Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Not that I need to know, but....

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..?


  1. Whoo! Wow, you can't go learn about another faith when it wasn't even the intention of the invite, but she's totally cool with interfering with somebody else's kid's religious education. That's just sad.

    Cool post - I'm kind of in the middle of a crisis in my own life. I can't in good conscience put my (hypothetical) kids through religious education or worship in a church that treats women like crap, but I'm afraid of how my family will react. I know I had such contempt for people who identified as believers but didn't practice at all. I hate to think I'll be the target of that kind of criticism for acting according to my conscience. Ugh. I just don't know what to do.

  2. Thanks Carla. I do have to say in my mom defense she was only doing what she believed to be right, but still ...
    I was finding myself in the same place as you, and I wasn't sure how or if I was going to share with my family. One day I just decided that it is what it is and if they find out I'll deal with it then, and if not then it doesn't matter. I am not going to change what I say, or who I am regardless. Thanks for liking my post.