2.26.2010

And Now For Something Serious



Later this spring I will be speaking at a conference on a panel about faith, and blogging. When I agreed to do it I was in a really great place in my faith, and I felt like I had a lot of positive, gushy things to say about the topic. But today has been hard. Today I read some hateful things online and I am starting to feel a little less delightful. I am starting to feel . . . defensive. Defensiveness is really ugly on me. I am going to use this here blog as a place of therapy, because I can. Do you mind? I hope you don't mind.

Mormonism is not terribly respected. This is depressing unto me. Our doctrine is generally misunderstood. Strangely, it is really easy to get a bunch of cockamamy ideas about Mormons without going to any real effort to find it. (Some of these ideas you may get from actual Mormons themselves, but I digress.)  I was born and raised LDS and as such I have very intimate relationship with being teased and feeling embarrassed about my church. How many moms do you have? Don't you sacrifice virgins in your temple? But why can't I get into your temple? Do Mormons really have horns? (Not a joke, this question was not a joke.)

The jokes I am okay with. I have been known to make a few myself when I am feeling saucy. But there are Christian faiths that make it a point to teach their congregations about Mormonism, and they usually have the wrong information, leading to a lot of misunderstanding. Famous rock stars have taken the most precious symbols of our faith and burned them on stage. There are Christian writers out there who pump out anti-Mormon literature like they are being paid in marshmallows. And they say some horrible, terribly untrue things. They have no problem spewing this hatred. Maybe they consider it a sign of their truthfulness, that they can identify what is so very wrong about us? I don't know.

The LDS church is plagued with a history of this. Even before my ancestors were driven from their homes and forced to trek across the country to make a new home in Utah, our early church leaders were harassed, tarred and feathered, beat up, their homes ransacked and burned, their families chased from state to state, usually by people of "faith." Usually by other Christians.

It just doesn't make any sense to me.

So, this is my story. My story of why I blog about my faith.

I've always been sensitive to Mormon bashing -- too sensitive, definitely -- and when we moved to Oregon it seemed to reach its peak. In the part of Oregon where we lived there is a big church on the southern end of town with a large youth following. Nearly all of my friends attended there, went on long religious retreats, served service missions, they were Christian and proud and as a fellow Christian I thought it was fantastic. One day, a girl who I had long considered a close friend told me her church had taught her how bad Mormons are. How dumb we are. How wrong we are. How we think we're Christians, but actually, we're not. (I'm not? News to me!) She told me that I belonged to a cult and that I needed to be saved and that my family was brainwashed. I was shocked. She stopped hanging out with me shortly thereafter.

I felt like it was my job to prove them wrong. Be the "cool" Mormon. I felt like I could prove to them that we're not prudes, we're not weird, we can be fun and normal, that we do NOT have horns, and in the course of this I put up with a lot of crap. It got really, really tiring. I started to realize that I didn't have as many good friends I could trust as I'd thought, because a lot of them were laughing at me and criticizing me behind my back. Pitying me. And I loved my friends. It got to the point where I was tired of being Mormon. (It never occurred to me to be tired of my friends, come to think of it.)

Brandon had a very similar experience when he was in high school. He struggled with the negative attention just as I did, and eventually stopped going to church all together. A year or two into college he had a change of heart, made some decisions, and served a two-year mission in Chile. He has been strong in his faith ever since. He is such a good example to me.

I met Brandon at BYU. I was his Family Home Evening "mom." How horrific is that? We got married in the Portland Temple, and shortly after we moved to New York City for our grand adventure. During this time my sister, who was in high school, became friends with some of these Christian kids who made no bones about their disdain for Mormonism. My sister was always very spiritual, and around this time she decided her path to Christianity lay elsewhere. I love my sister and will defend her choice to the death, but when she left the church it wasn't terribly gracefully. She said some hurtful things, as you do when emotions are high. I know she didn't mean them. Still, it was the straw that broke my camel's back. I was just so tired.

I considered just leaving. Not just leaving the church but leaving religion. All of it. Because everywhere around me all I saw from it was hate, judgement, and conflict. I do not do well with conflict. And I was so tired of skirting the subject. I was tired of vaguely answering "Oh, in college" when asked where I met my husband so I wouldn't have to admit that I went to BYU. When you admit you went to BYU, well, you're asking for it.

And Prop 8 . . .  I don't even want to talk about it. (Talk about being embarrassed to be a Mormon.)

When I moved to Idaho I was still going to church but my heart wasn't in it. I was miserable. One of my dearest friends stepped in and introduced me to a few of her LDS friends, who were all writers and bloggers, and thank heavens she did. These women were Mormon and proud. They knew who they were and what value it was and they were not afraid of backlash or criticism. Because the honest truth of it is, whatever LDS doctrine you may not agree with, we are a wonderful group of people. We teach of Christ, we follow His example, we believe we are saved by Grace, we practice charity and goodwill -- not to win "heaven points"-- but to be as Christlike as we can be. We might not believe what you believe, but since when is that any big deal? Isn't that what life is about? The Mormon church is a fine church. There is nothing wrong with it. So I decided to stop feeling like there was.

And I guess that is why I write about my faith. To pass it on. To help someone like me who struggles. Someone like me who curses and has progressive political opinions and sometimes feels like a black sheep on Sunday mornings. Sadly, I also write about my faith from a place of hurt. I wish that were not so.

When I read those comments today, I just felt sick. There it was, right there, my whole history with my faith. Hashed out by other Christians with little regard for me and mine. I thought of my upcoming panel. And I felt like I wanted to say something. So, here is my something: People of Planet Earth, what the what, friends? Evangelical, Baptist, Methodist, Mormon . . . Whatever! As long as we are not hurting others, we should be allowed to follow our conscience and worship our Savior as we feel is best, am I right? I mean, for crying out loud.

I have been wonderfully lucky to have the world's best readers, serious as a heart attack. Whenever I've discussed my faith or name-dropped my Mormonism it has been met with nothing but love and acceptance. I am blessed by you every day. So, here is my thank you. THANK YOUR!

