I am going to drop a bomb on all of you who have faithfully been reading my blog.
I am a Mormon. If you aren’t sure why this should be a surprise, you clearly haven’t read anything I’ve written. You ought to go browsing on my blog and familiarize yourself with me and my antics. I am certainly not your run-of-mill Mormon chick. For starters, I have been divorced. The divorce was the result of me being just a bit too liberal/feminist/ambitious to fulfill the role of Mormon Mommy to the exaltation-worthy fullest.
But that’s only the beginning of a long list of sins that leave me on the outskirts of the religion of which I claim to be a part. In case you haven’t been paying attention: I swear too much, I drink alcohol and coffee and tea, I pray for horrible things to happen to people I hate, I hate certain people, I watch football and go shopping on Sundays instead of spending three hours in church, I watch R-rated movies, hell, I live an R-rated life, I believe in ghosts, I wear tank tops, I’ve considering dabbling in witch-craft so I can curse my enemies…
Go ahead and tell me I am a hypocrite. I can accept that. I don’t care what people who judge me think because the only person who needs to accept me is me. I stopped caring about the judgement most people pass on me when I got divorced. But I feel I owe an explanation of why I claim to be part of a religion that is such a dichotomy to the life I actually live.
I was raised in the LDS church. Although I was never brainwashed to believe certain things when I was a child, when I met my first husband I was judged horribly and manipulated into trying to fit into a mold that was neither comfortable nor agreeable for my spunky personality. When I realized where this marriage would lead, I rebelled. Hard. I had my ideals and my expectations for life and they were not the same as my ex’s. To cut to the chase, I spent about four years away from the church trying to figure out where religion fit into my life. After looking at several other churches and going through many difficult challenges, I returned to the LDS church. It was the religion that taught a gospel that best fit my own tried-and-tested beliefs. It worked for a while.
Then I got a good taste of why people don’t like Mormons. One of the policies of the church dictates that a certain footnote is attached to my membership in the church. I have to carry a label with me that points to grievous sins in my past. (No, I am not a pedophile or a criminal or a murderer, just so you know.) No matter how good I tried to be, I never really fit the picture of a Mormon woman, and everyone who held a position of power knew my deepest sins and secrets. Like every organization, there was a lot of gossip… and I was the fodder for it. There was so much judgement passed that I felt thoroughly unwelcome and unaccepted. I walked away from the church again.
I am switched-on enough to know that the policies of an institution and the behavior of members of said institution do not necessarily constitute the gospel that is being taught within the walls; so I don’t cast the baby out with the bathwater. My beliefs in the gospel are as solid as they ever were. The people are the majority of the problem. I also came to the realization that, gospel validity aside, God is not a Mormon. Typical Mormons would burn me at the stake for saying such things. But it’s true. I have been a member long enough to know more about the church and it’s workings than most bishops. I have been in the walls of the temple more times than I can count. I know the sacred ordinances that happen therein. I am not going to expose those because I respect and value what they represent. Regardless of my feelings about Mormons and the policy errors of the institution, I refuse to launch an attack on the church.
Aside from judgement and policy issues, another reason I stopped attending church is because of the behaviors and beliefs I will be required to adopt and preach should I return to full activity. I must renounce the right people have to love one another, regardless of gender. I would have to tell people I care about, like Sweet Mama, that she is committing serious sin by loving her Wifesy. I won’t do that. Not only do I not believe that, her life is not my life and she is just as entitled to be happy as I am. I don’t care who she loves. It’s not my business. I must judge mightily those who drink beer. I must tattle on the person in front of me at Starbucks if they are a member of the church. I must repent if a toe-curling, body-rocking orgasm makes me scream out ‘oh my God!’ (And I have to repent for writing the word ‘orgasm.’) I have to exalt myself above the other 98% of the world that is not Mormon and the 70% of the members who don’t carry temple recommends. I have to stand as a moral compass to everyone, or desperately seek to hide my actions if they are questionable in the eyes of the church. I also have to craft… a lot. And stop complaining about my children. And have more children. That’s a lot to ask of me. I don’t want to be required to pass judgement on people, to gossip, to hurt others, to stand as a hypocrite, to get burned by a hot glue gun in the name of Family Home Evening. I am being shoved back into a mold that hurts when I turn my head.
On Super Bowl Sunday, I spent the evening at a friend’s party. Yes, I was drinking. I even smoked two cigarettes, despite the fact that I don’t smoke. While a few girls and I were sitting by the fire pit, religion came up. One of the girls looked at me, mouth agog, and asked if I was a Mormon. Then she laughed and said, ‘Or are you a recovering Mormon?’ That’s a great question. I am not really sure. Perhaps I am an enlightened Mormon?
I don’t know why I feel like I need to apologize to people when they find out they are friends with a Mormon. How do you feel about what I just shared? Does it change how you feel about me? About Mormons? I am also happy to answer questions about the church (in a non-skewed, honest way, because this doesn’t need to be a debate over right and wrong). Let’s discuss. Over a glass of wine… Promise I won’t send the missionaries around.