Sunday, September 20, 2009

Being in the World

Its HARD to be IN the world.  But we have to be, don't we?  Recently I've been thinking alot about how much my life has changed, all for the good, but how in that change I feel uncomfortable, stretched a little beyond where I feel at ease.  But being IN the world offers opportunities for personal growth, the kind that we cannot get when we stay in our protective cocoon.  

Recently I've realized that for the first time in my life, my friendships have extended outside of my cocoon of safety into the realm of those outside my religion.  I've always had one or two friends who did not share my beliefs, but I find myself now in the curious position of having most of my friends not share my beliefs.  I feel stretched a little beyond my capacity to feel comfortable.  But I love these people. They are good and kind friends, they are worth stretching a little for. 

I think the main reason for my discomfort is the knowledge that many of them attend churches which actively preach against my church.  Some of them even organize protests against us. (I'm not aware that any of my friends have participated in such a thing, I just know that some attend churches that organize these kinds of things.) I feel betrayed in a small way every time they say how much they love their church, and yet, I know they aren't meaning to betray our friendship, they are meaning to share their love for Christ and the experiences they have in their own centers of worship.  But I still feel betrayed.  I really wonder what they think when their Pastors get onto Anti-Mormon topics.  Do they think "Amen Brother! I'm gonna pray for my sinner friends to leave that church."  Or do they think "I don't know if this makes sense, I don't think my friend Lisa would believe that."  I hope its the latter, but I doubt it, as they never ask me to clarify anything for them. ( I have a sneaking suspicion that they've been carefully instructed by Pastors who are tired of losing tithe paying members to the Mormons, not to ask a Mormon about their beliefs, because they'll trick you into believing they are Christians...we are Christians, we just happen to believe that God the Father, His son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three separate beings, that's the biggest contention, really it is! You'll be amazed at how much everything else matches, at how much everything we believe can be supported Biblically.)

I realize that if they are not worried about hanging out with a Mormon, I shouldn't be worried about whether they accept me or not.  Its obvious that they enjoy my friendship as much as I enjoy theirs.  I just wonder how it is that they can feel comfortable listening to outrageous lies about a group of people to whom a good friend of theirs belongs.  That's all.

But like I said in the beginning, growth is uncomfortable, and if having friends who stretch me, make me dig deeper into my beliefs, and challenge me to grow in ways they are not aware of is part of my human experience, then I intend to participate, and I intend to eventually get comfortable.  Then again, beware comfort! It always leads to a bigger learning lesson.


Kristina P. said...

It's a tough balance sometimes.

Living in Utah, it's a lot easier for me than most, probably. We got a new intern in our office who has zero filter. She moved to Utah from California, but her family is LDS. She has made statements about having really bad experiences with religion.

We were having a conversation about how my not-Mormon coworker is always mistaken for being Mormon and people ask him often where he served his mission. Intern asked him if he did serve a mission and we told her he wasn't LDS. She started to say something, and then asked who was Mormon. I said that I was, along with my other coworker. We're actually in the minority.

She said that she better not say anything derogatory then. Umm, OK? Why would you say something derogatory to begin with. It's going to be a long year.

I also couldn't help but think of my gay friends who probably feel the same way about me and my faith, as you do about your friends of other religions. And yet they still love me.

Kristina P. said...

Oh, and I'm posting about Mormon stereotypes tomorrow. I'm curious as to what kind of response I'll get.

Jessie Geroux said...

I'll step out of my comfort zone a little here just to say hi, and smile as one of your non mormon friends. It was not until very recently that I sat in a pew of a church and had the pastor specifically speak badly about something that I personally have grown to believe strongly in. The doctrine at this particular church denomination just did not meld with what I believe in my heart is of the Bible-this said I actually did remark to Jas "wow now I know how the Mormons must feel"

I absolutely have a million questions (some of which) I have asked of some of the people that have come and gone from my life that are LDS, some that got answered some not so much. I don't agree with standing at a pulpit and spewing hatred or misinformation about any certain group personally. Have I been taught that mormons are not Christian, yup, I have also been taught that the only thing between us and Heaven is believing in Jesus Christ, that he was born a virgin and he died and rose again to take away my sins. As far as I am concerned if LDS teaches THAT then I don't really care what else is there so won't be judging it.

but thats just me ;-)

Lara said...

This has come in a very timely manner for me. I am finding myself in a similar position as I settle into this new place. Most of my friends will not be LDS, and indeed I have made several already. The predominant religion here is extremely anti-Mormon, and that scares me a little. I wonder if it will make it more difficult for me.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Juracan Family said...

As a member of the LDS church born and raised in California and currently living in Utah, the worst anti-Mormon I have found are the ones who once were active LDS members. Their own personal guilt and anger cause more damage than anyone else. It is also the most sad. There are many good Christian people out there who are just uneducated about us. Being a good example of living your beliefs is the best way you will ever find to educate your friends. They love you for who you are, and who you are is a strong Christian (and LDS) woman and mother! We are all both spiritual AND physical beings. Being IN the world is necessary to find balance and learn how to be both.

rachel said...

Wow, Lisa. Great post and great comments! Born and raised in CA, so many of my friends were not Mormon. I know for a fact that there was anti stuff going on at the big church on the hill that most of them attended, but it never came up. You bring up a good point. What do they think?? Thanks for sharing this :)

The Sartori's said...

This is why I just joined MOPS again. Christian based but not LDS. I need to open my bubble.