Guest Post: The Path of Least Resistance

A great guest post by Jessawhy:

Though experiencing similar crises of faith, my friend Anna and I have different incentives with respect to church activity and lifestyle choices. Without a firm conviction of the teachings of the church, we both follow the path of least resistance, but end up in entirely different places. What does God think? What does the church say about it? How does that affect my understanding of God and the church?

Anna and I have known each other since childhood but have lived far apart most of our lives. We have become close in the last few years and talk often about gospel subjects that trouble us. Our conversations include bloggernacle posts, LDS books, and our experiences at the temple and church. During the last year and a half, I’ve realized that Anna and I have about the same level of faith in the church. Since there’s no measuring stick I’m sure it’s hard to judge that, but let’s just say my inner voice sounds a lot more like “I’m not sure I believe that” than “Yes, that’s right!” during church meetings. It’s not that we believe the church or gospel are bad, but we have too many questions to live the doctrines based wholly on faith. Though it might sound pitiful, at this point, we’ve both resorted to taking the path of least resistance.So here’s where it gets tricky. Anna and I may have similar perspectives on the church, but we are in different places in our lives.

Anna is a single 30-year old, with a glamorous career, living in a big city. She’s an RM who, up until a few months ago, has kept church guidelines and standards, despite years of doubts about specific doctrines and practices. Although she is tall, slender, blond, and attractive, she’s had very few long-term relationships with LDS men. (I know this isn’t uncommon, but my mind still reels when I think about it) Her liberal political and social views, the shrinking dating pool, and her past experience lead her to think that a classic Mormon temple marriage is not in her future. When we discussed this, Anna mentioned that she finds *NO* comfort in the doctrine that if she lives a righteous, chaste life she will be rewarded with a husband and children in the life to come. (Although I’m embarrassed to admit this, I was surprised to hear her say that. I’d always thought single women feel comfort from that teaching, but I’ve found that most do not.)

For Anna the path of least resistance is to date non-members, drink socially, and entertain the thought of premarital sex. Since she lacks faith in the doctrine, living these standards becomes a barrier to possible happiness, not a sacrifice for future happiness.On the other end of the spectrum, I’m 28, married 7 years to an RM whom I met at BYU. We just had our third son, and live a typical suburban life, complete with the mini-van. I stay at home with my kids, contemplate homeschooling, and serve on the board of directors of a local non-profit. Through all of my struggles of faith, my love for my family remains constant. My husband is 100% faithful to the church, although he understands the concerns I have with church practice and doctrine. His suggestion to me is to trust those who know more than we do (ie: prophets and the scriptures) and follow the commandments if not from faith, at least as a way of hedging our bets.

For me, the path of least resistance is to keep going to church, teaching my primary class, giving my VT lesson: not rock the boat. My concerns are balanced with the thought that my personal happiness is partly a result of my activity in the church, and I want that for my children as well. There are aspects of church attendance I enjoy, especially being in primary.

Both Anna and I acknowledge there is a lot of good in the church, a lot of people we love are there, too. Because my doubts are not worth the risk of losing the happiness that I have in the church with my family, my incentive is to stay put and put my concerns on the back burner. The opposite is true for Anna, she sees a greater risk of continuing to live a life of standards in which she no longer believes, excluding the possibility of love and happiness with someone outside of the LDS faith.

So here we are. Anna and I, each following the path of least resistance. But, according to church doctrine, we will have very different eternal rewards. It seems odd considering our only difference is that I happened to have married young.

I know that scriptures say that God looks on the heart. Yet we’re also told to obey the commandments. What if obeying the commandments is the path of least resistance? What if disobeying the commandments can lead to happiness?
Perhaps God will look at us the same, in the end. We’re both trying to figure out what God wants us to do here. I’m just doing my best, that’s all I can do. I’m sure Anna would say the same.

Jessawhy

Jessawhy is a wife, mother, community volunteer, activist and student. She is currently working towards a Physician Assistant degree.

You may also like...

69 Responses

  1. Nicole Faires says:

    What an insightful post. I have been in BOTH of those situations. I have been that faithful young woman waiting for a husband and I took the path that Anna is taking and married a non-member, which has brought me infinite happiness. Then he joined the church, which should have made us both so happy, but we both always question teachings and practices that we just can’t quite believe in. We are beginning to choose the path of least resistance for the sake of our kids and family members and hope that someday all these questions will be answered.
    So in my experience… sometimes making a few of those ‘mistakes’ that the church warns about can be necessary as long as you don’t take it too far. I didn’t have to drink to find a husband…but I didn’t obey the law of chastity which is probably the more dangerous one.
    In the long run as long as I don’t have any regrets and learn from everything in my life I feel like I’ve accomplished something. So much for certainty eh?

  2. D'Arcy says:

    It is an insightful post. I am at the same point as Anna in my life. I am 30, single, and not enjoying church very much because I tend to be judged on my marital status, and I have a hard time relating to all the doctrine on families right now. So, I am on the brink. I feel myself slipping away from the church, but not because I don’t believe it. I actually am really strong in my testimony on the fundamentals of the gospel. I believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet, I believe the Book of Mormon is the word of God, I believe in modern day revelation, I belive that this church is the restored gospel, however, I still can’t find a niche for singles. I don’t know where I fit. I don’t know if I would be happier finding that person to be with, since it hasn’t worked inside my faith and I can’t think of living a life of lonliness or celibacy because of it. I am very interested if anyone out there has some good advice for me!

  3. Anonymous says:

    d’arcy,

    I was exactly where you were at 30 – it’s an uncomfortable place to find yourself. At 32, I met the most kind, gentle, loving man I’d ever encountered. Only one problem, he wasn’t Mormon. For over a year, I compared him to everyone I met at single church activies, and no one came close to his strength of character. So I asked God if I should continue the relationship, the answer was exactly the opposite of what I had expected, utter and complete peace. After that, I never doubted that God was happy we’d found each other and pleased with my decision. Not the right choice for everyone, but for us it works. Mainly because our values are basically the same and his respect for my believes didn’t mean I had to go against my core values.

    One word of caution, I find it just as tough going to church now as I did when I was single. Sometimes people forget I’m married, or they’re only interested him as a convert potential. Everyone wants things to fit so nicely into little boxes, when in fact life is a lot more interesting than that. So, my advice in a nutshell: don’t throw away your faith, but also don’t close yourself off to ideas God has that seem out of the ordinary..just make sure he’s a man of integrity.

  4. Janna says:

    I think that it’s interesting how for many single women it comes down to whether they want to live the law of chastity any longer.

  5. D'Arcy says:

    I don’t know if it can quite be simplified like that Janna. I think for many LDS girls who choose to have sex, it’s not for the sex itself. I don’t think they run out and think, “Yes, I just must experience this!” But I think, as with the anonymous post above, you find someone wonderful, someone you connect with, you date for a few months and it seems natural and right to be with them.

