Two important questions:
What is the best thing about being a Mormon?
What is the worst thing about being Mormon?
I would say the best and worst thing are the same thing one finds in small town living. Having a community of saints who know you well is both the best and worst thing.
The best is the peace the Gospel brings. The worst is dealing with the outside world’s perceptions of the Church.
I think the best thing is believing I am truly a child of God, not just a random act of nature that spontaneously occurred for no darn good reason. I need to know that someone cares about me. I am sure my drive to matter comes from my messed up childhood. Even having a wonderful spouse and family is not enough. I need the comfort that comes from a Heavenly Father who knows and loves me.
The worst thing is dealing with the politics of religion, walking the line between what is a cultural rule and what is truly the iron-clad, forever truth of the Gospel. The older I get the more I think most everything beyond “I am a Child of God” is cultural and very little of what I experience is really, honest-to-goodness eternal reality.
The best thing is the love people give unconditionally.
The worst thing is policies, and knowing how those policies are enforced varies by location.
The best thing about being a Mormon is the gospel.
The worst thing about being a Mormon is the church.
The best thing is the community. I recently considered a move across the country. I contacted a branch president there and he spoke with me for 30 minutes, giving me information. The next day I got a text from someone else in the ward ready and willing to help with anything I need. I ended up not moving, but it’s such a relief to know there is a support system waiting. This is the part I love.
The worst thing is the the close-minded thinking and the judgement that ensues. The “holier than thou” attitude nearly pushes me over the edge.
Jim D – right on – I agree with you completely.
I love everything everybody’s saying. Good topic :) Devyn. I second that!
The best thing is the community. Unless you don’t feel welcome or like you belong…then it’s the worst. I agree with Living in Zion’s perception that very little of what is presented as the gospel is more than the culture. I’ve decided that if it doesn’t lead to love, it probably isn’t that important a principle of the gospel, if it has any legitimacy at all. Judgmental old buggers can pound sand.
Cantinflas – You’re right, the community can be the worst at times. I think many people on these blogs have been in the position of being “outside the norm” and felt the effects of that. I love what you said about how if it doesn’t lead to love it’s not important. Just the past year I’ve come to that same conclusion. It’s the one “truth” I feel passionate about.
Best thing about being a Mormon is that the Gospel and to me the theology makes sense, the apostasy, the atonement, three seperate beings, premortality-it just makes sense.
The worst part about being Mormon is the Church. As I have explained elsewhere surviving Church is how it is at times. You know the gospel is the true way to be saved yet the church saps your strength. I call it the tension of your testimony. You can be pulled apart by the two poles of Gospel at one end and Church at the other. You can be focused on the theology and less on the rigors of church or you can be more focused on the church and activities and less on the theology and of course everything in between.
Personally I got married and divorced because of the Church and my self worth is somehow tied to it and at times it has been totally destroyed. I have all but given up believing my Patriarchal Blessing and don’t find comfort it. Sometimes I feel like ripping it up and forgetting the whole thing ever happened. It seems like in my life I have given everything I have to the Church and have gotten either nothing or badness in return. I have seen God in my life but it seems like what he does is at odds with what I learn at church so I dunno most times what to believe.
Best thing is my testimony of the Gospel. Worst is all the “required” time commitments for callings and activities through each month. As a branch member, I don’t mind all that, but it gets overwhelming at times.
I love everyone’s answers – thanks to all the commenters!
My favorite thing about being Mormon is Jesus. I love the doctrines about Him and my experiences with Him through the LDS church, Scriptures, callings, organizations, temple ordinances, etc.
The worst thing about being Mormon is going to church with people who are mean (btw, I know that there are mean people everywhere; it just hurts so bad when it’s at church).
Steamtrain, at the risk of sounding like a cliche, I feel your pain. I know a lot of people who have been through some very hard times and had to deal with some very difficult things. I have felt some of them myself. I wish peace for you and I know you can find it. I wouldn’t worry to much about your PB. It can be a source of advice and comfort but not all PBs are created equal. Focus on Christ and I think you will always be ok. That’s my belief anyway.
Best thing: polygamy in exaltation and eternal sex with all my polygamist wives.
Worst thing: tithing today
Good job, Charlie… Way to kill a thread. Who’s gonna top that now…?
Seriously, that’s neither here nor there and it’s not part of being a Mormon. You might say the “hope” of a polygamy society, but if that’s the best you can do… Ugh.
Are you kidding Tiger? There are numerous men in the church today who are eternally sealed to more than one woman. Eternal polygamy is absolutely a part of the current church. It’s not a hope, it’s reality.
err…topped by….tiger woods here on earth?
But seriously, it is part of mormon doctrine, I’m sure. as MCQ points out there are many men, Elders Nelson and Oaks for starters, who will have more than one wife sealed to them throughout eternity.
One may argue the sex issue but how else will spirit children be born to Gods? unless them gods know something I don’t, which off course could be the case.
MCQ: Um…not at all what I meant and I think you know it. Re-read the original question to this post. Since 1890, we (the Church) have strenuously distanced ourselves from any claims to practicing polygamy. You won’t find any church member claiming to “be” a polygamist. We all “hope” for exaltation but nothing, not even temple marriage(s), is a ticket to the highest kingdom (Remember David and Solomon?). So no…to me, Charlie’s answer is not part of “being” a Mormon. (And if he hopes for eternal sex with all his polygamist wives, then he better keep paying his tithing…!)
