I read this blog over at Segullah today, and wanted to respond. “Mama” asked,
Is Mormonism as good as it looks? What do you think is the best non-religious aspect of being Mormon? What practices and traditions from Mormonism do you think would most benefit the average American housewife or mother? Do you feel there is pressure to be “perfect?” How does that differ from pressure on other American women? How is it similar? And yes, how do you do it without caffeine? No, seriously?
Naturally, as I began my comment, I realized that it was ultra-long, so I thought that I’d answer her questions in my own blog post.
1. “Is Mormonism is as good as it looks?” – Good is good – and Mormons like good things – “…if there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” (Article of Faith 1:13). I’ve been a Mormon my whole life, and I can’t imagine anything different. I don’t want to imagine anything different, either. I’m immensely happy, and I’ve been blessed with confidence and peace as I’ve kept my covenants. I’ll have to give a definitive – Yes! Mormonism is good.
2. Best Non-religious aspect of being Mormon: I’d probably have to say sense of community. It is amazing. You can always find friends who, at some level, understand you. The relationships I’ve made in my church have, more often than not, surprised me. I’ve made relationships with women who are incredibly different than I am, but we share a common belief. I’ve learned so much while living in so many places, and always, I’ve been blessed with the friendships I’ve made, almost instantly, with kind Mormon women.
3. Practices and Traditions that would help any Mother: Mormons are hard workers. We are taught to be grateful. We are taught to be kind. In a word, we are taught to be Christ-like. I really think that if we were all centering out hearts on loving others – and being truly charitable, then we’d have a much happier and safer world.
4a. Is there pressure to be perfect? I guess, so. of course, that is mostly self-made pressure. I feel like when I’m remembering the true tenants of my religion, I’ll remember Christ – who is fully of mercy and grace. When I forget about performing for performance’s sake, then I remember that Christ is full of hope and love – and he isn’t discouraging me or deriding me because I’m not doing something as well as someone else can. So, in other words, as a Mormon, when I focus on my relationship with the Savior, I’m aware of my shortcomings, but I feel encouraged by the Love and Mercy that He has for me.
4 b. How does this pressure differ from other American Women? – Generally, I think that we do a disservice to ourselves and to our Sisters when we compare ourselves. This, to me, is the source of such “pressure.” It really isn’t fair to compare/compete the ways that we do. I recently read somewhere that instead of having an ‘us’ vs ‘them’ mentality, we ought to have a ‘we’ mentality…Isn’t that where our pressure comes from?
4. C. How is the pressure similar? Mormonism is considered by many to be a truly “American” religion, and I think that culturally, there is a bit of truth to that. American culture has deeply Puritanical roots, as does the Mormon Culture. Both Mormons and Americans believe in working hard. Both Mormons and Americans feel like we have control over our lives/destinies. These similarities seem to breed pressure among all of us. We want our families to be successful, and we want to be pretty, we want to be happy, we want our children to participate in the community, we want to be able to bake, and sew, and knit, and fix our toilets, etc… I think that we just want to be “every woman.” Is that too much to ask?!
5. How do we do it without caffeine?: Well…does chocolate count?! 😉 It has to.
6. “No, Seriously?” : We pray. A lot.