Ever just felt done? Done with people and relationships? This entire year of 2011 had been a troubled year of broken promises, relationships and the dealing with unexplained illnesses. Today, I took in a deep breath and muttered, “I’m done.”

Just done.

I have found I am more content inside my home, in my favorite sweats, hair in a bun, working on articles, school work or the never-ending manuscript. I love my daycare kids and working on our art projects and taking long walks. What I have come to loathe is the dynamics between groups of people and how and where I fit in. I never really thought about fitting in because my huge ego automatically thinks I do, so I don’t question it. It’s either that-or the hard truth that I don’t really care.

What happens when you are in a ward and the friendships aren’t real? Gossip is everywhere, hypocrisy is spreading, and the friends you thought you had only viewed you as a ‘project’?

A few months ago, a friend and I shared a day together which included lunch and shopping. Nothing specatacular happened, certainly not newsworthy, but of course, one incident has seemed to make the rounds. (Totally G-rated, legal and actually, boring.) I found myself getting my ghetto on last night when accused of something I didn’t do by a very well known pot-stirrer (I’ll never learn with this one!) and today I get a text by the friend that said  she looks back on our day with regret.

That hurt.

It isn’t only the gossip in which has gotten me down. It is also the hypocrisy.  Don’t do something you can’t own up to. You do it, own it. But don’t play it off as if the other people who have done it are less ‘Christian’ than you because they’re not lying about it.

I want to permanently remove myself from my ward. No longer do I feel a part of the ward family and I was quite comfortable with my decision. I began to bemoan the fact that unlike other denominations, I couldn’t just switch to another congregation. Across town. In another state, perhaps.

Of course, my phone rings.

Voice of reason on the other end.

“Take a break,” she says. “I get that. But do not let this rob you of your right to receive your spiritual time on the Sabbath. Don’t let it rob you of your desire to go to church. With or without hypocrites and gossipers.”

In every church, there is going to be your ‘drama’. It’s the Adversary’s way of creating havoc amongst God’s people. I know this, I get it. However, sometimes, even knowing the logic behind it, a person can only take so much before they finally say, “I’m done.”

Elder Harold B. Lee made a comment at a Branch Conference in a small town in Texas in November of 1942 which I stumbled across whilst writing this entry: He  said, “Be kind, forgiving and overlook the faults of others.”

The reality is everyone at one point or another says unkind things about others. (Raising hand! Guilty.) It does feel as if I’m being singled out (big ego) yet, logically, I know this is not true. I know by shifting my focus from this useless crappola of drama and focusing on the Lord and care only what He thinks about me, I’ll be a much happier and content person.

I’m done with the offensive ghetto-smack down attitude wanting to take down whoever pisses me off. It’s not worth it and it is simply not the legacy I want to leave behind.

Does this mean I’m going to be a doormat for people to stomp on? Um,  No.

It does mean I will treat people with kindness, rather than showing offense by things they say (or don’t say) and treat them in such a way that it  will merit their respect, not their fear.

Simply put: I’m done.


Follow-Up to Post Straight Judgment

In regards to post Straight Judgment, I have received phone calls from a couple of women who were in Relief Society on Sunday. After I left, a lot of the points I brought up in my post were also spoken. The main consensus was we all are struggling with SOMETHING and we are all without sin. As Christians, we are to be loving and judge not. Only God is the final judge and what we know is God is a loving and just god.

In my post, I wrote I too was being judgmental and was very irritated with myself for feeling that way. I also was having a difficult time finding the correct words to express my feelings regarding the subject.

What is important for readers to know is I believe the LDS Church is true and I have a very strong testimony in regards to this. This does not mean I’m perfect and have all the answers, because if you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll know this is not true. This blog is not intended to argue or debate the teachings of the Church, but to chronicle my journey as a convert who is dealing with a variety of issues-as many people in any religion or faith are. This is my blog and my thoughts, opinions and perspectives.

What I’ve come to appreciate from my own experiences and trials, along with stories shared by readers and friends, is this: heterosexuals also face far greater challenges to live the gospel. Does this mean homosexuals who sacrifice to live the gospel as they understand it are being slighted? I don’t know. What I do know is we can’t possibly know one’s conscience as God knows it. An individual’s relationship with a person’s God is theirs and theirs alone. Selflessness is required of everyone and we should all follow the commandment of “Love One Another” as Christ has loved us. Gay or Straight.

Formal Attire in Church

In October’s issue of New Era, the question is asked: “Some youth wear their formal outfits to church on the Sunday after a school’s formal dance. Is this OK for Sunday dress?”

As a fairly new Mormon convert, I had found the wearing your prom dress to church ritual fairly odd. Perhaps this stems from my grandmother. As a child, teenagers attending our Baptist church also wore their prom dances to church the following day. My grandmother shook her head in disapproval. “Prom dresses belong at the prom!” she’d say. “Not church.” It is no surprise I had already adapted the same opinion and found myself distracted whenever I’d see a teenager in their prom attire at church. I found the ritual mildly  inappropriate.

As a convert, I’m not fully engaged in the traditions of the church that are not doctrine so I figured this was one of those subjects it was best to keep to myself.

