Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Why I Don't Need to Be Mormon

First off, let me tell you my 'religious' history. I've been Catholic, Lutheran, and Mormon. I was baptized at the age of 9 with the rest of my family in 1993. 18 years ago. I went because my parents went which is the classic case for most children. It felt right to me because doing church activities meant I wasn't at home being abused, put down, and/or slave driven to do adult labor building garages and yard work. When the "Spirit" dwelled in my home, it meant I got to survive another day and I got to know that somewhere in the Universe there was a man who loved me and wanted to comfort me and protect me. For years, I tried to seek Him out. I would find Him and hold on for dear life. I loved knowing that I was a daughter of someone who was more powerful than my own dad and that one day this higher power was going to bless my life. 

I still believe in a higher power, by the way. In fact, I feel more in touch now than ever before. 

The big problems started when I was around 13 years old and was dealing with the Foster System...yes, Social Services had taken custody of me during one of the times that I ran away from home because I feared for my life. During my stay in the Foster system, I was visited by Mormon members...mainly, priesthood holders who would tell me that I was disobedient. They would tell me all the commandments I was breaking and how I needed to yield to the priesthood in my home because it was what my Heavenly Father wanted. These members did not want to hear my side of the situation. They heard what 'he' had to say and it was my word against his. This is where the problems really started for me. Mormons believe in gaining answers through prayer. Then, tell me, why were they not getting the message right? Why was I made to suffer? Why were the actions of my father my punishments to have? If prayer was so powerful to these people, they would have prayed and known that my life was in danger. I obviously struggled with the church during those teen years. I was angry that they were so blind to the truth. I was angry that they believed I was so bad. I was angry that I was actually a good kid put into a bad situation that no one wanted to hear so yes, eventually, I tried all the things they accused me of being and quickly found out that I couldn't be any of those things. I couldn't do drugs. Gross. I couldn't be an alcoholic. Gross. I couldn't be a whore. I wanted love not sex and I knew  then the difference was clear. I couldn't be a law breaker. I don't even have a criminal record. Look it up. I've never even had a traffic ticket or car accident. On paper, I was really truly a good kid. I had dreams of being in the military and I knew that I needed to keep myself free and clear to do that. Obviously that didn't happen. Rhonny came into my life and I do believe this was meant to happen for me. If you know me, that time in my life I came back to church and tried to hit the reset button with many of the members that wronged me. I  went through forgiveness. I prayed. I overcame and thought that I was back into the swing of things according to the rules of being Mormon. Then Divorce happened and once again I was pushed aside as the one to blame. Once again, I was told to suck it up and stick to husband #1 because that is what the Lord has commanded. Once again, I was told to yield to the priesthood. The dude was in a mental hospital for trying to kill himself in front of my daughter. He was on drugs and pawning our stuff off to buy booze and cigarettes while we were left with no diapers or food. Really? You wanted me to stay? Because? I was treated with unbelievable disrespect after the divorce. I tried to maintain my active church status but when people you have known your whole life won't reach out and shake your hand or offer you support, you tend to lose the feeling of the spirit quite rapidly. I was wounded. I fell away, naturally. I stayed away for awhile. Most people tend to stay away from the things that hurt and I didn't need anyone telling me that I wasn't worthy to hold the blessings of my Father because I refused to stay in 2 abusive situations. I didn't need anyone telling me that I can't enter the Temple because I didn't have money to give the church when I was barely getting by for myself. In fact at one point in my history of the church, I seen the church pay the rent of a young gal and her children every month and I watched that chick run to the liquor store every night while she would dump her children off on me...that's what church funds paid for!!! And yet, here I was in my little apartment barely able to feed my family and being told that we were not eligible for assistance from our church..that at the time we were actively attending and holding callings for and paying tithing to. 

