I feel compelled to write about a recent experience here. It started a day or two ago when I expressed on my personal Facebook page that I strongly disagree with a certain popular Christian blogger and feel his "tell it like it is" rants are actually dangerously wrong in some cases. It began a firestorm of comments from people I know (I only accept friend requests from people I know in real life on my personal Facebook account).
I completely love and honor differing opinions. I have had many wonderful and uplifting conversations with friends who have a diametrically opposed point of view than mine, but who can express it in an understanding and respectful way. All of the comments were respectful. Some agreed with me. Some strongly disagreed. But that was fine.
On top of the comments a Facebook "friend" sent me a private message berating me.
Among other things (and there were A LOT of others things) she said was "I don't think people look at you and see a human being-- they see a Mormon-- and many will use anything they can to berate the church on account its members weaknesses. I think you need to be careful what messages you're sending out into the world in the name of the LDS Church. You may not wear a name tag anymore, but you are still a missionary."
I responded with a very long, drawn-out, answer that I won't bother to post here, but here's what I really want to say, what is truly at the heart of the matter:
PEOPLE ONLINE NEED TO SEE MORE HUMAN BEINGS AND FEWER "MORMONS".
Our church members often perpetuate a glossy veneer of perfection. That false perfection crushes people's spirits and drives people from the arms of God and Jesus Christ. That false perfection drives people away from the arms of Wards and Congregations that they don't feel they fit in to. A lot of Mormons share links to General Conference and LIKE the Book of Mormon page (and that's awesome!), but we need more Mormons to say -- I AM A SINNER.
So I'm going to start...
I AM A SINNER. A WRETCHED SINNER. THERE IS A DARK, HORRID, SIDE OF ME THAT I FIGHT TO SUPPRESS EVERY DAY AND SOMETIMES I FAIL. BECAUSE I AM A SINNER. AND SO ARE YOU. AND THAT'S OKAY BECAUSE OF JESUS CHRIST. BECAUSE HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU AND FOR ME.
LET'S TAKE OUR SINNER BUTTS TO CHURCH AND TRY AND BE BETTER. NO SLEEVES ON YOUR DRESS? NO PROBLEM. DOES YOUR BREATH SMELL LIKE CIGARETTE SMOKE? THAT'S OKAY. EVERYONE HERE IS SINNING TOO. EVERY DAY. YOU CAN'T SMELL IT, BUT IT'S THERE.
SEE THAT WOMAN IN THE PICTURE AT THE TOP OF THIS POST? SHE SWEARS WHEN SHE'S FRUSTRATED. SHE IS AN ACTIVE MEMBER WHO ALSO SUPPORTS LGBTQ RIGHTS. SOMETIMES SHE VOTES DEMOCRAT. SHE ATTENDS CHURCH, BUT SHE SOMETIMES STRONGLY DISAGREES WITH WHAT IS BEING SAID IN MEETINGS. SHE WRITES A FAMILY HOME EVENING BLOG, BUT HASN'T HELD FHE IN HER OWN HOME FOR MONTHS. SHE IS A MORMON. SHE IS A MOM. SHE IS A SINNER. SHE IS A HUMAN BEING WHO NEEDS THE ATONEMENT. A LOT.
SO LET'S GO AND TRY AND BE REDEEMED OF OUR SINS IN A ROOM FILLED WITH OTHER WRETCHED SOULS TRYING TO DO THE SAME. YOU IN?