Elder Dallin H. Oakes of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is quoted as saying: “There should be nothing about [your] personal appearance or actions that would call special attention to [you] or distract anyone present from full attention to the worship and covenant making that are the purpose of this sacred service.” (“Sacrament Meeting and the Sacrament,” Ensign, Nov. 2008, 20)

You can read the entire section on formal attire in church here.

What are your thoughts regarding wearing formal attire from school dances to Sunday Services?

Learning Discernment

Article Posted on March 9, 2011 on All Things Diva.

Although, I live my life with a certain amount of censor and regulation-by choice– I am often filled with a tad bit of guilt and feelings of failure. The world of Christianity is perplexed and at times very contradictory. You have your devout Catholics with your devout Mormons with a mix of devout Evangelicals and someone in that group-no matter how devout- is doing it all wrong.

I have a wide range of close friends who are a mixture of religions and cultures. Very rarely do I talk about confusing doctrine to a non-member of my church nor would they voice their questions upon me about theirs. Yet, what we do have in common: our love for Jesus (and if not Jesus, our love for God or with my atheist, Buddhist and other religious friends our love for Grey’s Anatomy) we find a common thread in that we all experience some sort of guilt in our daily lives. Religious or not.

With my devout friends who are very religious, I am cautious to the point it feels as if I’m being fake. A few years ago, long before I joined the Mormon Church, I went to the movies with a few friends who were of another Protestant faith. I had chosen the movie and was excited to see this comedy that at the time was a huge hit.

About forty or so minutes into the movie in which I’m choking on popcorn because I’m laughing so hard, I feel a nudge on my elbow. “We’re leaving,” one of the ladies whisper. Thinking something was wrong, I followed them out. I learned that the reason for them leaving wasn’t because the elastic went out in their pantyhose BUT the movie  was bad enough to make Baby Jesus cry. (I’m not being funny here, that’s what she said to me: “Bad enough to make even Baby Jesus cry.”)

I had been so diligent in my research of movies! It was PG-13 with no sex scenes, no violence and no blasphemous dialogue.

Where did I go wrong?

And so I ask, “What was wrong with the movie? I don’t get it.”

To which she replied, “Are you kidding!!! It was the use of the F word! We hear it one time, we’re out.”

Was I so worldly that I didn’t even notice that the actors even used the F word?

Apparently so.

I get it from the other side too. I have my laid-back Jesus is great for funeral friends…and when I joined the Mormon Church I got an ear full of lectures and screams. ‘WHAT? NO COFFEE? NO BEER?!”

It’s always with the no coffee and no beer with these people.

If I casually mention seeing a movie with a particular group of friends, they become indignant as if they’re the Spiritual Police and scold me. “Aren’t you Mormon? No R rated movies for you.”

There are times in this life in which I do not feel as if I fit in anywhere. My Mormon friends are mostly lifers and I have yet to befriend a convert like myself. My husband isn’t a member of the church either and with the exception of my oldest daughter, I’m the only member of the church in my entire family.

Yeah, there’s pressure. On both sides.

For instance, my husband is constantly scolding me about my need for a filter. Once I was telling him a story in which the word “freaking” was used. Okay, so no…it wasn’t exactly G-rated verbiage, but certainly not R rated either. My husband looks at me and says, “What would your Bishop say if he heard you saying ‘freaking this’ and ‘freaking that’. You think he’d approve?”

Earlier today, I had a conversation with a friend who said she couldn’t comment on one of my articles because of a particular word I used. Whilst she admitted that it wasn’t that big of a deal, it was big enough for her not to comment if by chance one of the teenagers she taught saw her name by it. “I can’t let them think that  that’s okay.”  The article in question wasn’t (and still isn’t) anything for me to be embarrassed by or ashamed. However, being that I am who I am, I did begin to feel guilty. But not for the article itself (it was an awesome piece) but more for not feeling guilty to begin with.

What is wrong with me?

So there I am feeling judged by someone who is more Christ-like than me…AGAIN.

This whole Christian thing? Yeah, I suck at it.

As I do with feelings of doubt and pity, I took it to my Heavenly Father. As I was praying there was a word that kept popping in my head over and over again. The word: ‘Discernment.’

Spiritual discernment is calling on the Holy Spirit to lead or give direction on a matter.

I open up my scriptures and stumble on this verse in the Bible:

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.  ~ 1 Cor. 2:14

I pray. I cry. I pray a little more and feelings of blessings sweep over me. I am not a failure as a Christian. I am just me. A human being with all the complexities and contradictions all other humans have that make them who they are.

I am ME.

God’s Child. Imperfect, but loved just the same.

I realize in my life as long as I use discernment and rely on my own conscience, I can only keep doing the best I can. The lessons I have gained from my faith are a thousandfold and I must keep them to the forefront of my mind and heart. I must  accept that the ones judging me or more importantly my feelings of being judged are irreverent when it comes to my walk with Christ. With that being said, this doesn’t give me free reign not to use a filter once in a while. I do not want to be the cause of anyone stumbling in their faith.

Learning to depend on God and to trust in Him is a daily lesson. In my most solitude moments in which I feel desolation, I feel His amazing power as He fills my heart to the fullest…and I know He’s real. I know He loves me. He reveals Himself to me at those times in which I’m filled with doubt and insecurity.

I’m not perfect. (SHOCKER.) I will fall a lot more in this life, but everyday I will reaffirm my faith.

My walk with Christ? It’s pretty freaking awesome.