I have wanted to write this post for a very long time. I’ve started it and pressed backspace, I’ve shut my computer in frustration and left this draft sitting here, unnamed, un-typed, for some time.
But I have a few things I need to say. Some people won’t like them. But I can’t ignore it any more.
Lately I feel like I scroll through my social media and see post after post explaining why the LDS church didn’t work out for people. Other posts are quoting sources and then explaining how horrible it is. They are calling what they see as manipulation and hate, unfairness and injustice. All about the most important thing in my life.
So here are a few words I need to get off my heart, about choosing to stay.
1. I don’t judge your journey. So many people feel that heavy judgment about leaving the church. I’m sure there are people who are judgmental about it. They may be the same people who are judgmental about me not serving a mission, or not yet having children. People aren’t perfect. In the LDS faith, or outside of it. I have no place to judge your decisions, and I don’t. There are lots of us who don’t judge your journey. I’m not always perfect at this, but please believe I do not strive to condemn you. I don’t think I’m better than you, and I love you!
2. I have questions too. My understanding isn’t perfect. Some things don’t make sense to me. For me, that’s ok. The things I don’t KNOW for certain, I believe. I hope. “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” For me, that faith is something I’m working toward. So I may not have all the answers when we talk, but that doesn’t mean that the Gospel isn’t true.
3. I love you. Many people find the advances of others, invitations back, desires to discuss, rude and unnecessary. And sometimes they are. Please understand that for me, I approach you about it not because I’m worried you’ll go to Hell, but because the church brings me so much happiness. When you read your favorite book or see your favorite movie, you want to share it with others. You may find out it’s not to their liking at all, but that doesn’t stop you from wanting to share it with them, to make them understand why you love it so much. That’s where I’m coming from, and where many members are coming from. We love the Gospel, and want to share that happiness it brings us. If it doesn’t bring you happiness, forgive us for continuing to talk about it. We’re doing the best we can.
4. I have had tests of faith too. I have had things that have rocked my testimony, have made me question and even doubt. For me, turning to the Lord and handing it over to him, continually doing the things that He asks, brought me peace and brought me back to happiness in the church. There were days and weeks that going to church seemed horrible. When I didn’t know if anyone would listen if I prayed. But He did, and He does.
5. There is room for everyone. The LDS Church culture can sometimes be difficult. The people are flawed, we make mistakes. We’re human. But the Gospel at its core, the doctrine and the scriptures and the reality of God, is perfect. And it’s personally perfect for every single person. That I can promise.
I love you and this post!! Your the best girl!
I love you and this post!! Your the best girl!
I have a comment about item number 3. I understand your point but want to give you a similar analogy in the opposite direction. Imagine you live in the beer capital of the world. Everywhere you go people are offering you beer. You explain to them that you don't drink alcohol. They can't understand this because they love it so much. They keep asking you to try it no matter how explicitly you explain that you don't drink. Then they finally seem to understand but in the end they say… well could you just take a sip with us. This happens everytime you approach a bar or beer drinker. Result: You become very annoyed by their behavior and avoid them at all costs.
Nicole thanks so much for your post! I completely understand this, and it's a great point! It's frustrating when the majority of people around us feel one way about something. I felt that way when I was at BYU and wasn't serving a mission, and when I was in Europe and wasn't drinking or smoking, and even now at my office because I don't play Pokemon Go! I feel like everywhere you go there's a collaboration or majority of people who feel or think a certain way. If you go to the south you reach the Bible Belt, on the East Coast the majority are highly educated and have specific political beliefs, etc. People need to be more respectful of polite declines, and I try to be. But people aren't perfect, unfortunately so sometimes it's annoying or offensive, and for that I can only apologize that more people don't recognize it!