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6 things to remember when you're tired of Mormons

As I've mentioned countless times before, I live in Utah amongst countless Mormons. And hurrah! I, too, am a Mormon. On the other hand, my entire life, I have felt like I wasn't like everybody else. I know the church is true and I do my best to live my morals, but I have a different stance on many opinions and views than a lot of my LDS peers. A friend of mine shared this article on Facebook and I instantly read the entire article to my husband, getting slightly teary-eyed during parts of it, and celebrating in my head. I'm not alone, here. I thought I'd share this article on my blog because it really is one of the best.

I do want to stress that this post is not written by me. The content is not mine. I simply shared this post because it resonated with my soul & I wanted to share it to my readers as well as ponder back on it for my reference.  

When you're tired of Mormons | We&Serendipity

Liz, the author of this article mentioned some similar hardships that I share with people here in Utah. She said, "..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 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." 

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. 
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 by statements by leaders, but those who pass judgement 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 can 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.
This 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 is made by a man. 
All of these are based on true and personal stories. The point is, "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." Many of the people you see at Church 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 get plain 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 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.

Here's a final thought. Your testimony is like a rock wall. 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 so 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 every one's testimony looks the same eventually. I like the stone wall better because every one'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. 

32 comments

  1. It should also be noted that even our leaders have personal traits that are flawed and are not perfect. We look to them for guidance and support because they are chosen for their personal gifts of leadership but they to are learning and growing like the rest of us. I do not seek or envy their callings nor would desire to be in that limelight. It should also be noted that the Church in general will not move forward for change in heart and mind, when it comes to doctrine or certain policy, until it is a unanimous decision felt among our leaders to make that change to move forward.

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    1. I completely agree. Like #4 states, nobody is perfect. Even our leaders. I also agree with you on the latter. It's too bad we can't put every detail of the church in one blog post, huh? Thanks for commenting!

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    2. I knew there were "others" out there! In fact, my bet is that the majority of the members are "others" but are just too ashamed or afraid or whatever, to admit it. Thank you for admitting it and helping us relate and cope!

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  2. I don't think I've ever related to a blog post so much in my life.... Thanks for sharing this! :)

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  3. I love this so much!!! Thanks for writing this.

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  4. Thank you SO much for sharing this!

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  5. AMEN! Thank you for putting this into words!

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  6. Wow. Just wow. Read this and repent. Pay particular attention to number 11 on the list. If you truly are a member of the church and claim to believe all it's teachings, you are a seriously confused bunch of individuals. https://www.lds.org/liahona/1981/06/fourteen-fundamentals-in-following-the-prophet?lang=eng

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    1. Hi Brendan. Thank you for sharing that link. I actually really enjoyed it. I think the part you might be misunderstanding is that prophets and apostles still make mistakes. It not once says that we shouldn't obey them and their commandments.

      I challenge you to read #2 again. "Personal revelation will NOT be contrary to the commandments." I would NEVER disobey any commandments from prophets and apostles on purpose or because "I don't agree."

      Hope that clarifies things for you.

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    2. Amanda you are gracious and Christlike in your response. Bravo!

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    3. We love you, Brendan. You are entitled to your opinion and we claim the same right.

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  7. I'm a life long member, have lived in the same ward for 13 years, and still feel like I'm not part of things. Yes, I've had callings but still feel I don't fit. That's okay. THE GOSPEL IS TRUE!

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    1. Me too. 17 years and I finally feel like I belong.

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  8. I a lifelong member of the church and have been in the same ward the last 13 years. I still don't feel part of this congregation. I feel like I'm on the outside somehow. I've had callings and fulfilled them. But still it feels quirky. But that's okay. THE GOSPEL IS TRUE! :)

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    1. Thanks for commenting! I hope you know that you're not alone. Like the article states, we all need to carve our own space out of the church at times. You're amazing!