    Maybe it is as black and white as keeping the law or not, but I am having a hard time seeing it as such.

    The real matter is that more and more, women are finding men of integrity and values outside of their faith, because there seems to be a lack of men in their faith. Then, once you let yourself make that decision, the rest sort of ensues naturally, and many times does lead to sex, and also to marriage. I am not advocating not keeping the law of chastity, but I think summing up the issues facing the singles of the church into that nice little package is a bit trite.

    In my family, no one has married in the church, but their spouses all eventually joined, for this reason they actually encourage me to date a person based on who they are and not their faith. However, many of my other friends experiences have shown me how hard it is to be married at all, let alone to someone who doesn’t share your core beliefs. That’s a huge decision to make!

    I also remember growing up with the idea that eternal marriage would just happen for me. So when it didn’t I felt like I was being punished or I had done something wrong in my life. I have luckily gotten over that way of thinking, but I think there are still a lot of girls out there who struggle with this inner torment.

    The truth is that each individual person who is older and single is going to have to make this choice–if marriage in the church doesn’t happen, then you choose being alone or you choose to not be alone. It seems that it works out so many ways for everyone (some good, some bad) that the actual making of the decision is where the problem is.

  6. Ninny Beth says:

    Thank you Anonymous. Your post just felt right. Life doesn’t fit in boxes and it’s up to each of us to seek that personal revelation about how God would have us view our purpose and our mission and our life. I agree that the culture of the church doesn’t always fit each person’s needs. I am currently serving in a calling with the single members of Korea and when I was called, I didn’t really have a strong testimony of the complete power of the singles program to meet the needs of every individual. In fact, I still don’t think it does. Sometimes I think it can, if misunderstood, alienate older singles even more. BUT that said, I am grateful that the leaders of the church notice us and acknowledge our presence and I am doing my best to act as a filter for all the cultural crap that can get in the way of the stuff that really matter…the beauty of the atonement of Christ and the restoration.

    I’ve found that for me, cultivating a spirit of personal revelation and a willingness to follow that revelation even if it doesn’t fit in the boxes is the most powerful thing we can do to find our path. And it makes for some beautiful diversity within the church.

    Sigh. I hope this doesn’t come across as pollyanna. I’m still trying to figure it out myself.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Ninny Beth, I really liked your comments about developing a trust in our ability to listen to the
    Spirit in our lives and being willing to follow that direction. It’s like trusting implicity that God really does know you as an individual and understands that you may need someone or something a little different from what the person sitting next to you in the pew might need. The times in my life that I’ve had the chutzpah to follow that feeling, have led me down some of the most spiritually enriching, life affirming paths in my life, that I would never have experienced if I hadn’t been willing to follow.

    D’arcy, I have been through the struggle of “Why everybody, but me?” I watch a lot of my friends go through it now. It’s tough when the cultural expectation you grew up with was that you’d marry young and fill your life with babies. When that doesn’t happen, it puts a person a bit at loose ends trying to come up with a backup plan.

    I had one final thought in regards to Janna’s statement, the right person Mormon or not, won’t ask you to do something or be someone you’re not. While we were dating, my dh went out of his way not to put us in situations where I’d break my temple covenants, it was as important to him that I kept the promises that I’d made to God as it was to me because he knew what would happen to my soul if I didn’t. Not that God wouldn’t have forgiven me, but I’d have had a hard time forgiving myself. Three years of marriage behind us, he continues to astonish me with the support he gives me in keeping committments I’ve made to God.
    I used to think that marriage would be the hardest thing in the world, instead, I’ve found it to be the best experience I’ve ever had. Hopefully that doesn’t sound too smug married 🙂

  8. Anonymous says:

    I am 56, never married and left the Church for 20 yrs. because I felt there was no place for me. I don’t feel I’m being judged for being unmarried as much as whether I’m gay or not. I never wanted children and that’s not something you can talk about readily. I’m also a liberal when it comes to politics and that doesn’t fit well either. I have been reading a book called “Abba’s Child” (on the advice of my therapist) and have found that I’m more of an “imposter” rather than one who takes the “path of least resistance”. I am an “imposter” to the extent that I can’t be the “real” me within the confines of the Church. All the posters who mentioned that men outside the Church are much more together in their personal lives are correct. I’ve never even been on a date with an LDS man. I’ve always dated outside the Church. I don’t know where my path leads with that, but I am actively preparing myself to go to the Temple-this is the first time in my life that I have felt a strong desire to go.

  9. Anna says:

    Thanks for this post Jessawhy, you’ve articulated a lot of things that I have been thinking and struggled with. I think many times we do go by the “path of least resistance,” and for many people that is in the church. The church has been in many of our lives for so long, that living the gospel and going to church and believing is the easiest route. I am not saying this may not be correct, I do believe the church helps many people.

    But what I have come to feel in my life is that maybe the church is not the right place for me, for my happiness. I started out struggling with some core doctrines (mainly of the feminist bent), and then being single and seeing the possibility of a better life somewhere else, I think-we don’t have a monopoly on happiness or truth.

    I am glad to see some others have found happiness both inside and outside the church.

  10. Jessawhy says:

    Thanks to everyone who has responded to this post. It was difficult for me to write. I came off a little more faithless than I really am, but that seems to change daily.
    I’m beginning to think this has more to do with my understanding of God than with being married or single. If God really does look on the heart, then why have all of these commandments anyway? If, as nicole said, “as long as I don’t have any regrets and learn from everything in my life I feel like I’ve accomplished something” why do we worry so much about making the huge sacrifices required by the church in the first place?
    One concept I address indirectly in the post, is the idea of integrity. If I don’t believe in a specific gospel principle (say the “one true church” belief, for example) then should I really be teaching primary or visiting teaching? It wasn’t until I started reading the bloggernacle that I separated the concept of integrity from “doing what my YW leaders taught me to do.”
    Thanks again for all of your comments. I am too tired to respond to each (it’s been one of those days) but I hope to read more tomorrow.

  11. (mostly marissa) says:

    This is something I think about often (it seems I’m not the only one) in regards to almost every single LDS friend I have. All in their 30s, very few of them are still active, and are facing these really tough choices. The gospel teaches joy and righteousness, but what happens when you realize you aren’t happy with the lifestyle you’ve been taught to live? It’s been really difficult for me to “get over” the fact that they have mostly abandoned the faith, but I know my own discomfort at watching it is nothing compared to their struggle to decide to leave the way of life they’ve grown up with. All I know is, in heaven, I’ve got some questions. It is amazing to me that my life is so different just because I lucked out with a good spouse.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I have found that being single and having the questions that I do, but attempting to maintain my place in the church is a bit of a lonely road to walk. Most singles seem to simply leave. I’ve struggled with how to keep that moral center when my view of the church has shifted so greatly. Because I grew up in the church, my entire moral compass was tied directly into “the church is true.” Once that fell through, it was hard to come up with a model for how to live my life. “Worldly” values and ideals seemed enticing because I was now “free” to experiment, because I felt a reactionary need to rebel and express my angst, and I simply could not see a need. If God does not exist, why should I keep His commandments.

