Saturday, December 13, 2008

I Simply Am a Mormon

In every objectively measurable way, I am a rock-solid Mormon. Those who know me and hear me speak often identify me as a conservative member. They see my current and past callings, my large family, my occupational choices, etc. and make an assumption based on what they observe.

Based on that visual assumption, I get away with teaching much of what is called "liberal" in some meetings without being called "liberal" by my fellow ward and stake members. That absolutely fascinates me. I personally hate these labels, since they almost never capture the full picture for individual members, tend to separate instead of unify and cause argument and contention where none is needed or helpful or uplifting. That saddens me more than I can express here.

How you or I understand our religion is a matter with which you and I need to struggle individually. As for me, I choose simply to judge not, that I be not judged. Even though I disagree adamantly with many people's answers, I have no problem accepting anyone who agrees with them as a believing, faithful Mormon.

So, for the record, I am both a conservative Mormon AND a liberal Mormon - according to how others view my statements and beliefs. To me, I simply am a Mormon.

4 comments:

NoSurfGirl said...

Ray,

I love that. I think my problem is I label myself. It's so much easier sometimes, to hide defensively behind a label... label yourself before others label you. If I get a fresh start, ward-wise, I think maybe I'll avoid being labeled. I'm sure people are listening a lot harder when they're not labeling.

Papa D said...

"I think my problem is I label myself."

It really is hard not to do so.

"I'm sure people are listening a lot harder when they're not labeling."

Amen. That's one of the worst effects of labeling in my mind.

Joe said...

You're a good man, Ray. I love to hear what people have to say. One of my fondest memories of the West Chester Ward was Gospel Principles class, because you always had something to say. I'm a big fan!

Papa D said...

Joe, I mean this sincerely:

One of my favorite memories of ANY ward I have attended over the last few decades was sitting in Gospel Doctrine class with you and watching you grow in the Gospel.

It means a lot to me that you read my thoughts here.