we, like all those around us, are so imperfect.

The three points that have never led me astray are 1. We have the right to personal revelation. 2. God's Prophets and Apostles act in a direct line of authority passed to Joseph Smith from the hands of Peter, James and John from Christ himself. President Monson is the current in that line of authority, with the promise we'll never be led astray by them. And 3. The Holy Scriptures (which keep us in line to receive answers, and often provide our answers).

I can't imagine leaving ever being the answer, and that is certainly my opinion on that. But if the shortcomings of others are so impacting on our faith, then we have a perfect view of individuals in need of some Christ - like compassion and patience. Removing ourselves from the very situations God probably intended to strengthen us is going to deprive us of that growth.

Wrinkly Nate said...

I used to teach early-morning Seminary. And Gospel Doctrine. I had more than one kid or person approach me and say things like, "What i like about your lessons is that i feel like i can belong without having to believe ALL of it." At the time, i wasn't sure if that meant i was doing a good job.
I've moved on from the church for about 15 yrs now. For me it was like when Siddhartha told Govinda he was moving on from the ascetic monks because, "I don't see anyone who has the spirituality i want to have at that age."

Wendi Taylor said...

Ultimately the Holy Ghost is our only teacher. If Church attendance were our only source of spiritual nourishment, we'd ALL starve to death!!

Darn It Janet said...

"They find shelter in people like you."

Liz, Anonymous just gave you a beautiful compliment. THEY FIND SHELTER. How many people are out there struggling, looking for something to give them hope? You have embraced these disenfranchised souls, telling them that wherever they are on the gospel path, they are worthy of the Savior's love and His sacrifice applies to them too, not just the devout members. No matter what choices they may make, PEOPLE LIKE YOU will be there to love them. If any less active member is ever going to feel like coming back to the fold, it will be because of people like you.

Anonymous, thanks for pointing out how valuable people like Liz are. In the words of someone she obviously follows, "Go and sin no more."

Anonymous said...

Can you cite that talk? I tried to find it, but I can't. :/

Michelle said...

I love the gospel, just like I feel you do as well. Sometimes people can get in the way, sadly. I want to apologize for all the insensitive and undiplomatic people that have gotten in your way. "Brothers and sisters, this is a divine work in process, with the manifestations and blessings of it abounding in every direction, so please don’t hyperventilate if from time to time issues arise that need to be examined, understood, and resolved. They do and they will. In this Church, what we know will always trump what we do not know. And remember, in this world, everyone is to walk by faith.

So be kind regarding human frailty—your own as well as that of those who serve with you in a Church led by volunteer, mortal men and women. Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it. So should we. And when you see imperfection, remember that the limitation is not in the divinity of the work. As one gifted writer has suggested, when the infinite fulness is poured forth, it is not the oil’s fault if there is some loss because finite vessels can’t quite contain it all.Those finite vessels include you and me, so be patient and kind and forgiving." ('Lord, I Believe' by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, April 2013) I send my love as a fellow imperfect traveler on her own journey. Keep up your faith!

Anonymous said...

Anon, people like you are the reason this article was written and the reason why some people don't go to church!

Kestrel said...

Thank you so much for this, especially for point #3. I'm currently taking a break from attending church (until our ward splits in August) because I've had several bad experiences with my bishopric and attending church is giving me panic attacks. I look forward to going back, but right now my mental health is more important to me than church meetings.

RR said...

With all due respect, your reply sounds like you're projecting your own experience onto the author. It strikes me as a kindergartener trying to convince a high schooler how amazing the jungle gym is, not realizing the high schooler has already had that experience and seeks something more fulfilling now.
She's been working on her wall for years and has learned a lot along the way, then when she tries to share what she's learned with others who are in a position to benefit from her knowledge, you come along and tell her to do things (e.g. use all the rocks no matter what) that she's already learned don't work for her wall. Do you see how arrogant that seems?

P.S. it's "wheelbarrow" not "wheel barrel"

Anonymous said...

Prayer has always been a huge part of my life and I really like how you emphasized the power of prayer you talked about in your post. I’m sorry about others and their disparaging comments. I know you are a beautiful daughter of God and he loves you. There is a quote I love that I think you will like and it has always helped me keep going to church, “The church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.” (I’m not sure who said it)

I have not lived as long as most of the people who have commented (I’m 21), but I also kind of feel like a Mormon misfit. I may not look like it from the outside, but there are so many things I don’t understand, so many things I have questions about, I can’t quote The Book of Mormon and I have a hard time even retaining what I read. I don’t understand all of the things the prophets have taught and some of their teachings don’t sit well with me sometimes. The one thing I do know though is that every time I go to my knees and pray for help and guidance on these topics I feel and know in my heart that they are true. In the end I don’t need anyone’s words or logic to reassure me because Heavenly Father has already done that.
I’m not saying it’s not okay to question and that we should follow blindly, but we first must step into the dark before the light can catch up.

Leviticus Temple said...

I've seen this post making the rounds on facebook and have been considering whether or not to comment--mostly because I don't want what I'm going to say to be seen as critical. I think the post is what many people need to hear; people who are struggling with their Mormon identity need to know that EVERYONE is struggling with their Mormon identity on some level, in that we are all sinners fumbling towards divinity.

I'm also concerned that these types of posts tend to devolve either into sycophantic adulation of the poster--"everything you've said is wonderful and perfect"--or hyper-critical dismissal of her arguments--"you're going to hell, you sinner!" I'd prefer to engage in actual conversation.

Therefore, I just want to make two suggestions about what's presented here:

1.) absolutely, personal revelation is most important, but we have to be careful that the personal revelation we receive is from the right source. I find D&C 50 and Alma 30 useful in this regard: there are many spirits (ideas) abroad in the earth, but not all of them originate with God. We need, therefore, to try the spirits to see if they are from God, or we running the risk of turning into little Korihors.

2.) the model for this, as in all things, is Jesus Christ: Christ did not come to destroy the law, or the prophets, but to fulfill, and when Jesus prayed to be released from the burden of his coming atonement, he still submitted himself to the will of the Father. I think this is what Moroni and James meant when they referred to "sincere" asking and to "faith, nothing wavering": when seeking direction, we have to be willing to accept the word and will of the Lord, no matter how it may disagree with our preconceptions and no matter how politically inexpedient it may be. Too often, when I see persons who suggest that we need to reject the example of the Apostles and prophets, there is some other, worldly model of action or thought that they would have us follow, instead, something more culturally acceptable. That doesn't mean that the action is wrong just because it is culturally acceptable, but it should make the model suspect.

So, yes: "personal" revelation is the rock upon which the Church must be built, but with an eye single to the glory of God, and with faith, nothing wavering, and with a willingness to suffer both body and spirit, and to change, if that is necessary, to do what God commands.

http://christiancriticism.blogspot.com/

RR said...

Wow. That's a whole lot of rude sarcasm from someone clearly ignorant of the fact that Brigham Young was voted in as church president by a popular vote (and that ONLY Joseph Smith was ever referred to as "The Prophet" until the 1950's when Deseret News started the current trend of referring to the church president as "The Prophet").
Joseph Smith was kind enough the clearly specify what was scripture and what wasn't. All General Conference IS these days is the precepts of men mingled with scripture. There's certainly no new scripture to account for all the changes. "Verily, thus sayeth the Lord, thou shalt have only one earring per ear if thou art a woman. And if thou art a man, thou shalt have no earrings. Because it is given to women to desecrate their ears but a little." Nope. I haven't read any scripture like that either. And if it had come from GOD, surely it would've been considered important enough to write down.

Chrystle said...

Anonymous, you are forgetting that we are all on different places in our eternal progression. God cannot look on sin with the least degree of allowance, that is true. That is what the atonement is for. Not everyone is at the point where they can keep all the commandments. They struggle with their testimony. They struggle with feeling like there is a place for them in the Kingdom. And, frankly, attitudes like yours make it even harder for them to find their place in the Kingdom. Is that what the Saviour would have us do? Make it harder for someone to come unto Christ? Judge them because they are not as perfect, not as far along their journey as you are? Is that REALLY what the gospel is to you?

Lynne Anderson said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing. I think we could be friends. X

Anonymous said...

Dear RR,

I understand why you feel like I was projecting my personal experience onto the author because I was. I would prefer to use the word sharing. Don't most of our opinions, thoughts and experiences derive from personal experience?

It may be like a kindergartener trying to show the high schooler how great the jungle gym is. Sometimes it doesn't hurt to take a step back and remember and see the world from a child not jaded by the many RR's that will come into their life.