**END TRANSMISSION OF OVERLY SERIOUS POST**

78 comments :

  1. Saw all that mess too. Some people are just crap. You, Nie, & CJane are some of my favorite writers. No one should ever be attacked like that, or have their morality so brutally questioned. I love that you are open about your life, faith included. <3

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  2. The HORNS! Girl, living here in Texas in the midst of the Bible Belt with most of my family being other religions, boy oh boy did I get teased for being Mormon. I've lost friends over my religion. I've lost family over my religion.

    Guess I take it in stride. Like when I asked how many babies I'm going to have and I retort, "As many as those Duggars," to my Baptist friends. I'm kinda a smartalec that way.

    But those HORNS!

    Once when my middle son was around two or three he fell twice in one week and had two bumps on his forehead. My husband was helping our Baptist neighbor with some fencing and I came over with my son to hang out for a few. Then my Baptist neighbor asked me how my son got the bumps on his forehead.

    Being the smartypants I am, I replied, "Oh those ARE his HORN-BUMPS. You know, because we're Mormon."

    It was the best laugh we ever had. He was also the best neighbor we ever had.

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  3. well said.
    I think a lot of us, at some point, try to be the "cool" mormon- to show the world how normal and great we are. to dispel all those horrible rumors and anti-literature. even still, I try to always look beautiful and hip with my two kids so that people don't look at me and say well she must be mormon with two kids and so young. i don't know if that even makes sense. but I hear ya.
    And those preachers....I really am sad for them. The largest church in twin (other than the LDS) specifically preached against Mormons. I don't think he was misinformed,he knew the truth and lies but chose to create hate and tension in our community. and it is there, Twin for as small as it is has such a large anti-mormon group. sad, stupid and so unnecessary. right?

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  4. While I don't know what mess and comments you're referring to, I do know the church in OR, and I'm so sorry to hear what happened.

    I was going to write The Commentyest Comment of All Time, but I think I'll send you an email instead.

    First though, let me just say that after reading your thoughts and testimony on here for years, I am HONORED to be on a panel talking about faith with you.

    Absolutely honored.

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  5. I bet that was difficult to write. To be questioned on something that the questioner likely knows little about...it's tough. Good for you for standing tall and proud, as it is hard when others' doubt. I have noticed that a lot of my fellow bloggers are Mormon. I've found this interesting. I am from a very Catholic upbringing in a very conservative area in Canada so I've never met a Mormon or learned anything of your faith. Thanks for sharing. And am interested to learn more as I continue to read your blog.
    --SB


    not too serious i hope

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  6. others. not others'. gr. sorry.

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  7. You probably don't remember me, but I met you once. I was W&M college roommates with your high school friend Beth and we met at her 19th birthday party at a park in Tualatin. I've been reading your blog for awhile now and I have to say that I always look forward to a new post!

    I read the post CJane wrote and thought it was quite lovely- I couldn't believe the nasty comments that some people felt compelled to leave. I'm not LDS, just a regular Baptist, but I love reading about your faith. I'm always interested in learning something new; especially about how spiritually minded people live their lives. And I think it's great that you're so open about everything- don't let a few lurker/troll types get to you :)

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  8. Natalie-
    I am so impressed with this. I read this post like it was a cliffhanger novel! I'm not Mormon, I'm not even particularly religious, but am fascinated and somewhat mesmerized by those who lead their lives religiously, whatever religious path they may choose. Even the best person can be judgmental, so I thank you for this..for making me a little bit more humble.

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  9. "I am Mormon, hear me roar."

    My sentiments exactly. I was just thinking today how much I love the gospel!

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  10. I don't understand why people feel the need to attack over the internet. I don't know what comments you're referring to, but you don't deserve them. I love reading your blog, I'm always interested when you talk about your religion. For me, the internet is a wonderful chance to discover things we don't learn in every day life. If people don't want to hear about your faith, they have a simple choice, move to another site and leave you to entertain and inform those of us who do want to read it. If anything, you've reminded me that someone with a deep faith that is different to mine still shares other concerns. There is room enough on this earth for all sorts of beliefs, and, as long as it's done respectfully, there is no reason why these beliefs can't be discussed calmly and freely. I'm planning to keep reading, as long as you keep writing.

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  11. Nat, Thanks for sharing. I was raised in a very un-religious home as my mother's family used to pray over her and her brother because they were not baptized Catholic as my Grandmother's french family felt she should be (my Grandfather put his foot down!)

    I have long been uncertain about my own beliefs, feelings and faith. I went to a Jewish camp for many years and really enjoyed the feeling of community that came from a group of people who believe in the same thing. I think that is the best part of all religions is when that feeling is inspired in a group of people. However, I also think that sometimes it can inspire mean and hateful feelings towards the "other" as well.

    I can truly appreciate your bravery and devotion to your faith and am jealous of your belief. I hope it brings you much happiness for many years to come.
    Beth

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  12. I have delt with people not "getting" my religion as well. I'm Wiccan, and most people out there don't even believe that it actually IS even a religion. I honestly don't know much about your faith. I'd like to, simply becasue I find something in all religons beautiful. I am so happy that you are proud of who you are and what you believe in. As I started to type this, I wasn't even sure if I was going to state what path of belief I followed, simply because I can't deal with the comments or the negativity myslef. I don't often tell people what I beleive in, not because I'm not proud, but because it's so much effort, and there are so many negative connotations associated with Wicca. I wear a pentagram all the time, and I get looks, but like I said, I am proud too. I would love to learn a bit about your beliefs. Maybe we can e-mail each other? I know you mentioned it above... I don't have any specific questions because I don't listen to the rumors, I just was looking for some general basic knowledge. Let me know! Stay true to your self, always!

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  13. your passion is so inspiring - thanks for sharing

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  14. I've read your blog since Blogspot spotlighted you a few months back. I've enjoyed your entries quite a lot. I had family in that town, so I enjoy pictures and descriptions of it.

    Disclaimer: I grew up with Mormons, some being my best friends. I had no idea the ignorant and prejudiced viewpoints toward the Mormon religion until I moved away to college. I gained appreciation for how they can be made to feel ostracized.

