Screaming My Truth Softly

Being a politically and socially progressive person kind of set me up for a lot of disappointment while I was active in the Mormon Church. I could never close the gap or minimize the dissonance constantly present between the life of love, empathy and compassion I wanted to live and the critical, judgmental life I experienced so often in the church. I constantly found myself on the other side of the fence from other 'more faithful' members on most social and political issues.

A lot of people can live in the duality of church activity with all the dissonance; still finding they are uplifted and edified. For me, however, it got to a point where I rarely felt good at church; in fact, it was quite the opposite. I would go to church on Sunday and leave absolutely exhausted and drained of any good will I had built up during the week. Being with the Saints on Sunday was kicking my butt.

Eventually I just didn't want the conflict in my life. I no longer wanted to spend my time in church getting frustrated and angry taking up the fight for social justice in Sunday School. I was tired of the importance being placed on things I found trivial; like, should teenage boys masturbate, should a young man not wearing a white shirt be restricted from passing the sacrament, should young women be passing the sacrament, should a young woman be told her greatest calling in life is to be a mother while at the same time a young man is not told that his greatest calling in life is to be a father along with so many other things I had grown tired of. 

I was a square peg in a round hole and it was becoming uncomfortable and restrictive. I was not supported in being the person I wanted to be. What I found was the tendency, of some members, to constantly measure themselves, and others, against a ruler of perfection and a false notion of righteousness. Without even being aware of it many became quite harsh in their perception of the world and the people in it. Self righteousness was in their veins and they didn't even realize they were judging and being holier than thou. It simply became a way of living.

Of course it's human nature to judge, or make judgments. We make judgments while choosing our personal standard of living. We make judgments, or decisions, about what we will do in any particular situation or in what we wear or in what we eat and drink. It's healthy to have a strong sense of your ethical standard and know who you are and who you want to be in the world. The problem, I believe, comes when you let someone, or something, else set your standards for you. You begin to think your moral standards are the 'only true standards' and then you take a hold of that ruler of righteousness and beat others over the head with it.

Be careful how you use that ruler; it just may be the very thing that blocks your entrance into Heaven as you know it. Don't forget what is important--empathy, understanding, responsibility to do good in the world. Decide who you want to be in the world then rid yourself of the influences and practices not supporting you. If the church supports you in being who you want to be then, by all means, stay, it's a good place for you. If the church stops you from being who you want to be in the world then leave it behind.

And for hell's sake support and uplift others and don't worry so much about spreading your brand of happiness. We don't exist to save others; we just happen to find ourselves on this planet at the same time. Our paths have crossed and by mere coincidence we have this opportunity to interact with one another. It's not my job to convince you that I am right and you are wrong. It's not your job to decide I am a sinner but you're going to love me anyway. There's not a singular path to happiness; stop trying to convince others your path is best. Just enjoy the journey and do your best to uplift and support others on their journey.

If this life is all we have and there is no God or Heaven or eternal anything then wouldn't you want to live life to it's fullest by being a happy, kind person? Wouldn't you want to take advantage of every day you have with your loved ones? Wouldn't you want to live a life worth living? And if there is a God and a Heaven and an eternal existence then wouldn't you want to do exactly the same thing? Let's just get down to the business of living and figuring shit out. Let's just hold on to each other and make our way through life as best we can.

Every day, it seems, I make adjustments to my thinking and to my living. I see my truth, I do my best, I slip up, I adjust then I try again. This is my imperfect life and I am content with it. There is some discontent in there too; just enough to keep me moving forward.

Every so often I want to scream my truth to others; and now and again do scream. To keep from screaming too much I write it down here in my blog and send it out to the blogosphere where a few people will come across it; most likely, not by divine intervention but merely by chance. If you find yourself reading this post I hope it resonates in some way. I hope it either disturbs you or comforts you.


  1. This is timely for me because I'm working on a post about how I used to dread the weekends -- mainly because my experience at church was so similar to yours. Imagine debating the moral intricacies of what sort of shirt a young man should wear when passing the sacrament! Thanks for another thoughtful post! I always smile when I see you jump to the top of my blogroll. :)

    1. Great post over on Ward Gossip Donna!

      The church is such a energy sucker. So glad to own my own time, my own mind and my own heart.