    I have since decided that I should definitely not throw the baby out with the bathwater. However, I feel very awkward in interacting with men in the ward, as I now feel distanced from their world view. It is hard to imagine finding a companion within the church, but given my upbringing, still seems impossible outside of it.

    I agree that there is little to no comfort in the promise of finding a husband in the next life, and I can relate to feeling like standards are obstacles blocking the way to future happiness. I’ve been told that all I need is to do is return to keeping the commandments and go back to basics. I have to admit that I’m afraid to take a step in either direction at the moment.

  13. tiredmormon says:

    I vote that Pascal’s wager (betting on the safe side of following God, even if we do not believe) robs us of life. Let us live, for this maybe our only chance.

  14. Anna says:

    mostly marissa,

    It’s true, most of single friends are at similar places of me, where they question their commitment to the church. I think it is like you said, after hearing for so long that this will bring you peace and happiness and then realizing that maybe it won’t, then other alternatives look more viable. I just think the church is set up for people in families, and if you are not in that category, it makes things so much harder.

    For a long time I continued to read the bloggernacle, as well as other church books, but continued to go to church and be associated strongly with the church, even with doubts. But I read of so many people with these doubts who would go on in this way for years and years, and if that works for you great. But I am 30 years old, and at the point where I want to be able to live my life and the middle ground is so iffy it makes living seem impossible to me. So I decided to act, and have not regretted it so far, but still don’t know yet if it will bring me happiness either. I guess I’m just trying to live the best I can

    I agree about Pascal’s wager (I’ve been trying to think of the name of that for awhile!), for me that doesn’t work, but maybe for people in families like Jessawhy, with stable situations already, maybe it does.

  15. Anonymous says:

    “women are finding men of integrity and values outside of their faith, because there seems to be a lack of men in their faith.”

    “All the posters who mentioned that men outside the Church are much more together in their personal lives are correct.”

    I’m sorry you are all to perfect to consider me worthy of dating. Perfection must be a heavy burden.

  16. ~MeQueen~ says:

    Just a story…
    When my brother was a bishop, his wife died unexpectedly were both only 45.
    She was a convert and he was reactivated as a married adult to her, wife #1.
    At his wife’s funeral another 45 year old woman, single, convert, who dated my brother in Jr. high was waiting unbeknownst to both to take over the rein!
    (not intentionally)
    I mean that is one in a million and I sure wouldn’t wait for that. Was it luck, or was it God?

  17. Liz says:

    I’m 33, single, and I’ve been on both sides of this “path of least resistance” coin (the sides being: stick with the church even with doubts; leave the church because of doubts).

    And really, both routes are hard.

    When I left the church, I was in a singles ward and I had a lot of doctrinal issues, (of a feminist nature), as well as just plain anger at God for a lot of injustices in the world. I felt that the church was a waste of my time, that I got nothing but heartache from lessons, and condescension from leaders. (And when I went to “family” wards, it was worse).

    So, I left. First, mentally. Then, by telling friends and family that I no longer wanted to attend. And finally, I just stopped going. This lasted almost 2 years.

    And then something happened (of a spiritual nature) to change my mind, and alter how I looked at the purpose of church and the real core doctrines of the gospel.

    It’s now 3 years later, and going to church for me isn’t a walk in the park (by no means). But, I’ve found value in it (by changing my thinking). I never go asking “What’s in it for me?” because, to be honest, aside from taking the sacrament, I rarely get anything from church.

    But, for me, it’s not about what I get, but what I give. I go to serve my fellow brothers and sisters. I go to help the youth figure a way through this messy world. I go to make a comment in Sunday school that might help someone else know they are not alone in their thoughts. I go to associate with women whom I wouldn’t ordinarily talk to, but whom I find amazing. I go to honor a God I have come to love (even when I feel unlovable, or worse, forgotten).

    I go to show people that you can be a virginal old spinster and still be happy!

    Will I always feel this way? I don’t know. Being a virginal old spinster is one thing, but dying a virginal old spinster is another.

    For now, though, this works for me.

  18. Janna says:

    D’arcy – I agree completely with your comment, “I think for many LDS girls who choose to have sex, it’s not for the sex itself. I don’t think they run out and think, “Yes, I just must experience this!” But I think, as with the anonymous post above, you find someone wonderful, someone you connect with, you date for a few months and it seems natural and right to be with them.”

    However, it is incredibly difficult to remain active in the church if you are having sex with your boyfriend, unless you keep it secret — which was my point.

  19. Janna says:

    Perhaps, too, my comment was a reflection of my own libido 😉 !

  20. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think there are a lack of men with integrity in the church. I have encountered several in my current singles ward who are wonderful, honorable men, but I simply don’t feel comfortable trying to get close to any of them because of my doubt. It is scary to admit to doubting because people make judgement calls on whether you are a worthy member, etc. There must be some sin in your life or you would be happy in the gospel.

  21. slstarz says:

    I can certainly relate to all of your stories. I have never been on a date with a mormon man. I live in an area with few mormons in general. Therefore, I have always dated non-members, and I did break the law of chastity, yet always continued to go to church. I still struggle over what I do and do not believe, I always have. I dated my now husband for 6 years (very happily), before I would even consider marrying him. I kept hanging on to this idea that I HAD to marry a mormon man. I wouldn’t let myself consider my now husband or anyone else. It was something stuck in my head from childhood.

    Things changed for me when I realized that I was looking for a man that held standards that I didn’t even hold, someone who believed differently from me. I immediately looked to my husband and thought, YES! I definitely want to marry him. He is wonderful, and perfect in my eyes! Once I gave myself permission to think outside that litle “box”, it was a no-brainer. Why would I want to be with a man who has little to nothing in common with me? My husband and I have very similar values in life, and I wouldn’t change it for any mormon man.

  22. Hedgee says:

    Really interesting post. Your question of whether you and your friend will be judged differently because of your different circumstances even though you are both taking the path of least resistance is so interesting.. I really don’t even know what I think… I do believe we are blessed for living commandments regardless of the reason, but I believe also that the reason is probably of more importance in the longrun. I do believe that God is fair though, and that if we just do our best all will be good.

