Monthly Archives: June 2010

Ask Mormon Girl: I’m 20. I don’t think I’ll ever get married. Help?

Dear Ask Mormon Girl:

I am sure I will never find a Mormon guy who will make me happy, to marry in the temple. I am 20 years old, I’m not out of time, but I have a lot of problems with church and marriage in general. I was told all my life to accept it as the truth with no questioning, and that if you do everything “right” then you’ll be happy no matter what. I found that my parents never really were happy and when my dad came out of the closet, and my parents divorced, it proved me right, that doing what’s “right” doesn’t make you “happy.” I feel pressure to date only guys who are Mormons even though a Mormon guy wouldn’t understand me very well. I don’t have a very good “testimony” of the church, but honestly I would still like to get married in the temple, to an upstanding guy. I’m just not sure how to get there without denying my true feelings about men who think they’re “over” their wives, who expect their wives to fit the homemaker mold, and my feelings that marriage can’t work even, and especially, when founded on the teachings of the Mormon church.

 

Lizbeth
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Filed under Love, marriage, Uncategorized

Ask Mormon Girl: I’m about to be baptized. And boy do I have some questions.

This week, readers, I’m definitely going to need your help answering this question from Brent in far away New Zealand:

I’m not a member of the Church but I have decided to be baptized.   As my baptism date approaches I’m starting to think I’m not “worthy” for lack of a better word.  Not that I regret the life I’ve lived. But I haven’t lived by Church standards. At the same time, I’m also worried there might be things I’d miss after baptism.  In married life, for example . . . What is married life like for LDS people?  It’s a hard topic to bring up face to face.  Double thanks if you can answer it.

Brent, first and foremost—heartfelt congratulations on your upcoming baptism.

Second, I have to say, I’ve sat with your question for a few weeks trying to come up with the right response.   There you are on the other side of the planet, taking missionary lessons face-to-face with some very eager elders, and going to church every Sunday with Mormons who are thrilled that you’ll be converting and still . . . you’re sending an email to a total stranger thousands of miles away asking some serious questions about “worthiness” and some other very personal issues.

The internet.  Seriously.  Wow.

There are some fairly easy by-the-book answers to your questions.  And the best place to go online for by-the-book answers on Church doctrine and policy is the Church’s own website, lds.org, where you can use the search engine and research both baptism and marriage to your heart’s content.

What stands out about your question to me is the fact that you don’t feel you have anyone local and Mormon you can talk with about more tricky and intimate issues like personal worthiness and what married life is for LDS people (and if I can read between the lines, I don’t think you’re talking about doing housework and raising kids. . . ahem).  As you say, it can be really hard to bring these things up “face to face.”  Especially with Mormons.  Many of us like to keep the tricky side of being human totally under wraps.

But especially if you have questions that impinge on your baptism, you must try to talk to somebody.  Any religion you’re willing to join owes you a spiritual community, doesn’t it?  If you don’t feel you can talk with those eager 19-year old farmboy missionaries teaching you the discussions (which is understandable), how about your bishop?  Really—if you have any questions about being ready for baptism—you should speak to your bishop.  No matter how straitlaced he seems, he’s probably heard it all.  Very little you have on your mind can shock him.  Even those seemingly difficult questions about “married life.”  Those should be a walk in the park for your bishop to answer.

If I could summon your Mormon celestial fairy godmother, Brent, I’d ask her to send you a friend:  Mormon, male, canny, older, but still young; someone in your ward or stake who is on your wavelength; someone who can mentor you a bit as you get to know your new religion.

I’m no fairy godmother, but I can offer you the advice of the community of readers on this site and at mormonmatters.org.  I’ll post your query, and you can follow the responses, and see if we can’t get you a bit better educated before your baptism date.

Welcome, Brent.  Now, readers—do you have a bit of guidance to extend? Please?

Send your query to askmormongirl.com, or follow askmormongirl on Twitter.

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Ask Mormon Girl: The lessons are so basic in Church that they’re driving me crazy. Help?

I am having great difficulty buying into the gospel principle manual being used in our Relief Society / Priesthood lessons. I just feel that I can get so much more out of a lesson by reading it myself, as the instructors have been asked to stick to the manual, or go do an in-depth study of a different topic on my own.  I understand we have thousands of new members that need to learn the basics, but isn’t that what the gospel principal Sunday school class is for? Anyone else having difficulties with this?

Perhaps it’s just me, but I think the church is really losing its 18-30 age group (both married and unmarried) due to church being dreadfully boring!! I know myself, and several others (in different wards with different teachers) just dread going to church due to the poor classes.  No new material is being presented, and instead we’re learning things that have been pounded into us since Primary. Help?

AK

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Filed under gospel principles, relief society

Ask Mormon Girl: I don’t think I’m a literal believer; can I still be Mormon?

Readers, this week’s query is a long one, but worth every word. Please stick with it:

Dear Ask Mormon Girl,

I really flipped for Joseph Smith when I met him in Fawn Brodie’s amazing biography, No Man Knows My History. I know there are Mormons who’ve left the church because of Brodie’s book, but I felt Smith — warts and all — was a modern prophet. He was funny, wonderfully funny, though no one seemed to talk about him that way, and even ironic and modern. I leapt at the chance to sign on as a writer for the 2007 PBS series on “The Mormons.” Towards the end of production, I was stopped in traffic by a head-splitting revelation of God’s presence. I slowly realized I was in the midst of a conversion experience. I was honored and completely panicked. But after some months of trying to put the shattering moment behind me, I decided Joseph was a prophet through whose authority I could believe in God.

As of last fall, I’ve been going to church in my local Mormon ward. I’ve attended the Gospel Principles class and recently, I’ve become an investigator with the missionaries. I have mostly lead the secular life of a free lance intellectual. The question of believing in God (or not) always seemed separate from the particulars of any one religion. I felt that my belief would grow and deepen as I got more involved in Mormon doctrine and the church. The ideas I knew like eternal progression were a very interesting variation on the general human aspiration to overcome death. I felt I would be able to negotiate other Mormon beliefs according to this humanist approach. But the Gospel Principles class and the missionaries’ teaching is full of what I consider “ideas” which are presented as “truths.” They are fine as “ideas,” but it makes me very anxious to consider them “truths.” The pre-existence and all that goes on there is an example of what I’m talking about. On the day we studied the war in the pre-existence, our teacher (a smart, witty young woman) illustrated the stand off between Christ and Satan by writing their names on the board. Then she wrote “2/3rds” under Christ and “1/3rd” under Satan to indicate the fractions standing for and against God among the spirits in heaven. We could have been studying Charlemagne’s troop count in his battle against the Moors. I asked a Mormon friend if I was supposed to accept the battle in the pre-existence literally, and she said, “Yes.”

I do not think I will ever be able to see the battle in the pre-existence literally. Yet I remain attracted to Joseph Smith and Mormonism. Joseph himself seems so imaginative. I know he also had a sense of the need for centralized authority. Would he say we have to take all the details of his theology as facts? If not, do you have any advice for how I can accept these kinds of literal teachings without stretching my credulity beyond belief?

Sincerely,

Kate
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Filed under belief, literalism