    But unlike other groups who have been discriminated against, Mormons are influential and powerful. They dominated the school systems I grew up in (Las Vegas -- yes, see the irony, go ahead); they dominate now -- of course, Prop 8.

    If you assert your faith as you have here and describe how people have viewed your religion with ignorance or prejudice, how can you, in good conscience, avoid fairness in return by refusing to address that some people who take issue with your Church are not doing so out of ignorance or prejudice but rather *in response to*? It's not like individuals who happen to be Mormon lobbied for Prop 8. It's the Mormon Church who took a stance.

    Please do not overlook this sad irony, especially at your conference. I am not Mormon, I am not gay. I am a human being with no religion, hoping people don't fall into the very state they suffer by the mindsets of others.

    Maybe I'm not the reader you want anyway.

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  15. Anon, I did not wish to "really" bring up Prop 8 in this blog post because it would be an entirely different post topic, like you pointed out. There are legitimate reasons for one to be unhappy with the Mormon church or to disagree with it (like with many churches) and I recognize that and respect it completely. I was referring more to the misunderstandings I've lived with. I understand what you are saying, and I thank you for your comment. You are SO my type of reader. I'd be happy to discuss my feelings on this issue with you in an email if you'd like. Prop 8 was a trying issue for my faith, and I am still conflicted about it.

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  16. Natalie I commend you highly for sticking up for your faith. I think faith is very personal. I also do not believe that ALL people of a group should be punished for the actions of a few. Should all Americans be hated for the choices our government is making internationally? No. And in no religion does it preach hatred toward others. This is a personal choice people are making, and it runs rampant in any culture, any religion. The hypocracy, the hate within itself, that is what turned me off to religion all together. I was baptized Lutheran, who I think are pretty low-key folks, but I rarely go. Maybe religion isn't for ME, but I admire those who feel it with all their hearts and in the end, all they want is to love their families, work hard, contribute to those in need, and sleep with a clean concious at the end of the day. Good for you girl, for standing up for not just your church (that's not really your job) but standing up for yourSELF. You and the Holbsmormon have got it together :)

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  17. I just like Jesus, DON'T YOU???

    I MEAN LET'S HEAR IT FOR JESUS!

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  18. Brave post Nat. I attend a Baptist church, but I hate labels like that...I'm a follower of Christ, just like you. I often feel like people think less of me for being a Christian, and I get snubs and harsh comments, and it's hard not to be hurt when I think that these people are supposed to be my friends.I don't know alot about Mormonism, but I don't think of it differently than any other denomination - props to you for standing up and posting this, it's a real encouragement to me!

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  19. Colfax churches love the How to Hate a Mormon pow wows. It sort of sucks. I like your idea... to live your religion out loud.

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  20. Just came across your blog when I was looking through the blogs of note section. I really like it, you have a great sense of humor on some of your other posts.

    I really liked reading this particular post of yours. I'm just Christian, nondenominational, and I go to a nondenominational Christian school, so I've never really been around Mormons or other different sections of Christianity except Baptists, Lutherans, and some Catholics.

    I don't know much about Mormonism and how it differs from the other sections, but I don't think it's right to be rude to people over the internet or in normal life about how their view on Christianity is different from someone elses view on it. I haven't seen the nasty comments that you talked about, but even though I haven't seen them, I think those people shouldn't have posted them.

    Will be looking forward to reading more of your blog. :)

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  21. I am a Baptist, and since I don't know much about Mormonism, then how can I judge it? The people who DO judge you, need to be asking themselves if they're TRULY Christians or not!

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  22. I just found your blog. I really, really love this post. It sounds like we share a lot of the same struggles (Prop 8) and positive testimony-strengthening aspects too. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. If I felt like I could be more eloquent myself, I would attempt to type something like this up. However, when it comes to my religion, most of the time I just feel all jumbled up in my mind. (I was sad to read CJane's comments too.)

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  23. Such a lovely and brilliant post. As a convert I was either considered not mormon enough for the LDS folk or shunned for my faith. Catch-22 and I have struggled almost my entire life with organized religion, but you know what? This past Fall when Elder Bednar was speaking in the region he stated that, "If you are not struggling daily then you are doing something wrong." When people become complacent that is when things can go wrong so fast. That rings very true. We are here to learn and to experience and for some of us, that happens best through adversity. I mean that in a humanity sense not a religious one. If I were attending your blogger conference I would want to hear a message like this one. It is heartfelt, meaningful and I really think a lot of people could take something away from it. Thanks for sharing.

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  24. I have been reading your blog for a while now and this post resonated strongly with me. What you describe about your journeys in faith sound familar. I think I have felt some of what you've felt. To know that I'm not alone is comforting and I thank you for sharing. I know that it is not always easy. Enduring the negativity of those sheltered by the anonymity of the internet is taxing to say the least. It is far harder to be positive. Your optimistic enthusiasm is what I enjoy most about your blog.

    I'm not sure where I'm going to end up with what I believe but your post today has lent me some calm to troubled thoughts. So thank you, and bravo.

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  25. Remember when we met for ice cream and you thought I was mormon, but I'm not, I took that as a complement. Although i do not understand much of the mormon faith thanks to bloggers like you, cjane, and nie I have felt like a window was open to see your faith. I personally believe that for many religions like judaism, christianity, mormonism although they are vastly different there are a few similarities and to me I feel like we all believe in ONE God. I think tolerance can be hard to come by sometimes but if people really looked at it were not all that different!

    Anyway Stay strong, I only wish I could be at CBC to hear that panel!

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  26. You forgot mentioning when they killed our prophet, his brother, and raped our women, all for being Mormon.

    I don't get the hate, I truly, truly don't.

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  27. Nat, I want to add my thanks for this post, and for you writing about your faith in general. I agree w/ Kalli - Let's hear it for the Lord! I grew up in a pentecostal church. I went to a pentecostal school. In HS, one of our classes was to learn about different cults. The Mormon church was a part of that study, and that class was the first time I'd heard, really, about Mormons. From the very first class, the introduction of the LDS church as a cult never rang true to me. "How can a church who loves the Lord, as we say our church loves Him, be bad?" That was the question that opened my eyes to the true way. Jesus. HE is the Way, the Truth and the Life. HE is salvation.

