religion, awkward thursday-style.

by now you probably know i’m mormon. if you didn’t, well, cat’s outta the bag: i’m mormon. i haven’t written extensively about this for quite some time, and i figure now’s a good a time as any. i feel like every time i tell someone i’m mormon they get this look on their faces, like a “but you don’t act like you’re in a cult!” look. and it’s entirely possible i’m just being sensitive, but…oh well.

so listen, i understand that being religious might seem antiquated and even naive in this day and age. but thanks to my control issues and tendency to live inside my head, i’ve actually done a lot of thinking about this, and i have reasons for my choices.

here’s the thing: if i didn’t want to be mormon, i could do that. i’ve kind of done that. it’s an actual choice that i make, day by day, hour by hour. it’s not an easy life, to be sure, but i don’t know that life was designed to be easy.

a lot of the problems that people seem to have with my religious beliefs stem from a dearth of knowledge. and the funny thing is, there is so much information out there about the lds church–true information that hasn’t been spread by the general public, which seems hellbent on making all mormons out to be polygamous zealots.

if you don’t want to go looking for the information, that might be all right–chances are you know a bunch of mormons already, even if only online. most if not all of those mormons will be totally fine with you asking as many questions as you want. we’re nothing if not eager to convert the masses so we can have more people to work as cashiers at the grocery stores on our compounds.

kidding. totally kidding.

anyway, i get variations of the same questions from people all the time. here they are, with my answers:

how can you belong to a church that degrades women? i don’t. the mormon church respects women like you don’t even know.

don’t you mind that your husband might want another wife someday? yeah, that would probably bug me, but mormons don’t practice polygamy. haven’t since 1890.

why do mormons hate gay people? i can’t speak for all mormons, of course, but as for myself, i love gay people. and my church doesn’t advocate hating anyone, period. those who do hate gay people are stupid.

why so prude-a-licious? errr, have you read my blog? i’m not a prude, and neither are any of my lds friends. we enjoy a healthy romp just like any other woman, we are just counseled to abstain before marriage and only have sex with our spouses. if you can’t wrap your mind around the whole abstaining for religious purposes thing, just think of it as us being highly dedicated to preventing the spread of STDs.

there are a lot of other questions, but i’m tired and my brain stopped working about three hours ago. but this has been on my mind a lot lately, so i knew it was time to write about it. like i said, i know it might seem strange to some people that i follow a faith that so directly opposes what the world says is good or worthwhile. but the one thing i need to emphasize is that i don’t judge anyone who lives differently from me. i understand that mormonism isn’t a road that everyone wants to travel, and that’s ok.

i think my desire here is to point out that not all religious people blindly follow wherever their leaders lead, despite the way the media and hollywood portrays us. it’s possible to be educated and faithful. for the record, i’m not saying i have it all figured out–there are some things about mormonism that i don’t necessarily understand. but i relish the simple beauty of being able to believe without understanding. and i do believe.

*if you have any questions for me, feel free to ask in your comments. or email me if you don’t feel comfortable asking in a public forum. i’ll respond honestly to every one.*

Comments

  1. says

    Hey! I just came across your blog a few weeks ago, but wanted to say thanks for the awesome post! I’m a convert of six or so years. And you’re right – it’s a day by day, hour by hour choice. So many people don’t know what we truly stand for. I’m so happy blogging is a popular hobby for us as it’s so important for us to get the word out. Not try to convert people as most assume we try to do – but just provide knowledge to those who don’t know.

    Anywhoo – enough of the mushy religious stuff. I will forgive you for not capitalizing your sentences and the letter “I” just like Jesus forgives all of us for saying the word “romp” in our blog posts. Hee, hee.

  2. says

    I recently thought about converting to LDS but after much consideration I realized religion of any kind just isn’t for me. Great people though. One of my best friends is a member of the LDS and I get baffled at some of the things I hear about them. Heck, when I was looking in to becoming a member, I had a lot of stuff said about me. :)
    Amanda A recently posted..Family that blogs together

  3. says

    This is a great post. You answered very well several of the arguments/questions I’ve heard.

    I love my faith. It is my anchor. I am a better person because of it. It makes me happy and leads me to do good. How can that be a bad thing?

    And I feel the same way about others and whatever religion (or not) that they practice. If it makes you happy and leads you to do good, huzzah!

  4. says

    Good for you for putting that out there. I still have a hard time talking about my religion openly, but I’m working on it. It’s crazy that religious stereotypes still exist in 2010, but I suppose that will always be.

    • Alexis says

      it’s not easy to talk about it…it took me three times as long as normal to write this post, because the words just weren’t flowing. it just seemed like the stakes were higher, for some reason.

  5. says

    I applaud you for going against the norm and discussing religion on your blog. I recently did a little of the same with politics, and I was nervous about the backlash.

