Guest Post — A Peculiar People: Mormon Like Me
My name is Brittany. I am a college graduate, a political scientist, a feminist, a woman, a sister, a daughter, a friend. I am a seeker of truth, a lover of light and a disciple of Christ.
I’m also a Mormon.
Can I be honest with you? Sometimes I find being Mormon a hard cross to bear. The way I choose to live my life, and the things I choose to not participate in often act as a billboard. I feel as though I have “I’m a Mormon” plastered across my forehead. I wear physical reminders of my temple covenants under my clothes at all times. I love these covenants, I strive to keep them, but often times they are a reminder of this identity that I do not always understand, but cannot seem to escape. A man I went on a date with (a non-member) asked why I would not let him touch me after he kissed me goodnight. Besides the fact that I, a single woman in her 20s, is trying her best to live the law of chastity – I was wearing these undergarments that often make me feel different. I know I didn’t have to explain myself to him but I figured honesty is the best policy.
“I’m a Mormon. I wear temple garments under my clothes to remind myself of the promises I make in the temple. They’re sacred and very special to me.”
I could not believe myself in the moment. I had avoided the Mormon conversation all night. I found myself feeling so incredibly embarrassed and so different.
He didn’t seem to mind and found the whole topic interesting. Although, he did ask if he could see my garments – which was sort of awkward when I had to explain to him that he could not.
You see, I didn’t really want him to find out that I was Mormon. It can seem that I end up talking about my religion in seemingly random situations. And sometimes, once people attribute the label of “Mormon” to me, that’s all I am. I have felt no longer myself in some settings, just a member of a church that some people find strange. I know this can be a great excuse to share the gospel, but many times I just find it exhausting. Perhaps I find it difficult to reconcile with the way I feel about being Mormon because I haven’t always been Mormon. I found the church during my junior year of college and chose to be baptized on the 23rd of April, 2016. I was confirmed the next day and endowed in the Indianapolis temple just over a year later, on the 29th of April, 2017. These three days and everything in between has been an incredibly beautiful experience for me. However, there have been some real difficulties – there are always are.
I woke up the other morning feeling like all of this might be too much. I was struggling with garments, struggling with being the only member of my family and struggling with a new ward that I had been in for a while and had not made a single friend. I was struggling with my faith and was having severe doubts about the gospel. The title of “Mormon” made me feel strange and different.
I’m not really sure what I’m going through. I think it’s a cross between a faith and identity crisis. As I write, I am in the midst of it. Because of this, I do not really have a conclusion for you. However, in a way that is so gentle it could only be of God, I opened my journal the other night and the last thing I had written was this quote:
“I feel that I am called with a high and holy calling and that I ought to be peculiar.” – Angelina Grimke
It seems to me that an identity within Mormonism can often make us feel peculiar. People will force their ideas on what it means to be a Mormon onto us and expect us to take it. I no longer want to do this and I no longer want to feel embarrassment in the title of Mormon. I want to feel comfortable with myself and my identity as a person so I can be Mormon like me.
I hope you can feel comfortable enough to be Mormon like you.