Sunday, September 30, 2012

I am a Mormon ... I am not perfect ... I do not have to be

I love Sundays ... there is something wonderful about having a whole day set apart to worship the Lord ... to reflect on his goodness and tender mercies that he bestows upon us ... I am blessed every single day in my life ... and so are you ... whether you recognize it or not ... you are. We are given a whole day ... the day he rested from making us this entire earth ... as a day to show our gratitude ... or really ... a day to relax from the craziness that is our everyday lives ... that's right folks ... I may not be thinking of and thanking Christ every millisecond of the sabbath day (though I probably should because of how much he blesses me)

Those of you who know me know I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints ... or Mormon ... Those of you who may not know me but read my blog will probably know this fact too (I'm not exactly shy to admit it) ... Let me clear something up ... Mormons are Christians ... I'm sorry if you don't think this ... I don't know how better to convince you in any other way than we worship Christ the Lord and his Father. simple as that ... I believe in Christ ... I believe he atoned for my sins in the Garden of Gethsemane, died for me on the cross, and was risen again after three days. These are things I know ... and by definition of Christianity I am most assuredly a Christian.

Now ... I live in Utah ... Where ... I think ... the percentage of Mormons is 51% ... I have lived all over these United States ... Utah, Pennsylvania, Texas ... but I have to say that I think Utah is the most difficult place to be a member of this church. Living in Pennsylvania I was the only female member in my grade at my school ... there were two other boys ... Living in Texas there were four of us ... one other girl and two boys ... However, this did not make things more difficult ... we were bonded together as a family ... we all stood for something ... my friends knew that swearing around me was to be kept to a minimum if not disbanded altogether. I will never forget the immediate connection I had with every move as I was accepted into the youth of the church ... because there were so few of us we were able to steady each other ... use each others strengths to build up our own weaknesses. Here in Utah it is different. I love that many stores are closed on Sunday ... I love that almost anyone you talk to has the same ideals and beliefs as you ... I love how you can walk down the street and there is no swearing ... so many things to love about being in Utah ... but with all of this positive comes negative. People in Utah are the most judgmental I have ever seen.

This makes me laugh ... We are taught in church that we are on this word to be perfected, not to be perfect ... now the reason I bring all of this up is because of our talks in Sacrament meeting today (this is the first hour of church where the whole congregation is joined together and taught by speakers [they change weekly and are just patrons of the ward]) ... no ... no one said that we have to be perfect ... promise ... but I was able to see how the scriptures used today could be construed to have people think this ... we studied Doctrine and Covenants 8: 118-119 ... now ... I am just going to focus on verse 119 ... this is what is says:

aOrganize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a bhouse, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;

holy crap ... this is a lot of pressure ... and if you aren't LDS and don't like me referencing D&C then you need to sit down and read the book of Proverbs (if you don't know where Proverbs is then you probably shouldn't be caring what I referenced) ... peppered throughout all scriptures are the things that we are supposed to do in order to live our lives "right" ... It's like pressure central up in there ... our house needs to be cleaned and organized ... we need to make sure that we are praying daily; personal, family, couples, and before meals ... we need to be making sure our kids and ourselves are constantly learning and feeling the spirit within our home. On and on and on.

Let me get something straight ... this is not a bad thing ... in fact ... this is a very good thing ... can you imagine going through life without a road map of where to go??? I couldn't ... I get lost driving down the street ... much less on the road of life! But what we need to remember is that the Gospel is perfect ... the people are not.

I was recently driving back from a bridal shower with two of my awesome sister-in-laws ... we were  having this exact same discussion ... their insight was eye-opening to me ... I thought that only Utah transplants felt this way ... but these two ladies who were born and raised in Utah had felt this same way at one point or another in their lives (I'm not going to go into our discussion of why ... that is their story to tell ... not mine) ... It reminded me of a quote from Dieter F. Uchtdorf (he is the second counselor in our General Presidency). During one of the more recent conferences (we have what is called general conference twice a year ... here the entire world meets to listen at the Prophet's feet) President Uchtdorf quoted a bumper-sticker that read "Don't judge me because I sin differently than you" ... This is exactly what we need to remember ... we all sin ... no one is perfect ... stop focusing on what others around you are doing or not doing and focus on your own life and what you can do to better yourself.

Wow ... that last paragraph rant was not where I wanted to go with my blog ... but I guess it should be said!

Back to the topic on hand though shall we ... We are not perfect and we do not have to be. What I really wanted to get out of this post is that we don't have to be perfect. I only have one kiddo and find it hard to keep my house perfectly clean one hundred percent of the time ... I can only imagine ... and dread ... what it would be like with two, three, or four (or more ... but you won't see more than that come out of my whoha) ... I guess I can tie my previous paragraph to this ... It is hard to feel like you are in this together when we are all constantly judging each other ... but really ... we are in this together ... this life is not easy ... and going it alone because you cannot stand that she/he never cook for their family or she is a working mother or they missed church last Sunday ... get over yourself ... those aren't even sins ... I bet you haven't done the laundry in two weeks. We need to learn that we are each going through this world to grow and to change and to be perfected ... not to be perfect by putting all the other housewives to shame and looking down on them ... wrongo!

I guess what I am getting at is that this world is too short to put so much pressure on yourself or others. All we need to do is focus on ourselves and what we can do to bring us closer to Christ. Each day is a new day to help us do that. What I love most about being a Mormon is that our church is based in part on love and acceptance (again ... the gospel is perfect the people are not ... I am sorry if you have had an experience that makes you think otherwise). We are taught the principles of Christ-like love and are encouraged to strive for those feelings inside of ourselves ... with that we are taught to love everyone ... sometimes it works and sometimes is doesn't ... but if we try that is good enough for the Lord for he knows what is in our hearts.

Things to take away:
  1. Try, but do not get discouraged if you fail - this life is all about trying and failing and trying and failing ... we need to realize that we are not perfect ... and we are not expected to be ... we are just expected to try ... try to be good ... try to establish our house ... It will take this whole life... maybe many lifetimes ... in the process of being perfected ... and I honestly believe that it will never be able to happen for anyone on this earth apart from Christ ... or else ... why did he even die for us?
  2. Do not judge others - this one is hard for me ... I like to gossip ... come on ... everyone does (right?) ... but what we need to realize is that we are all in this together ... we need to love and support each other ... just because they sin doesn't mean you should hate them ... because I know you sin too!