Monday, October 17, 2016

Don't Judge Me

Disclaimer: Parental Advisory

One of the most common complaints I hear about people who belong to the LDS religion as I do is "They're so judgemental." 
This stereotype, while true at times, has gotten so out of hand that the tides have turned and now it is the opposite, where people that are NOT in this religious group are hating on the religion so much. The judgement has switched. When I was a kid growing up, you would sometimes hear, "Oh, I can't hang out with her because she isn't LDS."
Now, you more frequently hear the opposite. "I can't stand her because she's Mormon."

This fanaticism is predominantly a problem in Utah, where a lot of the population are LDS, and have in their religious fanaticism garnered said stereotype. Like people who think soda is against the religion. Did you HEAR this past general conference?
Remember when Dieter Ucthdorf said he had "many liters of a diet soda that shall remain nameless."
And also the fact that there is ZERO doctrine saying you cannot drink caffeine or soda? (If you're new to the LDS religion, the belief that LDS people don't drink coffee because it is caffeinated is a wives tale)
Likewise, there are plenty of wives tales about non-Mormons that the bubble-bred Utahns are suckered into believing. I.e. Too many piercings means you weren't loved as a child. Or Divorce means you didn't care about your marriage.

  While I grant those seriously offended by any Mormon the appropriate validation, I 100% disagree with turning around and judging those who belong to the LDS religion. It's total hypocrisy. 

Saying, "They're all the same," is like saying "he must be a bad guy because he has tattoos." They're both ignorant statements brewed by hypocrisy. 

I've felt the judgment from people when I decided to change my church attendance.
Note: nothing about my personality changed. I'm still pretty much the same Brittany at the core. And yet, my attendance at church changed (increased), I made some choices about living a sober life, I got married (shocker) and gave up graphic media. Big whoop. But suddenly a couple people didn't want much to do with me.

Let me give a few specific examples:

1. I was once on a vacation with friends in Mexico. A girl called me "the boring friend" because I didn't want to get drunk that day. That's right, me, the "boring" friend. Because I didn't wanna get drunk. Mind you, she wasn't teasing either...
If you want the total truth, I was also deathly hungover from the night before and simply did NOT WANT to drink any more alcohol...I knew my intake was getting out of control and wanted to take a break. It was also the middle of the day. Being sober made me the "boring Mormon".
This same vacation, Glen opted out of going to the Strip Club with the men and they made fun of him for growing up "Mormon".

2. I was at The Pride Parade once. Yes, me. And a group of friends started making fun of the "Releif Society" and blamed the Mormons for one of their favorite bars shutting down. Wth? Then they looked at me and said snidely, "Oh, sorry Brittany." Like I had everything to do with it and should be embarrassed.

3. I was kicked out of the "cool club" of popular girls because I didn't talk trash on my husband or take my shirt off at parties. Literally. (And I took off a lot sometimes)

4. This same group were also swingers and excommunicated Glen and I because we were disinclined to "swing". Never called us to hang out again.

5. In fact, once Glen and I started living a sober life, ten years of "friendships" mysteriously dwindled...because what could you possibly do as friends if you aren't going to show up at a random house, get plastered, swap spouses, and get a couple DUI's on the way home? Great memories, right?

6. I got married. Super weird, I know...instead of just living with Glen and getting pregnant and reaping all the benefits of government funding, we chose to sign a paper.

7. We didn't get married in an LDS temple, but neither did we have an open bar. A lot of people didn't come. Others got drunk or high in the parking lot so they could have fun.

8. Glen and I wanted to have a family right away. We also both work, try to maintain a house and yard, attend family functions, and spend our free spare three minute with each other. And suddenly we were "too good" for our non-Mormon friends because we "wouldn't get a babysitter " on weekends. (Most of the time these gatherings are "parties") If it was a "kid friendly party" and we chose not to go so we could get the kids to bed early and have sex for the FIRST time that month, WE WERE the judgemental ones.

9. I gave up my career to be a full-time mom. GASP! Suddenly my working friends don't have anything in common with me anymore. I'm just "one of those Mormons " now. I'll actually toss in here that even some working LDS people have shunned me from lunch dates because I can't talk about being exhausted like they can....(did you hear my scowl?)
Never mind that I still work as a full-time writer and manuscript evaluator, or volunteer hours of my time for the Addiction Recovery Program. Daycares aren't free, you know. Ever wonder why? I've adequately done both and I can say with confidence being home 24/7 is way more stressful and emotionally draining FOR ME...work is a vacation.

10. I am called the phony and the fake, the self-righteous or the hypocrite, because I made a few choices that were for the greater good of my relationship, my health, and my children. I don't cuss (nearly as often) or wear bikinis anymore...I'll probably still gamble and breastfeed in public, tho. Sorry, Bishop....Almost NONE of my non religious friends still call me to get together. I have a few, they're my greatest friends in the whole world -and you know who you are- but the rest have "lost my number" because (laughs to self) I am the judgmental one.

Tell me, how am I the judgmental one?
Nothing about me has changed--at least nothing that affects YOU or our relationship.
I can drive home at night, wake up clear headed, trust my husband on work trips, and smile at the sweet behavior of my children, and that makes me a JUDGEMENTAL person? All because I wanted to go to church more?

Let me tell you what "church" is. Church is a building. I go to a building. And I learn about Christ and His gospel. I volunteer with children under 3 for two hours and hang out with sweet old ladies. We talk and laugh and worship God. We don't spend a SINGLE MINUTE worrying about what other people are doing outside of the church--or religion--for that matter. Maybe you've had a bad experience now and then, trust me I have. But the majority of "Mormons" are just like you. They simply have slight variations of values, like not drinking coffee or tea. No big deal. We don't gossip or stress about what non-Mormons are doing. We genuinely want to love everyone and build strong lasting friendships with all kinds of people.

In my experience, I have been judged FAR MORE by non religious people than I have actually judged them (and I like to think I hardly ever throw shade...sometimes I do)
It isn't fair. It is one of the biggest problems humanity faces. I've heard all the rumors--from Mormons having horns to the "secret rooms" in our temples. The information non LDS people gather concerning LDS people is from OTHER NON LDS people. And none of it is usually accurate. It is completely unfair for me to lose friendships I work hard to maintain because someone assumes "I'm a Mormon" therefore I am the "judgemental" one. When In fact, the opposite is true.

While I believe in the Bible and try my best to follow Christ, I am NOT one of those "judgemental" people and hate to be classified as such. I LOVE people and diversity. Just because I'm not a lesbian doesn't mean I loath lesbians...one of my best friends is gay and my grandma was a lesbian so...choke on that. I know others might make choices that are different than mine, and different than Christianity, but I don't let it affect our friendship if it isn't affecting MY LIFE. I think that should go both ways, don't you?

If you're LDS and you find yourself thinking negatively about other non religious people, or people of different religions, I invite you to stop. Get to know them better. Understand that there is nothing evil about having a beer at dinner.

If you aren't LDS and you find yourself gossiping about "Mormons" in a negative manner, I invite you to stop. Get to know them better. There is nothing cult-like about sacrament meeting.

So please, let me go to church on Sundays, and wear my "Mormon underwear", rock the heck out of modesty, (say heck instead of hell), drink Pero instead of coffee, and focus more on motherhood instead of fame and fortune...and please, don't judge me.