Saturday, December 29, 2012


The title has nothing to do with the post!!

I hope this post doesn't turn out to be dumb. But by golly, it's my blog, and I do whatever the heck I want with it!! And no, it doesn't mean some deep dark secret is going to come out about me, or some juicy details about my life revealed. (Ha ha, nope) Just some thoughts about life as a Mormon.

Before I get to anything though, I want it to be known that I firmly believe no person is ever "done." No one is ever done learning about the world, or themselves, or the nature of God, etc. No one is done deciding what kind of person they will be. Even the greatest sinner. Or that one nice neighbor. Or anybody.

I look at every person as though they could change the next day.

I guess I am at that age where all my friends (myself included) are making decisions about who they are and what they believe. And I guess in the age of social media and blogging, it is easier to find out what my friends think much quicker than in the pre-Internet days.

So I guess a lot of those I knew growing up in the LDS church are distancing themselves from the church,

But a few of them are staying. They are facing some very hard trials, but are completely devoted to their religion.

It's amazing for me to think about the followers Jesus lost while he was on the earth. They saw his face and could be there in his presence, yet they didn't like the things he said. It seems like in order for us to even believe in the doctrine, we need a supreme faith in the simple concept that God exists. This is a hard thing for us to do. To believe in things that we cannot see.

But I hope, in the end, that this is my foundation. I don't go to church to be pleased by everybody, to be catered to, or to look special. I don't even really need to be part of a "chosen generation" whatever that means. I need a SAVIOR because I MAKE MISTAKES. STUPID ONES.

I hope in the end, that I have hope for my neighbors. I feel one of the many reasons people leave the church is because they want people to give them attention, positive or negative. When it's the negative (or when they perceive it as negative) they have all the more resolve to stay away.

I think (emphasis on think) people tend to feel horribly "judged" before leaving the church. Well, they are probably right. We are all CONSTANTLY judging each other. I know lots of people judge me, good and bad. It doesn't seem fair for me to assume the worst, especially when most of the time, PEOPLE MEAN WELL. It is extremely frustrating when a person says "you must hate me based on this and this behavior." Wow. Hate really is a strong word. And "hated" is the feeling many people have going to church every week. Why????

Some people have described me as "aloof," "quiet," or even "cynical" (??) when really I am just shy. I was not a good missionary in this way. On a mission you are CONSTANTLY introducing yourself to people. I will never forget how my ward mission leader in Kiev literally pushed me toward a new investigator coming into the building so she could know who I was. Brother Kikhno was such a hard leader, knew perfect English, but ALWAYS spoke Ukrainian so I would learn the language. By the end of my mission, I was still in that ward and could capably report our activities to him every week. He believed in my potential even though I didn't. I still feel inadequate in many ways, but in the gospel, there is so much room for growth. I have gotten better in a lot of ways since then, and am getting better every day. There is so much JOY in that. Through the gospel, my family and friends have found healing, improvement and peace. Obtaining this is not meant to be easy.

So when I see someone struggling, I try not to give them what they think they will get (harsh judging and a superior attitude). I give them my confidence that tomorrow will come. I am not the miracle that brings tomorrow, or the future. Tomorrow just comes. And things can change.


E B said...

You're awesome, Betsey. I think that we in the Church are finally learning that there is a difference between the gospel and the Church and Mormon culture. The gospel doesn't teach judgement amongst ourselves. At all. it teaches Christlike love! The Church teaches the gospel, and we as members together have a culture. We need to make sure that the culture reflects the gospel.

just a little bit mo said...

I've been going through something similar with many of my friends. People keep trying to comfort me by telling me "they're still good people whether they're in the church or not." And they are right - my friends are good people. Yet, there is still a kind of mourning in my heart. It doesn't stem from me thinking that they are less good or less valued. It's actually the very opposite. I love them. I value them. I respect them. Often their decisions lead them through dark places and it's hard to see them struggle but feel unable to help. (I say unable to help in that they don't want to hear about God, yet that's the one source I feel where they could find lasting peace.) It's a difficult thing. I try and remember something every day that will bring greater light into my life and I hope they do the same.

Lydia Hogue said...

Thanks for you thoughts Betsey. I loved them and agree.