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  11. Thank you so much for posting.. I really relate to #3 right now.. Sometimes when you have strived to sincerely do all you should, although not perfect and your partner chooses one day to take another path in life and your left sitting In the chapel on your own being reminded of broken covenants.. It can be hard when your hearts breaking, to enjoy a talk on eternal families.. I struggle so much.. And then feel bad about the way I feel..

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    1. Katey! I am SO sorry that you're going through something like this. That is terrible. Please don't feel bad about the way you feel! You're healing and that is completely normal. Just keep going. Keep going and strengthening your testimony and it will get better one day. I promise!

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    2. I understand so well Katey! I went through the same thing, and it was my ward and members who judged me the hardest without knowing any details of why I said I was done with my 25 year marriage. I continued to attend church but knew things were being said, and I was being judge each week! I held my head up though, and I took about a year before people realized and knew the truth. It was hard, and I struggled! That was 8 years ago, and I wish I would have had support and understanding, but people in the church don't know how to give that. Death is much easier to reach out to someone, than is divorce. I have learned alot, and I have compassion toward those who go through a divorce, because of what I went though. I love the church, but it was hard! I am a convert babtized at age 16, and my entire family and non member friends asked my why I stayed. My response was simple...it's the people who are imperfect, not the Gospel. I also had 2 of my 5 children completely leave the church. It broke my heart, and still does, but I trust in the Lord and his promises, and I try my best to help others and to be sensitive. This was 8 years ago. I remarried 2 years ago, and still keep my head high, and hope someday I can be that friend to someone that I had wished I had back in those hard years of going through a divorce. Hand in there friend!

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    3. Katey-I too have been through this same exact thing, after 25 years of marriage and 5 children, my husband left the church. I didn't even see it coming! Now my teenage boys don't attend, and it breaks my heart. Not what I had planned for my life. On the bright side my daughter married a non-member, he has since joined, and they were sealed in the Nauvoo Temple, and my first grandchild is 6 months old. Blessings abound amongst the heartache. We are now divorced, I am remarried, but have still not been sealed to my new husband. Hoping and praying we will go to the Temple for our 5th anniversary!

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    4. Katey-I went through the exact same thing after 25 years of marriage and five children, my husband told me he was leaving the church. Now my teenage sons have followed suit, and it breaks my heart! On the bright side, my first daughter married a wonderful non-member young man, they have since been sealed and my first grandchild was born in the Covenant. Blessings abound amongst the heartache. We are divorced now, I found I could not remain in the church and be married to him, so I had to choose. I am remarried to a wonderful man, who has been inactive his entire adult life but now attends with me faithfully. I'm hoping and praying we will be sealed on our 5th anniversary next Septmber! Hang in there.

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  12. Thank You!!
    - Carlos R. Vega

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  13. Sorry Katey, I went through the same thing for 10 years. I have been remarried for 15 and often I forget myself about the differences in our wards.

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  14. Sorry Katey, it does hurt to be different and not want being where you are in your life. I was a single mom for 10 years and now after being remarried for 15 I often forget about all of our differences and feelings. I will try to be better at remembering.

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  15. This article hits points my husband and I have been talking about for a while. Thanks for sharing!

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  16. I've been a lifelong member but haven't been to church in about 2 years. For me personally I don't really see a difference, I mean I know the church is true and I believe in the gospel and I've had many miracles happen to me. But I just don't like going when I feel so empty, like I'm going just to go. A lot of my friends are in the church, but my closest friend is not. Maybe ill come back at some point I may just have to have someone to click with, then again I'm not sure if that will be enough for me.. Sorry for the rant :)

