The other day while I was at work a family member of my patient said this to me. "Not that I need to know, but are you LDS?" My reply was .. "Well, I don't know. (Pause) I used to be." To which she began to ramble on about on well we love you anyway, and started to share a story about a friend of hers that isn't LDS or Mormon, and how much she loved her "anyway" too...WTF!!! I was annoyed. Really, I've had a lot of people ask me that question, but I've never had a person react like that to my reply.
I've been wondering, if maybe I was the problem because I really haven't figured out how to answer that question anymore. I used to say yes, because I was a TBM. Then I was inactive so I'd still say yes, and occasionally move on to more conversation about the Mormon church and why I was inactive, if I was so inclined. Now that I am considering resigning my membership in the church it feels hypocritical to say yes, even though officially I am still a member.
That is one of the biggest reasons I want to resign, well other than not believing it anymore, DUH. I can't not believe in the church, and still say I am a member. Hypocrisy is the biggest turn off for me. I have never wanted to BE someone on the outside, when on the inside I am thinking and feeling something totally different. In fact, I'm sure that pretending to be the person I wasn't played a huge part in my divorce, and frankly in the relationship I had with my ex's family. I just refused to pretend that my shit didn't stink in front of them and it just didn't jive well.
I don't ask people what religion they are. I have a friend that had moved to Utah, from the North East. Her name is Mary and she was of a faith other than the predominant one here. One day she and I were chatting after the city celebration parade, and the Mormon missionaries came up behind us. They boldly asked us, "Are you members of the church?" I said I was, because at the time I was TBM, but Mary's response was classic and it was the best example I have ever seen of showing a person how offensive it was to her to be asked that question. She turned to the young elders and said, "Which Church are you asking me about? I do belong to a church, and if you want to know I am Lutheran and I attend that church down the road. When you blindly ask if I am a member of "the church" you must state which church or religion that is, because there are hundreds of churches and religions in the world, young men." I was clapping inside and smiling on the outside...way to go Mary!!
Even though I was TBM, my life has always been filled with people from all walks of life. I may have shared my story about being 5 and asking my mom to go to catechism with my other 5 year old friend, but I'm sharing it again because it really shaped a part of who I am and why I have always "tried" to be open to everyone. So like I said when I was 5 I had a friend, and at that time of my life friends were hard to come by. I was sure it was because I was a Mormon living in Montana, but that's never been proven. My friend invited me to catechism, and not caring or know what catechism was I innocently asked my mom if I could go with my friend to it. Her response was, "No, you can't go, but you are welcome to invite her to Primary with us." My 5 year old mind was confused. Huh? Why? I just wanted to be with my friend. As I remember there was some discussion later in the evening as to why, but I don't have those details memorized, so I'll skip that. So there you go my first lesson on hypocrisy. I experienced a few more of these lessons in my life but that is the one I remember being first. Because of that experience I make sure that people know I have no judgment for what they believe and that I am interested in learning more about it, if they are willing to share.
I mentioned living in Montana when I was 5, and I have lived in a lot of other places that were not predominately Mormon, so I know what it feels like to be the odd man out, so to speak. I learned to grab a friend when a friend was willing. I didn't care what religion they were, or what color their skin was, or how much money their parents made. In fact I grew up around a lot of people with money and it didn't make then any nicer than anyone else. As I have grown in to an adult I have learned to embrace all the differences around me even more and love them. I even embrace the religion I am leaving because it has taught me many of the lessons of my life, and I would not be who I am with out it. BUT PLEASE FOR THE SAKE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, DO NOT SAY YOU LOVE ME "ANYWAY" WHEN YOU FIND OUT I AM NOT A MEMBER OF "THE CHURCH"... Amen..?