    When I was baptized into the LDS church, my dad came to my baptism. Which was great! He brought his pastor, which was not. His pastor gave me literally a BOOK of printed material on why this church was not a true church. AT my baptism! I know, respect much?!

    Anyway, I read the material (much of which was rumory and not at all based in fact). I disagreed with the material. I explained to my dad's pastor (and my dad) that I would continue to attend the church I chose to be baptized into.

    As I've grown in my faith, I've realized that I'm not really comfortable with all the Mormon teachings, and I fall more into the Pentecostal Catholic Mormon category, if someone must put me in a box, with a label. The label I prefer, the one that we share no matter what church we belong to, is CHRISTian. And being a follower of Christ means sharing that faith, and respecting others (others'?) rights and faiths.

    I say these things because I know them to be true, but I apologize for the long-windedness!! Sending you, and our fellow bloggers and commenters, MUCH Love. And because I think you might need it - *HUGS*

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  28. Great post!!
    I did not know that Mormons feel so much opposition. I knew about the ignorant, mis-informed misunderstanding... (special underwear, polygamy) but I never ever heard about horns!!!?

    I dunno, I think most faiths think theirs is the one that gets all the bashing. I'm Catholic, and during the sex scandals a few years back, I couldn't go to a dinner party without hearing some horrible comment or joke that suggested that's WHY there are altar boys!!! And suggesting that Catholics let it happen and even worse, approved!! (Never mind that my dad, as parish councilman, went directly to the Bishop to have a certain priest removed from our parish... and went through hell and back to get it done!! In those days, you didn't question the church and if you did - well, look out!!)

    But I digress.
    I am happy that you stand up for your faith. I am so inspired by many Mormon bloggers (Does LDS have some sort of investment in Blogging - cuz y'all are prolific bloggers!!) And from the sort of examples that Cjane described, I am working on getting my church to be more aware of the needs around us. We're terrible at helping each other out.
    (trying to get folks from church to bring dinners to my friend who just had baby #2 - with no husband (they're going through a nasty divorce) and no one wants to help - though they're happy to gossip)

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  29. Nat:
    What a brave post. Truly brave. I respect your faith. In fact, I've always thought every family should do Family Home Evening. Really! I'm a methodist and boy we could use that in our church family too!

    My good scrapbooking friend invited me to a mormon church service and relief society meeting more than 10 years ago. I truly had a wonderful time. It was a kind, spiritual place. However one thing rubbed me the wrong way. Many of the church members stood up to share their testimony -- that part was really wonderful. But the majority of the members either started their words or ended their words with "I know this church is true. This is the one TRUE church."

    Really? Why? Why does one faith get to be more TRUE than any other. Perhaps this is just a coincidence at this particular service.

    Thanks for your post. At the risk of sounding like a Miss America pageant contestant -- why can't we all just get along?

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  30. Nat -

    This is so incredibly inspiring. You have such great inner strength to share this with so many people and to be that deep in your faith to stand up like this. Kudos to you, sister!

    I was raised in a mostly non-religious house. I'm 19 now and I'm struggling to find a faith that's right for me. I consider myself very spiritual, but not religious. I just don't know what I do and don't believe in, I guess. There are some things in every religion that I agree and disagree with - I'm trying to find a happy medium. But no matter what peoples' beliefs are, regardless of whether or not I agree or disagree, I can't stand the hate that people have for each other. I think that's part of why I'm skeptical about being one religion, because I don't want to hear the hateful comments. Sometimes even my own family makes mean jokes about different religions (calling Mormons "morons", making comments about all Muslims being terrorists, you name a religion and they've probably said SOMETHING mean about them) and it really makes me afraid to be a part of any one of those groups because of the ostracism I would be subjected to from my own family.

    Again, you have been so inspiring. This post really made me open my eyes and think about my faith. I'll definitely be doing some deep soul-searching (as I call it) in the very near future. Your post is helping me find the strength to find my own faith. I wish I could have the same strength and passion as you.

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  31. Hey, Nat, my first thought when I saw the beginning of this post was, "Hmm, no picture, this really MUST be serious!" (That thought amused me, so I thought it might amuse you, too.) Then I read your post, and I realized, yes, it IS very serious.

    You are amazing at communicating. You came across sounding pleasant and informative which is hard to do sometimes when discussing potentially inflamatory issues about which we believe passionately.

    I'm not as good at communicating, so I hope what I say here ends up coming across pleasantly, the way I intended it. I do not agree with the doctrine of the LDS church because it contradicts parts of what God has written in the Bible, and also because in the Bible, God specifically stated that He would not give any further revelations or any further written words. In fact, He says that anyone taking away from or adding to what is in the Bible would be severely punished by God. (Deuteronomy 13:1-10 and Revelation 22:18-20) I know this sounds harsh, and I don't mean it to. I have been so thankful that none of your commenters have been rude or attacking of your choice.

    I understand the love behind your words "People of Planet Earth, what the what, friends? Evangelical, Baptist, Methodist, Mormon . . . Whatever! As long as we are not hurting others, we should be allowed to follow our conscience and worship our Savior as we feel is best, am I right?" But thinking through that idea logically, how can that truly be good for everyone involved? If I believe there is a certain way to be at peace and forgiven by God, and you believe there is a different way to ultimate happiness, and someone else believes there is no God and no repercussions for our choices -- at least two of us have to be wrong. So, for argument's sake, what if your way is right, and the other two ways are wrong? Would you be truly loving the people around you if you did not at least try to convince them to research your way completely and make an informed decision for themselves?

    I can see through your blog you are doing a great job of that, and I am also trying to do a good job of that through this comment.

    The opposite of love comes in when each viewpoint tries to bully the others into changing their minds like you experienced in your childhood or like the comments you mentioned on someone's post or like I have experienced in my life. How silly! How wrong! How wasteful! How hateful!

    I guess what I am trying to say in my rambling way is although I disagree with what you believe, and although I believe the ultimate end will be separation from God in torment, and although I want with all my heart for you to change your mind, the fact is, your mind is your mind and you get to be in charge of it just as I do with mine.

