This morning was one of those mornings I checked and found some good religious questions. I made time to answer, but my comment got so long that it wouldn’t publish.
So I’m posting my answer here, just because sometimes it’s good to clarify some things. Especially about my religion.
Keep in mind this is not over thought-out, just put together as a comment before I run help my kids with their Saturday jobs. But I figured it was worth making into a post because I have realized, more often than not, that my Mormon religion gets misconstrued sometimes. And I want to put in my two-cents.
Here you go:
Oh my heavens, I’m not sure where the comment is that LDS kids can’t hang out with non LDS. I must have missed that?
I think one of the very core beliefs of our religion is to love and associate with everyone regardless of any religious beliefs. And that we are all children of God. Sure, we should surround ourselves with goodness, but we are all different and learning from those who are different from us is, at least in my mind, essential to grow up well-adjusted and happy. If we shelter ourselves and try to hang out only with those of our own faith what kind of life would that be? I doubt our minds would be open to all the goodness that lies around us, in and out of religion. One of my very best friends in all the world is Catholic. Oh boy I am so grateful for the goodness she and her family have brought to my life through their example (love you Claudia 🙂. We’ve all been raised in completely different ways. We all have different backgrounds. We can learn an incredible amount from people who think differently than we do.
Now, that is not to say that we should surround ourselves with drug dealers (ha!) And teenagers are, of course, very impressionable. We should choose our friends well. But that doesnt’ mean they have to be LDS. We should love everyone and realize that everyone has a different path in this life of ours. I have come in contact lately, for one reason or another, with some people from very diverse backgrounds. I am so grateful for the perspective they have given me first of all that there are SO many people out there trying their best with what they have been given, and second, it has made me so grateful for the guidance that the gospel we live has given our family. I’m so grateful for the standards we have been taught from the time we were young. I’m so grateful to have so much help in raising my children to be good and loving and contributing members of society. There are so many people who are muddling through this world of ours struggling trying their best to do what’s good and right but they have no framework. They know in their hearts what is good, but they have never had an example. Never had a parent with a steady job. Never been taught that it doesn’t bring happiness to steal and cheat through life. They have no examples. What are their chances in life? It makes me sad.
Ok, I could go on tangents on this topic all day.
To sum up this little string of tangents, In my mind, the only drawback where we live is that there isn’t a lot of diversity. There are a lot of LDS kids which I love. There are so many amazing LDS families that I learn from and look up to with all my heart and I’m SO grateful my kids associate with their kids. But it’s easy to get closed off from the rest of the world when there are so many people in your same religion surrounding you. I’m sure it’s that way with ANY religion. It’s easy for kids to think that this is the only way of life which of course it’s not. I am so grateful for my kids’ friends. Some of their non-LDS friends have better standards and make better choices than the LDS ones. There are so many great kids out there trying to muddle through life and being a teenager is tough. Just because some kids go to church every week doesn’t mean they will make the best decisions. Teenagers are all trying to figure it out. We encourage our kids to hang out with kids who make them want to be better, not just in our religion. But we also talk with them a lot about the kids who aren’t making good choices (in and out of the church) who may need a leader. We try to go through scenarios where someone is making a bad choice. We talk about what they would do in that situation. We try to get them ready. Because bad stuff happens. And our world needs leaders.
I am hoping to attend church with some of our non-lds friends at some point. I want these kids of mine to know that there are tons of religions that are doing their best just as we are. It’s all part of life. We just need to do the best we can.
But boy howdy, all this talk does make me so grateful for the framework of living that my church gives me. Makes me so happy. How I hope my children will feel that same happiness and let the gospel we live bring them the joy it has to me. I hope they will realize that people in and out of our church make mistakes. Leaders make mistakes. We are all human. But that we have a Savior who made it possible to overcome all that. If we remember that, life is oh so good.
I hope that my children will know, as my parents so beautifully taught me, that the LDS gospel is all about love. Not judgement. Each week as we go to church we are reminded of that. And at the center of it all is Jesus Christ who we should try to be like if ever there is ever a question. I hope they will realize that He loves us and is cheering for us no matter what happens, no matter what mistakes or what rivers of sorrow come our way. If we can always cling to the centerpiece of the gospel, the Atonement, then life just makes sense. And glows with beauty.
I’m obviously so very grateful for my religion. For more on that read this post back here: https://71toes.com/2012/08/conversion-and-love.html