  23. your momma says:

    Yeah, I think that you all have lost touch with the fact the the Church is perfect, it’s members aren’t…what you all are experiencing is life…and the decisions or choices which are presented to you. Everyone gets bummed, everyone thinks their life sucks at one point and that God has left them…everyone experiences ups and downs…so what do you do? you hang on…you have no idea what is in store for you, but I can tell you that if you live the Gospel..you will be blessed. It may take some years and maturity to see why some things happened as they did, but you will see the wisdom in the events in your life…as for premarital sex…yeah, good luck with that…STDs and possibly a baby that you keep as a single woman or give up for adoption or if you’re that liberated to sleep with a guy who you’re not married do..how about abortion? Sorry there are many women who think that they can “do it all” but you can’t…something or someone suffers…I do not subscribe to the liberated woman crap. There are lots of nice guys out there – LDS and not – go to the lds single site or e-harmony…whatever…being 30 something and single is not the end of the world…you want an idol? Sheri Dew…what an exemplary woman…so quit your wha wha whaing and get going….you’re alive, you’re young, you’re beautiful and educated…enjoy life! I cried because I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet.

  24. Kiki says:

    Liz – you have it right! In the 3 yrs. that I have been active again, I’ve spent more time giving than receiving. I feel closer to my Heavenly Father than I ever have. While I may be an “imposter” for a time, I feel that if I’m patient, continue to serve, and work towards my Temple goal, He will recognize and reward my effort. It’s not easy for me-I struggle every day with a number of issues. I don’t give much thought anymore to the “not being married” part. I also don’t feel much comfort in the promise of having a companion in the next life if I don’t have one here. I see too many of my friends hanging on to that and not allowing themselves any happiness here.

  25. Anna says:

    your momma,

    wow, maybe you are missing the point of this post, or maybe there are different points of it, but I think Jessawhy’s original question about what to do when you DON’T believe the church is perfect is the real point. Whether or not it is perfect is a matter of opinion, one that we obviously differ on, and that our life’s choices will reflect. But telling people that their struggles are meaningless is unhelpful and untrue. I’m glad you can make things work out so simply for you, but for others it may not be so simple.

    And scare tactics of STDs, pregnancy, and abortion are uneccessary, and not even close to a sure thing unless you are talking about rampant sexuality with no precautions.

    And sorry, even though yes, there are many nice LDS guys, I have tried LDS dating sites, statistically there are NOT enough LDS single men to go around, compounded by the fact that some of us may be uncomfortable entering into a relationship with many LDS men because of our tenuous feelings about the church.

    Liz, thank you for your comment, I wonder if something will change in my feelings in the future and I am not opposed to that happening. It’s interesting to see where others are at now.

  26. D'Arcy says:

    Um, I totally subscribe to the “liberated woman crap” and I am really tired of Sheri Dew being shoved down my throat, it doesn’t make me feel ANY better, at all!

    But that’s just me! 🙂

    It’s true, life is hard, it’s hard for everyone…but I find it comforting to actually have this discussion, which is a discussion I really need to have, instead of pretending that I can just suck it up and bear it. I probably can bear it, we humans can bear a lot of things. However, when we can share ideas and thoughts and feelings and not feel like we are being stupid for doing so, well, I think that helps us process.

    I have lived and traveled and taught and volunteered all over the world, I have a graduate degree, I am running my own business. I am successful and I am happy. I do not need a man to complete me or to secure my happiness. I think most single women would agree that they aren’t sitting around waiting for a husband. I know that I am not. In fact, I have been struggling with the idea of if I want to get married at all. I have never wanted seven children, I don’t even know if I want one. I am a liberal. So, the real question continues to be, is the church the right place to be for me?

    So, we question, and we wonder where we belong, and we struggle to find out what we truly believe. That kind of conversation is never whining, it’s complete valuable.

  27. Kiki says:

    D’arcy- I couldn’t have said it better myself! I grew up hearing my Mother say “stop whining” and not something I need to hear in this forum. This is a safe place for us to be sincere, honest and share our feelings about the things that trouble us about the gospel. If you were to poll every single woman in the church, 90% of them would have some sort of issue. Unfortunately, they may not be aware of where they can go to talk about it (certainly not in Relief Society!!!!). I have had to determine whether the “pros” outweigh the “cons”. I can exist outside the church-I did it for 20 years. Was I happy? Not really. The gospel is ingrained in me whether I like it or not but that doesn’t mean I’m in complete agreement with everything either. Can I co-exist? Maybe. Do I want to? I don’t know that right now.

  28. your momma says:

    I have been there and done that…. so I feel I know what I am talking about….the church IS a perfect organization and if we follow it’s teachings we are able to ENDURE to the end…not party, have a good time, or laugh although there is plenty of that along the way to make life bearable…I think you are over analyzing and self-absorbed with yourself….lose yourself in service to others and therein you will see the true mission of the Savior…as far as Sheri Dew…yeah she has been shoved down a few throats, but she is pretty much an independent LDS woman…I realize we all have our cross to bear, but without the Church and the Gospel…we have no hope or reason to even try to do good….and believe me…the decisions you make now will affect you later…

  29. Jessawhy says:

    Fascinating discussion! Thanks to everyone for participating.

    Your Momma, I appreciate your comments as they express your experiences and hopes for others’ happiness, but if you continue to tell others what they think is wrong and if they were just more righteous, they would be happy, I will ask an administrator to ban you from this thread. (see Comment Policy #4)
    Thanks in advance for your compliance.
    Anonymous (male), I don’t think these women think they are perfect and unworthy of you. In fact, I think many of these woman have dated a lot of schmucks hoping to find a good guy. They also wonder if the good guy will want them if they are lukewarm in commitment to the church. I know there are single men in similar situations. It sounds to me like we need to start a new blog for LDS singles that centers around this issue. Anyone up for that? (Lukewarm LDS Looking for Love?) As far as this quote (by another anonymous)
    “All the posters who mentioned that men outside the Church are much more together in their personal lives are correct. I’ve never even been on a date with an LDS man.” I don’t think she can know this if she’s never dated an LDS man.

    BTW, there are a lot of anonymous comments on this thread, and I’m not sure who’s who. I have nothing against anonymity, but it gets confusing, so please give yourself a number or make up a name.

    D’Arcy, it’s good to see you here on this thread. I’m glad it’s a place that you can discuss these issues. You’ve made some excellent points and it sound like there are many people who have been or are in the same boat.

    MeQueen; That’s a nice story. My next question would be about a temple sealing and the idea of polygamy in the next life, as some of us are uncomfortable with that. But, if they found each other and are happy, good for them!

