What do you think?

As you read this, please do so with an open mind. I’m not saying “this is bad” – just thinking through some things.

I think a lot of the church rules are a little insulting to people.

Now before any one gets up in arms, let me explain. I don’t think that the “right” thing is the same thing for every one, and I believe that with free willand self conrol people have life “good” lives. As a logical human being I can see that alcohol and drugs are bad for my body – so why do I need rules telling me not to partake of them? I can see the health and psychological benefits of waiting until your married to have sex (because if you didn’t know, sex leads to babies. I think if you’re not willing to potentially have a baby, you shouldn’t be having sex, because even the best BC fails sometimes, but that’s a different post). I am guided by morals and ethics that I have learned through life experience.

So from there, I have two things that bother me. One being that these “guidelines” (rules, revelation, what every you want to call them) can seem very strict, and two being that people tend to analyze the guidelines, determine what they think it means, and then apply it to every one else.

When I was 11 I was at the chapel after a rehearsal with the orchestra for Fiddler on the Roof. It was the same night that President Hinckly gave a speech to the youth. I wasn’t technically a youth yet, but I stood at the very back of the cultural hall and listened while I waited for my Mom to come pick me up. In this talk he outlined some standards for the youth – one of them being that girls should only have one pair of earings.

Now listen to me internet. I had two pairs! My mom had my ears pierced as an infant and my holes had grown wonky, so she took me to get another set pierced so that the pairs would line up again. Was I bad person because I had two holes in each of my ears? Was I a sinner? Did my young soul really need tormenting over how many earings I had in my ears? The general “guideline” would’ve been “no extremes in style” – but the church went further. They got very very specific, and that rubs me the wrong way.

The second thing I mentioned was people applying their own interpretations of these church guidelines to everyone. A friend of mine recently went vegetarian – she and her husband wanted to eat more ethically, but because they could not afford organic meat in their budget they decided to become vegetarian. After a request for recipe suggestions on facebook (oh the drama), many of her family and friends decided to inform her that being a vegetarian is against the Word of Wisdom, and the heckled her about it. HELLO!?!?!!?!? Really people? Americans, who for the majority don’t know what “eating in season” actually entails and couldn’t tell you what time of year cantaloupe are “in-season”, and for people who probably do not eat meat sparingly (all things explicitly stated in the WoW), these people sure had gall to pick on this girl who was trying to do what she thinks is the right thing! Just because he interpretation was different people felt entitled to helping her “Choose the Right” – but as I pointed out before, I think what is right varies from person to person.

Of course, I understand that these are meant to guide us in living happy, fulfilling lives. But to that I would say, what satisfies you in life might not be what satisfies me.

I dunno. This is still a work in progress. It just seems like sometimes rules are superfluous, and then people are “good” because they are seeking some reward (heaven?) and not because they just want to be good people.

My brain hurts.

Continue the fun!

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4 Comments

  1. Of course there are exceptions to every "rule", but if we are really an exception, we will know it in our hearts and won't feel the need to defend ourselves or get offended.

    I think it's dangerous to start thinking we are exempt from rules or that they are not necessary. Even the earth and science and physics have rules and laws. Satan is the one who wants confusion and chaos…God has order.

    What we all need to work on though is not judging people who don't follow the rules how we want them too. Only Christ can judge, and he will do so 100% fairly, so we shouldn't need to worry.

    That's my two cents. 🙂

    ps, I think he was saying not to wear more than one pair of earrings at a time, not condemning those with multiple holes.

  2. I remember when Pres. Hinckley spoke on the piercings. What has helped me is to not think of them as superfluous rules issued by the Church, but revelation from our loving Heavenly Father to his Prophet for the whole Church. He wants us to return to Him, and in order to do so, we have to be like Him. I think if we have that perspective, that helps a lot. Of course, I believe it's so important to be guided by the Spirit in exactly how you live the gospel in your own life. To me there actually seem to be way fewer "hard and fast" rules (very specific do's and don'ts) and many more "guidelines" left open for personal interpretation (hopefully through revelation)…but maybe that's just me.

  3. I hear you sister. Loud and clear.

    People in the church drive me crazy. People interpret things, say things that are mean or hurtful or even offensive. People suck.

    After my divorce, you wouldn't believe all the horrible things I heard. And my mind tied it back to the church. But when I tried to leave, I couldn't. I had faith that the basic fundamentals were true.

    So for now, I focus on the basics, follow the rules I know to be true, that keep me healthy. Yes, we may be able to recognize that alcohol is bad, but we don't ever have that in our lives as a negative. Other people who don't automatically rule it out, can deal with things like drunken regretful nights before they stop drinking! hehe

    1. Yeah, even outside the church I am some times appalled at what people will say. If said person made decisions for their life, why do they have to apply to every one! I guess it's that every one is so busy trying to "help" that they don't stop to consider that not every one needs the same kind of help. Sorry you had to go through that. I too went through a (different) rather stigmatizing and traumatizing event in my life that left me feeling labeled and "disapproved" – and at some points I was just thinking "I'll do it because I used to believe it was right, and that's all I've got right now."

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