    I especially love your response to the prude question, hahaha. But yes, I hate that all Mormons and Christians are always portrayed as hating homosexuals. It’s. not. true.

  6. says

    People actually ask about the cult one?

    I don’t “talk about” religion on my blog. But it’s pretty clear I’m LDS. I insert talk of the culturals stuff quite a bit.

    I have received many emails from people saying, “I had no idea Mormons could be funny!” Which I clearly prove to them based on my blog. Happy to help the continue on their beliefs. :)
    Kristina P. recently posted..Insert Witty Title Here

    • Alexis says

      yes, people have actually asked about the cult thing. it’s like mormons don’t have feelings or something. oh wait, i don’t. nevermind.

  7. says

    Hey girl! I love the honesty of this post…and I actually do have a question. So, I am a christian…I know that Jesus died for my sins and by believing this and accepting I am a sinner and cannot do life without him I will have eternal life. Is that basically the mormon’s belief as well?

    Just curious…I’ve always wondered :)
    Amber recently posted..Miscellaney Monday

    • Alexis says

      thank you for the question, amber! way to be the first one. :) the simple answer to your question is a resounding yes. more specifically, my church’s official name is “the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints.” we believe in jesus christ, he sits at the head of our church, we believe that he died for our sins, that he is the son of god, and that if we follow his teachings and remain worthy in this life, we will live forever with our families.

  8. Camilla says

    Good post, as usual. I really wish people could understand the one about not hating gay people. Every time I see those No H8 stickers I just cringe and want to scream, “Its Not About Hate!!!”

  9. says

    Amen to that! My experience has been similar, but not quite the same magnitude as yours. Being Catholic gets you some odd looks and crazy questions too! I think there are “rules” in every religion that are outdated, and I don’t feel bad about not following *everything* to a T. Seriously, if using birth control makes me a bad Catholic, then whatever. Besides, a church can be corrupt, but a person is as good as they want to be.
    Lisa recently posted..A random letter

    • Alexis says

      yeah…i’m not sure i’d be able to do the no birth control thing. but i admire people who do because they want to stick to their principles!

  10. says

    I’ve been meaning to talk more about religion on my blog lately, but then someone like you goes and does it and then I totally feel like I’m copying. Sheesh.

    Or maybe you’ll just be a trend setter. Who knows?

    I love the questions. I love talking about religion in general (so long as people stay nice) and I love disproving some of the myths that are out there. I was once asked if we had horns. Seriously. I felt so bad for the person who asked me that.

    … We don’t . . . by the way.

    • Alexis says

      there are several differences from other forms of christianity. i’m no religious scholar, so i’ll just give you the Articles of Faith, which are the basic principles we believe in. there’s no better way to explain without taking hours and hours. :) there are thirteen of them, so this will be a little long, but oh well.

      1. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

      2. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.

      3. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

      4. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

      5. We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

      6. We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.

      7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.

      8. We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

      9. We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

      10. We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

      11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

      12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

      13. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

      if you still have questions, email me anytime, and i’ll do my best to answer them at greater length!

      • says

        I’m interested in #10. Get ready for ninety questions: Who are the Ten Tribes? What is the Zion? How do you personally interpret #10 itself? What does it mean for Israel? Do you think it means the US is going to get better or go away and become something else that is better?

        As an aside, isn’t Israel considered the Cradle of Life, where Mesopotamia once was?

        Ooh, my history nerd is showing! :D
        Elizabeth Kaylene recently posted..Hug

        • Alexis says

          Good questions. :) I’ll do my best to answer them, but this is kind of just skimming the surface. If you ever want real doctrinal answers to history questions, lds.org is the best place to go. They have tons of information and it’s all completely searchable.

          Anyway, here goes:

          1. The ten tribes are the Ten Tribes that are spoken of in the Old Testament that were lost to the records of mankind. They are the descendants of Abraham, and thus were made promises by God, but the promises were contingent upon their worthiness. When they began to rebel against God and sin, he scattered them throughout all nations of the earth.

          We believe that as the Second Coming approaches, these ten tribes will be gathered as the Lord’s covenant people. This is what it means when it says there will be a gathering of Israel.

          2. The new Zion spoken of is not a literal place, it’s a figurative representation of the church of Jesus Christ. Zion was the place where the people of the Lord dwelled, and we believe that in these days, the restored church of Jesus Christ (or the new Zion) had to be built in the United States. We believe that this was the only place where the church could initially exist because of the nature of our country; aka freedom of religion.

          3. Yes, we believe that Israel is the place where Christ was born, where he preached, and where he was crucified. This particular doctrine doesn’t really pertain to Israel the country, but Israel God’s chosen people.

          As for me, I interpret it this way: The church that was restored to the earth by Joseph Smith (the first prophet of our church) is the church that was on the earth when Jesus lived. And someday, he will come back to live among his people, and when he does, he will come here, to North America. As for the earth being renewed, I don’t really understand that part, or how that will happen–I think it means that Jesus Christ’s presence here will cleanse the earth. How that will happen, I’m not sure, and I don’t necessarily know that I’m meant to understand.

