Monday, August 29, 2011

How to Teach Sensitive Topics

In a not-so-recent blog post, Tracy M. discusses the pain she feels when marriage and family is taught in Church. As a single mother myself, I understand the pain, but I strongly disagree with the post.

One of the suggestions which is made is that we as a church should "teach only Christ." What is that supposed to mean, anyways? Teach about Christ and the events His life? Because while useful for grounding in the Gospel, it's not enough to teach about Christ, you have to teach how to become like Christ. That comes with navigating all the prickly non-ideals. And sometimes, discussing the ideals can hurt those of us who find ourselves unable to live up to them. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't be taught.

I don't think that minimizing pain should be a significant goal when teaching gospel principles. Taken to the end of that logic, we would never teach any modes of behavior for fear of offending someone. The Gospel is a gospel of change. It is supposed to prick us a bit, goad us into changing our lives to be more like Christ.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Cure for Self-Hatred

I wrote a post more than three years ago which continues to bring a significant number of people to this blog. That post was about self-hatred, a problem that I seem to run into again and again in myself.

Faced again with the same personality problem I so often have, a problem that threatens my friendships, my employment, and my relationship with God, I am trying to learn what I need to change to be liked and accepted for who I am. But I have not met much success. I pray and plead and struggle with the Lord, but the only answers that occur to me are things that I can't change without losing the good parts of myself. I know this, because sacrificing my personality to keep the peace and to be liked and valued is precisely what I did in my marriage that fed the abuse dynamic.

In the end, the only answer I seem to get from the Lord is to have faith.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Don't Marry Me for Who I Am

I hear so often the advice, "Marry someone who loves and accepts you for who you are."

It sounds like great advice. With abuse in my past I know better than many that you shouldn't change yourself to impress or please another person. But the more I think about the entire meaning of that phrase, the less I like it.

Who am I right now? Well, I have a temper. I'm emotionally awkward. I repeatedly fail at charity. I often don't know the Lord's will, and I often misinterpret it. I could stand to lose some weight, certainly. I'm unhappy with my job, and not particularly pleased with the path my life has taken. I haven't accomplished any of the things I want to accomplish. The old wounds of emotional abuse still pull at times. I have a very hard time knowing when to shut my mouth. I'm impatient. Sometimes I yell. I have a hard time listening.

Monday, August 8, 2011

"Mormon" and "Christian" Are Different

Some say that the LDS Church is hypocritical when claiming the "Christian" title despite others' refusal to grant it to us and, at the same time, separating ourselves from other groups (such as the FLDS) who call themselves "Mormon."

Although I don't begrudge the title of "Mormon" to anyone who believes in the Book of Mormon as scripture, I do want to point out that the difference in labeling is not as inconsistent as it seems. It all has to do with connotative meaning. The label "Christian" has been around for about two thousand years. It has weathered many splinter groups of Christians, and has a healthy history of being applicable to many different groups.

"Mormon," on the other hand, is only a few hundred years old, and is generally used to mean one particular group, namely the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I don't mind if anyone who believes in the Book of Mormon calls themselves "Mormon" if they like. But I do have a problem with someone telling me I am a polygamous wife simply because I am a Mormon. Just like I have a problem with people telling me I have to believe in the Nicene creed simply because I call myself a Christian.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Let Her Be Silent

I have a very hard time holding my tongue. By nature, I wear my heart on my sleeve. Because of this, I have been easily used by some people. For a long time, I closed up the walls of my heart completely. When I was about twenty years old, I realized this flaw in myself. It took me many years and much prayer to learn how open up at all. And, when I do, I am not always wise about who I open up to. Staying open is often a struggle.

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