As I grow older, I'm not getting wiser, I'm just getting more confused. I spent a lot of time and energy as a young mother coming to terms with strange doctrines such as God was once a man and the literal conception of Jesus, only to have these demphasized twenty years later. It took a lot of faith and struggle to follow the counsel of Church leaders back then not to use birth control and to have as many children as possible (not to mention their counsel on sexual practices between married couples!). Now it feels like the sacrifice I made has no meaning. Young couples today are told to pray about the decision of how many children to have. I wonder what my family would look like if that had been the counsel I was given. How would it have affected my strained relationship with my husband, my years of depression? How much better could I have done as a mother and as a member of the community?
As time goes by and I measure the years of my Church membership in decades, I see big changes. I welcome many of these, but struggle with feelings of anger. Why was my marriage and my Church membership burdened with the hard patriarchy rhetoric while men and women enjoy much more equality today? What would my choices and opportunities have been if the emphasis on education for women had been preached when I was 21?
Some of the changes are not welcome. I don't see the need for us to defend our status as "Christians." When I joined the Church, I worked for and gained a testimony of our distinctive doctrines, and I don't like to see them watered down so that we can fit in better with evangelical interest groups.
I've seen the reorganization of 5 First Presidencies now, and it will be interesting to see what new directions they will take us. I'm excited about the Church today. I see more acceptance of diversity. I see more openness in dealing with Mormon history. There is an effort at distinguishing between Mormon culture and doctrine. I see a better understanding of international issues. But I fear I'm becoming an LDS dinosaur.
The Deeper Melody — Chapter 5
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