    Liz, thanks for sharing your experiences. Having a spiritual awakening does sound like a good reason to go back to church. Sometimes I wonder if God really cares where my heart is, as long as I’m still doing what I’ve always done. I do find that when I spend more time focusing on how much more God knows than I know, and how small I am compared to the entire plan, it makes it easier to keep going.
    slstarz: Congratulations on meeting and marrying a wonderful man. Can I ask if you are still active, and what your husband thinks of the church? I wonder how that works for the two of you?
    Janna, what did you mean by your libido? (high or low?, I’m confused)
    hedgee: It does seem like God would look at our motivation as much as our actions, but I’m not sure I know any LDS teachings that back up my point. I’m curious if anyone else does.
    kiki: Thanks for sharing your experiences. I wish you the best as you work toward your temple goal.

    tiredmormon: I didn’t realize it was called Pascal’s wager. Thanks for enlightening me!

    I hope you are enjoying this discussion as much as I am.

  30. Heather Mommy says:

    I appreciate the struggle that some you are facing. I must admit I never really have questioned my faith in the gospel, although there are some issues I struggle with feeling at peace with (i.e. polygamy…) But I think it needs to be said that whether you believe in the church and the commandments or not pre-marital sex will not bring you happiness. It’s not even about STDs or possible pregnancies. It’s an emotional thing that needs to be entered into thoughtfully and yes, in a comitted, safe relationship. I have known way to many people who have had sex too soon, or with the wrong person or people and they are not happy. They aren’t in the church so they aren’t dealing with guilt from religious teachings. It is something that is just a truth and universal. Although pre-marital sex is so widely accepted in our society I think most secular social scientists will agree it leads to no good.

    So leave the church, if you think you’ll be happier (in the long run, I don’t think you will) but don’t do things that will make you lose yourself in the process.

    I married late in Mormon terms
    (26) and I can’t tell you how much happiness, peace, and freedom I feel because my husband and I kept the law of chasity before our marriage. The commandments, after all are really about our happiness and freedom.

  31. chiming in says:

    FWIW, I’ve known more people who had premarital sex than people who didn’t (speaking of both LDS and not-LDS). I see very little difference in their levels of happiness in the long run.

  32. Caroline says:

    Love the post, Jessawhy.

    One thing I am struck by in this post is this: people experience faith crises, regardless of marital status. (Though I fully understand the additional burden singles bear in this Church. What a hard, hard road.)

    I myself am in jessawhy’s position – married youngish to a nice LDS man. I’ve decided to stick with the church but I’m not sure if that’s a result of choosing the easiest path in my case. It’s often hard for me to stay, quite hard, but I generally see the pros outweighing the cons.

  33. Janna says:

    Jessahwy – Sorry about the confusion. I was referring to my high libido as potentially being a reflection of my original comment about activity for singles in the church often hinges on whether they want to keep the law of chastity anymore.

    I agree with D’Arcy’s point that most singles would not leave the church just on that point alone (and particularly not just for the sake of experiencing sex). However, I believe it is a major factor if a woman is seriously and happily dating a non-member.

    It’s true that most of the Mormon Sunday experience is about supporting families, and what happens on Sunday greatly effects how we feel about our faith. But, I don’t feel judged at church for being single. Sometimes, I feel sad that I don’t have a husband, and jealous of those who do.

    Like D’Arcy, I’ve gone through several years of determining whether I want a husband and children at all (I’m 36, single). For me, the path of least resistance has been to remain single – and I’m fairly sure I’ve chosen it subconsciously until recently. After spending time with wonderful married women (including many I’ve talked with and observed at Exponent II), I see that I can have a family and have it in my own way.

  34. Kiki says:

    For those of us who have been to more than enough singles dances and watched all the “men” stand on one side of the room and the women on the other (and there’s no dancing), I think I can honestly say that you don’t have to go on a date with an LDS guy to know that they have their issues. I’m sure that when Anonymous said she felt that men outside the church had it together, she was drawing on her experiences in the singles program in the church and has had better experiences dating outside the church.

  35. Liz says:

    Your Momma:

    I can see your perspective about the church being perfect. I have a lot of people in my own circle who feel the same way.

    But, for me, I see the church as an imperfect way to teach us perfect principles. Since the church is run by flawed people, there is no way it can be perfect (Even if it is headed by a perfect God). And that’s the way it should be!

    We need to learn, and grow, and forgive. And you can do those things faster when you’re dealing with imperfections.

    If the church was perfect, then that would mean that the people running it (i.e. us)were also perfect, and therefore, we wouldn’t actually need the church to begin with.

    The church teaches us “ideals” and shows us other ways of living our lives. But, it is NOT perfect.

    Is is headed by a perfect God? Sure. But He’s doing the best he can with all our muddled brains. And because of agency, there’s only so much He can do.

    That’s the great thing about the church, and the lack of a systematic theology. It is very fluid. Make a place for yourself. Carve a niche. The church is for sinners, not saints.

  36. Jessawhy says:

    Janna, Don’t be sorry about the confusion, it was really my fault. Since I’ve been pregnant or breastfeeding for nearly 3 years, I’ve nearly forgotten what a high libido is like (although I did once have that problem, my first year of marriage, I outpaced my husband in that area, which I continually remind him now 🙂
    Kiki: I’ve heard people defend feminism by saying that the differences between the sexes isn’t as great as the differences within the sexes. I would assert that this is true for LDS and non-LDS men as well. I’ve known LDS men all over the spectrum of personality and disposition. I don’t think that as a group they can differ more than they do within the group. I believe that you have had experiences with specific LDS men that give you your perspective, but I think there are others with equally legitimate, but different perspectives.
    Caroline: You summed up exactly how I feel. I’m not always simply following the path of least resistance, in fact, I felt pretty sick about this post when I had Emily put it up. I do have more faith than I realize sometimes, and apparently I had to undervalue it to see it clearly. Even subconsciously, I think, I want to believe and am still striving toward that. In fact, I recently put a picture of the San Diego temple (where we went for my SIL’s sealing in December) as the backdrop on my cell phone. It wasn’t a conscious decision, but even little things like that are meaningful to me. Belief is so much more complicated than I realized, I’m not sure how I ever really believed it was binary.
    Heather Momma, and Liz:
    I have no experience with premarital sex, so no measuring stick with which to judge it’s goodness or badness. I do think that waiting for marriage was important to both my husband and me and has contributed to a happy union. I would hope everyone would have the same standards and opportunity I had. However, I’m not single and 30. I can’t even imagine what that would be like. I just hope that women contemplating premarital sex really think carefully and make a decision before it gets to the heat of the moment. A long-term, committed relationship is what I would hope these women find before they give that part of themselves to anyone.

  37. your momma says:

    Jessawhy…if you really knew me you would find that I am probably the least judgmental person around – I believe everyone is needed for their individuality..my points I have been trying to make is that based on mistakes I have made, there is happiness and peace in living the commandments…but I also know everyone has free agency and experiences life differently…which causes them to react in their own way…the church needs strong women such as those who have posted on this blog and if I sounded judgemental then I apologize…

  38. D'Arcy says:

    your momma–hey, I just had a conversation with your daughter. I love you! And I miss you, and the dinners you used to treat me to back in the BYU days!