I understand the phrase, the church is true but the people aren't perfect. I get that. BUT! when you preach and preach to love one another and yet, you find yourselves judging and condemning others for the lives they's called HYPOCRISY. There has been more and more of that all over the world. When I go to church that should be the last place I find HYPOCRISY. I live a good life. I have a huge heart. I volunteer my time and services to my community, friends, and family. I strive to be the best that I can be in all things in my life. I genuinely love with all my heart and just when I think I couldn't possibly love anymore I dig deeper within myself. I feel like I am a better person without the church in my life. I don't have a room full of people judging me. I don't have people thinking that I am not worthy to be in their presence. I don't have to worry about offending anyone. I can freely live my life without the fear of 'doing something wrong'. My intentions are honest. 

After spending a few years away from church and coming back to church with a new husband, I thought maybe I would finally gain some acceptance from members. I was right. I was absolutely right. They were welcoming of my new husband. They brought him into the little family and made him feel right at home....gave him some 'keys' and Ta-Da! I was 'loved'. Then...great wonderful husband went off and joined the military and left his wife and children home to go to church alone and suddenly the great big feeling of 'love' diminished. It was a long long winter of shoveling myself out because no one would answer their phones when I called for help. We went to church 5 Sundays in a row after Travis left, I received one hand shake and one hello every Sunday from a man who is no longer living. Something didn't seem right to me. Suddenly, without my man 'the key holder', I was no longer 'worthy' of fellowship. So I quit going and it was probably 3 months before anyone really noticed and by that time, I had moved on. Travis came home around that time and suddenly my phone was ringing constantly...from members nearly begging us to go back to church. Since that time, we tried to come back off and on and it just doesn't feel right anymore. I decided it was best to stay true to our own hearts and our own feelings than to subject ourselves to the desires of others. For years, I've thought the Gospel Principles to be wonderful but they are only wonderful if you spend your life living them out and not just preaching them. I've sat through so many lessons taught by people who constantly struggle with just the idea of being 'nice'. We all fall short of perfect, but when you openly tell people that you don't like to be nice...or you have a temper problem that involves having to buy a new set of dishes every few months, that is when it is time to step back and work on your own personal progress instead of making other's feel miserable in your presence. I believe that a higher power knows our intentions. He knows our hearts and our minds. He knows the hypocrisy. I should not have to explain my decisions to anyone. This 'religion' has wronged me through out my life. When I needed comfort, love, support, these were the people I tried to turn to in my hour of need...yet these were the people that wouldn't accept me at my most hurt. I would seek out the guidance and would be told to suck it up. When life crashes again (because we all know it happens), the last place I know to go is 'church'. I won't be making this mistake again. In fact, the 2 people in my life that have been the most destructive towards me, will soon be welcomed back into the 'fold' while me and my family will be long forgotten and unprotected. Anyone who tells me to forgive (trust me, I've already had 3 people tell me to forgive the people who have disowned me so it's quite obvious to me that these people are being told a story of lies), can come and sit with me while I relive the stories of my youth and the nightmares that still haunt me at night. After the hours you spend walking in my will understand.

I pray. I meditate. I am constantly changing and making myself better. I do all things with good intentions. I don't wish harm, hurt, destruction on anyone. At the first sign of need, I jump. I feel surrounded in love, comfort, and peace. I love our Earth and everything on it. At the end of the day, I know who my family and friends are and I keep them close in my thoughts and heart. My daughters are my world. I sacrifice daily so that they remain happy and provided for. I sense a strong connection to my calling as a wife and mother in this life and choose to dedicate my life completely to the task. I am most at peace surrounded by nature. I often wonder if my comfort is drawn from the energy of the Universe. I strongly believe that I do have a purpose in this life and that everything happens for a reason. I may not be able to understand everything that has happened in my life. I put the blame no where. I accept all of my past and work daily to learn and grow from it. The future looks beautiful to me because I refuse to bring my past with me even if that involves losing some people along the way. I am a daughter of Heavenly Father, of the Universe, and of a mother who is strong. I have all that I need and as my needs change I am able to seek out positive solutions and surround myself with forces of good. If these things aren't good enough for you, than you can kindly walk out of my life instead of condemning me for my lack of conformity. I don't need a denominational church telling me that I am not worthy of blessings when life is blessed.

This is just the short version of the answers you seek. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings by going into detail of the many many terrible incidences, emails, and conversations that have led up to this point. 

I respect you for you. Please respect me for me.