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Magical World

Wouldn't it be lovely if, with just a twitch of the nose, life, or any aspect of it could be changed. Instead, positive changes always seem to involve tremendously hard work, determination, and endless setbacks. How lovely it would be to have the powers of Samantha Stephens.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Foolish Traditions and Propaganda

I believe I'm finally at a place, emotionally, where I can talk about this without seeing myself as a total idiot. As a rule, I am not someone who buys into "mormonisms"--you know, the belief that a loaf of homemade bread and a casserole will cure cancer-- that if you have enough faith a total stranger will replace that car of yours which sits on the lawn with no engine-- that there is a ONE AND ONLY (and you pledged yourself to each other in the pre-earth life) for each person to marry--that every church speaker should begin with a stupid joke, a chronicle of how the bishop had to chase that person down in order to get him/her to talk, or an apology about how unprepared (s)he is (and I ask you--whose fault is that????)--or that homosexuals are "that way" because they choose to be, were fence-sitters in the pre-earth life, don't have enough faith to be "healed", or just haven't tried the other way--I hope I'm not stepping on any toes here, but please remember, this is MY blog and I can say whatever I want to. Anyway, I'm a cynic, and I don't believe most of what can't be backed up by scripture or a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. That's just who I am.

So the propaganda about accepting a calling, which I've been taught all my life, is this: You should always say yes. It might be difficult for you, but God will help you find a way. You owe so much to the Lord, that you MUST do whatever is asked of you. In doing so, your weaknesses will be made strong, you will be blessed abundantly, in short, you will become a sort of super-church calling-hero, if you only have enough faith to do what you were certainly foreordained to do, and probably agreed to and signed in the pre-earth contractual agreement. Also, there's a bit of a hint about temple covenants requiring us to serve wherever asked...

Now, I have to admit, I've pretty much accepted every calling I've been given. There was a time when I was called to be in the Primary Presidency right after I'd been put into the hospital to keep me in bedrest so my second baby would stay inside me until he reached 34 weeks. I said I'd do it, but since I'd be in the hospital indefinitely, I wasn't sure how much help I'd be (I was currently at 29 weeks). They asked someone else. There was the time when I was asked to serve on the Cub Scout committee when my daughter was five weeks old, just under five pounds, and in the hospital dying of RSV. I said they needed to talk to me when I knew whether or not I'd be planning a funeral or nursing a baby back to health. They chose someone else--oh yeah, and my daughter was released from the hospital about 10 days later. Yeah, I think those were callings of desperation, not inspiration, and somewhere along the line, the person approving the calls should have, perhaps checked on the status of the callee...just a personal opinion. And honestly, those types of things have been rare. For the most part, I've served willingly, wherever asked, and not really worried about whether or not I could do the things required. Somehow, I could.

My bishop believes that he needed to extend the RS calling to me, so I would have to address the fact that I'm still struggling with the resolution of my eating disorder. I'm having a hard time accepting that. I think a visit from an angel would be more believable (no, I'm not serious). And as much as I would like to say that I feel my bishop was out of line to ask me to serve in that capacity, knowing the emotional stress I've been under, knowing my commitment to teach seminary this year, knowing my husband is a bishop of another ward, knowing I'm mentally unbalanced (WHAT WAS HE THINKING?????), in spite of all that, I find myself still falling victim to the false doctrines preached by self-righteous, non-sinning saints. The fictitious tenets which say that if I'd been worthy, if I had enough faith, if I was truly committed, if I really loved God, if I was humble, if I was righteous...well, I just would have thrown caution to the wind and said, "YES! I'll do it or die trying (and, truthfully, death would have been a real possiblity, considering that I stopped eating after the call was extended), and the Lord will make certain that I succeed!!!"

Okay, that last paragraph is just stupid. Unfortunately, because of my background, because of the ingrained teachings and traditions I've lived with throughout mortality, part of me believes all that crap. And I'm left feeling guilty, knowing I've fallen short, wishing I could overcome something that is eating me alive, wanting to give my life to God...but knowing that if I do it in this way, I may meet Him in person a whole lot sooner than I'd planned.

Mental anguish sucks.

19 Comments:

  • At Saturday, August 05, 2006 11:47:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Callings definitely come from both desperation and inspiration. As one who has issued many-a-call in his day, I have first hand knowledge of extending and receiving both kinds.

    I testify, however, that with callings that I didn't feel I could adequately do, I was able to become "strengthened and equal to it" as corny as that sounds.

    No guilt trip here from me - for I am also convinced that the Lord knows our heart, and doesn't want us to die in the "duty" and "service" of our calling - for what good would that do anyone? Despite what the temple covenants state about giving our all to the cause, I doubt the Lord really means going insane is a requirement of devotion and consecration.

    Or maybe it is?

     
  • At Saturday, August 05, 2006 11:49:00 AM, Blogger Beck said…

    Sorry, I clicked the wrong identity - that previous comment is from me.

    Love,

    Beck

     
  • At Saturday, August 05, 2006 11:54:00 AM, Blogger Beck said…

    Now that I read my correction, I'm laughing... I clicked the "wrong identity" from "anonymous". Somewhere in there is a huge amount of irony!

    Sorry for taking up space on your blog.

