I'm talking about the monopoly on morality, service, and marital/familial love TBMs think they have. I'll explain further, but first I think I need to address this:
Since removing my Mormon blinders I've realized what a bitch I was. Oh, outwardly I was "really nice." And by "really nice" I mean that
- I was non confrontational
- I pretended to like everybody I had to deal with at church
- I spewed platitudes and "warm-fuzzies" instead of what I really thought
I say this now because I want to make this perfectly clear: When I complain about Mormon behavior nine times out of ten it will be behavior that I took part in. Mormonopoly thinking being no exception. Anyhow, moving on...
It has been suggested that if Adam and I did not marry because God told us to then our relationship must be based solely on hormones and that at the first sign of trouble we'll bail on each other.
I'll give you a moment to let that sink in.
Besides being a completely illogical deduction it is an incredibly insulting thing to say. TBMs do not have a monopoly on love, commitment and strong marriages. In fact, LDS divorce rates are quickly catching up to the rest of society (and considering the extra-strong stigma divorce carries within Mormon society that is saying a lot). Additionally life within the culture of the Church can actually be damaging to a marriage. I wonder what my parents would have to say about this. Goodness knows they've had more than their fair share of trouble (my mom has severe progressive MS). They haven't bailed on each other. But, clearly since God didn't tell them to get married their relationship is a sham, built solely on hormones. [insert massive eye roll here]
Of course, the irony of Mormons lecturing anyone about marriage will not be lost on other "apostates**" like me.
The fact of the matter is that I married Adam because I love him. I love him, we get along very well, and he's a good man (with or without Mormonism thank you very much). And when we committed to each other we committed. We determined before our wedding that divorce is not an option. Other than abuse or adultery there is no reason we will tolerate for splitting up (and even in those cases we wouldn't necessarily consider it).
But it doesn't stop with marriage. It's not uncommon for TBMs to think that without the "Gospel" they would be horrible people, that those outside the "One True Church" are caught up in lives of sin. Though, I suppose when you think coffee is a sin then yes...almost everyone is a big 'ol sinner. But I digress. My point is this: Mormons do not have a monopoly on morality.
I can offer service to others (which I have) without having to have a Bishop or Relief Society President ask me to. I can be a good person without secret handshakes, a huge (and probably unhealthy) number of meetings/committments, daily reading of questionalble "sacred texts" and without a "prophet" to tell me what to do. It's as simple as offering others the same kindness and respect I would want them to offer me.
And being a good person does not mean I have to sacrifice the health and happiness of myself, my friends, or my family in an effort to "be nice" or "do what's right." I can say "no" without it meaning I'm "letting down the Lord" or that I'm not being Christ-like. Frankly...I don't know that I want to be like Christ. I no longer want to be like so-and-so in Relief Society. In fact I don't want to be like anybody else. I want to be like me.
For years I've suppressed my thoughts, feelings, likes, dislikes, etc. all in an effort to be the perfect Mormon woman. I've been conforming to somebody else's ideal. I've foolishly believed it was the only way to be worthy, the only way to be good. What a load of hooey. Since leaving the church I haven't suddenly started being a bad person (well...unless you include things like the occasional morning cup of "sin"). In fact I've found myself starting to be a better person. For one thing I'm not nearly as judgmental as I once was. You might say I stopped obsessing over the "letter of the law" long enough to actually remember to live the "spirit of the law."
I'll say it again. I do not need the church to keep me in line. I am an adult, and quite capable of telling right from wrong and acting accordingly. I don't need to slave away trying to be like someone else or how someone says I should be. I can be me because, believe it or not, she's a good woman.
*Yes, there really is a board game.
**Somebody remind me to write a post about the use of the term "apostate" some day.