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.