Friday, March 20, 2015

I'm A Mormon, I'm Imperfect, & I Love It!

For the past year I have been noticing an increase in members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who are ten years (or more) younger than me leaving the religion. It seems like the majority of them are leaving the church for various reasons. One big one is the fact that equal rights is not happening within the church (sorry, but women do not need to hold the priesthood), not conforming or "fitting it" in with other members, or because some feel a little overwhelmed, imperfect, or even burned out with the church. Newsflash...this church is all about love, activity, and fellowshipping, and even though some may not fulfill the task 100 percent or even 10 percent--no one is perfect. And that is why are our faith is tested from time to time so that we can spiritually grow, and help those who may be feeling all of the aforementioned feelings. Something we all have to remember, and in my opinion is the number one reason why so many go inactive, or leave the church is because one has been offended.

The church is true, but people are not. 

Every ones reason for joining the church is different, and every ones reason for leaving the church is different. Whether they joined on a whim because of loneliness, divorce, solace, a boy, or whatever. Everyone has their own reason, and fortunately for me I joined for the right reasons regardless of my imperfections, and the things I did before and after I joined. Thing is when I first joined I literally felt like a bit of an outcast in unfamiliar territory, but throughout all those feelings of inadequacy I came to terms that in order for me to grow, learn, and become more familiar with the church was to truly convert within the gospel, and not anyone else. I needed to go through all of those tests in order for me to be who I am today. I had a pretty messed up childhood, and because of that I was searching for a higher ground, and an LDS commercial that aired on television 22 years ago was the answer to my salvation not only from my home, but from the life I was living.

How imperfect am I? 

Lots of imperfections in this gal! On occasion the words, s#*t, and hell, will slip under my breath. I have even said it out loud in front of my kids. It's something that I have to work on. I will tell you that I never used to utter those words (except when i was a teenager!) until about a year ago. A lot has happened within my family this past year which maybe someday I'll write about, but I'll tell you it's not easy. But I have faith that things will get better because they always do. 

And as I write this they are. 

There was a time in my life where both Jon and I were not active. I remember how it felt to not have the spirit with us. I remember how trials were even harder for us to handle. We were living in President Thomas S. Monson's ward in Utah out of all places where you'd think we'd be super active. Ummm....Not! It's a choice. It was a choice to not be fully committed, and we chose to not attend church, hence all the struggling. It was a choice not to attend our meetings faithfully, or pay a full tithe. We chose to not do the things that I learned to attain as a disciple of Christ. This was 18 years ago when my first daughter was born, but at that point in my life I was still trying to figure out who I truly was, and finding ways to heal from my childhood abuse

Being the only member in my family was not easy, and not having enough support from family, and friends didn't help my attitude with people. Even though I knew that this was the most perfect place to worship God, and to spiritually grow I had to learn on my own, and pray really hard to truly convert to the gospel. I remember how it felt to be somewhat of an outcast being the only ethnic in my ward in Utah. This was almost 23 years ago so ethnicity in the church then was not as common as it is now. I've realized that after moving around from state to state that we couldn't escape our issues to conform. 

But we did it anyway. 

Although it took many moves to different states having different bishops, relief society presidents, home teachers, visiting teachers, and friends to recommit to the gospel we remembered. We remembered how wonderful the whole plan of salvation was, and how beautiful it will be to live with our family for eternity. We remembered why (whether we were born into the church or not) we accepted the gospel. We ended up making the choice to clean up our act, and focus on the things that made us happy before our inactivity.  Mind you we were not married in the temple, but were sealed. And boy will I be forever grateful in not rushing to get to the temple, and to enter it on my own motive. 

My solution in striving to be devout.

I stopped caring about what people thought, and stopped looking for the negative. I've learned that when you look for negativity that you are indeed going to find it. I began caring more for what my Heavenly father thinks, and how I can better myself in thinking of others. 

