And I’m a Mormon…sort of.
Now before BOTH sides of the argument get their panties in a bunch let me set a few things straight…
I was born and raised in the LDS church.
I believe in God and Jesus Christ.
I believe in family and forgiveness.
I chose to stop participating in the church when I was 30.
I believe in marriage. For every consenting adult.
I believe in free agency.
I believe women and men are both inherently equal in God’s eyes.
I don’t believe there is one true way to live righteously.
Ok. Have we covered the basics?
The thing is…I have spent more time in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (what most people call the Mormon church) than I have spent out of it and while there are a few, rather substantial pieces of doctrine that do not align with my own personal belief system, I am in the fray. I did not leave angry. I am not “anti”. I don’t advocate anyone leave, or for that matter, anyone join. There are MANY more Mormon’s that I love and respect, than not. In many ways they are, for the most part, good, loving, hard working and peace seeking people who just believe something different than I do.
I don’t care to argue the doctrine I don’t believe in with active members of the church. I know it won’t change minds and I respect their right to believe as they do. I share my opinion when it’s asked for or when circumstances call for it and I certainly vote with my conscience, my heart and my mind.
I don’t campaign against “the church”, I don’t carry an angry torch. I don’t look for opportunities to poke at it, demean it or those who belong to it. When others associate polygamy to the current LDS church I correct them. When fallacies are spoken I speak up and defend the truth I know.
But here’s the thing…
I make a mean jello with nuts, whipped cream and fruit.
When someone dies or gives birth I feel a need to make a casserole for the family. Also, I absolutely LOVE casserole.
I have a strong desire to take care of those who need help.
I want to learn how to can fruit-it’s a skill I’m guilty I don’t have.
I love homemade bread and scones.
I know how to cook for a huge amount of people.
I can throw a pot luck together in ten seconds flat.
I love Primary Songs and sing them in my head subconsciously.
LDS Hymns are as familiar to me as the Happy Birthday Song.
My family is my first and most important stewardship.
I can craft with the best of them.
I came from a big family and I’m a mom to six kids.
I write in what my sisters call “Mormon writing”.
I appreciate modesty.
I like a good org chart and love to lead.
I have always loved to speak publicly and teach.
I have a relationship with all of my first cousins and many of my mother’s cousins children-I also know their kids’ names.
I have wicked good family reunions!
You know…I have known a fair amount of Jewish people but many of them do not practice the Jewish religion in it’s orthodoxy. And that’s socially acceptable. We separate the culture and the religion on some level as a society. When one says they are Mormon-it’s not a question of culture or religion-it’s all or nothing. You either are or you aren’t and both those inside the church and outsiders react with the same assumption. The LDS church is still in it’s infancy in the grand scheme of religion, so it causes me to wonder if perhaps there will be a day that it’s socially acceptable to claim my heritage, of which I am proud of, as Mormon, without the automatic assumption I subscribe to the LDS doctrine. It is where I came from, where my mother and her mother and HER mother came from. It played a large part in making me who I am today and I have fond feelings for much of it. I am grateful for where I came from, for the lessons I learned, for the heritage I have and the people who feel the same.
But at this point, it’s one and the same to most of the world.
I either am or I’m not. At least to you.
To me? I’m culturally Mormon. I claim my heritage and love it. I embrace it, I hand it down to my children and I long for the day when there’s a place I fit in the rest of the world’s eyes.
Until then…I’m making casserole, baking bread, creating care packages and singing hymns in my head. I’m not going back to the LDS church and I don’t subscribe to the doctrine as a whole. However…I believe in being honest, true to myself, benevolent and virtuous and in doing good to all men. If there is anything lovely, virtuous, or of good report, I will always seek after these things.
Can’t help it.
It’s who I am.
It’s in my blood.
And I like that.
But don’t be surprised when I see more virtue in the world than I did before.