As for the analogy, she referenced regarding the rock wall I wish you would have read the first sentence before you criticized. I said, "I love your rock wall analogy but let me add another thought process to it." I was just adding my experience and personal viewpoint. What she does or doesn't do with it is up to her. Isn't this what a forum is all about. RR, it's even for the people like you that just seem to want to find fault. Sometimes people have built such high walls they can't see the good in people and only find fault. :)

P.S. it's "wheelbarrow" not "wheel barrel"

Thank you for the clarification for the correct spelling. I have a tendency to spell words as I speak. Sometimes that is a curse of English not being someone's first language. I should have looked it up. Based on your response I am sure your intent was not to help, but more out of intellectual superiority and point making.

I am ok with that, everything helps in my continuation to grow and learn. I am truly sorry you found my sentiments and my personal outlook so frustrating.

Squibbley said...

Anonymous has it right. And sometimes it's difficult to differentiate between personal revelation and personal opinions. You will not receive revelation from God that is contrary to the gospel. Receiving revelation requires humbling yourself and being willing to accept God's will, even when contrary to your own. If you feel or believe something that is not in line with what the Prophets have said (Amos 3:7), then good practice is to do as the article suggests: put that stone aside, and keep building. Sooner or later, you'll see how that piece fits.

Squibbley said...

Anonymous has it right. And sometimes it's difficult to differentiate between personal revelation and personal opinions. You will not receive revelation from God that is contrary to the gospel. Receiving revelation requires humbling yourself and being willing to accept God's will, even when contrary to your own. If you feel or believe something that is not in line with what the Prophets have said (Amos 3:7), then good practice is to do as the article suggests: put that stone aside, and keep building. Sooner or later, you'll see how that piece fits.

Squibbley said...

Anonymous has it right. And sometimes it's difficult to differentiate between personal revelation and personal opinions. You will not receive revelation from God that is contrary to the gospel. Receiving revelation requires humbling yourself and being willing to accept God's will, even when contrary to your own. If you feel or believe something that is not in line with what the Prophets have said (Amos 3:7), then good practice is to do as the article suggests: put that stone aside, and keep building. Sooner or later, you'll see how that piece fits.

Squibbley said...

Thanks Nathan. Right on.

Squibbley said...

Excellent clarification, Leviticus.

Squibbley said...

Anonymous, thank you.

Squibbley said...

Anonymous, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Being a Mormon is a choice...may not be an easy one to follow but there are guidelines. Same as living in this country as law-abiding citizens. We are all humans trying to find our way. That's what makes us unique. We are all not perfect...but His way is!! It's about being a true Christian and building your relationship with God. Yes..important with people too!! How else will you be able to serve others? In the long run isn't that how we will be judged as we do unto others?? Tired of being Mormon...than don't be one!!

Anonymous said...

Please visit carm.org to read why the mormon doctrine is a false religion.

Mormon Mom said...

There is something off about this article. It starts with heading "How to stay Mormon when you're tired of Mormons" This is how. First, simply live the gospel (without questioning any of the doctrines or leaders) and secondly, repent and pray for forgiveness towards any Mormons you are tired of!!! It's that simple people!

Hope you don't write another article like this. And if you do, sincerely fast, ponder, and pray about it before you hit send.

Anonymous said...

I'm in my 50's and have been a life-long, and generally very active member of the church, but this hit home. The biggest problem I have with Mormonism today is that it focuses so much on being "Mormon" and not enough on the teachings of Christ. Entire sacrament meetings go by without mentioning His basic teachings. And "judge not" is a teaching that is usually ignored. My kids have left the church because they felt they were being taught to judge others unkindly. And unfortunately, I have to agree with their sentiment. Growing up outside of UT, as I teen, when I went to church, I was told to only have LDS friends. If I had followed that counsel, I would have had almost no friends, as there were only 2 other Mormon kids my age in my entire town. While I can appreciate the desire to have your kids have good friends, it makes no sense to have them shut out others because "their standards aren't as high" and it's certainly not a "love thy neighbor as thyself" attitude. And what about Easter and Christmas? My stake barely acknowledges Christmas, (no decorations allowed in the buildings, including Christmas trees) often having Joseph Smith's birthday take precedence in Sacrament meeting the week before Christmas, for some unknown reason. And Easter , the most Christian of all Christian celebrations? Because of general conference, Easter is often completely ignored on the ward and stake level. I can kind of understand that since we don't attend regular church due to conference,but the years that conference and Easter don't coincide, we should be addressing His life, sacrifice and resurrection. And perhaps the week before conference should be devoted to Easter if we aren't going to be in regular meetings. I could go on and on about things that bug me, but ultimately, the important thing is my own relationship to my Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ. I too seek the middle of the road and reject that which makes no sense, and reject the unkind remarks and political remarks heard in church, as well as some things the church did in the past. Two of my kids have become atheist, saying they can't understand how I can still believe in the Church and in God in general if I don't believe everything that's said over the pulpit. Here's how: ultimately, truth is truth and it will prevail over the irrational, unkind, and just plain wrong things people, including our church leaders, have said and done in the name of religion. The errors of men and women will eventually fall away and we will be left with the beauty of the Gospel once we strip away the pain caused by humans.

Anonymous said...

Agreed!!

Mapletongal said...

I would agree with the poster who suggested the title be named something slightly different. I have lived a number of places, I have lived where Mormons are liked and not liked, known well and not known well. After all my travels, I can tell you being around Mormons makes me more happy because those I am around believe similar. I agree personal revelation is important but should not take the place of what our leaders say to us which is inspired as well and comes to them from the Lord to us. You have to be careful with it, some people think something is something all should know, because they had a prompting, dream etc, of it, and they are actually off base. I have seen this and seen members not just leave, but have to leave because they could not give those things they thought up. Its good and wonderful, but its wise to think carefully. There are times when folks feel they should"take a break" from the church but you know- if so you have know what you are doing and why and dont plan to be gone long, talk to your bishop about why you need to- not just a casual thing because it will become habit, and then you will might forget to go back. Overall some good points.

Amy Sharp said...

Excellent, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, never trade common sense for blind faith. I don't think God contracts out with a 3rd party to communicate and received personal revelation with him.

Marcia said...

From my 66 years in the Church I've noticed that the longer one lives the Gospel the less the weaknesses of others bother you. The closer you are to the Savior the harder it is to be offended by others. You are willing to give people space to make mistakes and grow, too.

Carolyn McDonald said...

Liz, your essay is filled with wisdom. Thank you. If I were still RS Prez, I would build my 1st Sunday Lesson around it. ( yeah, I'm a misfit too, but in my ward, they love it! Y'all should come around here sometime! We love everyone, or try to.)
Sometimes I think of us as the Island of Broken Toys. I mean the whole church. We Latter-day Saints have measured and weighed ourselves against Diety, found ourselves lacking, and turned to Him for repair and rebuilding . And, amazingly, He picks up our pieces. I, for one, am eager to see what He can make of me and my raggedy life.
An Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, Jeff Holland, said it best.:
"Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it. So should we."
One thought... People who seem perfect, whom we misfits can feel intimidated or judged by, might be trying to fit in so as not to call attention to themselves, or provide a distraction. I know that's what I did for several years after my conversion and baptism. lol But when "image management" became too exhausting, I kgave it up. Bad habit it was (in the voice of Yoda).
My therapist ( yes, good Mormons need them sometimes, too) when I whined, " I'll never fit in. I'm just too different," counseled me that this might be HOW I fit in-- being the different one. He suggested this IS my place. Differences are refreshing, eye-opening, mind-blowing. And that has worked for my peace of mind.
Make no mistake : i may be a little odd, but I love my covenants and do my best to keep them.
I'm apparently tolerable enough to hold callings in my ward -- my unruly hair, liberal politics and not-easily-defined ethnicity notwithstanding. And I live at the very conservative edge of the known universe, i.e.,Utah, so I'm in plain sight.
My differences provide a welcoming haven for other outliers and a challenge to the ever- growing tolerance and charity of those more " to the manor born."
You post is full of love, Liz. And Life on Earth is ALL about the love. May it ever grow!
See you at church!

Anonymous said...

Well said.

Anonymous said...

While I appreciate your opinions, I believe that the prophets and apostles are the closest beings to God in the world. Therefore, if they give me a commandment, even if my personal revelation contradicts it, I am going to follow their advice and fight my natural man as best as I can. NO, this does not make me naive. I simply believe that God is all-knowing and that His prophet and apostles are His purest instruments. Because of that, I choose to trust in their counsel and set aside my carnal, natural tendencies because, if anyone knows what is best for me, it is God....and therefore, the prophet. That doesn't take away my unique spirit..I still have a different path and plan from everyone else. But, our goal should be unified and similar: to dwell with Him in glory in the Celestial Kingdom. Following the same set of commandments and requirements as everyone else will get me there, so I'm going to do it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this. I needed it, more than you could know.