     
  • At Saturday, August 05, 2006 12:11:00 PM, Blogger AttemptingthePath said…

    goodness beck, you SHOULD be sorry about taking up room on her blog ;-) just kidding

    the whole beginning the talk with a funny joke thing is...lame. I think next time I talk I'm going to HAVE to start out "This one time my dead gay brother was on BYU campus dressed in drag he tried to kiss the BYU policeman who was escorting him off campus" and SOMEHOW tie that into my talk

     
  • At Saturday, August 05, 2006 12:12:00 PM, Blogger Samantha said…

    Beck, take all the space you need. I have more than enough room for wisdom, advice, bad clicking, irony, and Freudian slips.

    Thanks for your words--and for making me laugh.

     
  • At Saturday, August 05, 2006 12:13:00 PM, Blogger Samantha said…

    ATP: When you give that talk, will you please, please, PLEASE invite me??? I so want to hear how you're going to tie that one into a gospel topic. You're hilarious.

     
  • At Saturday, August 05, 2006 1:19:00 PM, Blogger noelle feather said…

    I agree w/you. Mental anguish DOES suck.

     
  • At Saturday, August 05, 2006 1:24:00 PM, Blogger noelle feather said…

    I have a question: In your first paragraph, you talk about a few "mormonisms"....I'm wondering if you are around people who ACTUALLY believe those?

     
  • At Saturday, August 05, 2006 2:55:00 PM, Blogger Stephen said…

    -that every church speaker should begin with a stupid joke

    I'd be glad to see that one killed and buried.

     
  • At Saturday, August 05, 2006 5:26:00 PM, Blogger ambrosia ananas said…

    I just read your blog for the first time (linked from Master Fob), and I have to say, I'm impressed. You sound like one amazing woman.

     
  • At Saturday, August 05, 2006 5:46:00 PM, Blogger noelle feather said…

    I second Ambrosia.

     
  • At Sunday, August 06, 2006 9:04:00 AM, Blogger Samantha said…

    Stephen--So will I!! Glad you agree!

    Noelle: Of course, I exaggerated slightly--but, yes, I DO know people who buy into those things, and one of them is my Sister-in-Law...sigh...

    Noelle and Ambrosia: Good to hear from some more female voices! Most of my visitors are male (sorry guys, you know I adore each one of you, but it's been a little lonely on the gender bonding side of things), and my only female visitors have been Kim and FoxyJ (Yay!! thanks, you two, for visiting and bringing a feminine point of view), so your visits have helped break up the general homogeneity of my blog society--thanks!

     
  • At Sunday, August 06, 2006 10:27:00 AM, Blogger noelle feather said…

    I am floored when I come across people like that. (Who highly believe the "mormonisms" you shared). Maybe it's more rare in California? I don't know. Maybe that's why I didn't feel as comfortable in Utah (wait! Are you in Utah?) when I lived there last year. I don't know what or why, but people who buy into those "mormonisms" drive me freaking crazy. Period.

     
  • At Sunday, August 06, 2006 10:30:00 AM, Blogger Samantha said…

    That's irony for you--my SIL was born and raised in California!! And no, I'm not in Utah, but I still come across mild symptoms of mormonitis.

     
  • At Sunday, August 06, 2006 10:22:00 PM, Blogger noelle feather said…

    UGH, you have GOT to be kidding me....WHO is that naive?

     
  • At Sunday, August 06, 2006 10:28:00 PM, Blogger Samantha said…

    Okay, I'll say it, but I might get burned at the stake for my opinion: Prozac popping mommies (unmonitored by proper physicians and therapists) who have too many children and too little time, who feel disconnected from spouse, undervalued, unfulfilled, and extremely tired.

    I know that would make ME want to believe in anything--Santa, the tooth fairy, urban mormon myths...

    Anyway, I just described my sister-in-law...

     
  • At Monday, August 07, 2006 10:32:00 AM, Blogger That One Guy said…

    Sam, that's the biggest "mormonism" of them all: take the calling, prozac will get you through.

    There are SO many, women particularly, who go this route. I can't BEGIN to imagine the state of their psyches; talk about torn and tattered, afraid to step out of line.

    I found my self unable to live that way, having been a first councillor to three bishops in a row, and I "opted out". There were other things, a wife who campaigned for potentially open positions for me, a busted home life because of these things, etc. I just couldn't keep all the balls in the air.

    Now I find myself happier, and with a clearer mind and happier spirit than I have ever had - I'm a better person and Christian now than I have ever been in my life.

    LDS women are so worried, in general, about which casserole they are taking to this or that event, that their children and families suffer greatly. Eventually, dysfunction ensues.

    Sorry, just my $0.02.

    Incidentally, my second oldest hits the MTC this week, bound for Fiji.

     
  • At Tuesday, August 08, 2006 10:31:00 AM, Blogger noelle feather said…

    It kind of creeps me out here to admit that I just got off my Prozac. I have taken it (and others) for a while, and when my last rx. ran out, I thought about it and decided to let it go and to not take it any longer.

    BUT, I swear that I AM NOT SO NAIVE to believe all those "mormonisms". Really.

     
  • At Tuesday, August 08, 2006 12:40:00 PM, Blogger Samantha said…

    Lest this deteriorate into a discussion on the pro's and cons of Prozac (and other related drugs), let me please be clear...I believe the drugs have their place and are extremely helpful in many cases. My problem comes when a physician will write a prescription for a six month supply, but not suggest that the mom (since that's my specific targe today) get some counseling to find out how to manage all the stress in her life. I think that's just irresponsible.

    Again, I'm still talking about my SIL. Again, just my opinion...

     

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