  39. Carlos U. says:

    Let me begin by saying I’m a man who got married at 35. I’m also a strong believer. As a matter of fact, I’m a convert.
    I would like to agree with the person who said life is difficult. It is, regarless of who you are. Marriage is no panacea. But it has been good to me. I would suggest keeping the law of chastity. It feels better that way. Since someone asked, the point of keeping the commandments is (ammong many) to respect yourself, to become a better person, to become transformed and sanctified, to develop faith, to please God, to obey for obediance’s sake(I guess, really, for God’s sake), to preserve blessings, to have no regrets, to understand the Gospel better… I kept the law of Chastity, barely. I was never happy when I was being dissobedient. I don’t think anyone can, long term.

  40. Deborah says:

    I’ve followed this discussion — and it’s turns — with interest. Thanks so much to Jesswhy for such an eloquent initial post. As one-half of an interfaith marriage, the path of least resistance would be to attend less, not more. But I do not regret my choices. Today, Andrew Sullivan posted a prayer by Thomas Merton (in honor of Ash Wednesday) that really resonated:

    My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

    But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

  41. Justine says:

    This is so fascinating and lovely to read through! And the original post was movingly honest. My feelings lead me to ask if you have a desire to find out the answer to the underlying question. Is this the real deal? Is the church true, in all its uncomfortable and peculiar-ness?

    I can only suggest finding for yourself the answer. for whatever you find, only then can you really be true to yourself through your actions. Peace in your choices will come as you live true to yourself, but you’ve got to really know the answers to some of your questions. I’m getting a sense that perhaps you’re not sure of what that self is right now?

    Invest in finding out. It’ll be worth it, either way. Invest not just in the machinations of church activity, but in finding the truth. The Lord won’t leave you.

  42. your momma says:

    d’arcy…thanks, this has been fun…I miss those days too…just always be true to yourself….you’re the greatest!…I don’t have any answers – just reflections on the past as I’ve gotten older with more understanding (I hope)…hope to see you again soon….

  43. Justine says:

    This is so fascinating and lovely to read through! And the original post was movingly honest. My feelings lead me to ask if you have a desire to find out the answer to the underlying question. Is this the real deal? Is the church true, in all its uncomfortable and peculiar-ness?

    I can only suggest finding for yourself the answer. for whatever you find, only then can you really be true to yourself through your actions. Peace in your choices will come as you live true to yourself, but you’ve got to really know the answers to some of your questions. I’m getting a sense that perhaps you’re not sure of what that self is right now?

    Invest in finding out. It’ll be worth it, either way. Invest not just in the machinations of church activity, but in finding the truth. The Lord won’t leave you.

  44. Kiki says:

    I decided to make the investment 3 yrs. ago by re-activating myself after 20 yrs. I’m much more comfortable now than I was then and hopefully wiser about what my goals are and where the Gospel fits in that. I DO know that I’m happier than I have ever been and feel a peace and contentment I didn’t know existed (anti-depressants and weekly therapy help!). I enjoy my callings and have acquired a humility I didn’t think I would ever have. I have made the investment AND the effort and it works!

  45. Anna says:

    Deborah, that prayer of faith was beautiful.

    Thanks Justine for your comment, I think you’ve made a valuable point. For those who feel that this true, or this is the real deal (I think this can be the real deal, but I think the distinction to me is if if this is the only deal), then it still isn’t easy, but obedience to the commandments seems like the route to me. But when you feel that you have been asking without receiving answers, and don’t see an end in sight, then maybe that is an answer. I guess what I’m saying is I’m 30, and if I spend the rest of my childbearing years in paralyzing doubt, doing nothing out of fear, not going forward or back, I feel I may eventually regret that even more than possibly making some mistakes while trying to figure out God’s plan for me. Again, I don’t know for sure that this will bring me happiness (but hey, I am not happy in church lately), I may be back in church in 6 months, but I feel like I have to have the integrity to be true to my feelings right now.

  46. Jessawhy says:

    Justine and Kiki:
    Thanks for your comments and for sharing your experiences.
    I like the way you phrased your question, kind of like Moroni’s promise. Is this true? Is it the real deal?
    You’re right that I do need answers to my underlying questions, and that is where I am stuck. My questions have been more like “Why do you do this?” than “Is this true or right?”
    But I have been asking “What do you want me to do?” and that seems like the most important question for me right now.
    I will admit that I no longer see the church as something that can be true. It’s an organization, like the government. If someone told me the government was true, I would look at them crazy. I’m actually getting more comfortable with the idea that the gospel is full of a lot of concepts that are on a spectrum of truth, and that my understanding of them is on a spectrum as well. It’s not binary to me anymore. It’s not all true or all false. In a world with imperfect people trying to interpret direction specific to each of us from a perfect God, I don’t know how we can think it’s so easy. But I do understand that some people see it that way, especially when they have a spiritual witness about their personal choices. And I used to. And it is comforting.
    I think it was fMhLisa who called the feeling of being caught between faith and doubt, “cognitive dissonance.”
    Yep, that about sums it up.

  47. Jessawhy says:

    Deborah: Thanks for your comment. You mention your path of least resistance is to attend less, is that a path you have taken or resisted?
    I second Anna. That’s a really great prayer. I’ve read it a few times and it really resonates with me.

  48. Deborah says:

    Resisted. 🙂 More later — I’m off to bed.

  49. Tanya Sue says:

    Anna-thanks for your comment. I am 33 and in the same spot. Realizing that church was making me unhappy (for various reasons) and then realizing I was stuck. I have spent the last year or so getting unstuck. It feels good to be moving again….

  50. skyeJ says:

    That was a very moving prayer, thanks Deborah. I will have to copy that down and put it on my wall. I saw this post two days ago and I wanted to comment, but there were just too many thoughts in my head. I’m 28 and I am really struggling with my faith right now. I feel pressure to “figure it out” soon because I would like to date and get married. But I honestly don’t feel like I have that much to offer a man right now. I won’t have sex with him, drink, or do drugs with him. So the non-Mormons aren’t too interested. I don’t go to church regularly, I can’t stand the temple right now, and I’m not even sure I want to get married there anymore. And I don’t know if I want to raise my kids in the culture of the church. So I’m not too attractive to the Mormon boys, either. Not if I’m real with them. I’d love to meet someone in real life (man or woman)that I can share my struggles with because I really don’t have anyone I can talk to about it. I can talk, but most people don’t really want to listen, they want to fix me. Because they already “have” the truth and they know what I’m “lacking”.

