Friday, May 18, 2012

"The Church" vs. "My Church"

I think it VERY important to distinguish between "the reality of Mormonism in which we live" and what I call "pure Mormonism".

I deal with "reality"; I revel in "purity". In other words, I absolutely LOVE what I see as pure Mormonism, even as I have had to slog through practical Mormonism in some of the places I've lived. What fascinates me is when the two meet (or almost meet) - like in a couple of wards in which I've lived. Mormonism is amazing when it "works" - and I've seen it work. There really is nothing like that - and those experiences mean a lot to me.

I understand totally that not everyone has had that type of experience, but the irony is that it "works" when the group as a whole quits caring about doctrinal distinctions and just accepts people for who they are and how they view things. Obviously, that's not possible completely for all, since there are still some bright-line separators for many members (like how many members view and act toward homosexuals, for example) - but when you see a church community that embraces everyone for who they are (even those whom it understands won't join it and whose actions it can't condone), you begin to see "pure Mormonism".

Last point, and it's a critical one:

"The Church" CAN'T make that happen. It just can't.

It happens locally, often as the result of a handful of people who simply refuse to not embrace everyone - who invite anyone and everyone to worship with them - who have no problem sitting with someone who reeks of cigarette smoke and has a visible tatoo - who would stand up in the middle of the sacrament being passed and hug a drunk who walked through the chapel doors.

I stopped requiring "The Church" to change long ago and focused on changing "my church" wherever I lived - not in some judgmental way, but simply by trying to be the person I want to be and the person others need. There's a HUGE difference between insisting that others collectively change and focusing on changing myself.

2 comments:

Rich Alger said...

This is my focus too. Even more so, changing my heart, mind and hands to do what the Lord wants. Life is so much easier when I focus on what I know I can change.

ji said...

You wrote,

"I stopped requiring 'The Church' to change long ago and focused on changing 'my church' wherever I lived - not in some judgmental way, but simply by trying to be the person I want to be and the person others need. There's a HUGE difference between insisting that others collectively change and focusing on changing myself."

The only person I can change is myself.

Thanks!