Jen Johnson said...

This entire entry is based on a false premise, that people leave Mormonism because of the people - a variation of 'you were offended'. I was LDS, I had a testimony, etc. But I left because I found out the LDS church was lying to me about history and doctrine. I left because I did my research. I left because Mormonism, no matter how good it made me feel, could not possibly be true. I left because facts are facts and a 'testimony' is not the Holy Ghost but just feelings. Over the last 20 years, I have helped hundreds of others leave Mormonism as well and spoken to thousands of others and NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THEM LEFT FOR THE REASONS YOU STATED.

Anonymous said...

Non-member here:
good stuff. Growing up in Utah in the 70'-80's I knew allot of 'misfits'. It seemed with some people, if there was a stone or two that didn't fit in their wall, they would either try to ignore it and/or convince themselves the rock really did fit in their testimony/wall. Other times they would attempt to speak with family or leadership about their difference of opinion/belief. I also witnessed some people "stand their ground" about their differing opinions with the Church and in some cases, after the 'misfit' had spoken with someone about their particular thoughts (with no positive outcome), they would ultimately leave the Church.

By show of hand, who believes that that it's easier to be a 'misfit' when living outside of utah? Why?

From the outside looking in, I love seeing a good bunch of people who are being more comfortable with giving themselves a break and learning there's more of you out there.

ldsphilosopher said...

Just some thoughts in response: http://www.millennialstar.org/some-thoughts-on-discipleship-and-staying-mormon/

Don G said...

I love the stone wall analogy. Thank you.

A few things I've learned about members of the church. We are all flawed. We all have different personality quirks and backgrounds. We all have skeletons in our closet. We all have trials. Learning to love unconditionally all people is one of the most important things we can do in this life.

Anonymous said...

I normally don't respond to these, but this one hit home. I'm a 35 year old single soldier. I served a mission and came home expecting everything to work out the way every return missionary expects it to. Now I don't like going to church because it's uncomfortable. When I do go, I sit in the lobby and leave right after sacrament meeting. I get frustrated with the children who are allowed to run around and be loud, but when I speak up I'm told "If you want to listen to the speaker, then go inside". I still have to put up with bishops who want to give me a calling and Elder's quorum presidents who want to make/give me home teachers and then wonder what's wrong when I ask them not to. I get fed up with it and I stop going. Sometimes, I wait until I'm moved to a new location before I try again. I think I'm going to create a bookmark to this article and come back to it every so often to remind myself that I don't always have to play by their rules to fulfill my spiritual needs.

Bogen Bogenschuetz said...

Thanks, I really needed to read this!

Shannon said...

I agree. Another Blogger posted a critique of your post and took issue with your title and lack of Christ in your answers. I commented on her blog as well as yours (which I never do) because I think you have something here.
We all feel on the outside sometimes. Sometimes there are members that try to push us outside without even realizing it. I liked your title because it is sometimes the people and not the gospel that push us to need a break.
I also liked your analogy of the rock wall, no two people will have identical walls. I will probably use this idea in the future.

Anonymous said...

Loved your blog. Loved the comments. There is a very interesting article that pertains to the subjects talked about. It is written by Roger Terry who for seven years was editor of the Ensign and is now the editor of BYU studies. The title of his article is "Why the True Church Cannot Be Perfect." And yes, he is still a faithful member of the Church in good standing!
It can be found at:

https://www.dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V46N01_427c.pdf

Barb said...

I scrolled through this piece and I had a thought about the last few comments the author made, she compared a testimony to a rock wall, a free standing rock wall that has been made by stacking whatever rocks are available, and the author of this piece said that an institute teacher had used this metaphor and explained that one may come upon a stone from time to time that doesn't quite fit; it may be labeled "gay marriage" or "visiting teaching" or "hymns are boring". The blog author then said, and this seemed sensible, that she chooses to not abandon the wall because she cannot she quite see where those oddly shaped stones fit. So, good decision it would seem. Logical. I thought this was interesting and may be why some people are having a positive response to the article. What I wondered though is if the author is hanging onto those stones for so long and with so much intent that she has inadvertently given up working on the wall. Too busy holding the stones that don't work and making them more important than the wall. I think about her phrase "misfit". I wonder about that, if feeling like a misfit, attaching that label to herself is something she does because it is comfortable. I wonder if she would be less comfortable feeling like she fit. I wonder if some of these things are not about testimony at all but ratheridentify and being very self-aware and wanting very much to blaze ones own trail by, ironically, fitting into a certain segment among the larger general population and particularly into the popular culture. Not realizing that she is doing that, she doesn't think it through, she doesn't consider that the things she feels make her different perhaps make her very much the same. The popular culture accepts all the things she explains make her a misfit, she is not blazing so much as rolling along in a very, very deeply cut rut. Everyone who is their own person has a tattoo and double earrings, it might seem. Doesn't that make them all actually quite the same? A person wants to be different, so they will do what everybody who wants to be different does, which is the exact same thing, a predictable difference. And here, it seems to work to displace the work of finding and searching out all those tough questions - - and here is something too: personal inspiration is just that, personal, it doesn't cover broad doctrines, commandments, counsel and wisdom that have been applied across the board, It has not ever been taught that personal revelation trumps a prophet of God. The position that it does is just good old fashion partial commitment and it doesn't make someone different, it makes someone predictably human. All of us want to walk in our own ways, following our own counsel. If I am really after a personal confirmation I'm doing it inside the scriptures, I am saturating myself in conference addresses, I am pleading for a soft open heart and the privilege of being trusted with understanding. More often than not the scriptures won't tell you to go with your gut, they will warn you against your natural inclination, and plead with you to cling to the word of God and to the Spirit. That's been my experience, that my own thoughts don't get very far but inspiration is very often, at least for me, a little bit counter intuitive and always life altering, and I know inspiration by acting on impressions that seem right and then finding out if they were. When it comes to major commandments I lean to the direction of the anointed, leaders and teachers set apart, particularly apostles and prophets. They are blazing a trail that tends to not be well worn and I think I will be more myself if I follow it.I won't get stuck, at least. Isn't that the road less traveled, the one on which you will find yourself very often alone, very often not fitting in?

Jill Potter said...

I think that we find ourselves scared of voicing our opinions when they don't fall in line with conformity. I feel guilty that I have to work harder at being nurturing because it doesn't come naturally. Being able to discuss that without shocked reactions from the mommy brigades would be nice.

Anonymous said...

I wish blogger allowed direct replies to comments, as there's tons of anonymous, so we don't know who's referring to whom.

@Barb: Sorry, but the way you wrote your post came off as "higher than thou", at least in my opinion. Hopefully I'm wrong. As far as being a misfit, I don't know about the author's situation, but from my experience, "misfit" is the perfect word. In the LDS Church, it seems that the popular, mainstream rhetoric as of late is very conservative/republican, so if you're more of a liberal/democrat, you will feel like you don't fit. At the same time, though, you don't want to partake in things of the world like drinking, having premerital sex, doing recreational drugs, etc. You're too liberal for church people, and you're too conservative for non-church folk, aka: you're a misfit.

Anonymous said...

A bit crass, yes. But you miss the point, the church needed to be restored in the first place because people decided to just do whatever they wanted and the full truth was lost. One of the primary beliefs held by this church is that we are the only true church, as in the literal restored church of Jesus Christ. Don't you find it ironic and sad that there are members trying to get others to believe it is ok to not follow the leaders of tje church, the very leaders that the church teaches us are calles of God to direct us? (And yes, they aren't perfect, but are directed by God nonetheless) There is no problem with having doubts and trying to find answers, but when you then encourage others in the church to ignore church doctrine and even go against it, then you have crossed the line from doubter seeking answers to apostate. You are turning your church into the very thing it needed to be restored from. I am not perfect and I have things I struggle with, but I know that the church is true and that Thomas S Monson is a true prophet of God. Btw, we get new scripture every six months from the apostles, it's called General Conference.

Dwizzle said...

6 more rules huh? There isn't enough already? Wow. It's a black and white church, you really should bail if you're tired of it. I think you will feel quite relieved.

Tom said...

Hi Liz. I just wanted to say thank you for this refreshing article. I shared it on my FB page and read it several times.

Your writing definitely gave me some tools to keep on keeping on, and I really appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Nathan, this is the best! I'm done reading comments now- ending on a perfect note!

Liz said...

In response to the response:

http://dinosaursarefun.blogspot.com/2015/05/following-up.html

Anonymous said...