    I'm impressed with your post, and I'm nervous about putting this comment out there because I don't want to hurt your feelings, and I don't want anyone else to hurt my feelings by responding meanly to me. But you were brave enough to stand tall(kind of?) maybe I should re-word that to stand strong. How's that? :-)

    You were brave enough to stand strong and inform us of what you believe and why, and so I will respond by kindly doing the same.

    Still friends? I really hope so!

    PS> There is a book called Kingdom of the Cults by Walter Martin that I have used to research Mormonism, and it, in turn, references many other historical pieces of literature. I can send it to you if you would like. You have my email already, so if you want to respond to me that way, you can. :-)

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  32. Thanks Nat! I always love your posts!

    Let's hear it for the Mormons *fist bump*

    *cough* in seriousness, thank you. This is an issue with our faith that is very hard, and I appreciate you taking a stand on it.

    Uh, I was going to say something meaningful here, but it's 2 am, so I kinda forgot....

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  33. Nat, thank you. Like everyone else here, I really appreciate your sharing, and your strength of conviction is inspiring.

    I don't really know much about the Mormon church to be honest. Oh yes, I've heard the jokes (usually from other people who have no idea what the Mormon faith is all about), but I don't know if maybe it's not so prevalent in Australia as it is in the USA? I would love to learn more though. If you were to share more about your faith in this blog, I'd be very happy to read it.

    I have a lot more to say, but it could get a little long winded, so would you mind if I emailed you?

    Again, Natalie, thank you. :)

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  34. My dad who is Bishop always says that Jesus said "in this world you WILL have trials" If you stand for what you believe you are going to find someone who does not like what you have to say.
    I may not believe everything you believe and i know that i will never believe that but i will not be judgmental because i am not the judge!

    keep standing dont worry about offending people! EVery good change is this country came from people who stood against the norm.

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  35. We live near "focus on the family" which really is a lovely idea until they find our you're....Jewish.....we too have horns, and are going to burn in hell.....oh well....it sounds like hell is going to be pretty full of nice people.

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  36. I love reading you blog, Nat and this post is interesting. Like the previous poster, I am Jewish. As she said, misunderstandings of our faith abound as well. When I was in college there was a group of Born Again Christians that I knew through common friends. They were very clear, and not very shy about telling me that I would burn in hell if I did not find Jesus as my saviour. It was so very hurtful. At the time, I wrote it off at stupidity, but now many years later I wonder~ how un-Christian of them to not be understanding of me and my faith and my beliefs.

    In many cases, I think the reason people leave organized religion is because of things like what you are describing. That, and the many, many wars in history where people kill each other over misunderstanding or lack of wanting to understand others. Why can't we all just get along?

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  37. You know, I've been following your blog for a few months now, and I've got to say that you're awesome. I was "born and raised" LDS and after some soul searching in late high school and early on-my-own-edness and left the LDS church. More precisely, I left the Christian mode of thought altogether. I'm not going to go into why, or what I believe now; I just wanted to say that I admire you greatly for sticking by your faith. As one who was not strong enough to have had faith without a perfect knowledge I respect those who stand by their faith all the more. I have to say that you're completely awesome, and being able to stand and say that you believe, and moreso that you live, your religion is a fantastic thing, and well worthy of respect.

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  38. History has shown that any time there are two different ethnic or religious groups in the same country there is conflict and the minority suffers. Aren't you glad you live in America, where your freedom to practice religion is protected? People don't have to like it but think about these places: Bosnia, Rwanda, China, and Israel. Religions only survive by converting and/or shunning other faiths. Nations only survive with a sense of cohesive national identity. Not all the love in the world is going to destroy your survival instincts. It's nothing personal, that's just how people are and it does not make them evil or bad. With new technology like the internet they just get more mental space to play out these dialogs. I like your blog btw.

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  39. Natalie, I admire your attitude! I am not Mormon and I admit that I don't know much about LDS. I was raised nondenominational, but have fallen by the wayside in the last 7 years or so. Thank you for your testimony.

    Horns? Are you serious? :P

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  40. I've read your blog for a while now, but have only commented once before when you called out all the "lurkers". Yes, I lurk. Shame on me. I feel like a Peeping Tom now.

    I appreciate this post very much. I rarely discuss religion on my blog because, well, it is such a tough thing. I was raised in a very strict, very Baptist family in a town of 300 people in Kansas. Periodically, people would make negative comments against Mormons, but I didn't know anyone who belonged to LDS and had nothing to base an opinion on. I lived out my life in blissful ignorance.

    Then my parents got divorced when my father (who was a deacon in our church no less) was found to be having an affair with a woman a year older than me and they had a child together. Then my mother's uncle, who was our pastor, refused to counsel her. Then I moved to LA. Then my sister "came out" and told us she was a lesbian, which we had known on some level for many years.

    My faith was rocked.

    I quit going to church for three years. I hated a church that could judge and turn their backs on my family so callously when we needed our church family the most. This wasn't an outside group, another denomination of Christians. These were my own people. My own church and LITERALLY my own family.

    But the Mormon friends that I made in LA stood by me. They didn't help me through it by pushing their beliefs on me. They helped me through it by being the good, decent, wonderful people they were. It didn't matter if they were Mormon, Buddhist, or Baptist. They just wanted to help.

    I guess what I'm saying is, I've learned along my bumpy road of faith. Good Godly people are good Godly people no matter what their beliefs. And that's what matters.

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  41. 40 comments on this post so far, which is quite a lot for you to read already, But I'm typing 41 because your serious post deserves praise.

    I am not Mormon, but I loved every word of this post. You have expressed yourself and your faith beautifully. Thank you for being inspiring and letting us into your faith.

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  42. I am agnostic. I am a humanist. I am totally inspired by you and your Mormon faith.

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful, honest portrait of spiritual life.

    One thing is certain, a truth we all can share, and that is- this world is a little brighter because of you and your affinity for language. On behalf of all your followers (hey guys, my name is Anastasia and I am a teensy bitsky pretentious) your appreciation for life is infectious and it improves ours.

    Cheers Natalie. We don't care if you have a tail. You're good stuff.