    That said, while right now not going to church is the path of least social effort, it is certainly not easy. Going would be just as hard. And I’d have to fend off the well-meaning people who want to make me into a project. It is easier to stay off the radar and try to figure things out on my own. Except sometimes I really wish I felt more comfortable in church so that I could go and feel the Spirit. It used to work for me most of the time.

  51. slstarz says:

    Jessawhy,
    To answer your questions… I am somewhat active in the church. I go to Sacrament meeting, then leave. I don’t feel I have a real place in the ward. There are some wonderful people there, but I can see that some feel sorry for me. I don’t at all. I honestly believe that I am the luckiest one, not because my husband is not a member, but just because he is so wonderful, and after 10 years together we are still so happy. People there are weird about talking to me about him, and some feel the need to constantly tell me he is a good guy (as in “even though he’s not a member”). If I lived in a new place, and didn’t know the people, I probably wouldn’t go to church at all. I do love the church, but I mostly feel I have my own private relationship with God.

    My husband does not believe in God at all. His family are athiests. He respects my beliefs and we agree to disagree. We will teach our future children both sides of the coin, and probably more and let them choose for themselves.

    It works for us because we both bend, we agree not to argue unnecessarily, and we respect eachother. I understand that other religions/beliefs are valid to other people, and I have to respect them if I want my beliefs to be respected.

  52. rife87 says:

    I want to add really quick that I have known SLSTARZ since she was in the womb, and when I was married to a mormon I was very envious of her relationship and wondered how mine was so lacking since I followed all the “rules”. Her husband is one of the most kind, compassionate, accepting individuals I know.

    Anyway, I have been on both sides of the fence. I got married in the temple at 22. With much agony we divorced and I was back in the singles ward at the ripe old age of 25. The singles ward was hard for me. I ended up leaving at 29 and haven’t gone back to church. The women were vicious and competitive with each other. Once men found out I was divorced I was damaged goods. My experience with my divorce made it hard for me to believe all the hoopla about marriage that was spoken in the singles ward. However, the real reason I left is that a lot of the doctrine doesn’t jive with me, and hasn’t from the time I was 12 or so. I love the church and the people in it, however, I figured out the path of least resistance was not attending at this time in my life. Eventually I think I will return once I resolve things within myself.

    Not too long after I realized I wasn’t going to live my life alone and find my parter after I die, I met my current husband who isn’t a member of the church. He finds Mormon culture very interesting and respects my feelings about the church. I honestly the happiest I have ever been and feel at peace about all my decisions.

  53. G says:

    Jessawhy… this was a beautiful post,

    I find myself a sort of cross between you and your friend.

    I am married with a child, but I drink socially. If I was single, I would consider premarital sex depending on the situation (as a married woman, I merely enjoy a healthy sexual relation with a very willing and loving husband).

    yet I also attend church with lover and child, and participate on a small level with the ward and it’s activities… though I have asked to be released from all my teaching callings (except visiting teaching, I really enjoy visiting teaching and find no conflict there).

    at first church was excruciatingly painful… not so much anymore, now I just keep my own counsel and bring a good book to read when the talk/lesson gets to be too disturbing.

  54. G says:

    would I still go to church if it were not for a believing lover?
    I think a lot about that…
    at first I would say not… but I do wonder.

  55. Your Momma says:

    I have been thinking alot about what has been said…in my life I cannot deny the existence of a Heavenly Father…I have had too many witnesses to ever deny His existence…I also have felt the other side – Satan – to deny his existence either…with that said…all of you are in different stages of your lives, yet have so much in common because we are all human…I am amazed over and over again at what I feel is my own individual experience to find that I am in a group experiencing the same…such is life..which is why God gave us free agency and the consequences from the decisions we make…Anna..one comment to you…I did not mean to try to use scare tactics with the STD etc., but remember that if your partner is not a virgin…there is a history that you now become a part of..just be careful
    As far as the Church and the family…I work in a high school in one of the largest districts in the country…kids suffer without a family…there are many broken homes and many single parents struggling with working several jobs, drugs, sexual partners, etc…the kids are lost and angry…I really feel the Church has a point- although obviously LDS homes are not perfect, and some of those parents are totally oblivious to what is happening in their own family, the principles are there…we are all part of the family of God…Good luck to you all…Life is an adventure with ups and downs…Hang On!

  56. Jessawhy says:

    G,
    I appreciate your comments so much more because I have met you in person! Therein lies the beauty of snackers. Your point about being a mix of me and Anna is well taken, I think there are many of us on this spectrum of commitment to the church, whether married or single. I totally agree that a believing lover makes attending church more important.
    Your Momma,
    Thanks for sharing your feelings about life and God. I’ve been thinking a lot about these ideas lately as well and have realized that my choices should be based on what I feel God wants for me rather than on what the church says it wants for everyone. Maybe they’re the same, maybe they’re different.
    Being reminded of God’s love and power is always a good thing. We are all on this moving sidewalk of life.

  57. Eve says:

    Jessawhy, thanks for such a thoughtful post. You raise excellent and difficult questions.

    As one who married a believer who shortly thereafter turned into an unbeliever, I’ll add my voice to the chorus about the difficulty of attending church alone. Not that I find it inherently difficult, particularly–but others do. It’s sometimes exhausting to have to mitigate others’ inevitable anxiety about my deviations from the norm. Church settings are like a funeral, and I’m the bereaved–bereaved of the happy family I’m almost required to be in mourning for, because if I’m too happy without a believing husband and kids, then what? No one can process that possibility. Some people either carefully don’t mention my obvious deficits, rush to console themselves on me with highly dubious claims about the righteous man and kids I’ll get in the hereafter, or tell me I don’t know anything because I don’t have a righteous man and kids here. It makes me immensely grateful for the people who just treat me like a normal person, who don’t walk up to me with some sort of activation agenda in their eyes.

    My fundamental problems with church really lie elsewhere than in my inactive husband and absence of children (patriarchy, anyone?), but I sometimes feel as if that’s all the church community can see about me–what I don’t have, what I’m not.

    But, again, I really like the questions you pose about our religious lives and our motivations and the role that our social worlds inevitably plays in religious practice. Definitely food for thought.

  58. Jessawhy says:

    Eve,
    Thanks for stopping by. And thanks for rephrasing the questions posed here so eloquently, you definitely have a gift for that.
    Like G, your situation demonstrates that there are many variations on the norm. Expressing doubts yourself, and having a non-church going husband, it seems that the path of least resistance for you would be to stay home and find worship in your own personal way.
    I’m a little curious about why you go to church if it is often unpleasant socially and/or doctrinally for you.
    I can see myself wanting to stay away more often than not if I were in your shoes. It says a lot about you that you continue to make church attendance a priority.