I can appreciate your initial points about how sometimes church culture can seem a bit narrow. I grew up in a less sheltered environment, and can relate to some aspects of LDS life being overly conservative. However, you begin to cross a line when you begin to trivialize direction from the Prophet as optional advice. Placing your thoughts on things above the Prophet leads to apostasy. The reality is that one of the key purposes of life is to learn to be more like God and to change our natural selves into individuals that can be worth of, and comfortable in, God's presence. I have natural desires. Would I enjoy having a drink of wine with dinner? Would it make me feel good sleeping with someone other than my spouse? Perhaps I may enjoy these things, but I don't engage in them because that would be allowing myself to be controlled by my nature.

My second point would be that it's important for members to understand that God sustains and upholds those he calls. We are not God's puppets waiting to have our strings pulled on all matters and decisions. God does not command in all things and expects leaders to make decisions on their own and magnify their callings. You may have two Stake Presidents give different counsel to two people on similar matters. Does this mean one is wrong? Maybe, maybe not, but I know God supports and sustains the direction given by his leaders, when done in righteousness. When you don't like what the Prophet has to say, and decide to reject it, you will be on the wrong side in God's eyes. It's one of the reasons leaders need to be so careful on what they ask of members, because we are held accountable on how we sustain those asks. Thinking you can do whatever you want, as long as it makes you happy is a pattern we've seen over and over in the BoM. Eat drink and be merry....ring a bell? People love to hear they can do whatever they want. The Nephites confronted this many times as wicked leaders would lead many astray with such promises of free living without consequences. Don't fall for the lie.

Anonymous said...

I can so relate to your statement, I'm stuck between failing to contribute to the spiritual nourishment of the people around me, and feeling too different to be capable of an acceptable contribution. I feel like somehow in my efforts I'm looked at like an outsider though I grew up in the church and my dang ancestors crossed the plains. I struggle with not being good enough...

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post Liz. I grew up in the church, have a second and even third ear piercing in one ear and count em, three tattoos that I got when I took time off to discover myself from church. I know it sounds crazy to say all that but it was that feeling of being a misfit that led me to do so. and... I regret nothing! Even though my sister told me I would feel incredibly guilty in my wrongdoings and that I'd go to hell if I didn't shape up, I regret nothing I did because in my courses of finding myself, I realized just what you mentioned. I am happier sitting in those pews... even if it means keeping many things to myself and working certain things out with God. I think I will always be a misfit but I'm okay with that. It is the few in the church I can relate to and the ones who love me unconditionally who keep me going and able to grow my testimony. Now, I have a temple marriage and have peace about things I have had a hard time with and couldn't be happier in my endeavors. All of them. Still a misfit but proud of it.♡

Unknown said...

I hope this post and the comments that follow don't represent the average church member. May I suggest that some of you might do well to read "14 Fundamentals of Following the Prophet"? You are singing the same song that has been sung by many, on the road to apostasy.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you derive your values from the Left more so than your religion. Simply following your heart is many times a substitute for following modern day prophets and the scriptures. When it comes to a simple request from a modern day prophet like not having multiple ear piercings or something more complex as wanting to redefine marriage for the first time in human history, we’d be wise to follow the counsel of modern prophets and the scriptures, rather than our heart.

I guess what I disagree with most is that life is not just about the person staring at us in the mirror. Sometimes it would be nice to have a cup of coffee, get additional piercings, tatoos, or advocate for the redefinition of marriage. However, I choose to follow (not forced to) what a modern day prophet has counseled us to do. I used to see R movies from time to time. However, better prioritizing the sustaining of leaders on issues no matter how big or small, now guides me on making better decisions for me. Putting that sustaining above what the natural man in all of us wants or what our heart may say to us will lead us to make better choices for us.

Keb said...

Also to consider:

http://www.mormonwomenstand.com/topics/chipping-away-priesthood-authority-mormon-prophets-undermine-faith-members/

Holli G said...

This is very disturbing, but I say that becuase as 25 year old devote Mormon girl, I reached all these same conclusions and I was miserable, suicidal. If all these points are true then what is truth? Truth is, in fact, exclusive, right? I knew I was created, but by whom? How would I ever get to know a creator who loved me enough to create me (the one and only me)? I knew I sinned against something or someone, but how would I know that? How would I make that right? This article is not based in ANY SORT OF TRUTH! It is all developed on feelings. But I get it, especially for Mormons. They don't want the church to define anything for them, neither did I. I wanted God to define me and because of that I was willing to yield to his terms, not my own. Becuase of that I had to leave the LDS church. They were not leading me closer to God but ultimately farther away. But the mentality of this writer is even worse. You have made yourself your own god in a religion that has made up it's own god, a double whammy. I will never understand why so many choose to stay but ultimately, if you do-this article should be your conclusion and that is really sad! The point I disagree with most is number 6-It was the best decision I EVER made-to accept Jesus as my personal Savior and that led me to leave the church. It was the hardest and yet BEST decision God allowed me to make!

Kim said...

Thank You so much for validating my feelings. I appreciate your insight and perspective!!!

Andie said...

I love that you are giving people a reason to look at themselves and their situation. Although I do feel a bit different on your 'personal revelation will not be contrary to commandments'.
We will all have to go thru the Abrahamic sacrifice where we are instructed by GOD to do something that we don't want to do (Ambraham and Issac, Nephi and Laban, Leah and Rachel, etc). Every prophet in the scriptures has had this happen - ESPECIALLY and including or Savior Jesus CHRIST. Personal revelation is one of the most important tools we have in our tool box down here on the Earth and finding and cultivating your personal relationship with God and Christ is our Number One Goal.
Thank you for your input, I feel like sharing our feelings makes other people feel okay with sharing their's and feeling validated.
But also, please be careful with what you share; as humans we have a tendency to put others on pedestals instead of seeking truth from the Highest source.
With all my love, Andie :)

Megen said...

It is seriously like you went inside my head, I can't even tell you how much I love this post and how much it meant to me to read it and see how many comments there were and know that I am not alone in my feelings and thoughts and struggles, and that it's ok, and to keep on keeping on! Thank you!! And by the way, I got the tattoo!! A couple months ago, I like you, had it in my head for a long time and finally told my husband I wanted to do it and he was okay with it. I put it where I can choose who sees it and when! That was my compromise! No one has to see it sitting in the pew next to me....

Christine Mori said...

You are brilliant. It is so relieving to know others are feeling the same way. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Lies always taste better when a little bit of truth is sprinkled onto it right? First off, when you classify any group of people and saying the behavior is the same across the board, you are generalizing and not critically thinking. Being intelligent means that you know how to use your brain, which means you don’t draw conclusions based off of assumption. Yeah, it takes more effort to look at all perspectives and possibilities, but that’s what being intelligent is about.


News flash, every group of people has individuals that you might not agree with, or feel like they aren’t opening up their arms to you. It’s not a Mormon thing; it’s a human nature thing. Church isn’t a popularity contest, and if you’re trying to be a member of the LDS church, realize that means you will not be popular with everyone. Christ was killed by the people he was trying to save, and in the scriptures many prophets are threatened, persecuted and murdered because of their beliefs. If you join a religion because you want to be accepted by everyone, you are doing it for the wrong reason and your faith with suffer. It's about being accepted by Christ and God! The day is close to when those who follow Christ will face the same things the prophets of old have, the way you feel people act like church will not even compare to this. Since you’re already on the path of apostasy, you might as well jump ship now before things really get intense.

Anonymous said...

This was wonderful. As a single women in the church, I've gone through some of the same experiences. There have been leaders I found made decisions I disagree with.

I have two piercing in both ears and am not willing to give them up. No tattoo for me, I'm afraid of the pain. But this is such a good synopsis of why the church is important in my life.

Matt Allen said...

Great article, my friend. I agree wholeheartedly, and as a former misfit myself, (not being an RM), I know the feeling of not fitting in. After making the decision not to go on a mission, after a heartfelt discussion with my bishop, I was not met with support from many members, but rather annoyance and hostility. My Young Men's President made fun of me, and harassed me about being lazy whenever he saw me, so I had little to no desire to keep going...and I stopped going. I was essentially inactive for almost 2 years, and although I was living worthily and not sinning, I still had no desire to attend meetings or accept callings. Eventually, I saw the joy my active friends had, which was something I was missing, and I made a strong effort to return, and it was the best decision I have ever made. Liz made a great point, which I can attest to, that the church and gospel may be perfect, but people are not. Yes, you may think meetings are boring. Yes, hearing the same doctrine and stories over and over can be annoying (which is especially true for primary teachers). Yes, you WILL have to hear people occasionally bash ideas and viewpoints you feel strongly about, and want have an instant debate with them on the spot. But, in my personal opinion, the benefits of belonging to a wonderful religion that preaches good living, the importance of families, and choosing the right far outweigh having to occasionally deal with imperfect people. My name is Matt Allen, and I approve this blog :-)

dustin kallis said...

