I can use the term “molly mormon” on myself because I have been referred to that in my life. Do I like it? No, actually…. I don’t.
If you knew the real me, then you’d know that I actually wanted nothing to do with the LDS Church when I was 14 years old. I was a young, rebellious, wayward child. I was a sophomore in high school and I’m pretty sure I knew what I wanted in life more than my parents did. Going to church was one thing but actually STAYING at church was another. I fought endlessly with my mother, every single week, to go home from church early. Sacrament was the last hour at the time and I could care less about being there. I’d already seen the friends I wanted to in the classes we’d already been in, so why wasn’t she letting me go home? It was frustrating. I felt like I wasn’t being listened to. I felt like I was being forced to do something that I didn’t want to. Sound like a teenager?
I’ve shared my story multiple times about how I converted to the gospel when I was 15 and chose the path of keeping the church in my life. I went crazy. I’m not really sure what happened but I couldn’t get enough of the scriptures, church, seminary, general conference, etc. I felt like I was reading the Book of Mormon for the first time and couldn’t believe I’d never read it before. I was missing out!! I started a nightly scripture text that I sent to 20+ friends every single night my senior year of high school. I got my patriarchal blessing at 15, and received my Young Womanhood Recognition award TWICE before graduating high school. I graduated seminary and even spoke at my seminary graduation. I went to girls camp the summer before college because 1) I was still 17 and 2) I wasn’t ready to move on from Young Women’s. I was on the Institute committee to throw a welcome party to high school graduates at our local Institute for the summer. And in my first year of college, I received a certificate for completing so many credit hours from Institute. I’d read the Book of Mormon three times and about to finish The Doctrine and Covenants for my second time.
I knew for sure that I would serve a mission. Then the age limit changed and my husband (then missionary) was going to be home from his LDS mission in less than two months. My life changed and everything flipped upside down and I had no idea what God had in-store for me or what decisions I should make. I prayed and prayed hard about serving a mission or a temple marriage. I wasn’t swayed one way or the other by people around me. I did have people chime in, make negative comments or give me “advice” on what I should do, but ultimately, I knew it was up to God and I to decide my future.
Fast forward like 6 years, we’re now in 2018 and I can hardly get myself to go to church. Granted, I’ve been through a lot in my life. I’ve changed, my life situation has changed. I’m married now, I’m older now, and my experiences in life are much different than they used to be. I struggled with this for a loooooooooong time. Why on earth couldn’t I get myself to church when church used to be the only place I had EVER wanted to be every day?
Struggling to go to church every week is NOT, and I repeat, not because: I’m left out, nobody talks to me or sits near me, there’s a mean family in our ward, the Relief Society President is somebody I don’t like, I do not support my Bishopric, because I don’t agree with church doctrine or its influence on society. Or anything of that nature. At all. My discipleship, like President Uchtdorf said, “has little–if anything– to do with the way others treat us.” I believe that wholeheartedly. Going to church or not going to church is my own fault, and my own responsibility. Letting others affect that and putting blame on them is an excuse.
Sitting in Sacrament brings me anxiety. I’m not really sure why but I just feel like I can’t really sit somewhere that would draw attention if I needed to get up and leave. Kind of like I’m suffocating unless I’m sitting close to a door. Sometimes I have to sit in the foyer during sacrament. That’s okay, I’ve learned to love the 70s print couches. Most of the time I get to watch little children giggle and run around. Going to Relief Society can be difficult as well. I want to talk with the sisters in my ward and I want to pay attention to the lesson but sometimes I do need to sit clllleeeeaaarrrr in the back, especially if it is close to a door. Sometimes I want to sit by myself. Sometimes I need to sit on the very front row to pay attention and hold back tears. Sometimes I don’t go at all. Which is also okay.
Sunday School is bearable because I’m with my husband and just sitting next to him can be really calming. My reason for posting this is because I read an Instagram post that the church made and it kind of gave me the courage to finally say this. After all of these years, yes, your molly mormon friend struggles going to church. It may look so easy for me. It may look so odd that I can barely even sit through sacrament meeting. It may make you angry that I complain about struggling because you may have struggled your entire life or have since left the church. I’m not writing this blog post to do any of those things other than to open YOUR eyes to the fact that active members CAN struggle with going to church. CAN struggle and have doubts. CAN have deeper worries and concerns than just the surface “I have anxiety while sitting in sacrament meeting.”
And maybe I didn’t go deep enough in this post. Maybe I didn’t really share what I struggle with but that’s the point. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you love your neighbor. You treat them with respect and kindness. That even if they send annoying missionaries to your front door, you love them anyway. Even if they won’t quit inviting you to the Relief Society activity, you serve them however you can. Love…. charity… that’s who Christ is. And we all want to be like Him. We all want to better our lives. We want peace in this world. And where does it start? With you! Please be mindful of those you expect to be mindful of you. We want to live peacefully in this world just as much as the next person.
We’re only human. We’re all here to live a good and happy life. Let’s not add to the struggle.