  59. Eve says:

    Thanks so much for your kind words, Jessawhy, although I’d better confess that lately I don’t deserve at least some of them; I haven’t made church attendance much of a priority since Christmas. For years now it’s taken an immense psychological toll on me, ruining weekend after weekend; the misery would start mid-Saturday afternoon and wouldn’t abate until Monday morning. Once I came back from Christmas break, asked to be released from my calling and quit going, I’ve been amazed at how much happier I’ve been, how much more congruent my life feels when I’m not trying to swallow down words that stick in my craw and smile politely at innocent people who are understandably frightened by me. (I sometimes conduct myself in an appallingly ogrish manner when I find myself interacting with Mormons–I honestly don’t blame people who back away, slowly and carefully, hands in the air, no sudden moves, like the hapless police officers trying to manage the howling monster in basically
    every horror movie you’ve ever seen.)

    But, for all that, I can’t stay away permanently. My current compromise is to come late, take the sacrament, read poetry during the rest of sacrament meeting in an effort to prevent myself from turning into a raving loony, and leave early so that I won’t have to talk to perfectly well-meaning people who want to “integrate” “activate” or otherwise fix me.

    As this thread demonstrates so well, people’s religious crises take all imaginable forms. What I’ve finally realized is that for me the crisis isn’t fundamentally an intellectual one; it’s not fundamentally a crisis of doubt. I’m basically a believer. I do respect and even somewhat understand those who wrestle with intellectual doubts, like my husband, but the locus of my problems is elsewhere. To put it in the simplest terms, I just can’t handle dealing with Mormons. Part of this is nondenominational; I don’t much care for large groups of any kind. But part of it is very specific to the Mormon community–and, quite honestly, to the norms that often prevail among Mormon women. I can’t stand sap. I hate gush. The sentimental makes me reel in distaste. And I find that I can’t be honest about my experience and my ideas in the Mormon world without a significant number of people freaking out and smothering me with criticism or gushy activation schemes or various other efforts to manage their own anxiety. I don’t particularly want to be a staging ground for other people’s anxiety about my feminism, for example–it’s far too wearing.

    As one of my sisters put it recently, I just don’t have a Mormon personality. Interacting with certain Mormons makes me feel split, silenced, crazy and starving for the sound of some authentic voice.

    But the crazy thing, so to speak, is that I believe it. Basically all of it, except for the gender roles part, which just doesn’t square with my experience. (I hear lots of talk at church about how the big bad world is ruining gender roles, but my experience is precisely the opposite. It’s at church that womanhood is defined so narrowly that I leave wondering if I’m even a woman, by their definitions).

    Still, for all that, I’m pretty devout by most of our external measures, however flawed those are. I worship regularly at home–daily prayer and scripture study, Word of Wisdom, law of chastity, tithing, etc. I don’t think this makes me a good person–actually, I think my daily personal devotions help remind me of my many sins, flaws, and shortcomings and help me feel a determination to become better. And I find that sacrament meaningful in the same way. It’s a chance to reflect and recommit. That’s why I keep going. Because I believe.

    But there are a lot of Mormon women I just can’t handle dealing with. I’m getting old enough that I don’t any longer want to waste emotional energy on pointless, inauthentic relationships (Exhibit A: Visiting Teaching). If I were a true disciple of Christ I’d go serve everyone and all that, but constantly swallowing the crazy stuff I hear at church makes me thoroughly incapable of being Christlike. If I have any hope of being a disciple of Christ I have to stay away from Sunday school, for example. So I guess I’ll just have to serve in other ways. (I currently serve people by gracing them with my absence, so to speak 😉 ).

    Sorry, that’s probably way more than anyone wanted to know!

  60. Deborah says:

    Eve: I know this may sound counterintuitive, but “getting to know” you makes church an easier place to be. Ya know that line, “We read to know we are not alone?” Your empathy and honesty and integrity — (I’ve read enough of your journey in the last two years to feel good about those words) — remind me that this church has helped produce (through the good and the painful) some of the most beautiful women in the world. This thread shows me that in relief.

  61. Eve says:

    Deborah, very good point. I wholeheartedly agree with your observation about the thread and about a lot of the blogs I read regularly–they make me realize how many fascinating LDS women are out there, how varied our experiences are, how much we have to learn from each other, how our honest, heartfelt experiences enrich each other’s lives. (Where are all you fascinating women, by the way, and why don’t you live in my ward?? 😉 ).

    Church, by contrast, feels so small. Obviously I haven’t totally worked through the implications of that for myself. Turning my back on the church isn’t an option for me, which means I have to find a way to make it work, somehow, and at the moment I’m being a minimalist about attendance. But it is also my community, much as it often drives me crazy. Church is really where my Christian ideals are put the most drastically to the test; if I can love people at church, I can love anyone.

    Sigh.

  62. Eve says:

    My 5 yo, ADHD kid really needs a shorter, less structured church meeting. Maybe we could submit for an IEP for church?
    It’s worth a try, right?

    Fabulous idea, Jessawhy!
    I think I could use an IEP myself. I suspect I’m too socially challenged for church and am in desperate need of intervention to help me adapt my environment to the limitations my disorder imposes upon me 😉

    Actually, I think three-hour church is a bit much for anyone. (Does anyone not look haggard as they stagger out to the parking lot and home to food and rest at the end?)

  63. southern girl says:

    I’m a convert since I was 16, my parents overprotected me, and were/are very conservative. I just did all I could regarding to obeying parents,chastity, tithing, callings, Temple, mission. Yes, I’ve been blessed. Specially with the finding of a good man, otherwise I wouldn’t get married. Before I meet the gospel I thought the best thing was to be alone and have a carrier and lots of pets.That was my dream life. Well, things brought me to a point that I have two children and no carrier. I stay home, and read lots of parenting skills books to support my lack of natural mother’s instints.
    I think doesn’t matter if you are single or married, women seamed to have to work harder, have more faith and think less to find peace in the world and in the church.
    After all I’m not certain of what will be my reward in the next life. I’m not sure that I’ll fit in there neather. I’m in The Path of Least Resistance,for now.

  64. southern girl says:

    Forgive my spelling please,I meant career not carrier in my above comment.

  65. Caroline says:

    southern girl, thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    I love reading all these great comments.

  66. Kevin Ashworth says:

    Anna sounds great. Can I get her number?

  67. Jessawhy says:

    Kevin,
    I responded to you on your blog.
    Thanks for stopping by.

  1. January 11, 2010

    […] Mormon Life | Tags: Divine Feminine, faith, Homeschooling, Mormon Life, motherhood | Subtitle: The Path of Least Resistance Part […]

  2. April 4, 2016

    […] Guest Post: The Path of Least Resistance by Jessawhy […]

Leave a Reply