Pray and obay. What's the need for personal revelation? It's not necessary in your version. Prophets have taught all kinds of contradictory, wrong teachings. They have openly admitted it on many occasions. Pray and obey isn't satisfactory for me.

Anonymous said...

I have been a Temple worker for over a decade. I can very much identify with the things you have to say. There are many times I just *facepalm* in the meetings. I have more than enough to work on just being me, and then leading my family. I do non-traditional work, so my available hours are wonky. Some things I do well, others less so. I have learned to forgive, and to accept people where they are. That has helped me get through many meetings.

QueenOfSheba said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I have real concern when "intelligence" is defined - and then negated by the judgmental "Since you're already on the path of apostasy . . ." Apparently, Anonymous missed the spirit - and intelligence - of the author. I am actively engaged in my LDS faith and have continually strived to maintain both mental and spiritual clarity (hopefully, both being in unison). I have had my moments - my doubts - and gratefully, my revelations. Working out my salvation "with fear and trembling" has been an OK process for me. I love being true to myself. Even more, I love being true to God. I don't find such affections mutually exclusive, as some do. Nor do I find myself "on the path of apostasy." In a recent conversation I had with my adult son, he expressed himself so very well (knowing church history questions/contradictions) when he said to me, "I attend church and worship there because I'm a better person for doing so." What a great "value." And isn't that what "being true" & "intelligent" should be all about? I'm signing this as "Anonymous," not because I'm trying to hide behind my identity, but because this is my first post responding to any blog - and I guess I don't understand exactly how my name would jump out. How about "Anonymously Well Intended"

Eve said...

I felt inspired to follow a wrong path one time. I knew it was "wrong". I never felt that the commandment had changed for me. I knew that I would have to repent. But I knew that I was supposed to take that wrong path. I trusted in that inspiration and it was the right thing for me. It's difficult to explain. I was just reading about Nephi cutting off Laban's head and that story resonated. There are going to be moments where we are guided to do things that will help us to learn lessons we're too stubborn to learn the easy way. I never felt lied to in my inspiration. And I never justified myself. I just knew I needed to learn something important. In my case, I kept playing with fire and I realized that I wouldn't grow past playing until I finally just let myself burn a bit. Everyone is different. It's personal. And personal revelation is a necessary factor as we grow through this mortal coil.

Eve said...

I felt inspired to follow a wrong path one time. I knew it was "wrong". I never felt that the commandment had changed for me. I knew that I would have to repent. But I knew that I was supposed to take that wrong path. I trusted in that inspiration and it was the right thing for me. It's difficult to explain. I was just reading about Nephi cutting off Laban's head and that story resonated. There are going to be moments where we are guided to do things that will help us to learn lessons we're too stubborn to learn the easy way. I never felt lied to in my inspiration. And I never justified myself. I just knew I needed to learn something important. In my case, I kept playing with fire and I realized that I wouldn't grow past playing until I finally just let myself burn a bit. Everyone is different. It's personal. And personal revelation is a necessary factor as we grow through this mortal coil.

Anonymous said...

The church did command members not to use birth control. They also commanded married members not to engage in oral sex. A letter was sent to the wards and it was included in the temple received questions about this but then taken out because there was such an uproar. I guess some commandments are negotiable.

Steve said...

The question arises what is the "Gospel" versus what is opinion versus what is cultural. History has shown LDS prophets to be fallible and wrong on occasion. Christ spent a lot of his ministry breaking and correcting cultural bias in the interpretation of the "Gospel" of the day. The fact is that everyone and I mean everyone has an imperfect filter and the the Lord has allowed imperfection to permeate the "Gospel" of the day. I think this is inevitable in a church run by men. I do not believe the "church is perfect but the people are not." I believe the church is imperfect because the people are not. So, the question is what to do about it? For this, I do not have an answer. I guess this is where we all have to exercise our agency and decide for themselves. So far, I have decided to stay and live with the contradictions I have encountered. One of the largest problems I believe is that many people (including General Authorities) in this church (and probably all others) profess to know more than they really do. It is really really really hard for anyone to separate out fact from personal bias and opinion. And the more authority one has, the stronger the opinions and the greater the opportunity to be mistaken. But it sounds so much better to speak the words "I know". Well, most of us do not know. We have opinions. The idea that keeps me humble is, I don't know what I don't know. For me, I know I am a flawed individual and believe that we all are going to be very surprised to find out what is really important. I believe that with few exceptions the most important thing for me to do is love and help my fellow travelers as I am able. Everything else will at some point be covered and corrected under the Atonement.

Mike Maxwell said...

Liz... I am a 50-year old lifelong church member who took about a decade long than you did to reach the conclusions you outlined in your post. Thanks for stating it so well and know there are many of us out here who share your sentiments.

I have shared your post with my teenage daughter, an actress, singer, and artist (like you), who is wrestling to find her place in Mormonism. It is easy to get lost in the negative elements of excessive literalism, antiscience, patriarchy, sexism, racism, and homophobia to be found within the current church. Simply looking to God to find a path is so scriptural and yet so difficult amidst some of the popular cultural bias in the Church. I have been praying for God’s miracle to help her see how the good outweighs the bad and I felt your voice is one answer to those prayers. Thank you.

Jerry said...

While I don't agree with much of what you sad, I do appreciate your article. I don't feel that anyone should be criticizing you on your feelings, and if they feel they have that right, they should re read Alma 32. I do, however agree with the earlier post, labeled anonymous, that stated that you carry a lot of power in your writing. Be careful how you use it.
I can see you have strong faith in some things, but not in others. I think that is very common. We are all working on our testimonies and our faith.

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Kevin Rex and Family said...

After trying so hard to build a rock wall, 40 years of trying, I ran out of rocks, and began trying to build out of little pebbles, and my wall came crashing down on me. After I recovered (I was in the psych ward on suicide watch), I decided the Church was, just as you say, too much emotional pain and not enough nourishment, so I resigned, in anger. I'm 51, gay, and in a mixed-sexual-orientation marriage of 30 years. I live in constant paradox, and I don't try to build rock walls anymore, at all. Thanks for your very insightful words.

agkcrbs said...

By all means, the Lord may confirm this or that bias to us, along with encouragement toward patience, faith, and respect, to keep us moving down an optimal path. The patience may be meant to give others time to change. It may be meant to give ourselves time to change. Many want to believe the Lord loves them in such a special way that he will reveal mysteries that he has not told the Church at large, but we must keep in mind the possibility that our minority or heterodox views may be so for a reason -- that we, too, are as fallible as the leaders we like to say are fallible -- that we are still in the Church because our errant souls are valuable, not because our individual creed, soaked up from our social environment, is true.

Anonymous said...

This has been so fascinating to read the many sincere and tender innocent responses. In ALL LIFE EXPERIENCES, there is ALWAYS a Higher Purpose going on. When we can take a look at the Bigger Picture, we can make sense out of this human nonsensical experience!
What I have discovered, that is currently occurring across the world, is that An AWAKENING has been taking place. It is said that TRUTH lies within and is 'within' everyone's hearts. Thus the term, "Listen to Your Own Heart." And many hearts are becoming touched and open to higher truth than ever before now. So there is across the world today, truly the climax that is leading to the "release of humanity’s ancient karmic inheritance, a release that is an essential aspect of all of our awakening process. That karmic inheritance is seen unfolding whenever thoughts, words, or actions that are not in alignment with God’s Will, with Love, direct people’s lives." As many people's hearts are being stirred today, they KNOW unconsciously deep within that there is something MORE and that something GREATER is COMING... Thus, many have begun searching... Therefore, people are taking a NEW LOOK at their own individual lives and choices they have been living and have made... They are beginning to question things that they have taken for granted for so long. There must be no judgement. It is all good and perfect and we get to learn to honor one another's individual journey and choices in this life of the human duality consciousness of good and evil. There is no right or wrong. Only thinking makes it so. Many good and constructive people, whether they consciously know it or not yet, desire to be lifted up and out of this hypnotic spell of nonsense involved in this human theater and be consciously restored back into the knowledge of the Tree of Life. It is time we transport ourselves back into the peaceful and loving way of life that was once experienced in the Garden of Eden, yes? The hour is late!
"THREE THINGS CANNOT BE LONG HIDDEN: The SUN, the MOON, and the TRUTH."

