So this is going to be a tough one.
I have thought about, scrutinized, debated, and tried to narrow down what I want to say here. This is a subject that is so vast, so sensitive, so easily taken offensively that it's hard to even put into words the things I want to say without causing an outrage on either side.
What could this subject possibly be?
My opinion. (gasp)
Now, before we begin, let me give you a background.
I'm a Mormon. I would consider myself more of a "left wing" Mormon, but I'm a Mormon nonetheless. I grew up going to primary, mutual, seminary, institute, etc. I never questioned the only religion I had ever known because I never felt like I had to. I just did it because I knew it was good and right and I never really thought twice about it. I have no qualms whatsoever with the way I was raised or what I learned in all of my years of attending church. I consider myself incredibly blessed to have the beliefs that I do and that I have never doubted what I've been taught. The gospel of Jesus Christ and its principals just make sense to me.
However, there are certain opinions I have on things that would put me in more of the "liberal" side of the church. Like, I have no problem with gay marriage. I personally believe that if you love someone you should be with them regardless if your the same gender or not. I think that women should be in charge of their own bodies and that they have the right to do what they want with it. I also think that regardless of who is voted in as president, we're all screwed.
Now, with all of that out of the way, here is the reason I've decided to put this out there and share with you my recent thoughts on some things.
Recently, I've had a lot of discussions with friends and family on where we all stand on the whole religion front. I hear lots of comments like, "I feel like I've been lied to", "I'm just not into it right now", "I'm just going through the motions" and many more under that same vein. Unfortunately, when talking about this, most of the opinions happen to be more negative than not.
I am not going to sit here and tell you about how perfect I am because I've never questioned my religion or that because it comes naturally to me that I haven't done things that I'm not proud of. I definitely have done things that I'm not proud of. I don't love going to church most of the time. I actually can't stand the Mormon culture. I think that some Mormons are some of the biggest hypocrites I've ever known. But, just like you and me, we are all trying our hardest to survive.
We live in a time that kind of sucks. There is hatred like we've never seen before coming from all directions. People feel the need to share every thought and feeling about anything and everything and if you don't agree with what they have to say, you're the bad guy. Everyone has an opinion about everything. Children are growing up with social media that is crippling their social skills and taking away the need for actual human interaction. We are developing complexes where if we don't get a certain amount of "likes" on a post or picture, it makes us question our own self worth. We are on a dangerous spiral and the future honestly scares me.
With all of this going on, it has become so easy for us to disregard our own thoughts and feelings on things and follow what seems to be "normal". For some of us, when we hear other's opinions or views on a subject, it's almost like whoever wrote it or said it knew exactly what we needed to hear. It's hard to form our own opinions on things because there are a thousand different voices from a thousand different articles and blogs that are almost telling us how we feel about something. For the record though, that is not my intention here. You can read this blog and love it or hate it, it makes no difference to me. My only intention is that if you do read it, that you remember that regardless of where you stand on anything, we are all in this together.
In a few discussions that I've had over the last couple of months, I've been hearing a lot of how religion just isn't playing a part in our society anymore. Most of us really are just going through the motions. I'm definitely one of them.
Being older, not married, childless, and currently on a journey of self discovery.......again, I have a hard time going to church and listening to lesson after lesson, talk after talk about the joys of marriage. I am so grateful for my parents for giving me the opportunity to be with them for eternity but that's about as far as it goes for me. It's like someone telling you how amazing their piece of cake is. They just keep talking about how yummy and delicious it is and they just go on and on and on telling you how if only you could have a bite of this magical cake, you would really understand just how delicious it is. But, you can't have any of this cake because you're diabetic. After a certain point, you start to feel like there's something wrong with you and most of the time it's totally out of your control. It's not very fun.
I understand being over something. Not feeling it. Not wanting to deal with it. Not being excited about it. I get it.
I don't care how you live your life. I don't care if you agree with what I have to say about anything. I don't care if you think that I'm insane for believing that there was a 14 year old boy in the 1800's that saw God. I don't care if you believe whether or not there even is a God. There are a thousand things that we can disagree on.
We are all struggling. We all have our vices. We all have bitterness towards something or someone. We all have opinions that we are afraid to share because we know what can happen if someone disagrees with us. We've all been burned. We've all been lied to. We've all been hurt more deeply than we care to admit. We all have problems. We are all flawed.
There is one thing in this life that I know to be true: God loves you.
Regardless of whether or not you go to church, don't go to church, if you're a saint or a heathen, He is still there and He will always love you. I am a living breathing example of the blessings of the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for all of us when He suffered and bled for each and every one of us. Whether or not you believe that that actually happened, I'm here to tell you that I have witnessed the comfort that comes from turning to Him and giving Him the pain and the guilt that can come from turning your back on what you know to be true and falling so hard and so fast that you don't think that you'll ever be happy again. The Atonement is no longer a theory or an idea to me. It's real. I KNOW that it is.
Now, to those of us that are "going through the motions". We have the opportunity in this day and age to be examples. We, as Mormons, are a peculiar group of people with some weird history that some of us are ashamed of. There are so many closets with so many skeletons in them and some of us feel like they should have just stayed there. We are at a crucial time when it's up to us to be the ones who make waves. To everyone, don't be afraid of asking questions. Don't be afraid of failing. Don't be ashamed if you're the one that disagrees. Don't be quiet about what you believe. Don't be angry anymore. Don't be offendable. If you have been offended, figure out why and move on. Don't be afraid to admit that you make mistakes. Don't be afraid to be upset that you feel betrayed. Embrace the things that bring you happiness. Be a force for good. Be an example of perseverance. Be a trailblazer. Forgive others. Forgive yourselves. Read articles. Read blogs. Find out what works for you. If you feel like you need to be on a different path, follow that path. Embrace life as it comes. Let's put aside our differences and make the best of it.
I didn't intend for this to be a religious post. But honestly, I'm glad that it did. For all of the bad in the world there is so much good. For every wrong there is a right. For every devil there is an angel. I'm so glad that I have a foundation that taught me that I can be happy no matter what's going on in the world or in my head. Whether or not we agree on what it is, we all know that when we break things down, when we find out what makes us happy, we're all a little bit easier to handle.