I thought about writing about transitions today – you know transitioning back to standard time from daylight savings time; transitioning into winter (November signals winter in my neck of the woods at least) – something along those lines.
Then I thought about sharing pictures from our fabulous Halloween day trip to the museum with some friends or discussing what a blast the big girl had last night dressing up in her fairy costume and handing out candy (organic lollipops) to the trick-or-treaters who visited our abode.
Then I thought, well….I really ought to WRITE something. After all it’s now November 1st and start of the National Blog Posting Month, NaBloPoMo.
So…that leads me to picking a topic to write about. I have the time. It’s the Sabbath and the baby girl is napping. The Hubster is taking care of the big girl. I can write.
Long intro, but I will write - stay with me folks.
I’m going to share with you a bit of the discussion in this morning’s Gospel Doctrine class. I’m going to ponder what it means to join a new culture. I’m going to invite you to discuss your own experiences with culture and change and transition.
See the connection? It *is* about transitions!
I’m a convert. In laymen’s term that means I decided to change. According to Webster to convert is to, “bring over from one belief, view, or party to another.”
I transitioned from my general Protestant Christian beliefs to the Christian beliefs held by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In this morning’s Gospel Doctrine class (adult Sunday School for those of you who use general Christian terms) one of the discussions was about converts – meaning those of us who join the church and who weren’t born into the church. The question was asked why converts leave. Many answers were given and finally I shared my experience.
My opinions are not always warmly welcomed by my fellow congregants. You see I have this knack of not being very diplomatic. It takes a great deal of effort for me to edit. I don’t do it much in my written communication, either (dunno if you’ve noticed that).
I shared that the reason some leave (myself included, but that's altogether another post) is basically because there is a loud majority of Mormons who tend to think that they’re better than non-Mormons. They talk about how sinful non-Mormons are and how evil the world is and how grateful they are to have been born “in the covenant to righteous parents" who kept them on the path.
I’ve been out there in that great big ole evil world. Yes, there is sin. Yes, evil does exist. But a whole lotta good is out there too! There are beautiful, loving, caring, *righteous* individuals of all faiths.
In fact, you might be surprised to learn that we (Mormons) believe that all people have the right to worship according to the dictates of their own conscience. The 11th Article of Faith states, “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”
I wish my fellow Mormons would remember that just a little more often. ;)
As you can tell the cultural adjustment has been a challenge for me. The doctrinal adjustment was relatively simple. It's easy when the Holy Ghost touches your heart and shows you a new truth. It's hard to deny that.
But it's hard to persist when you're worshipping with bigots and surrounded by prejudice. In fact, I left because I mistakenly believed what some members were spouting from the pulpit and in classes was true doctrine. Thankfully it's NOT!
The Church does not teach hatred and discrimination. Some members do. The Church does not teach that other faiths are sinful. Some members do. I could go on and on, but the point is it took me a while to realize that the doctrine according to Sister So-and-so is not always TRUE Church doctrine. Hard stuff for a new convert to figure out, though.
So it was a hard transition for me. Still is a hard transition. We don't have many friends in the Church. We've lost a few of our friends outside of the Church. Our extended families don't support our conversion. The Hubster has experienced some discrimination from co-workers. We're in this limbo between cultures. It's not an easy place to be. Not because we're liable to relapse into sin at any second as some "righteous" members believe. But because our support group is this tiny little group called our nuclear family.
Luckily for us Jesus Christ is our brother. Luckily for us we have the Holy Ghost to guide and protect us. Luckily for us we have a Heavenly Father who knows us and loves us and forgives us, even though we weren't born "in the covenant to righteous parents."
So how about you? Have you had to transition to another culture (doesn't have to be a religious thing)? What tips would you have for folks who have to adjust to a new culture?
- A 40 something mama meandering through life with an eclectic 21 year old boy-man (the boy), an 8 year old girl (big girl) who is a ball of lightening, and a 4 year old girl (baby girl) who brightens our lives with her smiles. I'm grounded by my 40 something husband and partner (the hubster) whose quirky mannerisms brighten my days.
I've been a single mama, married mama, divorced mama, career mama, SAHM, and WAHM. There was a short time of my life when I wasn't a mama, but that was a LONG time ago!
I hold an AA, BS, and MA and most say I'm wasting them by devoting my intellectual capabilities and energy in the nurture of the wee ones that I've been entrusted to raise, but there is nothing else I'd rather be doing these days. :)
I love hearing from readers, so please share your thoughts and leave comments, too!