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  43. I teach high school, and I can not tell you how painful it is to watch young people deny themselves of the things they love in exchange for their friends (or worse: boyfriends). It is not easy to stick to your guns and stay true to yourself in the face of adversity, and that is character. I applaud your ability to defend your religion. A true friend will love you for who you are, not for what you give up to be their friend.

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  44. Nat- I too was asked if I had horns (5th grade, Mrs. Romero in Las Vegas) I left school (without permission-got busted) walked home crying, and after that I decided that I would never let anyone make me feel bad or wrong for being LDS. I applaud you for your strength and for the fact that you and your darling blog can share a little of your faith to so many. I'm not the greatest of writers (read:no good at all) and I'd never reach as many in the blogosphere as you can-so I appreciate that you, in all of your writing glory, can do so in such a positive, sincere and hilarious way.

    p.s. read three cups of tea, you'll love this little book. It's about religion and education and tolerance and it's good stuff.

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  45. Hi Natalie! I just linked here from the conference website. I am going to be on that panel with you. I love what you just wrote - I am so with you. I am not a Mormon, but I don't think my faith and your faith are so different. It also pains me when I see people trashing the LDS faith. I'm glad you are speaking out, and maybe we can touch on the tolerance piece at CBC. :)

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  46. Wow, never heard the horn thing! I, too, found the comments hard to read...but, and I will say this until the end, it's not what you do or don't do in religion...it is what you aspire and stride to be. I am a convert to the LDS church and after researching doctrines of other faiths, not because I was searching but because I was interested, I fell in love with the message our doctrine upholds: Christ's. The apostle's, our church history, and our prophet are the most motivational and inspirational things I have ever come to know.

    A question: The other day my husband was asked about our "magic underwear". I have never looked at our garments as magic. To me, it is a physical reminder of the covenants we make in the temple. But I have heard this many many times over the last few weeks. What gives? Any other LDS'ers out there have comments on this?

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  47. Natalie,
    I started following your blog because my husband and I too are struggling to get pregnant. Most of my friends are either not married, or have gotten pregnant the first month of trying. Your journey is encouraging to me as I go through it too.

    I also LOVE love love your readings of the Old Testament. :)

    I am commenting on the post, not because I want to raise conflict, but because I also grew up in Twin Falls. However I was not raised (nor am I) LDS. As much as you felt outcast for being Mormon growing up, I felt as ostracized for not being so. It seemed to me that you couldn't be in the 'cool' crowd unless you were Mormon. (Perceptions are crazy, huh?)

    Second, just a thought about why some people make a distiction between Christian and Mormon. Many Christians believe faith in Christ is salvation and nothing can be done to add to that. The idea that there are different levels of Heaven based on one's life's works is just one example that seems to be an 'add on' to Christ.

    While I don't know what comments you refer to at the beginning of your post, I do NOT agree with or condone any cruel, hateful, or cutting words and I am so sorry for any that were hurled at you. I hope you take my comments here simply as an explanation made to cultivate more understanding on both sides.

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  48. natalie, thanks so much for your post. i have had a lot of those same thoughts and it was nice to hear it from somebody else and not feel like i'm a bad person. i don't know you super well, having grown up with Amanda, but i somehow stumbled on your blog and have loved getting to know you through it. there are a lot of blogs out there, and yours is one of few that manage to be enjoyable and uplifting at the same time. not to mention well-written. bravo.

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  49. I saw the comments as well. I feel very deeply for the hurt it caused CJane. No one should be made to feel ashamed of their beliefs. I love your blog and I have found that I follow several Mormon bloggers, all of whom I adore! Perhaps these negative people need to read a few verses and rethink their thoughts...they can start with my newest favorite Psalm 19:14, and then hit up Luke 6:37.

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  50. Yay Nat! I'm a LDS convert and love the Gospel, the Church and being Mormon and most of all I love being a Christian. I also love that here in the South Island of New Zealand we have to make our own way because hardly anyone knows what Mormons are, its rocks. It's different in the North Island where there are heaps of Mormons, we have a totally of 80,000 in NZ including Inactives who all seem to be gang members so they just swapped their colours really and upped the violence quota. NZers know about Missionaries but other than that in this secular country thats about it. My uncle asks me if I'm still a Mormon everytime I see him like it hasn't stuck (it's been almost 15 years). My aunt asked my mum if I was gluten free because of the Word of Wisdom. I love my family, they totally don't get faith of any kind.

    This weekend I attended an National Interfaith Conference on behalf of the Church. My favourite speaker was an Iman from Sydney and one of the coolest things I learnt at the conference was that Mormons and Muslims really hit it off. I enjoyed being accepted for our "weird" beliefs and only got into a slightly fractious conversation with a minister but that was more because I think he has asbergers than anything else - I mean really! concepts of God, I wasn't being literal, I meant we needed to celebrate our common understanding of the virtues of God. I'm not bothered if people want to think of God as a disembodied voice, or nature, or a woman, or a trinity. Anyhoo girl, get in there and speak with love but most of all remember we are all children of our Heavenly Father even if we hate other people, dumb children but still loved children.

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  51. Oh my...I think I'm just adding to everyone else above when I say people can be rotten!! I converted to the LDS church when I was 21 (great age to convert, of course!), and the questions and criticism have never since stopped. It does get SO tiring. Your post, though, is so heartfelt and spot-on that I think I shall tell those haters to go read it, because you are more eloquent and respectful than I can ever be when people are being jerks!

    Thanks for being a beacon of light for the rest of us :)

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  52. Amen! I am LDS and I am a Christian and its sad to say that requires clarification. :) I grew up in a very lovely place with almost no one of the LDS faith. It was VERY VERY hard to be told by my friends, who were born-again Christians that I was going to Hell. HELL! And when I would declare that I, too, had been born again through Jesus, they would scoff, and say, "Fine, but you're a MORMON!" Ouch. It hurts to this day to think that their definition of "grace" did not include me. And I loved them, and knew that they weren't going to Hell. I know that Jesus is my Savior. And now, as an adult, I cling to that, and it gets me through. Even when people are poops.

