Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Painful Irony of Mother's Day

The following story was found on mormoncurtain.com and the original author is Ex-Lamanite. It was so good that I had to share it.

Within the LDS tradition, Mother's Day plays well into the whole "families are forever" theme, but for me, the irony was that Mother's Day eventually helped me to see the absurdity of Mormonism.

A lifetime ago, I was a young teenage convert who believed the Mormon message with all sincerity, but my parents remained unconverted. They respected my religious choices, but they themselves did not believe my new-found religion. Oh, I was a valiant little missionary who took every opportunity to preach the Gospel to my parents and to bear fervent testimony that our family could be eternal, if only they would accept the "truth." But sadly for me, my parents never joined the church. In fact, each of my parents told me in their own ways that they would never become Mormons, even if it were offered to them in the next life.

My parents' decision created a painful paradox. Every Sunday I sat in church and listened to the members, teachers, and priesthood leaders as they gushed on and on regarding the blessings of eternal family. Most of them came from multi-generational LDS families and would never know the pain of eternal separation from their loved ones, and more presently, they would never know that their words might create a miserable experience for the one lone boy in the congregation from the non-member family. But then again, most Mormons I knew cared precious little about the feelings of those who fall outside their narrow experience.

But I was still a young man, and I didn't see the church as the problem - I blamed myself. I thought perhaps that I had not been faithful enough, or that I had not prayed or fasted enough to be worthy of an eternal family. Even my patriarchal blessing said that if I was faithful, my parents would see my shining example and gain a testimony of the Gospel. When my parents remained steadfast in their denial of Mormonism, what other conclusion could I reach in my youth? I was the problem.

And this brings me back to Mother's Day.

Every Mother's Day, I sat alone at the back of the chapel and wept. While everyone else sang praises to their eternal families, I knew that I would be alone - I knew that my parents would never accept. The so-called blessings of the temple became a death sentence, an insurmountable wall that would one day separate me from everyone who ever mattered to me.

Eventually I went on a mission and married in the temple, still hoping that my faithfulness would convince my parents, but at some point, my eyes were opened and the absurdity of Mormonism became apparent. I realized that the whole "eternal family" doctrine was really a curse, not a blessing. It only works if EVERYONE agrees and submits to Mormon authority. But if one family member disagrees or "falls away," then even the faithful are punished and eternally separated from the ones they love. Suddenly I became deeply aware that I didn't want to inherit ANY kingdom, celestial or otherwise, where I would be forever deprived of my mother and
father.

To borrow a Mormon phrase, the scales of darkness fell from my eyes, and suddenly I saw misery all around me within the Mormon Church. I saw faithful LDS mothers weeping when their daughters marry outside the temple. I saw parents in agony when a child chose to not serve a mission. I saw wives in misery when their husbands leave the church, and young people feeling isolated and alone when one parent doesn't believe. I saw gay and lesbian family members ostracized and shunned. I saw divorced women in terror that they would spend all eternity ALONE. The Gospel is supposed to mean "Good News," but instead I saw that the teachings of the church bring pain and unhappiness to anyone who falls outside the Mormon ideal.

Worse yet, I realized that my obsession with converting my parents actually prevented me from having a close relationship with them. The church prides itself with being the champions of the pro-family movement, but for so many of us, they actually drive a wedge between families, in this life and in the next.

Once the illusion dissipated, I finally saw just how amazing and beautiful my parents ARE - and how deeply they always loved me. My "eternal family" is HERE and NOW.

8 comments:

Tyson Devereux said...

The church isn't true because of Mother's Day? Wow, you are realllllly stretching.

postmormon girl said...

I never did understand the benevolence of a God that would insist on a person choosing one arbitrary set of beliefs over another. And punish that person for not choosing the "right" arbitrary set of beliefs.

weston krogstadt said...

How mnay years have you been at this? I guess the bretheren are right: they can leave the church but they can't leave it alone.

Mormon411 said...

Tyson, did you even read the message or just read the title? This author is sharing a real concern and you dismiss it all just because it goes contrary to your true beliefs.

Postmormon girl, yea it sure sounds like god is a nitpickey dude doesn't it... kind of like how a god would be who was made up by man.

Weston, I've been at it since 2007. How long has the Mormon church been at it? A whole hell of a lot longer than me. I will leave the LDS church alone as soon as they leave the world alone.

They can leave the world, but they can't leave the world alone.

The bretheren have also said that blacks would never hold the priesthood. Just because they said something doesn't mean you need to get a big woodie about it.

penniemoney said...

I haven't beeen an active member of the LDS church for twenty-five years, but I continued to recieve uninvited visits from members and missionaries for several years. I called the church and then wrote the bishop of the local ward to request no more visits. He responded by telling me, in Old English language, that I would no longer recieve blessings from the Holy Ghost if I removed
my name from the members list. Eventually, after
many more visits, I wrote the records department in
Utah to officially resign. Last month, Mormon
missionaries came to my door looking for my sixteen
year old son. This church has not left me alone, in fact, the Mormons have not respected my rights as an American woman.

Mormon411 said...

Pennie, I wish I could say I was surprised to hear this, but it is actually typical behavior for them. I have heard that even with name removal and resignation they still keep a file on you. If anyone ever wishes to be re-baptized, they have all the records of your past sins and they will make you thoroughly repent before you can join up again. Yes, they keep tabs on you even after you are no longer a member.

penniemoney said...

Well, that's really creepy. I was adopted by a Mormon family when I was ten years old, but I stopped going soon after I was baptized at fifteen. I was a part of that organization for only five years, and yet I am still dealing with them, unwillingly, all these years later. I didn't have all the facts at the time of my baptism, so it is refreshing to see people, such as you, sharing the truth. It seems that Mormons think that constantly proclaiming something is true, somehow makes it true.

Mormon411 said...

If you were not aware of all the facts when you were 15, just imagine how much more unaware you would have been at 8! I STRONGLY feel that 8 (the age when children born into Mormons homes are typically baptized) is not nearly old enough to understand all the commitments you are making. They know very well that their most fervant converts are the ones they can brainwash from infancy.