SO!!! Humanity recently is demanding to know the TRUTH; humanity is demanding CHANGE; and humanity is finally beginning to be heard! There truly is no way in which the "old order" can remain in power, let alone in control of the means to power. The vast majority of humans are beginning to realize that they have "given their power away" and now at an unconscious level, seek LOVE and FREEDOM and know that treating others with love, treating others as they themselves absolutely yearn to be treated, is the only sane philosophy by which to live, even though most of them would not express it as simply as that. Humanity is also becoming tired of being controlled by the governments and by the religions of the world. (Various Churches are having to lately be selling their buildings.) Many peoples have now awakened to the realization that there are two pillars of anti-civilization and that is politics and religion because they BOTH keep people coupled and STEEPED in Fear and Control! And folks have a burning desire within to now be SET FREE, and not knowing how without absolute FEAR of the 5 human habits attacking them with condemnation, criticism, judgement, blame, and gossip ~ which many know will result in social rejection! What to do? What to do? What to think? Where to find answers? Where to go? As a result, it is becoming recognized that Humanity is awakening to understand that sincerely, THE ONLY LAW TO HAVE TO TRULY OBEY, IS THE LAW OF LOVE! Most would LOVE to NOT have to ever fear judgement and condemnation from anyone any longer as they make their own individual choices to live life as they desire. And if they choose to no longer attend church, they have that right without condemnation and judgement,

Anonymous said...

Looking at the Bigger Picture! I have read, and it needs to be reiterated, that it is being witnessed that "enormous attitudinal changes have been occurring also in many cultures and races across the world over the last one hundred years even. The two world wars in the first half of the twentieth century really started the process, because the suffering of many who were involved was so dire, and because of the international news coverage that carried the horrific news to every part of the planet. Fixed egoic attitudes that encouraged people to believe that their side in the conflict was right and that the other side was wrong were severely weakened and undermined as the atrocities committed by all participants in these wars became public knowledge. Initially there were attempts to hide the worst of these, and when that was unsuccessful, then attempts were made to justify them." This may be disturbing to some to face, but this similar scenario happened in the major world religions as well, and they will have a lot to answer for in regard to the suffering that so many throughout the ages have endured. "These various religions were established by followers of wise and loving men who, having taught and demonstrated love in action, surrendered their human bodies to the dust from which they came. Very quickly, afterwards, rules were established by some of those who had been close to these men; the main purpose of which was to secure authority for themselves, thus allowing them to claim expertise in understanding more fully than anyone else the wisdom and meaning of the man whose teachings they then chose to interpret and promulgate in a manner intended to glorify themselves and confirm their arrogant self-appointment." AND, to Control and put Fear into the people!!! Humanity has lived in that fashion for eons, as our various histories make abundantly clear; but now, major changes are in progress because the Light of God’s Love, which has always surrounded us, is being more and more recognized as the only Power that has ever existed. It is Infinite and Eternal. It is the power of self-hood, the power with which God endowed every one of His children, and it means that you answer ONLY to God, no man upon the earth do we have to answer to or to allow to govern our individual lives. GOD IS LOVE and LIGHT. GOD is who loves you/us infinitely just as you/we are, just as He and "She" created you/us. You can do nothing to improve yourself to gain Mother (Love) and Father (Light) in Heaven's approval because you already have it as they KNOW YOU as Their Individualization of Themselves and do not have the capacity to judge you because THEY ARE LOVE and it makes so much sense that Heavenly Mother is the Comforter to all of us.. Ancient Wisdom is NOW being revealed to us, to set us all free. Keep searching for TRUTH. Listen to Your Heart. ALL is being revealed now. EVEN the knowledge that we have a Heavenly Mother is spreading ACROSS the Globe now! LOOK at the pink showing up in the sunsets, ETC., like never before. She LOVES us. SHE is touching ALL of our hearts with Her Love to assist in our awakening... She knows we have all denied Her. She represents LOVE. She is Our Comforter. LOVE nourishes, LOVE fulfills itself, LOVE HEALS. Our world requires LOVE Restored to NOW STOP all wars, etc. It is going to happen. Divine Intervention is here to help!

Anonymous said...

RECOGNIZE: Organized religions were established as power structures to control and enslave populations in a similar fashion to that used by emperors and kings. Power is extremely seductive. Once held, it is never gently or willingly relinquished, and those holding it generally try to justify doing so by claiming that their subjects, or followers, need the wisdom and knowledge that they alone possess to provide a safe and nurturing environment in which they can live in peace. No one believes that for long. As leaders' promises are reneged on, or forgotten, dissent develops and eventually a new leader appears at just the right moment to overthrow the enthroned one. (Joseph Smith was endowed to teach the Knowledge of the Tree of Life, instead we got drenched in the knowledge of good and evil....)

SO! Great news!!! We have now entered into a time of EXPOSURE! The new Catholic Pope, Sir Francis, just recently announced that there is no heaven or hell. That they LIED. That that was intended to be only a metaphor!!! That heaven and hell are ONLY states of consciousness. He knows his life is in danger now...

REMEMBER: LOVE IS EACH of US. Each and everyone of US is Love, because that is how we were ALL created. All of us have temporarily lost sight of this, our inalienable nature, and it is to permanent awareness of our true nature that our awakening process is leading ALL of US. YOU, each one of us, as we turn inwards to seek the Divine Light burning eternally within each of our hearts, are thereby setting the intent to KNOW God. Jesus said the "Kingdom of Heaven is within you." And so it is better to KNOW a thing than to believe a thing. That intent to KNOW God starts the release of all aspects of ourselves that are of the illusion that we have all been living in. We have all been residing in a Hypnotic Spell which has not been in alignment with Love. Folks are taking their power back! So the journey ahead of us all can appear to be confusing, as doubts arise when we are seemingly attacked or judged while knowing something appears "off" and we can become tempted to defend ourselves out of fear while trying to reconnect and find ourselves. However, we are fully supported in every moment by God’s Love for ALL of US. We must all continue to also hold the intent to be only loving, because then our only option is to awaken, and so we shall and MANY NOW ARE. GOD IS NOT A JUDGING, PUNISHING, WITHHOLDING, ABANDONING GOD. GOD, the Heavenly Mother and Father DO NOT have the capacity to judge for GOD IS ONLY LOVE... We have all been taught to FEAR GOD. So great to finally UNDERSTAND that They are aware that we are only having an earthly experience here, and no other human has the right or authority to judge or condemn you on Their behalf. To attempt to is to judge God.

When Moses asked at the burning bush what the name of God was? He was told the name of God is "I AM THAT I AM, I AM WHO I AM, I AM THAT I AM." As children of our Heavenly Father AND our Heavenly Mother, we therefore are the I AM RACE. If we rearrange those letters, IAMRACE, it represents AMERICA! GOD BLESS AMERICA and US ALL!

I love the saying that "Religion is for those who fear they are going to hell, and Spirituality is for those who have already been there." There IS a difference... God gave us FREE WILL. We have the right to FREEDOM of CHOICE. Listen to your hearts for it carries the TRUTH. We have all been endowed with an Inner Knowingness. Our time to return back to WHO WE TRULY ARE. Thank You for your bravery and God Bless

Yo Girl said...

What social struggles we mistakenly attribute to "Mormon culture" are actually just a reaction to Utah/Idaho culture. There are social characteristics that are unique to this area, but not unique to the religion. If you've ever lived outside of Utah as an active Mormon in a ward, the ward does not feel like "Utah." You can find Utah non-Mormons exhibit the characteristics that non-Utahns identify as "Mormon." As real as the social struggle here is, we need to stop confusing "Mormon" with "Utah." The Church exists outside Utah, and there is a Utah outside of the Church.

Anonymous said...

Hi. Thank you for writing this, I went to the church building for the first time in months this past sunday and I might try going to sacrament meeting this sunday. The reason I have dropped inactive is because I have MANY mental issues and I was sent to college and I have no support system. I know that God is supposed to be our system...and for awhile, that was enough. The only problem with that is I needed human help. I've actively tried to end my life once and passively another time, I've written several suicide notes. I have had a masturbation addiction which cropped up even when I followed the rules.

This helped me realize that the church isn't wrong because they didn't support me through that. I would have given anything to have friends to guide me through that but it's SUCH a taboo subject. I have struggled to see myself as worthy because I couldn't control it and that is the worst feeling. It's like someone secretly spiked your drink with alcohol =, and kept doing it till you had a legitimate addiction.

I want to be a part of the church, but the premarital sex thing has been a huge issue since romantic partners are usually my only support in-person. I can trust very few people because I have many complex issues.

I tried going to 4 different bishops with my issues and nothing helped...my non-member boyfriend is helping now, but it came as close to wrecking my life as it could. I recognize that even at my worst points I know I have been blessed many times and that no matter how long I stay away from the church, I will always have a testimony. I have spent so many hours trying to study, pray, and think about my actions and my life events. I know I am not perfect, but at this point I just want to not be judged.