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  53. Jennifer,

    About the "magic" garments.

    Since garments are a reminder of our temple covenants and will be a protection to us, some that are not LDS jokingly referred to them as "magic underwear."

    Clearly, we don't believe they're magic; invested with some sort of supernatural power. I think it's just a misunderstanding. Since we hold them to be sacred, and a reminder of promises, that others misconstrue that reverence for the belief that we consider them magic.

    Whenever I hear someone say "magic underwear" I both laugh and feel a little sad, because they don't understand how personal and meaningful religious symbolism can be to a believer.

    I would never call the Dome of the Rock "magic", or the Shroud of Turin "magic", or anything else sacred or special to another religious tradition. I think calling religious artifacts "magic" is disrespectful--unless you're a Wiccan and you BELIEVE in magic (that makes me wonder if Wiccans find it disrespectful when people jokingly refer to things as "magic" when they aren't. Anyone here Wiccan?)

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  54. AWESOME Nat, just AWESOME!!!
    Can i link to this post!
    You totally said exactly what i have always wanted to say, but never knew how to say!
    xox sam

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  55. "Evangelical, Baptist, Methodist, Mormon . . . Whatever! As long as we are not hurting others, we should be allowed to follow our conscience and worship our Savior as we feel is best, am I right?"

    I agree. Just saying.

    And I will sit (all nervous-like) with you on that panel and we'll be SPECTACULAR. ;)

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  56. Ahhh, yes. High school. I remember David Zahorcak and Andrew Wicker following me down the hall, chanting "Kill for God...kill for God." Not sure what that was all about. I also remember Ryan Mills, who is JEWISH, sitting in my math class loudly suggesting that the world should hold another Holocaust and burn all the Mormons. They did it again in Mr. Murray's class when I stopped by to have him sign something, and when I went out into the hall, Mr. Murray turned around and said in the quietest, most angry voice, "What did you say?" The entire class went silent as the grave. He stood there looking livid and said, "What did those girls ever do to you? I don't EVER want to hear that in my class again."

    I stood out in the hall and cried--Mr. Murray didn't know I heard him, but I was so grateful he'd stood up for me. He, Mr. Patterson, Sra. Bailey, and Sr. Greene were the only teachers I had who would defend their LDS students. Sadly, Mr. Egan was one of the WORST at making fun of me, especially after he found out I'd converted to the church from Catholicism. He's Catholic.

    P.S. Have you ever found it absolutely AMAZING that so many nonmembers would rather plunk down money for all sorts of anti-Mormon literature than read a free copy of the Book of Mormon and then pray about it? Simplest thing in the world, really, yet so, so hard for so many to do. My dad won't even touch the Book of Mormon, but he sure loves looking up Bruce R. McConkie quotes and using them against me. Such fun.

    P.P.S. Now I want to know which friend said that to you in HS. SO MANY of those Rolling Hills Christian kids loved telling me I was holding a one-way ticket to Hell. Yet they never showed any love or compassion or goodwill toward me, as the Savior did to so many who were found "unworthy" by their more "righteous" Jewish neighbors. Funny, huh. It's all right there in the Bible! I guess they missed that part.

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  57. Natalie - I'm not even sure how I found your blog but I'm glad I did. Fabulous post. There are few things more disheartening and vexing than when individuals attack something you hold so dear and personal. Good for you for tackling such a situation with class, finesse, and a tinge of humor. Glad to see you are (clearly) doing very well.
    - Katie (Feuz) Nielsen

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  58. Natalie, I recently found your blog through the CBC website, as I am also speaking.

    I wrote a post for my own blog, that I recently republished on Mormon Mommy Blogs, about Mormon stereotypes. I have a decent readership, with a lot of nonmembers, and I remember feeling such trepidation when I hit that Post button. I am a humor writer and don't really post about my religious beliefs because I hold them so dear to my heart and don't want them to be attacked in my personal space.

    I also don't feel like I have to always bear my testimony on my blog in order to be a good Mormon or representative of the church. I've received numerous emails from people who say they know I'm Mormon and they love that I live my faith but don't shove it down their throats. That's all I can really do.

    But I was so pleasantly surprised. Not ONE single negative comment on my own blog, or MMB. The feedback was positive. And I mentioned the horn myth. Many Mormons were surprised, as they hadn't heard that one, but it's out there. I really like my Shrek ears instead. :)

    Hope to talk to you a bit at the CBC!

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  59. I can relate in so many ways. Ha, a similar church was around in my high school, screening showings of that anti-Mormon movie (forget what it's called now) - I had to defend my religion so many times. Frankly, I was not strong enough to do that in high school. It hurts.

    Thank you for this well-written post.

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  60. You wrote this perfectly.

    I left for a few years too because everything got to me for awhile. All my close friends leaving, having to switch jobs and classes in schools bc of being bullied bc of my religion.

    Boy am I glad I came back. It still hurts but I feel a lot stronger now.

    I love this post.

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  61. Awesome post. Really. Totally awesome.

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  62. God wouldn't want you to feel embarrassed of your faith in Him, so you're doing right by talking so openly and heartedly. As one of my favorite prayer cards reads, "Lord, help me to remember that nothing is going to happen to me today that You and I together can't handle."

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  63. I was rather isolated from religious hatred in Canada. It just didn't happen much, if at all, in any of the places I lived. My friends came from many different religious backgrounds, and I found them to be firm, faithful, good, loving people who were doing everything they could to live good lives. We had interesting conversations. It may be that I was clueless to what was being said when I wasn't around, but I don't think so.

    Then I moved down to the states and went to the Hill Cumorah Pageant one summer.

    Oh. My. Word. Maybe others were prepared for it, but the crowds of anti Mormons at the site caught me completely off guard. The vitriol shouted through megaphones bouncing off the hillsides. The vile abuse hurled at mothers and young children (including myself and my daughter) all in the name of those professing to be Christian was appalling. And what they were spouting was so ugly and ridiculously untrue. The police were maintaining a tight presence to keep these folks from going onto private property and disrupting the event. There were bomb threats. The hate was almost palpable. Walking through the parking lot, I wondered how the pageant would play out.