I'm in my mid 40's now, with a daughter in college, and three younger children to raise, and I personally don't reflect or concentrate on what others think of me or if I'm "fitting in." I don't have time for drama, or any kind of nonsense that is unnecessary (although it can be tough because you see it within the members, but again I blow it off.) I strive to observe the good in others. Times are changing, and the adversary is out there to make us think otherwise. He wants us to feel lost, miserable, and to be against each other, and to make us feel that we don't need God or any religion to make it back home. Heck, he's even making others believe that we come from monkeys, or a piece of matter. I personally know that Jesus is the Christ, and that I am a daughter of God. It sounds easier to say it, but if you really get down on your knees, pleading and talking to Him about why you are living and who you are, He will listen. And you will feel that answer warm up in your heart. Satan wants us to think that what looks bad is really good. I know how Satan works because he really tries me when it comes to life. 

But I don't let him. 

I fight him. I fight him with every fiber of my being by attending church, and making my home a heaven on earth. I love attending my meetings, and learning all about the doctrine that is being taught. It works for me & my family. I know that as my kids get older they will find their own way in this world, and when they leave the nest is when they will truly be tested with the things they do, with their testimony of the gospel, and all they were taught in the home.. I am raising them the best I can, and no matter how hard it is I am letting them govern themselves. They know I don't portray myself as a perfect mom because I'm not! I'm soooooooo far from perfect, and I don't mind. I don't mind because it gives me something to fight for every day. It gives me something to work at every day event though I'll never get there, and I don't get bored. I stopped feeling sorry for myself a long time ago, whining and complaining on how members should act because I'm not perfect! Worrying doesn't get us anywhere, and  I don't want my kids to see me all stressed out, and unhappy because they're going to learn it from me. I am grateful for the scriptures that we have that build me up & let me tell you...when I don't pray, read, or do anything that is positive my days are chaotic, and my attitude is not the greatest. So far I feel as if I'm getting better. I have noticed that the older I get, the older my kids get, the more I attend the temple, the more trials I have, and the more I share and bear my testimony that my strengths take over my weaknesses. And it is a wonderful feeling!

Any media that is out there to prevent us from falling away, think rationally about the decision on how to view it. I could have easily been inactive and probably divorced had Jon & I not worked on our marriage. Whether we are raised in the church or converted at the age of 8, 12, 15, 20, 39,  50, or 70 we all have our reasons why we chose the path of the Lord. All of us had a different upbringing. Mine wasn't the prettiest, but it certainly wasn't the darkest. And I survived. And my solace, strength, and answer was seeking a higher divine. A light. And the religion that did it for me was the LDS religion. It takes major effort, trusting in God, but most of all having Faith in God to know that I will strive to endure to the end.

Everyone has their own agency and we can choose what we want.

I chose this religion, and one thing I am grateful for no matter how much I wish we didn't have is our free agency.  Without it we would never be able to experience the trials of life, heartache, and decisions of why we aren't going to church anymore. Justification is huge in our religion and many of us justify a lot of things so that we don't feel guilty. I used to be like that, but then again I worked on that and any temptation that I had such as stealing and  smoking have completely gone away. Completely & when I asked my husband why that is & how that could be because I was a major Clepto, and on occasion smoked cigarettes! It was then Jon said to me, "because you have truly repented not to do it anymore & because of that true remorse you have towards God, He has helped you to overcome those struggles, and don't get tempted anymore."

So to all of you who are struggling in testimony, identity, temptation, know that with me you are accepted and loved, and I don't judge. I love my gay friends & I accept them. I love anyone with a cool tattoo on their body. I love anyone who strives to do the right thing by coming to church every other week or month! I love my nonmember community (not too many Mormons around here) I love my nonmember family, and to all my sisters and brothers in the church that I've met in different states whether you're active or not...I Love You too! But know that we will never reach perfection no matter how hard we try. Attending my meetings with my family for three hours and fellowshipping other's brings me all kinds of happy. I choose to live this way and as long as Heavenly Father is on my side I will continue to fight for my weaknesses to become strengths, and endure to the end. 

And in the end we must not allow any bull crap to break us away from what we believe in!

Living the gospel is not that hard. It's up to us on how we work, and look at it. We do have standards in which to live by, but if we are truly, and fully committed it won't be that hard to hold them high. Obeying the laws of the Lord can prevent future heartache, and major consequences. 

Believe me. I know! 
I'm Rose, I'm a mormon, I'm imperfect it, and I love it! 

1 comment: