Wednesday, March 14, 2012

"Zion" Is Unity Forged Despite Differences

I walk a road much less traveled... a road I've never traveled, and it feels a little scary.

A friend of mine said that last year, and the following is my response to him:

"I hope you understand that many, many members understand that feeling. I've been walking my own road for a LONG time, especially since my individual road is neither that of the standard conservative or liberal groups in the Church. It's my own road, and it just happens to be one without walls or guardrails and one that straddles many intersecting roads - which means it's easier for me to fall, but it's also easier for me to communicate with those on other roads. That's a choice I made long ago, and I wouldn't change it for anything. I am gloriously happy and at peace in the LDS Church, but I am uniquely me, as well. 

My only caution in my response to you is to try to avoid thinking "the Church" is unique in its faults - and that you are alone in your views. I wish with all my heart it was the Zion of which we dream, but it's not - and it simply can't be unless all the membership intermingles with those who are different and learns to accept all. It simply can't be when those who see things differently than the majority leave. Zion isn't where all agree with each other on everything naturally. That, essentially, is Lucifer's plan - and it absolutely isn't what "the Church" teaches. Zion is unity forged despite differences.

There are FAR more members who don't walk in lock step with some perceived norm than most people realize - and the best wards, in my opinion, are those where differences are obvious and accepted. All of us like to think we are unique, but few of us really are. I believe a big part of "pure Mormonism" is to try to help those who might feel isolated and alone realize that there are plenty of others who feel that way - and I'm willing to bet my life's savings (granted, almost nothing) that most people who leave because "nobody agrees with or understands me" would be shocked to their core if they knew how many people in their own wards actually do agree with and understand them. Of course, that's not true of all congregations, but it's true of EVERY ward in which I've lived in my entire life - including more than one in Utah Valley.

I'm not saying everyone must stay actively involved in the LDS Church. That's up to each person - plain and simple. All I'm saying is that I believe strongly that there is a place in the Church for people like you - IF you want to engage on your own terms that are respectful and loving. (Elder Wirthlin is a wonderful example of that, if you need a role model.  His talk, "Concern for the One", is a masterpiece and should be internalized by every member of the Church.)"

1 comment:

Bonnie Atkinson said...

What a beautiful response to your friend. I am excited to find, as I've ventured the last week into the bloggernacle with a little trepidation, so many kindred-feeling spirits. I'm sure, with the circles well-established there, it's a bit like the new person who moves into the ward and bounces into well-established circles expecting to be welcomed and everyone has to take a breath and get used to them.) I just wrote on this last week, this road-less-traveled business, and we really all do need each other with all our delightful difference. http://bonnieblythe.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/briars-rocks-and-scary-beasts/