Guest Post: The Path of Least Resistance
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 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.