And that is what this article did...which is so rare. I wasn't judged whatsoever. I have never felt that kind of acceptance outside my boyfriend and a few internet things. Thank you for writing this, I'm like pouring tears out of my eyes but I don't care. It's been such a struggle to believe in things so strongly (especially since I was BYU-Utah bound but then was the only one who didn't make it in my family despite sports/clubs and a 3.95 cumulative gpa). I was a goody-2 shoes mormon. Then I went into the world and was kicked to the ground. I was left alone and hurting and was kicked and kicked. Even then, I realize heavenly father has had a hand in guiding my path.

I'm not sure if I will be active, but I want to try again if there are people out there like you. Because at the end of the day...that is part of the churches job: to make good people who love one another.

Anonymous said...

Dear Heart, you are innocent and haven't done anything wrong. You are a product of living in world of good and evil and because of how special you are as a feminine being, You are unconsciously working to discover your True Divine Self and Nature. This is your time to embrace your innocence. To get in touch with who you truly are as a Child of God. And ESPECIALLY, as a Daughter of God. You are on a path that is going to lead you to many answers and you will help many other females out there who feel the same as you... It is Your time to return back to LOVE and to LOVE and HONOR your self. You thus far, have given your own power away and have not valued your own self ~ like many of us. This is actually a time upon the earth where there is a CALL to ALL Hearts and Minds of all men and women to be filled with Love, Kindness, Respect and Honor for the Divine Feminine Principle of Life, AND to RETURN to the Heavenly Mother’s Presence! A time for us all to ELIMINATE and REMOVE all old beliefs, ideas, consciousness and customs that do not hold women equal to men! Women have for centuries felt "not as good as men." Women have been "preyed" upon and have been used and abused. For many Women, whose sacredness has been violated, many are NOW DECREEING that this all be STOPPED! That all abuse, discrimination, oppression, forced servitude, violence, exploitation, slavery, mutilation and harm towards all women be STOPPED across the globe! This is YOUR TIME for a New beginning, a fresh new start, where the Feminine is to be respected and honored, empowered, celebrated, side by side with the Divine Masculine qualities of Light! Our Beloved Mother in Heaven invokes Her Will of Love, Grace, and Elegance upon ALL of Her children at this hour. KNOW that She KNOWS you and LOVES you and ADORES you and DOES NOT JUDGE you. She gets you and your tender feelings and that you are here on earth having a "huwoman" experience is all. Thus, you are invited to ALSO pray to Her. Go to Her as well as Your Father in Heaven. ASK to be Strengthened with a Shield and a Protection for ALL who are standing for Justice, Freedom and Liberation of the Divine Feminine qualities in all people around the world - all who stand for the New Civilization Coming and for the Fulfilling of this Call for Earth and the people of Earth BE FULFILLED. May we ALL ask that there be a RELEASE for ALL the people of Earth into God's Divine Way of Life! To Restore Divine respect for the Feminine in families, organizations, communities, the media, political leadership, religious teachings, educational systems, cultures, the corporate world and the consciousness and feeling world of every man, woman and child upon the Earth! That the Masculine side of life be given the UNDERSTANDING of the role women are to TRULY PLAY upon this planet. For Women represent LOVE and the Men represent LIGHT. The two joined together in the proper demonstration will HEAL this planet... May the Masculine side of life be strengthened within them the fine qualities of Chivalry, Valor, Respect and Humility, and to open their own Hearts and Minds to the Great God Presence within their own heart in order to Honor and protect the Feminine side of Life, their families, and loved ones.
In other words, Precious Heart, YOU are LONGING to be valued and honored and protected and LOVED for Who You Truly Are. To FEEL IMPORTANT. You are very brave and courageous and you have a Divine Purpose here to yet fulfill. In the old language, Namaste.
You ARE going to "Get You" and "Get God." God Bless You

Jody said...

In my personal life situation, I have had to completely let the church go, holding on to my own personal relationship with Christ and the Father, because of obvious reasons that clash with the church. I am gay. It was not a choice, and God does not make mistakes, and despite what 'others' may think or believe, it is not just a challenge to 'overcome' as my old leaders and teachers tried to pound in to me. My family had been LDS for generations all the way back to Upstate New York, where my ancestor was one of the first few members of the church. But in order to have any peace, joy, or happiness in my life, I had to let go of all those generations of membership. For all I know I am still an Elder, but really, I don't care anymore.

Life is very different without what I thought was the unconditional love of the family and culture I grew up in, but it still can be good. It does make visits with family awkward, and two of my siblings won't even talk to me anymore, one of whom is also gay, but got married due to instructions from Boyd K. Packer himself, when at a young adults fireside in Logan Utah... My brother asked him personally what to do because he was going to be getting married... He was told to fake it until it became a part of him... It's advise like this from "The Anointed Ones" that I have to control my rage with, as this kind of advise has caused dozens if not hundreds of young gay members of the church to commit suicide, because it NEVER changed who they were. My brother has 5 grown children and grandchildren, lives in Utah, and stays in what I call a "Limbo" life, so as to not upset the balance of family and church... So he lives his life as a single gay man, who wants to just be a grandfather, and never have a partner since his divorce from his wife, because it would make life too awkward.

I have been out of the church since I came back home from my mission early, the 2nd time (yes I tried twice and it didn't cure the gay) in 1985. For the next 25+ years, I tried to hold on to my membership because it was all I knew and felt it meant everything to me. But after all the reality and injustice I began to see more objectively, and the 'conditional love' I was getting from the LDS community and even family, I began to stand up to the church and it's interference in government and unfair treatment of people who just want to be what they were born to be, and have all the same rights everyone else had. The last General Conference was the last straw where I am ashamed of being a member, when the 'Anointed One' spoke of gay marriage as a 'Counterfeit' marriage and relationship. I became ill with disgust and sadness for his small bigoted mind.

I am just as much a valued son of God, as any LDS member in good standing, I am not lost, degenerate, or perverted.

I no longer need such narrow minded and conditional love in my life and I am sad that it has had to come to this, who needs that kind of misery? Why stay a member? How can any religion that is of this mindset be "The only true church"? Religion is of men, Spirituality is of God... I will join no religion, nor be a part of one that sits in self righteous dominance over people who are different than they are.

Anonymous said...

If only more "fits" had enough compassion to try to empathize with the "misfits" rather than judge them, there would be fewer people who felt like misfits.

Anonymous said...

Well said Jody. Bless You. And the most wonderful thing is, Jesus, Mother, Father, and the Company of Heaven, have NO JUDGEMENT of where you are in this life time, THEY ONLY LOVE and LOVE YOU. I discovered that there are 33 dimensions to this earth plain and we live in the 3rd! We are only experiencing a duality consciousness set up by the sinister force to believe in two powers of good and evil. JS was to teach the Tree of Life Knowledge and that didn't happen. Instead, dogma, creed, and Masonic ritual. SO! Can't wait until we get lifted up and out of this 3rd dimensional frequency SOON and we return back into the 'Garden of Edon' scenario once again. So great you had the intelligence to make the stand that you have made. It's ALL going to change. May you experience many blessings. We do get to choose! We were given FREE WILL...

Anonymous said...

I totally understand what you are saying. And if we think about it, looking at the 'Bigger Picture' we are actually ALL "misfits" until the COMPLETE TRUTH of ALL THINGS is revealed and we can ALL live that ONE LAW, THAT LAW BEING LOVE.
Until then, People are trying to fit people into their own perceived way of living life and thus the judgement begin/began...

Anonymous said...

I liked this better without the clarifications and edits. Anyway, thanks for taking time to share these thoughts.

Anonymous said...

We are still taught in the Church to not use birth control, though admittedly it is not talked about as often as it used to be. We are here on earth to "multiply and replenish the earth." This is part of God's plan of happiness. I do not ever remember anything about the "engaging in oral sex" thing. Ever. I am a convert and have been a member since 1972, so that's a long time. I also never went for a temple recommend where this was asked. Overall, I mostly agree with this article, though I would caution to be careful about our "own" revelations. Our Prophets and Apostles have been chosen to lead and guide and direct us. I know the Church to be true and so I absolutely know they are chosen by God and know a way lot more than myself so I am fully trusting in what they teach.

Kim Pratt said...

I want to thank everyone who has commented on this post. I'm preparing my RS lesson for this Sunday. Our RS (we are in CA) has really struggled lately with topics such as Gay Marriage and with some in our ward not agreeing with the church's stance. I personally do agree with the church, but when I act in the affirmative, it's almost like I'm offending those who don't agree, which is kind of crazy; I already have to monitor myself outside of church now I'm having to monitor basic church principles of the Family within church, what is happening? With all of this said, and because I'm in the Presidency I can teach on what I choose, I've been trying to structure a lesson around the concept that we are all at different levels of understanding, most of which we will never fully understand in this life. We are all sisters in this Gospel who have a desire to be unified, show love for one another, and help everyone feel included. I think its great when we have different perspectives, takes, and experiences on a topic, however, where I struggle is when people are calling upon personal revelation as the trump card for justification on how they feel on a doctrine. I loved how how one commenter stated, "personal revelation is exactly that, personal", its not meant to give you a different take on doctrine. I will be pulling a few of your comments from this string to share in class and I hope everyone is ok with me doing that. Thanks so much.

