Mormon, And Why I will Continue Using It

mormonIf you think I will do that out of pure rebellion, you’re….right.

Now, seriously let me explain.

The Church throughout the years seems to have developed a sort of teeny-bopper crush with the word Mormon. You know, like when the girl picks a flower and says “He loves me, he love me not”?

Well, we are kind of like that. Instead we say “I want you, I want you not”. We want the word Mormon, and then we don’t want it. Then we want it again but then (after spending millions in the “I am a Mormon” campaign a few years back) we change our mind for the millionth time and we don’t want it.

Last General Conference, President Nelson gave a talk about the correct name of the Church and he was quite candid about it. He stated that the decision with regards to the name of the Church is not a whim, rebranding or cosmetics but rather a commandment from the Lord.

He also stated that if we allow these nicknames or sponsor them Jesus gets offended. Lastly, he said that if we choose to remove the name of the Savior from the Church’s name is a victory for Satan and we are disregarding everything Jesus ever did, including his atonement.

Ouch. Could it be a little too much hyperbole? I really have a hard time believing that President Nelson thinks that Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, President Hinckley and even President Monson (behind the “I am a Mormon” campaign) offended Jesus or that they disregarded the atonement. Come on.

I am more frustrated at the fact that we don’t seem to decide what we really want. Do we want to be a peculiar people or do we want to fit in with other Christian’s denominations? For how long we will keep embracing and rejecting the same nickname we have been known for since the Church was founded? We have been having this toxic love-hate relationship with the word for over 100 years, no kidding.

I’m not saying one is better than the other. Nope. What I’m saying is that at this point, the back and forth about the name is like vertigo. Making me dizzy and annoyed all at the same time.

Now, before you punch me and tell me we believe in modern revelation and things CAN change, I get that. But can we please NOT spend any more dinero in changes and advertisements campaigns until it is decided it for good? That’s all I’m asking. You know, so we don’t go back to “Mormon means more good” once again and spend even more money in bringing back what we just um…purposely discarded?

This whole I embrace you one day but hate you another day (besides sounding very toxic) it confuses people about who we really are and looks as though we don’t know exactly what we are doing.  Wait…hmmmm. 🤔

Well, so far it seems like Mormon News Room is keeping their internet domain. So is Mormon.org. Not sure if they will renew their domains but so far they are as Mormons as ever.

Cheeky Mormon will continue being Cheeky Mormon.

I reckon CheekyMemberOfTheChurchOfJesusChristOfLatterDaySaints.com is a little too long.

I Am Not A Racist

Note: This post is meant to be sarcastic, so please don’t panic.

Let me get this off my chest because it has been bothering me for a while:

White lives matter! Right, I said it. I don’t hate Blacks, Asians or Latinos. I just love to embrace my European heritage. What is so wrong with that?

Loving your race and wanting people to make more white babies than any other race so we can have more whites dominating the world doesn’t make you a white supremacist.

What? Everyone knows the white race has been under attack for centuries. But wait…Don’t tell me you are going to continue perpetrating the idea that Blacks and Jews suffered more than our white people? Hell no. It needs to stop, really it has to! Our people have suffered enough. There is way too much Black privilege going around these days.

Do we really have to re-live the past and recall all the painful, torturous memories our ancestors went through?

When our poor ancestors had slaves that got very sick or died, they had less people to work in the cotton fields. Imagine that! Those were indeed challenging days for our people.

What about back in the 50’s or 60’s? Our white kids couldn’t go to school peacefully anymore because suddenly black children wanted to intermix with us in schools. How fair is that for our poor white children? No one ever think of their suffering…

I am NOT racist but what was so wrong with having schools for white children and schools for black children? Everyone is better this way; everyone gets to interact with their own people. How is that racist?!

After reading the awful Church statement with regards to white culture (Brigham Young is watching don’t worry!), going to Church has become beyond stressful. The only thing that makes me feel good is that at least they use white bread for the sacrament. What a relief! They served once Russian black bread but I had no choice but to refuse.

As a matter of fact, I have a terrific idea. We should have each deacon passing the sacrament to each member according to their race. One tray with white bread should be for the white members, another tray with wheat bread for Hispanics and a third tray with Russian black bread for our African-American members.

Now, in order to make things easier for our deacons, we should have White members in front, Hispanics in the middle and Blacks at the back of the chapel. It sounds perfectly logical and reasonable to me.

The reason for whites being in front it is because we are majority in the Church. Check the 12 apostles and the Seventies, most of them are white (And it has been like that from the start!) so the majority rules.

This is something I am seriously considering to talk with my Bishop. Why? Well, you all know how these things start. First, everything seems innocent, with a little black bread here and there during sacrament meeting and then…. Blast! They are giving out Oreo cookies like mad after service. This is how the liberals are operating within the Church. Outrageous!

Of course, their favorite color soda is… Coke! But I don’t have any.

I am NOT racist! I am just a M̶o̶r̶o̶n̶ Mormon!

Lo And Behold A Vegan

Lo And Behold A Vegan

Let’s see: I am already a black-sheep Mormon ✓(Most can tolerate it) a feminist ✓(Ok…it is starting to get hm) and last but not least *drum rolls* I am also a VEGAN.✓(Everyone loses their mind at this point).

Okay, well I don’t eat dead animals or secretions coming from animals’ private parts. For those who aren’t very familiar with vegans, it means that we don’t eat any animal flesh (Yess, no fish too). We don’t eat dairy products, hen’s periods (A.k.a eggs) or bee vomit (A.k.a honey).

Okay, so far so good. The truth is that being vegan isn’t hard but being vegan around Mormons is like being constantly condemned to fire and brimstone just because you rather a piece of tofu over the dismembered leg of a tortured animal. Well, I’m sorry to disappoint y’all.

What is the beef (Pun intended) that Mormons have with vegans? Really. There isn’t any other topic that gets some members more riled up and defensive as when they discover another member is vegan. They just lose it.

You can say you look forward to plural marriage and no one bats an eye. Heck, you can say your Bishop is a jerk and still make it alive. You say you are vegan, and hell goes loose. The community jumps to your jugular like hungry hyenas thirsty for your blood and man… it gets ugly, really ugly. And all because?…you eat fruits, veggies and grains. What’s up with that?

One of the first things these godly Saints do is give a lecture about protein deficiency without knowing that vegans get their protein from the main sources of protein! Vegetables (And beans, tofu, etc). And man, even if you try to explain it is a lost cause.

The ironic part is that you can be stuffing yourself with junk, fried foods in every single activity, consume sugar like going out of the style and no one ever challenges or cares about your dietary choices. But they hear you/see you eat natural foods such as veggies and fruits, and boy…suddenly everyone has a degree in nutrition. What the health..?

Not sure why, but when people realize that you are vegan suddenly there is this urgent need to explain their food choices: “I only meat twice a week” “I cannot live without bacon!” “I couldn’t give up cheese”. Umm…okay but no one is asking that you give up anything?

“I love meat!” You do? I dare you. No…no…I take that back. I double dare you to go hunting for your own prey. Just like predators, you cannot use any tool but just your bare hands. When you see your victim, just jump at it and kill it. After your animal is dead, I dare you to eat it ALL. What? Do you want to make a fire to cook it? Um, have you ever seen a lion taking a zebra and BBQ it? Nope. You must eat it raw like a good flesh lover would. What are you doing? Trying to get rid of the nose, butt, eyes, ears? What kind of meat lover are you? You must eat the whole animal! BBQ sauce, seasonings? Really? Hm..So you don’t love meat after all.

“Vegans enjoy making others feel guilty!” Really? I didn’t know we do that but based on what you’re still eating, it seems like the guilt-trip didn’t work out very well after all.

“Vegans are freaks!” well I can’t argue with that one. You win, freak and proud.

Then you have the ones that get seriously preachy. They quote scripture after scripture about eating meat. Apparently, I can’t be a good Mormon because I choose not to participate in the slaughter of innocent beings. I know, the nerve of the Freaky Mormon!

Can someone seriously argue that it is okay to take a sentient being, put them through hell and then kill them because some people love the taste of blood? Am I to believe that every single organ of an animal: stomach, eyes, nose, kidney, intestines etc. Works perfectly except the brain? And they don’t feel pain or joy?

Contrary to popular belief, meat is not a need (Sorry New York!) Our bodies do not need it to survive. If you don’t believe me, put some veggies on a plate, bow your head…offer a little prayer and gently start breathing in and out…See? Meat isn’t oxygen.

Our dear Prophet Joseph Smith taught that animals have spirits and they resurrect. It is also stated in his inspired revision of Genesis:

“Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. … And surely, blood shall not be shed, only for meat, to save your lives; and the blood of every beast will I require at your hands.” (JST, Gen. 9:9-11.)

Are we saving our lives every time we drop to Burger King for a Whooper? What about when we take that chubby turkey for Thanksgiving and shovel stuffing in the poor dead animal’s butt and then exclaim: “This is so yummy!” And then they say that…*cough* vegans are weird??

And the millennium? I’m curious, what is going to happen during the millennium though?

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.

“And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

“And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.

“They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”(Isa. 11:6-9.)

I doubt there will be T-bone steaks or burgers hiding somewhere during the millennium so better start liking broccoli and sweet potatoes. The end is near my meat-lover friends *evil laugh*.

“It Is Not Necessary For Our Salvation”

“It Is Not Necessary For Our Salvation”

This has to be the most annoying made-up phrase Mormons like to use. It should be um…denounced as false doctrine within the Mormon community.

Come on, seriously! It is especially frustrating when you are trying to have an intelligent exchange about Church history or perhaps you are already debating with someone and you are so excited about discussing the topic when suddenly, this wannabe Einstein shows up out of the blue, has nothing of significance to contribute to the issue at hand (Because they either don’t know about it or the topic makes them uncomfortable) but they state sanctimoniously and in an authoritative fashion: “It is not important because it is not necessary for our salvation!”. But excuse me LDS Doctrine Police?? I feel to throw a punch or two when I hear that and I assure you, I am not a violent person.

First of all, we need to understand that people have… *gulp* questions and that’s how we learn…yes, questions and it is perfectly okay to search for answers, it won’t send anyone less active or turn them into super-evil apostates. Sometimes questions turn into healthy questioning but boy, from that point forward everybody loses their minds. Family thinks you have lost your testimony, you are accused of reading anti-Mormon literature and all you have been doing *legit* was to study Church history.

All questions are valid and no one should make another person feel less faithful, less valiant, and less Mormon just because they dare to ask questions that many choose to keep to themselves. They shouldn’t go around wondering if what they are asking is worth knowing or if they shouldn’t bother at all because it is not a “requirement” to enter the Celestial Kingdom. No…by the contrary, they should be encouraged to ask, encouraged to learn and encouraged to seek answers. Who cares if it is necessary for salvation or not? Who determines what topics we should discuss and what topics we should leave alone? Is there a checklist in Mormondom I am unaware of or something?

Let people do their research, let them gain knowledge but pulling a“it is not important because it is not necessary for our salvation! “ card to try to shut down the entire discussion just because you (Generally *you*) don’t know the answer or don’t want to know, it is extremely annoying. Which by the way makes you indirectly annoying too, but just for the duration of the phrase so don’t worry.

This is how I see it: If the person is afraid to say they don’t know about the topic let me tell you, it is perfectly okay to say: “I don’t know!” and be honest about it. No one has ever died when they acknowledge they are ignorant about a particular topic. I say it all the time. It is easy, repeat after me: “I-don’t-know”. See how easy that was? And pain-free for everyone!

Now, if the topic makes a person uncomfortable (And I am not talking about inappropriate topics here, but those that might cause a few eyebrows to rise up such as plural marriage, priesthood ban and the like) then perhaps it is better not to participate? However, if you are itching to say something because you are unable to cope with the fact that such ungodly topics are being discussed among faithful members of the Church, then do me a favor before you tear your clothes…take a chill pill, breathe in and out for a few seconds, sing I am a child of God or stuff your mouth with a sock I don’t care! But do something before you state the infamous and irritating: “It is not important because it is not necessary for our salvation!”.

Signed: CheekyMormonHighlyAnnoyedByFoolishness.

Mr. Millionaire

Mr. Millionaire

Once upon a time in a very strange land, there was a millionaire with peculiar-looking dye-blond hair who was eating dinner peacefully with his family. As they were enjoying a Taco Tuesday supper, filled with delicious Mexican goodies (His favorite) Mr. Millionaire started thinking about his life and how boring it has become lately. “No one pays any attention to me” he said sadly. “I am so bored; I need some excitement in my life!”

After taking literally thirty seconds to think about what he could possibly do to make life more entertaining (And annoy millions worldwide in the process) he shouted with enthusiasm:

“I know! I will run for President! If that does not bring me the kind of attention I constantly seek, nothing else will!” And that’s where his dream of becoming President was born, between guacamole and taco shells. Mr. Millionaire knew he needed a good damn strategy to get the media’s total focus (After all, his hair and pouting can only go so far) and what a better strategy than…no strategy at all but just to be himself!

Mr. Millionaire thought hard (Sixty seconds this time) and declared with full confidence while swinging his bangs: “I will just open my mouth and everyone will worship me because I am that good. I am the only one who can save this country”

1. I will tell people that our current President isn’t even American and they will still support me.
2. I will tell people that Mexicans are rapists and they will still support me.
3. I will tell people that I will ban all Muslims from entering our country and they will still support me.
4. I will tell people that I call women pigs, ugly, fat, disgusting, making inappropriate comments about their monthly cycle and they will still support me.
5. I will tell people how I brag about assaulting and groping women without their consent and they will still support me.

“And to show my point, he bragged to himself…I will even tell them that I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I will not lose any voters.”

“All I have to do is repeat my hate for Mexico and Muslims, talk about building an impossible wall to separate the two countries and my hillbillies’ friends are ready to give me their full support. After all, who doesn’t agree with my motto?: Make America white again! “

Mr. Millionaire decided to go to a first debate to share with millions of people that he has a plan for our country. Yes, he does. So he decided to spend the whole time of the debate sniffing, drinking water and interrupting the other candidate. You don’t understand, it couldn’t be avoided. How dare she as a woman to talk like that without a man’s involvement. The nerve! “She won this time”, he said “but the next one is mine!”

As the time was getting closer for the second debate, a surprise and disturbing audio of Mr. Millionaire was leaked.

“Darn it”, he said. “I didn’t know I was being recorded! How am I supposed to save face now?” I know what I will do, I will give a half-apology and my people will still rally behind me. I can almost hear them with robotic voices…”your wish is our command… your wish is our command…” he laughed heartily. “My goodness, I am so smart. I should have been a good Mormon”, he chucked to himself… “After all, the whole infallibility thingie is darn appealing”.

And just like that, after devouring many tacos and burritos, Mr. Millionaire went to the second debate. The only dilemma he had at the last minute was whether or not he should wear a brown bag covering his face. He opted not to wear it and that was the problem.

Gay Mormons Do Exist, Get Over It

Gay Mormons Do Exist, Get Over It

Today, a good friend of mine contacted me to tell me that he is going back to Church after his Bishop dad passed away a few months ago. My friend is gay and has been out of the closet to family and friends for many years, we briefly discussed how it is going to be for him and why he decided to come back to the Church.

He told me he lost his job so he was moving back to his mother’s house and he was receiving the visit of the missionaries again and that he decided to leave the things of the world behind him and start a new chapter in his life. Perhaps you might be reading this and think this is cause for rejoice… I am not that sure and I don’t know how to feel about it.

You see, I’ve known him since we were both 12 years old and spent every activity in the Church with him as my buddy. One of the most sensitive and kindest souls I ever met. I always knew he was gay and yet I saw him dating a girl for 2 ½ years because that’s what boys were supposed to do. His father never accepted the fact that he is homosexual and prohibited him to visit the family home. It was extremely hard for him, it was hard because all he ever wanted was to feel accepted and acknowledged by the people he loves…. His family, friends and members of the Church.

I am sorry Elder Bednar but my friend IS homosexual AND Mormon. But again, if you think people should not be labeled, I suppose you have no problem then if I define myself as…well…JUST ME and no longer a Cheeky Mormon?

Next time someone asks me what is my religion, instead of using that opportunity to teach about the LDS Church and state that I am a Mormon, I will say…my religion is life, butterflies, birds and trees…my religion is freedom, my religion is peace and you know, sound all hippie and philosophical like if we were back in the 70’s. I will do that. No, really… I will.

Should we tell the Genesis group representing Black members of the Church and their families that they should refer themselves only as LDS? What about when I have to fill forms should I add a new category called “Human race”?

Going back to my friend… he has not been in touch with the Church for a long time, he doesn’t know an Apostle does not believe people like him exist. How to tell him that we only use labels when is it convenient to us? How to explain Elder Bednar that people like my friend NEED to be validated and that validating who they are and how they feel will bring them CLOSER to the Church instead of making them LEAVE?

Validating does not mean you have to agree with their choices in life. It means you acknowledge their existence and their feelings. I did not want to break his heart today but I know sooner or later, he will find out and with a heavy heart and a lot of embarrassment I will have to tell him that it is true.

But I will add an important element after saying that, I will tell him that Elder Bednar probably did not mean it in a negative way and that the opinion of a few ones does not necessarily reflect how every member of this Church feels about him and his sexual orientation. And most of all, that I love him and I DO see him and I know he DOES exist.

I have been upset lately about it because I find that at times we make tremendous progress on this particular issue to then ruin it with one single sentence and we are forced to go back 100,000 steps and even provide free ammunition to the many trolls we have in our midst. How can we become more understanding, less judgemental, more welcoming and if we cannot help it basically just shut up a little more?

I hope each one of you help my friend today by helping and acknowledging your own gay friends, family who are members of the Church and who are making a great impact in the lives of so many people.

PLEASE, make them feel welcome and needed, shower them with genuine love and make yourself available when they need to talk. I am still reading stories of amazing members of the Church who were gay and decided to commit suicide, it weighs heavy on my heart. The truth of the matter is that we need to be sensitive about this topic in ALL our conversations, and cut the crap… just STOP condemning people like if we were Gods ourselves! Can we please stop for a minute the annoying preaching, the irritating holier than thou attitude and embrace everyone who has a desire to be part of God’s Church? Is it so much to ask? Really?

Gay is NOT a bad word. Gays EXIST. Gay Mormons DO EXIST.

 

Double Standards: Sexual Molestation

Double Standards: Sexual Molestation

The recent news about Josh Duggar allegedly sexually molesting five minors, including his own sisters seemed to have been a shock for everyone. I read the police report to get at least an idea of the ages of the victims, some seem very young based on the description they gave to the police as well as the methodology used to conduct the interviews.

So we have here a young man who at the age of 14 allegedly touched his own sisters (As well as others) inappropriately, several times while they slept as well as when they were awake. Some of the things he did were felonies. Very serious things. My blog post isn’t going to deal with how the parents of Josh Duggar handled the entire situation but about the reactions of Mormons online and offline about it.

You see, I talk with a lot of people and the issues such as the ones described about the Duggar family are quite common in my work field, more common than I would like it to be. Mind you, just because it is something I am quite used to hearing about doesn’t mean that it takes away the seriousness of the offense. What allegedly happened is HORRIBLE. Full stop. But I noticed since the news broke, that a few Mormons do not seem to display the same outrage about this particular case compared to other similar cases. I mean, they admit he was wrong but the underlined tone seem to throw blame at the media for unveiling all of this after so many years instead of asking if the alleged victims got any professional counseling.

Oh wait, do you think that a young girl who was sexually molested by no other than her own brother is not going to be marked for life? Let me tell you, if you think that you have no idea. Yes, they could have forgiven him as the media news reports but forgiving doesn’t come with an automatic eraser that allows you to wipe off memories neither prevent scars. This isn’t just the act of a “curious and concupiscent teenager”. This was sexual molestation and the impact it will have in the victims will be permanent. Libidinous teenagers watch porn or have sex. They do not touch the private parts of their little sisters while they sleep.

And yet, a few of us are trivializing it. From “teenagers being teenagers and messing around” to Mormon women saying that well, it wasn’t really molestation, he just touched their private parts and the media is blowing it out of proportion. Really? I am scared to think that any of these people are parents and I can only imagine how they would react if their own child comes to them telling them a close relative touched them inappropriately. “Oh, don’t worry. Your brother is just being a teenager. Did you do something to make him do that?” Madness.

So there you have it. I think some of us are having double standards and we are too darn proud to admit it. Let’s face it, if Josh Duggar wasn’t a Republican and Christian conservative the story and the reaction of Mormons would have been very different. Can you imagine the same scenario but a gay brother or sister doing that to their siblings? They would be horrified and ready to cut them off in little pieces but because the person in question is a Christian-Republican who happens to be against Gay Marriage, suddenly the horrible crime he committed isn’t a big deal at all and we shouldn’t be talking about it after all, it happened when he was 14 and he asked for forgiveness already right?, the nerve of some people!

It is disappointing to say the least but again, not surprised. We aren’t that smart as we think we are, we just don’t seem to know when to separate the actions of an individual from our support to whatever they stand for. Wrong is wrong, regardless of how I feel about your beliefs. And I can support you and applaud your work, but it doesn’t mean that I won’t call a spade a spade and tell you as it is. Now, don’t get me wrong. This isn’t about Josh Duggar. This is about the millions of victims of sexual abuse ALL over the world, in a lot of cases, in very similar scenarios.

Sexual molestation is VERY REAL. Please do not downplay it.

And Forbid Them Not

And Forbid Them Not

Well, I suggest that you grab your stones quickly and start aiming at me because let me tell you I do not agree at all with the new amendment to the LDS Handbook 1 preventing children in same-sex marriages from being blessed, baptized and participating in other ordinances.

But wait, I cannot even believe I am writing this post but I tend to forget that we justify and rationalize everything as long as the leaders say so. Heck, one day a leader could ask us to dig our nose while reading the Book of Mormon so we could increase our spiritual experience and we will find a scripture to support it and even share a few revelations of following the counsel.

Now before you say you don’t give a crap what I think (Fair enough) and that all it matters is how the Church sees it (Well, that’s up to debate), I would like to share with you why I think this amendment sucks and it’s nothing shorter than embarrassing for a Church that spent millions of dollars in trying to appear as understanding and approachable with regards to LGTB- related issues.

The change seems to have been done in haste and fear and is definitely not aimed only to the children of these couples but also sends a very strong and direct message to any member who happens to support same-sex marriages. Watch out. Runnnnnnn, all those gays and gay-friendly folks will take over the Church so we better ensure they don’t come at all!

Why we don’t say it like it is: The gay “issue” is getting out of proportion for the Church, particularly in the internet era and since we cannot do anything with regards to the existent gay folks so what a better way to dissuade the new generation of gay supporters from joining than putting road blocks of all sorts on their way so they never become members of the Church and we can ensure they do not contaminate our pure, worthy and unshakable kind. Isn’t beautiful? Love it.

I can only imagine those babies in sacrament meeting receiving a blessing. The nerve! How can they expect a name and a blessing from the Lord if they are nothing but the offspring of sinners! We are the true Church upon this Earth and have the true Priesthood so it is within our right to deny them a blessing even though they have done nothing wrong, nada, zero.

You don’t understand Cheeky Mormon, the change was done to “protect” the children in same-sex families from receiving mixed messages in their home and Church. Really? I say baloney.

How many children from heterosexual parents go through that every single day? I met once a girl whose father was a Nazi-supporter and in their home the father practically worshiped Hitler. She was never denied a baby blessing neither baptism. What about children being born from inter-religious couples? Are they denied a blessing as well? The answer is no. I don’t know what bothers me most, the actual amendment or the failed attempt to explain the unexplained with cheap rhetoric.

One thing is for sure, if we are going to announce an amendment denying a baby a blessing and baptism, solely on the fact that they happen to have gay parents, shouldn’t the Church also announce an amendment to Matthew 19:14?

“But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not (Except if you are a child of a same-sex marriage), to come unto me (How dare you child of sin!): for of such is the kingdom of heaven (Only if your parents are heterosexual obvvvviously).

Nice. Just what Jesus would do. Don’t you feel the Spirit?

Open Letter To My Conservative Brethren

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It has been a while; I guess part of me didn’t want to get all serious. Diplomatically speaking, Church life has been arduous for a very long time or in the words of a Cheeky Mormon: Church sucks.

That’s the best way I can put it. I find it harder and harder to fit in doctrinally and socially with you guys. I cannot remember the last time I had Home or Visiting Teachers, it has been years. I am not complaining, I think there are people out there that need them more than I do and to be perfectly honest, if they were to make an appointment, I would probably politely decline.

Even though I enjoy participating in class discussions, I am clearly a social outcast and even though some people seem to enjoy my input or at least, they are kind enough to tolerate it without hating, I look around and wonder if this is a place where I belong. Imagine that. I-wonder- IF- I- belong-in-OUR-Church.

I am now pondering if studying Church history has been a blessing or a curse or perhaps both. I know a tiny bit. Leaders and members approach me a lot of times to answer their questions and even though I enjoy helping immensely, I really wonder if they can see *me* as more than just a sort of “book” that you use in the library when you need to research about a topic and then you neatly put away.

Just because I know a few things about the Church and its past, it doesn’t mean that I do not need to feel I belong to the present group. It doesn’t mean I do not want you to include me in Church or Service activities, it doesn’t mean I do not want to hear that you noticed I wasn’t there last Sunday, it doesn’t mean I do not want fellow-shipping. Just because you think I am a liberal Mormon and an Apostate for thinking that the Prophet can err because he is human or because I am not against Gay Marriage, it doesn’t mean I want you to stay away from me. Why do you stay away from me?

Do you see me smiling at you when I greet you? That’s because I want you to ask me how I am doing and mean it and when you see me extra quiet during a particular Sunday School lesson is because I do not want you to feel uncomfortable if my views do not match yours. Because no matter how different our views are, I care about you”¦I do and I want to ensure that you have a happy Church experience, stress-free.

If you see me in pants on a Sunday, there is no need to panic. They are just” pants. I do have dresses and skirts but sometimes I just feel to wear them. Please, if you ever see a young woman wearing pants to a Church activity, do not stop them from giving a public prayer. Please. It happened to me when I was a teenager, and it is something that I will never forget.

Most of all, I want to tell you that being different have blessed my life in many ways but I want to feel welcome in Church. And yes, I know you do not go to Church for the people but because of your relationship and covenants you made with Christ, etc. And yet, everyone needs to feel they belong. I want to feel that despite my views, I am wanted and needed by you. It makes me feel like I have a purpose when I go to Church, it makes me feel I am part of a big family, it makes me feel that you appreciate me for who I am and not for who you would like me to be.

Some people say the opposite of love is hate, but the truth is that the opposite of love is indifference. Please, do not treat me like I am invisible, acknowledge me, you will be surprised how many things we have in common.

The Lady

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When I was around seven years old, my sister and I would go over to a friend’s house almost every afternoon during the summer and pretend-play for hours. It is something I really enjoyed doing.

Mary’s house was just a few houses away from mine but I would ask my mother to take me there because I was too afraid to go by myself. Why was I afraid? Because right next door Mary’s place, in a very old house lived a mysterious old lady with her adult daughter. I wasn’t afraid of the old lady, she seemed nice but I was afraid of her daughter who apparently couldn’t speak despite being around forty something years old.

I remember running quickly when I had to pass by their house because I did not want to stop. I thought the woman would take me and eat me or hurt me. I would see her spinning like a top by their front yard, screaming, or standing there like a statue, just staring at me. Just seeing her, thinking about her would literally petrify me. A few times, I even saw her half-naked and her mother would come patiently to fix her clothes, caress her head and go back inside.

One day, I went by myself to Mary’s house to play, we went to her back yard. It was a very hot day and we started playing with water. All of the sudden, Mary said “Hey, I have an idea! Why we don’t take a bucket full of water and we throw it to the crazy old woman next door? It will be fun!” and laughed hysterically.

I knew it was wrong, I knew that no matter how afraid I was of this lady, throwing a bucket full of water to a lady who did nothing to me was something my parents wouldn’t be proud of, I wasn’t raised like that. I stood there in complete silence hoping Mary would change her mind. “So? Are you in or not?”.

I couldn’t answer, I just stood there as I watched Mary fill that bucket to the rim while laughing. I did not stop her, I did not tell her what she was about to do was wrong and hurtful and in my mind, because I was not going to directly participate in the act, I was somehow not responsible for what was about to happen.

She took the ladder, placed in the right position and threw the water at the lady with the lonely eyes. Mary started laughing non-stop and I heard what sounded like a howl followed by someone crying. I quickly run up the ladder to see what was happening and the lady was standing there completely soaking wet and looking at me with the saddest eyes I have ever seen. For the first time, I was no longer afraid of her but my heart sank, I started feeling physically sick and a deep feeling of remorse covered my entire mind, heart and soul. I was pale as a paper.

Five minutes passed and I heard the door. And there she was, the lady with the lonely eyes and her mother who also got wet in the process. I put my head down in shame as Mary’s mother talked. I was expecting the old lady to be angry, I expected her to shout and tell us how ashamed we should feel about ourselves for doing that. But she didn’t. She looked at us and my eyes couldn’t meet hers. I was too ashamed of myself to say anything at all.

She looked at me, raised my chin and whispered to me: “Please, don’t do that again. My daughter is an older lady but she has problems and it’s hard, I know you are too young to understand her but please, don’t do that again”. I gulped and started crying quietly. I started crying because of the love this woman showed to me, for her understanding and compassion and the love she had for her daughter. I cried because I was too ashamed of myself because even though I was young, I knew better.

This experience marked my life so much that I never again I allowed anyone to manipulate me in doing something I am not comfortable doing. It taught me to speak up when I disagree with something and not to be afraid of being unpopular when others are doing something wrong that is hurting others.

Also, it changed the way I saw people who are deemed “different” by society’s standards and helped me create wonderful and meaningful friendships with people with special needs. I needed them as much as they needed me.

Many years have passed since I saw this old sweet lady and her daughter with the lonely eyes, they moved out from my neighborhood and I never heard about them again but the impact they had in my life was priceless and I’ll be forever thankful for allowing me as a seven year old, understand the meaning of compassion and standing for what is right.