Friday, March 28, 2014

Black Sheep

When I got a Tinder account my status regarding the LDS (that's the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or Mormon, in case you didn't know) became very apparent. 
One of the first questions every guy will ask or will have on his profile is "Are you LDS?" 
I get it. Knowing that you share the same beliefs with someone before you go out with them or consider them as a potential partner is important, but they don't even know how complicated of a question that is for me to answer. 
And I know that I am not the only one. 
When I was in middle school, I had an enormous crush on a boy who was a firm believer in the LDS church.  I started getting to know him. We talked on MSN messenger every evening after school and were fast friends.  This was back when we had dial up and still answered the land line...seems like it was so long ago.  Religion really wasn't an issue between the two of us.
 One night, he invited me to an etiquette dinner hosted by his ward. This dinner was meant to teach young men and women the proper customs and courtesies when you go out on a date.  The Church doesn't encourage dating until the age of 16. This was just prep for the future. 
After this dinner, I suddenly decided that I needed to go to church.  That if I wanted boys like that to like me, I needed to be that girl. The one who can quote the scripture and attends all of the activities. The Good Little Mormon Girl.  For my 9th grade year, I started Seminary. It was early morning and was hard for 9th grade me, but I attended every school day and I do believe I was better for it.  I even went to church each Sunday for months. I went alone and I sat alone, but I went. 
As the weeks passed on, it got harder and harder to attend church. Not because it became less true or my ward was bad or something. I actually quite like my ward, but it just felt...cold. The good feeling I got when I first walked in every Sunday began to fade and love I felt waned.  Being that Good Little Mormon Girl I so desperately wanted to encompass started to feel impossible. It just wasn't me.  I wasn't that girl.  I stopped attending church each Sunday and I have scarcely attended since. 
As I've gotten older and lived a little bit more life, things have changed. I've changed and my views of the world have changed and now I see things differently.  I have actually gotten out of the bubble that is Utah and seen what there is beyond the Mormon Church.  I am still struggling with who I want to be and if I want to give that girl who went to church every Sunday a shot.
What I do know though, without a doubt in my mind, is that if I drop to my knees and utter words of prayer, someone is listening.  Over and over again while I was in training, I would close my eyes and pray for protection or strength or the will to carry on when I felt like I couldn't anymore. And somehow when it felt as if I wouldn't be able to put one foot in front of the other, my pack would feel lighter and a breeze would blow through, cooling me off and giving me a second wind...I know The words of prayer aren't for nothing, so I guess that's a start.


Rebecca Mulford said...

Oh Katie. I absolutely love this and absolutely love you. You said so much of how I feel and the very last paragraph I related more than anything. Thank you for your honesty abd commitment to be true to yourself. Also, thank you for inspiring me. For months I've been struggling with the idea if going, or not going to church. The biggest thing that has are at my conscience, is my children. I too went to church alone for many years, and gained that same understanding of a power greater than myself that loves me, and is always there. You helped me finally make the connection in my head that the only thing I've been wanting for my kids is to know and trust that too. You're such a talented gal. Proud to call you my cousin and enjoy watching you continue to excel and thrive.

Ashley a.k.a. Sweaty Girl said...

I had a Tinder account for less than two weeks. All I got were guys looking for random hookups. App has now been deleted.

I consider myself to be an atheist. I have my various reasons for being so. That being said I'm one of the most tolerant, non-judging person alive when it comes to religion (minus the group from the documentary called Jesus Camp). It makes dating very hard. But, it is very important to stay true to myself.

Janna Renee said...

I can imagine that you situation brings a whole new set of troubles with it.l More power to ya girlfriend!!

Ashley said...

I love this post. I can completely relate to it even if I'm not Mormon.

Kylie said...

I loved this, and I am so glad you wrote about it! Coming from someone who fits the "Good Little Mormon Girl" stereotype, I can tell you that I don't go to church in order to fit into a perfect little mold. I go to church because everything I have learned through the LDS church I know to be true. It sounds like you've absorbed some of these truths as well (be it through church or somewhere else), and I'm so glad you know that God is there listening. Personally, I feel God's presence more strongly in my life when I am attending church each week, reading my scriptures, and praying every day--doing those things that apparently make up the "Good Little Mormon Girl" stereotype. But I know that God will make His love known to each of His children if their hearts are willing to hear Him, regardless of church attendance.

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