          Let me know if I have just confused you further, I can always email!

  11. Luda says

    wow reading your post and the answers you already gave just answered all the questions I had about your religion, I’m glad I’m more informed, I noticed that a LOT of the blogs I follow are mormon (but only mention it in passing, or used to be mormon (dooce), I think I’m just drawn to them because they are funny and not “raunchy”, lol. some bloggers take it a little too far with the TMI, ya know?.. anyways, I just wanted to say that growing up in a very strict russian pentecostal household I have always hated talking about my religion to anyone, people in school always wanted to know why my mother had 10 kids (can’t use birth control), why I always wore long skirts, why I didn’t wear makeup, why I didn’t color my hair, didn’t curse, why I didn’t drink or want to try smoking.. I have to admit as a teen I was ashamed of my “religion”, I have grown up since then and came to the realization that I didn’t need to wear long skirts or not wear makeup in order to get to heaven, I mean if my parents wanted to be that strict that was fine but it wasn’t for me, I still incorporate some of the things I was taught into my life but eventually started going to an american christian & missionary alliance church where I’m actually allowed to wear jeans to church! *gasp*. lol.
    anyways, good post as usual..

    • Alexis says

      you know, i’m trying to remember if i was ever ashamed to be mormon as a teenager. i don’t think so, but i definitely wasn’t living my faith as i should have been at that point. and it’s true, tmi is sometimes really just tmi.

  12. says

    Well said:) I hate when I tell someone I’m Mormon and then EVERY mistake I make or “bad” thing I do is counted against the religion itself. A foundation of Mormonism is free agency and having a personal relationship with God!! Same goes for stuck-up Mormons. That’s just one person, and is not reflective of all of us!
    Birdie recently posted..Thats What He Said

    • Alexis says

      exactly! that’s what i always tell people when they say that all mormons are this or that, or the mormon church is like this or that because ONE mormon was like this or that. you can’t judge an entire faith based on the knowledge of one person.

  13. says

    I don’t think that being religious is out of style. People will always need something to believe in, no matter what that something is. It’s a comfort that I am jealous of sometimes, in all honesty.

    Personally, I don’t care what religion anyone is. If I like you, I like you. Very few things surprise me and turn me off (unless we’re talking serial killer, rapist, child molester, or something else, like looking down on other people or treating others like dirt). You being Mormon just adds another side to you that makes you you, something else I know about you.

    In some ways, Mormons deal with as much suspicion as Muslims; everyone thinks they are connected with the bad guys just because of what religion they choose to believe in. That’s why I enjoy reading Casey’s and Faiqa’s blogs, because they’re always saying, “Hey! Nope, not us,” and then explaining what being a Mormon or Muslim actually means.

    So thanks for sharing and offering to answer questions. If people in general would stop and ask questions and take the time to learn before hating someone, this world would be a much better place.

    <333
    Elizabeth Kaylene recently posted..Hug

    • Alexis says

      I’m the same way with religion–I could care less. I don’t go around trying to convert all my non-Mormon friends, and I love hearing about other faiths. It’s just a part of who I am, that’s all.

  14. Sarah says

    Alexis,

    I really appreciate your post. I want to be fully respectful of your beliefs as I ask my question. So please believe that I’m not trying to stir the pot with this, I’m just curious as to how you reconcile the fact the the Bible says in Revelation that nothing should be added or taken away from God’s word. (Bible) But many Mormons I’ve talked with say that the book of Mormon is just as inspired as the Bible and in fact read it more than the Bible.
    I hope this doesn’t offend you, I’m just curious, it doesn’t seem to add up to me.
    Thanks, I really enjoy your blog!

    • Alexis says

      hey sarah, no worries about offending me–you have to work a lot harder than that. :) actually, your question is pretty common, especially from other christians who know a lot about the bible.

      there are a couple of elements to this answer, and i’ll try to be brief. first, as far as i know there’s no hard and fast evidence proving that revelation was the last book of the bible, chronologically speaking. there’s a good possibility that other books included in the bible were in fact written after revelation, which would give a different meaning to the words you speak of.

      second, the bible as we read it today is nothing like the bible as it was originally written. there have been many changes made, both contextual and structural. much has been taken away and added, and yet i still believe it to be true.

      this helps explain why i’m able to believe that the book of mormon is truth. in addition, there’s one thing that has nothing to do with this particular passage, but gives the most insight into
      why i’m able to believe in the book of mormon. i simply don’t believe that the god i have faith in would allow his people to live without revelation for so long. i believe that god still speaks to his children, and part of his word is contained in the book of mormon.

      thanks for your thoughtful question, and please let me know if i haven’t answered satisfactorily. glad you like the blog!

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