By Heather O.
This is a guest post from Jamie. You can visit her at her blog at http://www.jamiewearsflipflops.blogspot.com/
I had a conversation with my mom today. She started out by saying, “I know you kids struggle with me not being active in the church.” (For the record, I don’t struggle with it. I am not happy with the choices that she has made, but I don’t judge or condemn her for them.)
I knew this was going somewhere so I just let her continue to talk. She said how it was so hard for her to be married to my dad for 29 years. (Last year my parents were divorced) She felt like he was always telling her how to live her life according to the principles of the gospel. Not only my dad, but everyone in the church. She left because she was so tired of everyone telling her how she was supposed to live and what to do. She felt stifled and pressured.
In the end she said she was telling me all this because she didn’t want me to have to do anything I didn’t want to do just because I was a member of the Church.
My mom is a convert of about 35 or so years. I grew up in the church. My parents taught me the gospel and how to live a righteous life. I told my mom that I do not feel the pressure that some people feel from the church culture to “conform.” Honestly I can’t remember ever feeling that way. Personally I don’t even know what I’m supposed to “conform” to. I don’t feel like there is anyone breathing down my neck and telling me I have to do something because I’m LDS. In fact it’s just the opposite. I don’t do anything I don’t want to do.
Now there are some things that are hard for me–like my current calling–but hard and challenging is not a reason to say no to something. There are some days I really don’t want to teach that class, but it’s not that I really don’t want to, it’s that I don’t want to put forth the effort.
When I was in High School I had migraine headaches. I didn’t know they were migraines at the time, I just thought they were really bad headaches. Looking back I know they were migraines because I would come home from school and just want to sleep for at least three hours and hope they were gone when I woke up or not look at any light and lay as still as I could. There were many times when I had these headaches that my mom would drag me to Mutual activities. I can vividly remember laying down in the van on the way to the church building with my eyes closed because it was too painful to look at the oncoming cars and their lights.
She made me go to Mutual every week. When I got there I would just find a nice quiet place to lay down until it was time to go home. It would have been better had I just stayed home on those days. Because of that experience, I don’t do anything I don’t want to do. I told my mom that today.
I also have a friend that I went to college with that feels similar to the way my mom feels. She is also a recent convert as well.
So my questions for you are these:
Are you a convert or a life long member?
Do you feel pressure to conform to certain standards as a member of the church?
Do you do things out of obligation because people tell you that is what is best for you? Or do you just live your life the way you want and that happens to coincide to the principles of the Gospel?
Or something else??