I didn’t mean to get this thread off track… Let’s keep those best/worst answers coming, folks!
Polygamy, homosexuality, abortion, married grad students on welfare, beards at BYU, McConkie’s Seven Deadly Heresies, TK-smoothies….. Once you go there, the thread NEVER goes back to the OP!
Thing I like best about being Mormon: Having the principle of Eternal Marriage. Also having the polygamy behind us and not part of our present day theology. I believe as Eugene England did about polygamy. It gives me great peace. http://eugeneengland.org/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/1987_e_001.pdf
That’s a great essay, LIZ, and England is one of my favorite writers, but I still think it’s incorrect to say that polygamy is not part of our present day theology as long as men can be eternally sealed to more than one wife. That is absolutely happening every day in our temples. How is that then not part of our present day theology?
Tiger, put your head in the sand all you want. I’m not a poygamist, and have no desire to be one, but we can’t hide from the fact that polygamy is part of our history and theology. Whatever position you take on it, it’s still there. My position is similar to England’s except that I believe it will be praccticed in the hereafter by some, not all, of those who achieve exaltation.
MCQ- Now that I think about it, I’m sure you are right. Polygamy will continue in some form into the next life because there are stupid women who agree to it. No accounting for taste.
LIZ, all I can suggest is that you make sure not to die before your husband, or you too could be one of those stupid women.
exactly what jim said: the best is the gospel, the worst is the church. we’re in a ward with no sense of community and i feel very ostracized from our ward. it’s easy for me to separate the church from the people, but it would still be nice to show up to a ward of smiling faces every once in a while.
MCQ, That it is in our history and theology is not in debate, nor is the fact that some individuals, while living monogamously, are sealed to multiple spouses. I had two issues to how #16 answered the OP question. First, “being Mormon” is not currently living in exaltation or living a celestial order of marriage—whether that entails plural marriage is inconclusive, as England’s paper eloquently illustrates. That’s the distinction I was trying to make. If you want to believe it as a reality, I really don’t care. For 122 years, the Lord has been absolutely mum on celestial marriage, and If, perchance, one day England’s paper is proven right on all counts (gasp!), then Charlie’s hopes are all but dashed. Now, if Charlie had said, “The best thing about being Mormon is knowing about polygamy in exaltation…”(which is probably what he meant) then this would be an entirely different discussion, if at all. Semantics, really… Seems silly, doesn’t it? Anyway, the Lord “will yet reveal many great and important things” that we cannot now possibly fathom.
The other issue I had was in the glib manner Charlie’s statement was made, as if there were consummations devoutly to be wished. I dunno if others took it that way. Maybe it was just me.
Tiger, people are in fact debating whether it is in our theology. That’s precisely what LIZ was saying in her comment. Maybe the Lord has been silent on the matter recently, but we still have section 132 in our scriptures. No one can say with a straight face that polygamy is not in our theology as long as that section is there.
One way in which certain people could verify celestial polygamy, is if a man, who is alive today, and who has been sealed to two spouses (the 2nd after the death of the first, naturally) has had both of them “sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise” and realized/knew he had had that sealing by the Holy Spirit.
The temple ceremony which we call a marriage sealing is conditional. It’s not “really” sealed, or guaranteed to be in effect in the CK until, as the D&C puts it, it is “sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise”.
One might assume that if that second “true” sealing (by the Holy Ghost) occurs, in either or both of the two marriages, that the parties would know it. And therefore such a man would be capable (thought probably not inclined) of informing us.
I don’t know of any scripture to back it up, but I would suppose, just as a logical extrapolation or deduction from what I do know, that the husband and wife would also have to have their calling and election made sure prior to, or at the same time as, having their marriage “sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise.” The reason for that is that being sealed to a spouse in the CK is only available to those in the highest degree, the exalted section. One has to be sealed to a spouse to be exalted, and one has to be exalted to be “truely” sealed to a spouse (ie, not just having gone through the temple sealing ceremony.)
If we assume that Elders Nelson and Oaks have had their calling and election made sure, then if they have had their marriages “sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise”, then they would likely be capable (though likely not inclined) of speaking to the matter.
I do like England’s caveats in his paper. He makes it clear that he is speculating, or extrapolating/deducing things based on what he does know, and has no directl knowledge of the matter. It’s so bloggernacle-ish. Except that most people on the ‘nacle forget to put their caveats in their posts.
When non-members jokingly ask me how many wives I have, I say that I’m still looking for my first.
And I love the stories about when women, who marry a widower in the church, are asked which wife number they are, they lean in and whisper “I’m his second!”
#29 I just meant that it’s not what I’m debating here, though it certainly has been debated forever…
#30 Good thoughts. I suspect only a small, tiny percentage of church members have been sealed twice and could speak to that sacred experience; that is, if they have, in fact, felt the Holy Spirit of Promise. If true, it’s probably kept strictly within the family.
Bill is sealed to his first wife and to me. I don’t think he realized that until last year when I was arguing about it on the bloggernacle and venting to him. I love her but I am sure not going to live with her eternally. Bill can, though. I’m going to be with Walt Whitman and his husband.
All joking aside (I thought Charlie was joking) and all solid pronunciations of “knowledge” aside, we Mormons are only slightly less clueless than the rest of humankind.
Deity, the meanng of life, afterlife—-all will become clear. And fair!
annegb – You always make me laugh. Can I drop by and visit you the Whitmans on occasion?
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