Friday, February 22, 2013

My Faith Journey: Part 2

One of my clearest memories of attending church as a child was stopping at Taco Bell on the way home. Also, skipping sacrament meeting and just going for Primary. 

Each time I went to church, I picked up on little tidbits of what was right and wrong. It was always very clear that we should be going to church every week. I knew what it meant to keep the Sabbath day holy and that it wasn’t good to eat Taco Bell after church. But that’s just the way we lived. One day, my teacher was taking roll in Primary and she asked me if I attended church when I was at my mom’s house every other weekend. Eventually, I brought this up with my mom and she told me that she would take me to church, so I started going to church by myself when I was at my mom’s house. I would go to all three hours, all by myself, at a new church where I didn’t know anyone, all because I felt this desire to do what was right. I tried to participate. I memorized Articles of Faith. I sang the songs. And I continued learning what was right and wrong.

I was too scared to speak up in church. It was like a foreign language, and I was terrified of saying something wrong. Even praying made me uncomfortable because it wasn’t something I had a lot of practice with (I still don’t like being called on to pray).

When people would bear their testimonies of the truthfulness of the church and share stories about the spirit speaking to them or comforting them, I was very interested. I really believe them, believed that they knew the church was true. A small part of me wanted to feel that way.

I used to drink coffee when I was at my mom’s house. One day, we were driving to the store and we were almost out of gas and my mom was worried that she wouldn’t make it to the gas station. I prayed with all my little heart that if we made it to the gas station, I would never drink coffee again. And we made it.

When I was in seventh grade, my social studies teacher taught us that Mormons currently practice polygamy and talked about how wrong that was. I knew it wasn’t true, and it really bothered me, so I went home and read Joseph Smith History… like that has anything to do with polygamy, but whatever. That was probably my first real experience with reading the scriptures. The next day, I went up to my teacher and told her that Mormons don’t practice polygamy anymore and proceeded to tell her the story of the first vision. Awkward.

I think my parents always intended for my brother and I to grow up connected to the church in some way. When we were older, they would take us to mutual (a weeknight activity for the teenagers) and support us in anything did with church. But I didn’t have any friends. After being in this ward (congregation) for years, I still didn’t have any friends. Most of this was due to the fact that I was a super brat when I was younger and a lot of it was because I didn’t spend very much time around people from church. So I quickly learned to resent them.

I played the fun game of “These people think they’re soooo good, so I’m gonna be a rebel and act all hard core.” Believe me, I wasn’t hardcore. But I hated how good they all were, how they acted like everything was so perfect. They had family home evening, attended church with their families every week, read the scriptures and prayed, and knew all the answers to the questions. These feelings still linger to this day and I have a hard time being around super spiritual people (which makes BYU a barrel of laughs sometimes).

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