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  17. I would like to take a different view on this discussion, there are some things I can relate to ( like members with inappropriate or hurtful comments that don't even know what they said, you just have to let it roll off your shoulder), but some opinions of the author to me seem that she has a testimony of the church and not of Jesus Christ, with a testimony of the church it seems you are more easily to cast doubts or look for faults within the church I would like to change her blog to: For all of us, life is better with a testimony of Jesus Christ and how to keep the faith. Then I would reference the talks given by Rosemary M. Wixom in the last conference Returning to Faith, https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/04/returning-to-faith?lang=eng and Kevin W. Pearson Stay by the Tree https://www.lds.org/general-conference/print/2015/04/stay-by-the-tree?lang=eng&clang=eng These are talks that can help us and build us up. The author states that church is boring but you can always learn something at church on Sunday you just need to be spiritual prepared to learn. Why do you think we have so much repetition? I hope the author and the blogger will re evaluate their opinions it feels like they are not in complete support of the Prophet and the Doctrine of Jesus Christ. (they mention examples of some things that they or others are struggling with to sustain) I hope all who are struggling will read the talks that I have included in this post. You have to have a Testimony of Jesus Christ before you can know the church to be true.

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    1. Hi Teri! I appreciate your comment but disagree, to an extent. I don't necessarily think the author is struggling with a testimony of Jesus Christ and how to keep the faith. I don't know if you have ever struggled with some of these things, but I, as well as thousands of other readers have. To me, this blog post is saying, "Hey! I struggle with this and this and this. I don't feel like the perfect Mormon because of it, but I am active and can be solid if I simply realize that the church isn't its members."

      Lastly, I also KNOW that Liz was not mentioning struggling with sustaining. She even specified that revelation will NOT be contrary to God's commandments. She's talking about matters of opinions. Your opinion on whether or not to wear nylons to church doesn't have to correlate with Uchtdorf's opinion on it. If it was a commandment, that's a completely different story. She also stated that the prophet and his apostles are also not perfect. That is a very true statement, even said in general conference. Perhaps you took a different perspective, but I just wanted to clarify what I got out of it.

      Because of this post, I know that I can carve my own space into the church, be obedient, and be extremely happy. Because for a minute, I was super worried what other members would think if I had a differing in opinion about something that wasn't contrary to God.

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  18. Loved this! Couldn't agree with you and the person who wrote the original post more. Church is true, but the people are not.

    For example, I've had questions on why blacks were not allowed to have the priesthood back in the day. Through research, I have found that Joseph Smith actually ordained some black men to the priesthood, so this "doctrine" was not originally there. Hm.

    Considering church history, my gut tells me this is a prime example of "the church is true, the people are not."

    This is not official doctrine, so don't quote me on this, but my own theory behind why this was put in place in the first place was because the church was small, and therefore weak, so Mormons dwelled in Missouri at the time (a slave state, by the way), WHILE practicing equality in the church was an unpopular thing at the time! Mormons were scolded for allowing all people, regardless of race, equal opportunities.

    So I believe church leaders may have acted contrary to revelation and made it so blacks could not be ordained the priesthood. I believe this happened to calm the threats of people at the time. Again, not official doctrine, just my own theory.

    When Ezra Taft Benson took this "doctrine" to the Lord, he receieved revelation that there is nothing wrong with ordaining blacks the priesthood, so we immediately started ordaining them, again proving that it was never official doctrine in the first place.

    Lds.org even made this statement on the matter. "The origins of priesthood availability are not entirely clear. Some explanations with respect to this matter were made in the absence of direct revelation and references to these explanations are sometimes cited in publications. These previous personal statements do not represent Church doctrine."

    So it IS possible for church leaders to say things that aren't official doctrine from the Lord. Lucky for us, we have the spirit with us at all times, and we can take any question to the Lord at any time and receive an answer.

    I believe the strongest members are the ones who don't just "go with the flow" and instead, question! Questioning makes a person stronger in faith and gain an even stronger testimony. And if the questioners are judged in the process, then so be it! Questioning should never be frowned upon, and those who feel the need to have to judge will be judged even more on that day of judgement. If everybody just went with the flow, blacks may not even have the priesthood today!

    Thanks again for sharing. Loved this post sooo much. Nice to know I'm not the only one who thinks this way!!

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  19. You get out of it what you pit into it. I've learned that the hard way.

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