I swear I must have a split personality.
We went to our new ward on Sunday. I felt really happy when we walked in. It's such a comfort to go anywhere in the world and have a ready-made family to go to when you arrive. You know that the three men sitting on the stand are the Bishop and his counselors; that Gospel Doctrine will probably be held in the chapel; that the Relief Society room is the one with the comfortable chairs. You know the Elders Quorum president can help you out if you need some heavy lifting done for your move. You'll be within one SS lesson of where you left off in your old ward. All those things were so nice. After Sacrament Meeting it turned out that the family who sat in front of us lived in the same subdivision we will be moving in to. They have a nine-year-old daughter. To find out if they would be in the same Primary class, my LDS-savvy nine-year-old daughter asked her when her birthday was. The child replied by giving the exact same date my daughter was born!
I felt completely at home in the ward. I answered a question in RS with a standard Mormon reply and I really believed what I was saying. I was invited to a book club group and promised to attend. I was deeply immersed in my Mormon brain, and everything was perfectly OK.
I don't know what to say. I want to get along here. I don't want to be the odd duck. I want to have validity in the ward. I want to be a nice Mormon mommy. I feel happy, I feel the Spirit when I spout the Mormon line. I know I can project a version of myself which will be welcomed and accepted here. So why do these things bother me:
- The bishop gave a sacrament meeting talk on the importance of "the family."
- The Gospel Doctrine teacher mentioned 3 times during the lesson that he was the former Bishop. In spite of this, he taught some very disturbing views of Alma 5, including the necessity for members to "forgive themselves," and that we are saved by "all that we can do."
- The RS lesson was a talk by a GA which was given to a group of priesthood holders. Little was changed, except to note that as women, we could "apply it to ourselves," and a question was inserted in the middle somewhere about how could we encourage the brethren to magnify the priesthood.
- The sisters meet monthly for a Deseret Book club.
Is it just the natural man which prompts me to dissect and criticize these aspects of my ward experience? I'm truly a kinder and a better person when I live the Mormon gospel. Why can't I excize the strange liberal being who doesn't want to eat red jello, live in a subdivision, vote Republican, or drive a mini-van? Why is there such a huge separation between the two of me? It seems that others on the Bloggernacle have somehow fused their diversity and their Mormon-ness, but not me. It's like I'm either completely Molly-fied or flaming radical. I'm standing on a barbed-wire fence longing to throw myself over to one side or the other. Instead, I painfully perch on the barbs, facing this way one day and that way the next.