Saturday, October 12, 2013

Accepting My Own Differences in Cases Where I am Different than Other Mormons

A good friend asked me recently how I embrace the LDS Church as being "my church" in a way that is fulfilling - that helps me feel a sense of personal "ownership" without any angst when I see some things differently than others.  I told him I would think about it and respond once I had the time to contemplate his question and give it the thought it deserves.

The following is my response to him: 

I think, for me, it boils down to the fact that I have been the odd duck all my life. I had to be OK with being different and seeing things differently than everyone else from the time I was . . . probably consciously . . . about seven years old, when I read the Book of Mormon on my own for the first time and realized I was getting different historical conclusions from it than I was hearing in Primary and Sacrament Meeting. If I couldn't be comfortable being different and not caring if others agreed with me or not, I would have been a basket-case at an early age.

In other words, I've been heterodox in some ways and had to "own" my different perspectives and my place in "my church" for as long as I can remember. I was where you are now as an adult before I was baptized at age eight. I'm not saying it was easy, and I'm not making any statement other than it's just a matter of accepting yourself for who you are when it comes to these things and learning to be fine with your best effort. That attitude helps because it eliminates the angst by focusing, ironically, on what I would call "pure faith and hope". I'm really weird in some ways, even within a peculiar people, so the only way I can be at peace within that peculiarity is to realize that all I can control (and even that not fully) is myself and living according to the dictates of my own (moral and intellectual) conscience.

Nobody else can make be happy, if I am not happy within myself. Once I am happy within myself, nobody else can make me unhappy. They can frustrate me, but even that is fleeting - when I can turn around and grant them the same privilege I have granted myself.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lovely.Perhaps your family experience was formative in helping you to accept difference, both in your self and others.
How lovely heterodoxy is. it allos all to be included by the circle of God's love.