Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Moving Forward

I've been feeling a little saucy lately and so I've been reading the personal blogs of those I've become familiar with on fMh. I typically try to stay away from personal blogs because (I'm a snob?) it's just so much to read. Like standing the in the deodorant isle at the sprawl-mart...it's a bit overwhelming.

I'm drawn to stories of those that have left the Church or are struggling to stay in the Church. I think I like reading about the conflict and how lives are shaped by this curious thing we call The Gospel. AND, if I wanted my teeth to ache, I would read the Ensign.

I will be the first to admit that there are things about my religion that bother me. There are times when I think I just don't want to play anymore (and turn of the lights and pretend I'm not home) and times when I just roll my eyes and think my god people...pull your head out of your asses! But the positives far outweigh the negatives for me so I stay, despite the imperfection I find .

So as I've been reading the blogs, I've had an opportunity to ask myself: where do I fit in on the scale? Am I a super duper star saint? Or am I on my way out? Have I lost my faith? Or do I believe what I want to believe?

Sure, I have doubts and I should--I live by faith. I believe in a God that I cannot see. I worship a God who cannot speak to me in a way that I can literally hear. And I belong to an ultra conservative organization that requires so much of who I am that I am often at odds with the institution.

But why am I still wanting to be active in this church? Rather than working through the reasons why I should stay, perhaps I can work backwards and consider the reasons why I don't have to stay.

I don't have to be a Mormon because:

My spouse isn't LDS, never has been, probably never will be. In fact, he's not religious. So our marriage will not be affected by my decision to leave.

I'm a convert, so I don't have to worry about "disappointing" family, friends, mission companions. My family associations are just the way they were before I joined the church.

My daughter is a convert too. Although I understand my responsibility of a parent to teach my child about God, I refuse to indoctrinate hear and tell her what she believes. (she was 10 when she joined the church. It was her decision based on her reasons. All i did was ask if it was something she wanted to do.

I don't need religion to keep me honest, chaste, virtuous. I am those things because I love my God and it's his example I wish to live by.

I don't need to participate in a religion to keep my mind turned towards God. I don't need religion to teach me how to be a Christian. I have the words of the saviour in the New Testament to do that.

I don't need the ward to fulfill friendship needs, perform charitable acts, or act as a place to pay my tithes and offerings to God. My community provides ample opportunity.

Despite all of that, my heart and mind want to stay.

Listen folks, I've never stuck to anything in my life. I'm lazy and flippant and flighty. If I could have gotten out of the mommy gig, I would have done that years ago. Let's just say that sticktoituvness is not a quality I possess, and yet, I'm still here.

I made a choice years ago based on something more powerful than logic or history to be a part of LDS Church. My decision wasn't based on a perception of an organization. I didn't join the Church because I had a friend...or I like the missionaries...or because I thought Mormons were really great people... or because they had all the answers I was looking for.

I joined this church because a very still and small voice, one that I remembered hearing and feeling when I was nine years old and again at the birth of my daughter said, "yes Melanie, it's is true."

Monday, November 26, 2007

consumption unit

as of late, my daughter has started referring to us as her "parental unit". it must be something she picked up from her socially conscious progressive high school but this term bugs the hell out of N.

probably, he finds it disrespectful. perhaps impersonal. i can't quite put my finger on it and while i think it's funny in the "that's cute" kind of way i have to admit N is right. children should address their parents with respect.

So...on vacation last week, belle said, "thank you, parental unit" and in response N said, "you're welcome, consumption unit."

doesn't that just sum up a teenager's role perfectly?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Have I Seen the Hand of God Today? 11/18/07

Today was a glorious fall day. Blue skies, temps in the 60's with a slight breeze. As Belle and I were walking to church we started talking about testimony and how it comes to each individual.

It was also one of those rare opportunities in which a mother and her teenage daughter open up and talk truthfully about the gospel of Jesus Christ and what it means to be a woman of God. We both decided that we liked what we were doing and we didn't want it to end so we continued our walk around the church parking, continued our discussion and got to know each other a little bit more. WOW! A sacrament meeting to remember.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Have I Seen the Hand of God Today? 11/13/07

Last night, I had to write a brief testimony for the Young Women Evening of Excellence. I assumed it would be a quick five minute task that starts with "I believe..." or "I know that ..." or "I am grateful for..." but as i started to write, my thoughts turned to not wanting to mis-lead the young women. What does that mean-- mis-lead the young women?

I started to worry that maybe I didn't have a testimony. I worried that I would be lying to the girls about what I knew, thought, believed. I am no different than many of the women I know in the church in that I have periods of doubt and times when I just don't know if I believe in it all. I had just recently attended the temple after a long sabbatical, and it wasn't the same for me. It felt awkward and I experienced doubt-a first for me. I left with the resolve that I would continue to go back and the awkwardness is just a result of my lack of preparation.

After many attempts at trying to write something that would say it all, I gave up. I asked myself (often those conversations involve my Father in Heaven) how I gained a testimony in the first place. Though it wasn't a powerful, revelatory experience, there it was in plain speak; simple and something that I could be sure wasn't misleading the girls.

Here's what I came up with:

Years ago I asked my Father in Heaven about the words I read in the Book of Mormon. I asked him about the missionaries and the work they do. I asked him about the restoration and the Church. Within minutes he made it know to my heart and mind that what the missionaries were teaching me was true. As the years have passed, He has continue to make the truth know to me through mt prayers, gospel study, service and daily life that the church I belong to is the place I should be.

Oh how easy it is to forget the basics and how difficult it is to go back to them.

What is your footprint?

Ecological Footprint Quiz by Redefining Progress