A month ago I was angry. Today I am sad. Sad that there is no way that I can ever be a good Mormon again. Sad that I will never achieve a couple of my goals--attending a session in the Manti Temple, and serving in the Young Women's organization. Trust me--they won't let me anywhere near the youth with my bad language and apostate ideas.
For the last month, I have been luke-warm with my church dedication and attendance. I watched/listened to a lot of conference (while doing yard work on Saturday and taking a nap on Sunday, LOL. Not sure how much I actually heard.) The kids and I have been sick off and on, so we've missed some meetings and gone to others. Glee started up again on Tuesday nights, so the kids, between homework and Glee,--and the Pink Dot event this last Tuesday--have not wanted to attend their youth meetings/activities.
But today, there was no hesitation from any of us to get up and get ready for church. The boys got themselves up and dressed, and they helped get the baby ready since I was still eating breakfast. No one whined about not wanting to go or about having a sore throat or an upset stomach. I was not dreading it; it just seemed like the normal "this is what we do every week" type of thing.
During Sacrament meeting, I read through my patriarchal blessing--pondering on how it fits into my life now, and sort of feeling inspired about continuing my church attendance the best I could, despite feeling like I would never have a temple recommend again. Maybe I would have it again someday when I had local leaders that I could actually sustain. In the mean time, I can endure. Members without recommends are second class, but I can handle being second class, right?
Then the second high council speaker was assigned President Benson's famous "14 points of following the prophet" or something like that. Scott and I have discussed this talk before and some of the issues he has with it. I have never read or listened to it very carefully. To illustrate one of the points, a story was told of a man that came from a different country to America to join the members of the church because a prophet told him to. Now he was complaining and disagreeing with the words of the current prophet. There was some quote read about how someone who cannot agree with the words of the prophets and apostles is on "the high road to apostasy."
Yep, I guess that is me. I felt a little down over the words, but not devastated. Not like I didn't already know that opinion. Yep, I'm an apostate. I've discussed this with one of my friends at school that is also an active member of the church. He agrees that there are problems in the church with leadership, with following blindly, with an attitude that "all is well in Zion." He is concerned, like I am, that the church has taken a turn from encouraging members to seek and follow personal revelation if it results in any deviation of a person from church policy to follow the spirit in their own lives.
There is much discussion in the news right now because of Mormon politicians about whether or not Mormonism might actually be a cult. This may sound horrible coming from a practicing Latter-day-saint, but you have to admit there is some cult-like behavior and ideas. Quotes like, "When the prophet speaks, the thinking has been done" remind me of the attitudes in terrorists, thinking they are only doing what they have been asked to do so that they can be with God. But that's different, Mormons say. Our church is actually true, and our prophet is actually telling us to do things that are good, like refusing to accept our gay loved one's partners or even consider that everyone should have equal rights when it comes to parenting and marriage.
Some of you may think I'm being too hard on myself for thinking I will never be anything but a second class Mormon. But when my own soul-searching and personal revelation ends up over and over and over that I should support gay marriage, and stand up for it, then how can I possibly ever answer those temple recommend questions honestly? At one point I thought I could, but the whole process has made me so angry, that I can't anymore. No, I don't sustain general and local authorities of the church. Some of them I do. President Uchdorf for example. I love that man. But President Packer? My stake President? Never going to happen. They are not willing to bend on their pet focus in life any more than I am. I cannot deny the mission that God has given me to be a gay-rights advocate, and my stake president apparently cannot stop shoving the message of "follow the prophet. follow your leaders. No matter what" down the throats of everyone who attends church in his stake. The two things do not go together. They cannot coexist. And since he is not going anywhere soon, to my knowledge, then I guess I have to be the one to go.
Wow, I blog so I can rant sometimes, and this is feeling good, so thanks for sticking with me.
Next failure of the day--scouting. Three years ago, my oldest son turned eleven and began participating in boy scouts, as every good Mormon boy does. The leaders stopped telling me exactly what he needed to do to earn whatever thing came next, like the cub-scout leaders do. So in three years, I don't think he has advanced in Scouts, even though he has attended two week-long summer camps, at least two winter camps and Klondikes, and many, many weekly scout meetings. Today the new Scout committee chair, who happens to also be a good friend of mine that I unloaded on a couple of weeks ago about my temple recommend situation, came outside and visited with me during Sunday School. It was all well and good until she started asking about which ones of my children were in scouts and what their rankings are. I had no idea. I don't know what he's earned, what is completed, and what he still has to do. It's all signed in his book, his former scout master says, when I went inside to get some information. Will his dad help him, the committee chair asks? Probably not. Scott's response: he doesn't feel like he is the one that earned his "Eagle Scout" awards and ranking. So he is of the opinion that if our sons want to earn ranks in scouting, then they should be the ones to read the book and figure out what they still need to do, and do it, rather than us holding their hand and dragging them through the process like he was. That makes sense. I should not have to feel guilty about what I don't get done. I have so much on my plate already. The same goes for my daughter's personal progress. She helps me so much. In my eyes, she has earned the highest award for being such a willing support and help to me. So if she doesn't end up getting the certificate and medallion on her own, does it really matter? It does if you want to be a first class Mormon, which our family obviously is not. Oh well. I'm so good at making myself feel guilty and feeling like a failure. I started this paragraph with the fact that our son started scouts 3 years ago. Scott came out of the closet 3 years and 3 months ago. Is is a coincidence that I have no idea what he has done in scouts? I think not. Give me a break. (She was not rude, FYI. I am telling myself and my own imposed guilt to give me a break. :)
Lastly, I go to relief society feeling like an apostate and a failure as a scout mom, and the lesson is on "signs of the second coming." By the end of the lesson, which included perusing the 45th section of the doctrine and covenants, I am convinced that since at the second coming it is black and white--there are the good people in the New Jerusalem in Missouri, and then there are the horrible people that are at war and their hearts have waxed cold with no love, lovers only of their own selves, filled with iniquity--that I am not good, so therefore I am doomed to be part of the second group. Remember I am on the high road to apostasy. Remember that I say things like "effin prophet" on facebook. Remember that I take my kids to the Pink Dot event instead of sending them to Scouts and Young Women's activities. Remember that I will never have a temple recommend again, so I am no longer qualified to stand in holy places.
Needless to say, I sobbed through the closing hymn, "Come let us rejoice", LOL. Tears ran down my face as I played "Master the tempest is raging" for postlude, as loud as I could, pounding my frustrating into the piano keys. And I continued to cry as I drove us home from church, dropping off my son and his friend to do fast offering call-backs.
The same son was ordained to be a teacher today, because even though he was sustained in Sacrament meeting last week, he was not feeling well, so I took him home. I asked the bishop if it was happening today. He asked if any family was coming. I said no. He asked who I wanted to do the ordination. I said I didn't care. I only wanted to be there if it was happening. So my son came to get me, and I attended as the Young Men's President ordained him and every Melchizedek priesthood holder in the room participated--probably 7 or 8 men. And then I went back to Relief Society and let everything sink in, and started to cry.
4 weeks ago