Compromises, An Update

In my last post when mentioning the state of my church belief and testimony, I wrote:

“My testimony, though strong, is at its basic level–– my recommend expires in seven days and I have no plans to renew it, nor do I plan on paying tithing (wedding season is coming up, however, so I may have to revisit this topic….)”

Well, wedding season has arrived. Two of my very best friends are getting married in August within a week of each other out west. And I’m a bridesmaid for one of them (the other isn’t having bridesmaids, but she mentioned that if she did have them, I would be one of them–– so, honorary bridesmaid?). I already requested time off of work. I’m going. I’m also going to their sealings.

I renewed my temple recommend.

temple

That wasn’t an easy decision to come to. I was fully happy and content without a recommend, without paying tithing, without being obligated or attached to the Church. Really just doing the Mormon thing on my own terms.

But I’m so very close to these two friends and I know they so very much want me to be present in the sealing room with them. And after much thought, my relationships with the people I love and care about are infinitely more important than whatever faith crisis I’m going through.

I honestly wish there were special one-day only temple recommends for occasions such as weddings or sealings of families, because I hate having the burden of a temple recommend and the expectation of living up to its standards. But as it is, I have a two-year recommend now. Whether I’ll just use it for the weddings and then give it back, or keep it and use it only when I’m in a state of complete worthiness, I’m not sure of yet.

What I am sure of is that some compromises are worth it, especially when involving loved ones who would compromise and sacrifice for you if asked. Now, there are certain values and morals that are never acceptable to compromise, but seeing a friend getting married is not one of them. At least for me. The greater of good of love and relationships will always have the greater value and priority.

What compromises have you made before?

Was it worth it? Would you do it again?

East River Lady

24 years old. LDS Convert. New York Native. Mormon Feminist.

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14 Responses

  1. Caroline says:

    I totally get this, ERL. I think it is absolutely ethical to prioritize relationships with family when making decisions like this. Your decision reminds me of feminist care ethics, which locates ethical behavior in relationships with others (rather than following principles/rules/laws). I hope these weddings are wonderful opportunities for you to bond more closely with these dear friends.

    • East River Lady says:

      Hm, I don’t know much about feminist care ethics, to be honest. I’ll have to look that up!

      Thank you for your comment and well wishes!

  2. S says:

    I compromised by travelling to the temple to support my son during his first visit to do baptisms. I sat and watched as his father and former husband baptized him and did not listen to me when I said he had enough and the team of men overruled me and continued with more names. (I’d promised him he would only be doing 5 family file names because he gets anxious with new experiences.)

    I compromised when I did not scream out loud as he stood in the lobby of the temple where we were sealed and showed pictures from his cell phone of the woman that he plans to marry just months after our divorce was finalized

    However, I asserted myself by sitting with my son on the “girls” side of the room. I left the baptistry when I had enough, even though there was pressure for me to stay and continue to hand out towels.

    However, I gathered up my courage to accompany my mom for some family file sealings and I got an answer to my prayers that confirmed who was really responsible for breaking my marriage covenants. I finally composed myself to participate in a sealing of a child to parents and smiled to see my mom happy to have accomplished so much work for her family.

    • East River Lady says:

      Thank you for sharing, S. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for your compromises; I only hope that you felt it was worth it and preserved relationships.

      And I’m glad you were able to come at peace with sealings. Thank you again.

  3. Ziff says:

    I’m glad you found a compromise that’s best for you, ERL. I guess I’m not that introspective because I’m having a hard time thinking of my own compromises. Either that or they’re so fragile that I’ve walled myself off from thinking about them.

  4. Emily U says:

    Limited-use recommends to attend weddings of family and friends seem like a good idea to me. I think one can never go wrong by putting relationships first.

  5. Patty says:

    My sister thought about qualifying for a recommend to attend her son’s temple marriage. She did a few things but felt that it was artificial for her to answer questions and do things that she was no longer committed to. She waited outside. It was a hard decision, but I respected her for it. She has had a lot of experiences in her life that led her to where she is today and she is determined to live by what she has learned. I just recently renewed my recommend and had longer, more frank discussions with both bishop and stake president. It felt risky to do more than just say yes or no, but worth it.

  6. Liz says:

    I compromise by supporting my son in Cub Scouts. I HATE Cub Scouts (and Boy Scouts) for a million different reasons, but it’s important to him for the social interaction with his friends, and it builds a relationship between my family and my ward, whereas not participating would definitely create a division. I don’t love spending money on things that go to the Scouts (like uniforms and books), but I do it for the relationship. That said, I would refuse a calling in Cub Scouts if they asked me – I think that’s where I would have to draw the line. I think we’re all drawing lines in our lives in some way or another – it’s all a careful negotiation between our beliefs, our relationships, and our ethics. Clearly we’re not all going to draw them the same way, but I think that carefully considering and making these choices is an exercise in building our humanity. I hope you have a lovely experience at the wedding!

    • East River Lady says:

      Good point about drawing lines. And you’re right–– it is a good exercise in critical thinking and evaluating where we stand.

      And I’m glad you are able and feel comfortable enough to support your son in Cub Scouts!

    • S says:

      Thanks for sharing your feelings about Scouts. The program has never set well with me. Where I live they just announced that they are cancelling Scouts and focusing on Duty to God. It was perfect timing for me.

  7. Stacy says:

    I am in a similar situation- my second daughter turns 12 this weekend and has been looking forward to going to the temple for months. My recommend expired a few months ago, and I don’t know what to do. I can’t, in good conscience, sit and answer all those questions the “right way.” Some of them are easy: tithing, chastity, garments, but the testimony questions? I dunno. If you don’t mind me asking, how did you reconcile this in yourself?

    • East River Lady says:

      I don’t mind at all!

      When it came to the Word of Wisdom, I hadn’t had a drink in a month or so, so I figured I was good with that and could answer that honestly. Garments, I still wear regularly. When my branch president asked me about tithing, I simply slid him a check, said, “Now I do!”, and he accepted it as a yes and moved on.

      For the testimony questions, when it came to do you sustain leaders, etc, I believe that sustain means to support, not obey. Do I sustain political leaders as ones in authority? Yes. Do I agree with everything they put forth? No. Do I support every suggestion/new law politicians put forth? Absolutely not. But I respect their position and authority. Same with prophets. So that was an easy yes.

      Believing if the leaders are the only ones with priesthood keys, if Joseph Smith was a prophet, etc…. I have my own interpretations, but none that I felt uncomfortable with in saying no in the recommend interview.

      I guess it depends on how flexible you are with the literalness of the questions and/or the literalness of your faith. 😉

  8. I compromise every time I attend church–and I attend weekly, so that is a lot of compromising! Would I work for a company that refuses to promote women to management positions? No, but I attend a church where only men may be bishops, stake presidents and general authorities. Would I send my children to a school that wouldn’t allow girls to be student body officers or even hall monitors? Of course not, yet I sit with my daughter in the pews, watching boys perform sacred rites that their female peers are banned from performing.

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