Friday, January 27, 2012

It's not easy being .... Mormon

Not to whine, but it's true.  Straight is the way and narrow is the path, I guess.  Wouldn't choose anything different because I'm soooo happy where I am.

Still - it causes some amount of frustration.  People call me old fashioned or out of touch or even prejudice.  I AM old fashioned, but I try not to be out of touch and I am committed to conquering my unrealistic fears and ignorance. No tooting my own horn - I have a long way to go, but I think the first step against prejudice is to recognize that I am not all knowing, all seeing or in any way qualified to judge.  That said, neither is anyone else.  

I have a woman that I see most every morning where I exercise.  She is passionate about the fact that the world is overpopulated, that children are obnoxious and totally unnecessary, that most people are stupid and that she has been enlightened enough to point it out.  It is uncomfortable (nigh onto enraging) to share how much I love my grandchildren, my faith or my viewpoints because she will steamroll over me and anyone else around us.  She will yell, she will ridicule.  Its extremely frustrating. 

Because my religious choice is being hyper analyzed during this particular election season, I am especially sensitive to the 'mocking' and 'finger pointing' factor.  Candidate against candidate, group against group, voter against voter.  It is not only acceptable in today's world, it seems, it is expected.  These are the actions one must take to fight _______________ (fill in the blank).  But does it accomplish anything?

Okay, I'll admit it.  I'm a fighter.  I have an overwhelming sense of righteous indignation.  But I'm also getting old and either oh so wiser or oh so tired.  Either way, I have become reconciled to the fact that fighting back, debating emotionally or acting all offended isn't going to prove anything.  

I want people to know that I am a Christian.  I want people to know that belonging to "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints means exactly that. But will people believe that I am a Christian because I tell them I am?  My experience tells me NO!  My only real hope that people will believe it is if I live it - humbly and determinedly.

So as I pondered this this morning, it reminds me of a scripture from The Book of Mormon (this is a section referred to as "Lehi's Dream"):

1 Nephi 8:26 And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the aother side of the river of water, a great and bspacious building; and it stood as it were in the cair, high above the earth.

27 And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the aattitude of bmocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit.

28 And after they (the people seeking God) had atasted of the fruit they were bashamed, because of those that were cscoffing at them; and they dfell away into forbidden paths and were lost.

I do not expect everyone in the whole wide world to believe this scripture (though how grand it would be.)  It is suffice to know that I not only believe it, but that I recognize the universal truths outlined in it. First, that if I really believe what I believe, I will not be swayed by the disapproval of others.  Second, the fact is that people judge harshly against anything contrary to how they think, feel, live.  Whether right or wrong is not really the point (though people THINK it is) because people rarely understand that their viewpoint MAY be flawed, especially when it comes to understanding others.

I have not traveled as extensively as I hope to, but I have been on some grand adventures where I lived with and worked with people of varying faiths, cultures and lifestyles.  What I found out was that universal truths are universal truths.  First and foremost, people are - in general - good.  Mob mentality and prejudice aside, get a person to talk to you one on one, and you will find more similarities than differences.