Grandma of Six Boys said...

I am a convert, raised Italian Catholic :), a recovering alcoholic of 28 years, 3 husbands, and a huge truck of 'baggage' BUT I joined the church because of the Gospel; the scriptures, and the fact that my Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ love me more than I love myself. I have learned over the years that " people will always fail you... it's a human condition" I stay in the church for the doctrine and NOT for the people. If I follow the people I will fall flat on my face; if I follow the doctrine of God and His Son I will stand tall and know I have a place in eternity.

Anonymous said...

One needs to follow the official doctrine of the church all else is side info. When and if the Lord desides to advance a doctrine beyond its current level is up to him and will be revealed. I am certainly not the typical Mormon that but my current advance has helped me a lot.

Anonymous said...

Here's a Question:

We have the Heavenly Father The Son The Holy Ghost

LOOKING AT THAT, WHO REALLY would the Holy Ghost Represent? WHO REALLY would be the COMFORTER? What does your hearts FIRST say?

Anonymous said...

I would like to know what you're referencing, Anonymous, when you state that we are still taught not to use birth control. In various classrooms it may be taught as the teacher's opinion, but if you read the section on birth control on lds.org ... nowhere does it state that birth control is not allowed or even discouraged. Abortion is a different matter, but birth control? Nothing against that. Here's the link if you're unsure. https://www.lds.org/topics/birth-control?lang=eng

Kris said...

I don't know if you were really looking for an answer or not... but if you were, I think this may clear it up: Many church members have doubts or questions or things that we don't agree with in the church, but we continue to call ourselves Mormons and continue to go to church on the hope that someday, things will become clear and we will understand. It may seem naive or pointless to continue to try to progress in a religion that we don't fully understand or agree with, but many, many people do so because of things we've seen (miracles, blessings, healing) or things we've felt (confirmation by the Spirit, the light of Christ, love from Christ and the Father). Or we continue because there is so much MORE of the gospel that we do agree with (that does not exist anywhere else that we may know of), than things we do not agree with. Personally, I think there's a difference between rejection (which, to me, seems more permanent) and simply disagreeing or doubting. I believe that the author was experiencing the latter, but I could be wrong.

Charly Smith said...

Blog posts like this are very concerning. There are many good and true points made, but some pretty concerning ones also. I understand that for where you are at in your level of obedience and understanding that the counsels from church leaders may not be something that you are ready to accept. That is your own personal struggle and no one should dispute that if that is where you are at and trying to progress in the Gospel still, there should be no judgment on you. My problem is that when you write posts like this it gives legitimacy to the doubts of others who are questioning counsel from church leaders. They don't need more support for the thinking that it's OK not to follow the Prophet. There is enough truth in this article to give quite a bit of credibility to dangerous messages about not heading the counsel from the church. I understand your personal struggle and your need to express it, but there is a reason that we are told to teach the rule not the exception in the church. Placing doubt in the minds of others can have devastating consequences for their lives and their testimonies.

Anonymous said...

As far as gay marriage is concerned. It goes against the plan of salvation. It is very basic doctrine to the gospel. It is sin pure and simply. That being said, our Heavenly Father loves all of his children and knew us well before we came to this earth. He sent us with our own personalized set of circumstances and struggles. Our struggles give us the opportunity to overcome them and receive blessings for that. I can't even imagine how difficult it would be to be attracted to the same gender and not be able to follow through on those feelings, but my loving Heavenly Father does and even understanding this difficulty he gave these challenges to many people and the opportunity to deny their urges and be blessed for overcoming such a huge obstacle in this life. My heart breaks for those who struggle with same gender attraction, and I am even more sad for those who go against our Heavenly Father's plan.

Anonymous said...

I'm probably alot older than many people who relate to this article, and even though I don't agree with everything she says, so what? People have there own paths to follow. As a teenager, my daughter never felt like she fit in at church. We loved her just the way she was, required her to come to FHE, scripture study and prayer, but when she felt like she couldn't continue with seminary, we let her quit. For a time, she was inactive while she was in college, but I was proud of her anyway because all her other choices were great. She ended marrying in the temple, and is active to this day. Our whole job is to love others, teach them correct principles, and let them govern themselves. I have to laugh at some of these comments. Sure, there are few problems with some "church culture," but as I grow older, I've seen things slowly changing. For example, women praying for the congregation during Sacrament Meeting. I've seen women's opinions given more value in everything since I was young. Eventually, the church will get to where the Lord wants it to be. But that will be culture, not doctrine. Anything different than the life our Father leads is sin; He doesn't say, for example, gay marriage is wrong because He doesn't like those people, but only because He wants us to have the life He has. Gospel laws are like physical laws; a 2-year-old doesn't know anything about gravity, but s/he'll still die if s/he jumps out of a high enough window. For whatever eternal-law reason, there's a consequence, like falling because of gravity, to those whose actions are different, even if we don't know better. So let's be kind in our comments, not so harsh, and be less judgmental. Kind of reminds me of living like Jesus. Also, our own sins, no matter how "small," are just as damning to us as having an abortion would be. Adam and Even were kicked out of Eden for just a small transgression. I prefer concentrating on ridding myself of my own sins than judging people because their sins are different from mine; I'm alot happier this way. God bless all of you to experience God's love, and show it to others, myself included.

Ali said...

Yes, yes, yes! Thanks, anonymous! Things I didn't understand 10, 20 or 30 years ago are now becoming more clear as my rough edges are sanded down with life experiences and a stronger, more fulfilling relationship with God and Christ. I used to feel so uncomfortable in the LDS Church. Now I long for Sunday when I can renew my covenants and I don't try to fit into some imaginary Mormon Mold.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your perspective, Chloe. I have never heard or thought of that before and I hope it helps me better connect to others who may feel the same

Tom said...

Point 1 - In the old Testament there were "prophetesses", in the early LDS church women gave blessings and there was instruction in the RS manual on how to do so, in the Temple endowment we are endowed to become "priests and priestesses"...the doctrine for women to exercise priesthood authority has existed and still exists. I believe that when the time is right women will have priesthood authority restored and I believe the time is not far off.
Point 2 - The common LDS practice of believing the Prophet or Apostles are perfect people is flawed. We say all the time that,"The only perfect person to have lived was Christ". That implies that everyone else inclusive of Prophets and Apostles is/are/were/will be, imperfect. Want proof? Moses wasnt allowed to enter the Promised Land, Jonah had a running disagreement with the Lord, and Joseph Smith had business failings and was a pomygamist (as was Moses)...but they were still all prophets.
Point 3 - the author's initial point is incorrect "It doesnt matter what anyone else thinks of you, it only mattets what you think of you and what the Lord thinks of you" is symptomatic of a modernistic world view of the supremacy of the individual, a spoiled, self-centered world view that has nothing to do with Christ's teachings. The opening should be re-written as, "It doesnt matter what anyone but the Lord thinks of you". If you are an evil son of Perdition and think highly of yourself...doesn't matter. If you are a kind, compassionate, generous person who has charity in their heart, but is tortured by the belief that you arent doing enough, but the Lord thinks you are...see what I mean?

Tom said...

Same sex attraction per se isnt against Gods plan it is acting on that attraction that is against Gods plan. In much the same way that acting on opposite sex attraction outside the bounds of marriage is againsy Gods plan. Or acting on alchoholic or drug adicted impulses are against Gods plan. You may recall fro "Pearl of Great Price" that we fought a war in heaven so that we would have free agency. Do you find it coincidental that many of the thing we are commanded to avoid are addictive in nature or give someone authority over us (debt) and thereby cheapen or dilute our agency? At the same time, do you think it is strange that those things we are counseled to do, involve strengthening our agency, like paying tithing or obeying the Word of Wisdom? People who struggle with same sex attraction have no bigger and no less a burden than those who struggle with masturbation, pornography or sex outside of marriage. We should love them, they should hold callings, they should in everyway be fully functioning members of their ward...in the same way that everyone else who struggles with "thorns of the flesh is".

Anonymous said...

Actually it is people like her that help others to stay in the church knowing that not everyone has to live the gospel the same way... it's people like the commenter that make it hard for others to stay in the church... honestly. I believe the gospel is true but I don't want my child to ever grow up acting like this. Close minded, judgemental, and holier than thou.... these kind of comments are why I probably will be leaving the church... also no one has any right- unless you're her bishop or receive revelation for her- to tell her to repent. Shame on you!