As an addict involved in the LDS Addiction Recovery Program, I had to dig deep to find and embrace my inner Mormon. What follows is my journal from this point forward.

Monday, July 2, 2012

My Response to Report of Mass Mormon Resignation

Yesterday, the WaPo posted this article about supposed mass resignation ceremony.  I don't know if the word mass fits here, given that we are talking about .001 percent of the membership.  By the time the ceremony was over, we had already baptized that more than the number that had left.  Still I found a sadness at this departure and as such felt to respond with the essay below:

Today in my LDS meetings, we talked about marriage. We talked about christlike love in marriage and hope and devotion to one another even in times when one questions their faith. We read scriptures, discussed in the class our own marriage challenges, some minor, some very major. We read passages of hope and peace in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. We prayed for renewed committment to our spouses and our families, to be more christian in our parenting. 

My wife and I read the lesson in advance. We discussed where we could improve our marriage. We have been married for 26 years. Tonight we will pray together and seek a blessing for our 7 children, and our neighbors, many of whom are not LDS or are not practicing. Today people bore witness of the truth of Jesus, and the restoration of his gospel. Those who volunteered included single parents and families with husbands who have turned on their covenants. All spoke of the love of their families and those married spoke of the love of their spouses regardless.

We met as priesthood leaders and talked about how we might find greater joy through scriptures and through prayer. We talked about how trials shape us and how we can grow to be more than we are today. We talked about the commandments and what blessings in this life do we receive from them. We prayed to be better husbands and fathers. We all worry about our ability to raise children devoted to the Lord in these days. We feel the struggles and we bear each other up as we do so.

The night before this our largely LDS Neighborhood has a party. We invited all the neighbors and all but one showed up. We introduced ourselves to the neighbors as we had some new move-ins, niether of which are praciticing LDS. The mom of one of the new families, sporting ankle tatoos and who smokes, expressed her appreciation for the acceptance she felt from the neighborhood. She said they lived in another place, a place that is largely not-LDS, but this was a better fit.

In church, We talked about missionary work and how we wanted to first express a sense of welcoming to all regardless of their background or interest in the LDS Church. We have announced community outreach classes to benefit all in our neighborhood. I suspect few non-LDS will attend, but it is not because we have closed them out.

We discuss from time to time in our meetings issues about Book of Mormon evidences and Book of Abraham evidences and most of us learn there is evidence to go either way. What we all seem to feel is that the messages we read, the lessons we learn, the depth of doctrine and love and spiritual strength we gain is the greatest evidence that this work is divine. We try to live according to this faith. We fail. We repent. We try again.

When I think of my LDS weekend and the weekend those in this article had, I am certain, mine was much better, and will have much greater long term benefit. I am saddened by this. I have known many who have left the faith. I have yet to see their lives made better. Some remain together, but they have closed up a bit, some have expressed that I shouldn't be in their business anyway. Perhaps, but caring about others does kinda put us in their business. So I care from distance. Most have ended their marriages, most found another church and then later gave up on those churches. Several gave up on God altogether. It saddens me when I think of my weekend and what they will miss.

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