Mormonism is fantastic. That said, we members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints need to chill out about a few things. Here are seven of those things:
1. Stop trying to be the perfect Mormon
It’s not going to happen. Is it possible to be a 100% visiting/home teacher, magnify your calling, never yell at your kids, have a perfect marriage AND keep your covenants? Probably, but stop freaking out about it. You’re going to make mistakes. Just do your best, and let your best be enough for you.
Don’t compare yourself to other members. Just don’t. It’s great to have role models and to aspire to develop the worthy positive traits of others, but don’t be putting yourself down because you’re not as perfect as Sister Tunacasserole.
We Mormons have a knack for being too hard on ourselves. We expect perfection and rip ourselves apart when we fall short. And then we act like having to repent is something to be ashamed of. It’s not.
Try your best, make mistakes, repent, repeat.
2. Stop freaking out about sharing the gospel
For some people, talking about our beliefs is like trying to give a cat a bath. It’s terrifying, intimidating and difficult. It doesn’t have to be.
Look at that Instagram post (above). Rachaeldavis11 has got the hang of it! Stop worrying about how your friends will react or what they’ll think of you. You don’t have to invite them to dinner with the missionaries right off the bat. Simplify. Post something on Facebook or another platform that might lead to a good conversation. When your nonmember friends ask you what you did over the weekend, talk about how great church was.
If they’re not interested in learning more, that’s fine! You planted a seed.
Sharing the gospel should come as a natural result of living it.
3. Chill out about taking offense
Church members and leaders are 100 percent human. They have weaknesses, faults, difficulties, and sins just like everyone else. Don’t be surprised if one day a member or leader says or does something that could be construed as offensive.
Maybe your bishop revoked your temple recommend due to disobedience to commandments, but he let somebody else with similar sins keep theirs. Unfair!
Maybe something very serious occurred and he didn’t handle the situation very well. Or maybe you feel like he marginalizes your concerns. Maybe he laughs directly in your face.
No matter what it is, do not let it affect your eternal salvation.
Do you remember that one time when one of the original apostles sold the son of God for a few pieces of silver?
Just because Judas committed one one of the most egregious acts in the history of everything doesn’t nullify the truthfulness of what Christ taught. The same goes for any offensive member you may happen upon.
Choose not to be offended. Find joy in living the gospel and know that that should be the reason behind your membership, not socialization (that’s just a perk).
As our Saviour taught, “Love your enemies, bless those that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you.” —Even if those people are within the Church.
4. Stop judging the tiny things so much
Judging others in general has been a problem amongst the membership for a long time, but some of us really take it a step further. Some of us go full-out Law of Moses and beyond. Let’s set the record straight:
The Elder’s Quorum President’s facial hair is not a reflection of his spiritual well-being.
Just because that sister is a Democrat does not mean she can’t be a good Mormon.
That sleeve doesn’t completely cover her shoulder? Deal with it.
He can still be an excellent guy even though he came home early from his mission.
Caffeinated beverages are not going to send you to Hell.
You’re not going to go to Hell for saying Hell.
Everybody just chill out.
If you’re going to get worked up, get worked up over the reality that Satan is a real being set on destroying you.
Get worked up over what you can do to improve your relationship with Heavenly Father. Get worked up over things that matter.
5. Chill out about revelation
Don’t get me wrong—seek it, and seek it often, but don’t seek revelation about everything. This quote from William E. Barrett, who served as a BYU and Church Education System administrator, says it better than I ever could:
Those who pray that the Spirit might give them immediate guidance in every little thing throw themselves open to false spirits that seem ever ready to answer our pleas and confuse us. … The people I have found most confused in this Church are those who seek personal revelations on everything. They want the personal assurance from the Spirit from daylight to dark on everything they do. I say they are the most confused people I know because it appears sometimes that the answer comes from the wrong source.
Those seeking continuous revelation (versus continuing revelation) also open themselves up to the danger of inaction. Sometimes God expects us to act before revelation comes. Sometimes it may not come at all (which can possibly be an answer in and of itself).
6. Give church history a break
The digital age has opened the Church up to attacks unique from anything it’s had to deal with in the past. Ex/anti-Mormons throw events from Church history in our faces all the time. Mountain Meadows Massacre, polygamy, that thing Brigham Young said that one time, the list goes on and on. Some of it is true, some of it is false, and some of it has a nasty mix of both.
Does it really matter if Joseph Smith put the seer stone in a hat to see it clearly? I was just outside looking through a cereal box to help see the solar eclipse clearly. I bet I looked pretty weird, but what works works!
It’s not wrong to have questions and to seek answers, but do it the right way. Accept that Church historical figures were just as human as you and I. They were not superheroes. They were imperfect instruments in God’s hands (He seems to have a habit of picking those people).
There’s only one thing you really need to know: Did Joseph Smith translate the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God, or did he not?
One of the very purposes of the coming forth of The Book of Mormon is to counter the adversity we’ve just mentioned. It is the proof that no matter what the internet may say, this work is true.
7. Stop making the law of chastity so taboo
Many parents avoid talking about the law of chastity to avoid potential awkwardness and to ride out the wave of their child’s innocence for as long as possible. Listen carefully: That wave is getting shorter and shorter with each passing generation. If you don’t talk about it openly, candidly and respectfully, your kids are going to learn about it *elsewhere.
*elsewhere: TV, movies, commercials, magazines, social media, friends, books and internet searches. You do not want this.
You decide the timetable (definitely don’t make it an all-at-once, one-time thing), but make sure you don’t beat around the bush when it comes to the sensitive issues. Talk about sex—what it is, when it’s wrong, when it’s right, its purpose and its divine origin. Talk about pornography—what it is, what it isn’t, what to do when it shows up, how to avoid it, why to avoid it. Talk about their body. When appropriate, talk about the opposite gender’s body. It’s only awkward if you make it awkward.
These are not just topics to be checked off of a parenting “to-do” list. Your child’s thorough understanding of the law of chastity is necessary to his/her spiritual well-being.
It’s not the school’s responsibility. Don’t leave it up to the Sunday School teacher. Definitely don’t let Hollywood take the reins. As a parent, take responsibility for educating your children about the law of chastity.
If sexual sin is as serious as the scriptures and modern revelation make it out to be, then the fact that the subject is so taboo is a huge win for the adversary.
Brothers and sisters, life gets crazy. Things go wrong. Adversity rears its ugly head. We would be wise to not make things more complicated than they need to be. Take a deep breath. The gospel is true. Good is stronger than evil. You’re on Good’s side. Focus on that. Chill out about everything else.