Can someone please point me to the part in the bible that says “Yea, forsake thy bretheren/sisteren who differ from thee”? Because I can’t seem to find it. Which is funny, because that’s the law that people seem to be living by these days.
It seems that the more I advocate for inclusion, the more excluded I become.
I feel like a plague or a parasite that people are protecting themselves from. Apparently if you drink coffee, wear tank tops, and think that all people deserve to be treated as equals, nobody will want to play with you. Even the people that have been in your life for years.
The more I think about it, though, the more it makes sense. Even in Primary, I remember having discussions about the importance of choosing good friends who have the same standards as you, which, where i’m from, meant that mormons stuck with other mormons for the most part.
I love mormonism, and I love the people within it. I don’t necessarily agree with everything in it, but I am doing the best I can. And it stings that through my well-known “struggle,” I am having to try my best all by myself.
Every Sunday, I sit through my meetings by myself and try my best to stay calm and keep an open mind, and return home either in tears or in a flurry of frustration or pain.
I can’t seem to find my tribe. Even through grade school, I’ve been in constant pursuit of finding a place to fit in. But now that i’m starting to figure out who and what I am, even the few people I though I had are turning their backs.
Not to rain on anyone’s parade, but I had to get this out there. I feel better already.
A Very Solitary M.
4 thoughts on “Exclusion”
I felt the same way within the LDS organization. Miserably, I just didn’t fit. Pondering the fact that other members’ lives appeared simple, easy, and perfect, I came to the conclusion that I was surrounded by fakers. Life is not neat and tidy. It’s messy and we never know what will impact us next. There’s no way to prepare for every contingency. I gave myself persmission to be human and gave up the pursuit of perfection. We all do the best we can.
Regarding sin: I left Mormonism 15 years ago and haven’t sinned since. Seriously. I’m much kinder to myself and to others for being human and sometimes making mistakes. I still try to make a positive impact wherever I go and to raise my children to be productive, empathetic members of society, but removing the manmade construct of sin made me less fearful of taking action and even of making mistakes.
My biggest life regret will be not taking advantage of opportunities when they were presented during my first 30 years. I was stationed in Hawaii with the military for four years and never learned to surf while I was there: I was afraid of sharks–even though cows cause more injuries to humans than sharks do (I live on a cattle ranch now)! I didn’t take the military-discounted scuba diving lessons, either–although I have now rectified that missed opportunity.
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It just seems really hypocritical. I mean, as Christians, aren’t we trying to be like Christ? Christ loves the sinner, and we are commanded to, as well. Personally, I don’t see my life choices as sins. Regardless, my sins are between me and God, and the fact that people who were once dear friends have completely cut me off just seems really hypocritical to me.
Something similar has happened to me in different settings.
In the Church because I’m still single and people think that I don’t want to marry or settle down. And outside the Church, well, I travel a lot, and as an LDS, things like believing in Christ, the word of wisdom, and law of chastity aren’t always welcome. I lived in a non-Christian country where I was even called stupid for believing in Christ, in other places other people have mocked at my “old-fashioned” ideas about sex and not drinking at least a beer or cup of coffee. But fortunately most of the time, after serving them, make them feel welcomed, and avoiding contention people lower their defensive or attacking attitude a little and start mingle with me happily.
I guess serving others, being kind, and being sensitive to others’ needs pay back. But what about those who are already kind and give service to others and still aren’t accepted? Well, it won’t always work. It didn’t work for Christ who was rejected by some of his closest people, it hasn’t always worked for many others. For me hasn’t always work either. Many groups of PEOPLE, not necessarily clubs, organizations, or institutions, only accept those who do and behave in the same way they behave. When someone does something different, they may feel their comfort zone is threatened and they don’t like that. So, sometimes we are the ones that have to get out of the comfort zone and get there to change their minds with a little kind deed at a time. The road is long and it may feel lonely, but then the reward will come at the end with solid friendships and the love of those we served.
It is right there in 2 Corinthians 14: “As to the other matter, let there not be any dissention found among you. Be united together in thought, purpose, and practice. Let any brethren whose heart and mind cannot be won go their separate ways. Rejoice always when they turn from the error of their ways, namely having an indepent thought without permission.”
You are right that the Bible doesn’t say it. Some believers misapply scripture to the wrong situation. They don’t want to approve the sins of others or help others to sin, so they don’t bake cakes or sell flower arrangements or they kick their teenagers out until they repent. That is legalism, not love.