    But you know, as soon as we were out of the parking lot they didn't exist. You couldn't hear them. The pageant was beautiful. The Spirit was there. All anyone had to do was try to hear and listen and they couldn't help but feel the peace that comes from the goodness and truthfullness of God. Evil? When it was about the Savior's love? About how believing in Him and living as he taught brings joy? You didn't have to be Mormon to feel that.

    It makes me feel sick to think about that walk to and from the pageant through the parking ara. The experience had a profound impact on me, and as I've dealt with hatred towards my faith at other times since moving here, the contrast between the hate and meanness of those who wish to tear us down versus the Gospel that I love, the lives that we are taught to lead, the example of the Savior that we try to follow, and the love and charity that we try to spread impresses upon me again and again that the place to be is right here, as a Mormon, believing as I believe and living as Christlike a life as I can. In a way, it grounds me more in my faith.

    And besides, what do they expect to gain? Yeah, like I'm going to listen to this abuse about something that I hold dear to my heart, and say to myself, "Yup. I'm gonna leave the place where I feel peace and joy and join up with you hate-spewing megaphone-toting dudes."

    Honestly. It's such a waste of good, clean, air.

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  64. Just realized my comment was all "me,me,me." I have to say that your post was brave and great. It put things perfectly. My husband and I had a long conversation about it last night, when I shared it with him. I wish I could hear your speech. You will be brilliant.

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  65. I loved this post, Natalie. I grew up in a little Mormon-Utopia, full to brim of Mormons. I was ALWAYS in the majority until I went to Alaska the summer between getting my BS and starting graduate school; I worked in Denali AK that summer amongst a plethora of seasonal workers who were predominantly NOT Mormon, and who also had opinions about "my beliefs." Honestly, most of them didn't care one way or the other, but some of them weren't exactly nice. And it seemed as if a few of the guys thought it'd be awesome to get me and my 2 other Mormon friends to party it up; get us drinking and turn us into whores and whatnot. -Not that those idiots had a chance. But that experience made me really grateful for my faith, and it made me grateful to the Mormons who grew up with that kind of vulgarity all the time. Kudos to you, Natalie!

    Anyway...I've never really "given up" on my faith, because I recognized early on in my life the strength it offers. (Prolly helps that I didn't grow up being teased for my beliefs.) But I've still struggled. I'm sad to say that ever since July, life has kinda kicked me around a bit (A LOT), and there have been moments of weakness, where I've wanted to just give up. (Not necessarily my religion, but, like, life; just pack up and move across the globe to some exciting land where my troubles couldn't find me.) But somewhere in the middle of Aug 2009, I stopped to think. The previous week, I went to sacrament meeting and then skipped out on the rest of church because I didn't want to feel the Spirit. I was in a bad place, and I wasn't ready to feel God's love. When I thought about it, it didn't make sense; why would I want to try to push Heavenly Father out of my life when I KNOW that He is in the details, and that He only has my best interest in mind? So I resolved to do my best; to make myself be more social in the YSA crowd, to take the Sacrament in the right frame of mind, to make an effort to attend the Temple as frequently as possible.

    Life has continued to kick me around, and it honestly feels unfair at times. But I know that things would sure feel a whole lot worse without that extra help.

    Anyway, sorry for this long, long, long comment. I just really appreciate your post, and I'm so glad you write what you do. Can't wait to hear how your conference talk goes, girl!

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  66. I know exactly how you feel, but from the opposite perspective. Growing up in Mormon Utah and not being Mormon was really, really tough sometimes. I also lost lots of friends, had very limited dating options, and I was even hit on the face and called mean names in Junior High... for having Bible verses taped up in my locker and not verses from the BoM. Unfortunately it happens a lot on both ends. But it's funny how great things can still come from it, like a stronger faith. I know what it is now to really be in love with Jesus, and I'm not ashamed of it. I've chosen to take up my cross and live out my faith until I get to be with my beautiful Savior forever. <3

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  67. IDK, I guess I'm one of those protestant Christians who thinks that Mormons are somewhat misled in some of their beliefs. However, not to the point where I go around telling my Mormon friends (one of whom I've known for years and years and love dearly) that they're not going to heaven, cause honestly, who am I to say that??? So I really loved this blog post....not really sure why, I just did :)

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  68. i tried to be dedicated and read all the comments. i got to #41 and gave up. here's what's on my mind.

    i am WAY BIG TIME out of the loop on most of this stuff. call me crazy and uneducated and self-centered and unworldly/uncultured if you will but here's the scoop: i don't watch television. i barely listen to the radio (and when i do it's to listen to this nonsensical show in the mornings on my way to work so i can just relax and find my giggly spot before walking into a rigid, less-than-fun workplace). and i don't read the paper. or any news websites. i just don't.

    most of what i need to hear i hear through other people and investigate myself. or i hear it on that goofy, nonsensical morning show.

    soooo... i don't know what's up with the mormons and prop 8. or rather, what's supposedly up with "the mormons" and prop 8.

    i'm sure it's something like catholic priests and little boys. (PLEASE NOTE: joke.) or rather, it's something like "catholic priests and little boys". because that was a load of crap too.

    yeah it happened. crap happens. some people who claim a religion don't live by it. some of them don't believe it. some of them should never have been given the privileges they were given. but such is the case in every environment, religious or not.

    i digress.

    this may or may not be anything true. but it's the way i see it...

    i can't claim to be mormon. or to know much about mormonism. i used to read a blog called mormon2catholic and that's about as much insider info as ever i got which seems to be the best way to learn.

    my best friend in high school dated a couple mormon boys. they were cute.

    again, i digress.

    i was raised in the catholic church and unfortunately had many similar experiences to yours. i never got asked if i had horns (weird. what?) or anything like that but there were often times when i would hear of what other religions thought of ours.

    i guess i was pretty sheltered. i went to a private catholic school - though not all of my classmates were catholic - until my freshman year of high school when i transferred to a public school. it was then that i started to get a real taste of other religions... but nothing negative. i learned a lot about some of the protestant faiths my first year and a whole lot about judaism during the next three.

    there was a certain group of people i had to be around sometimes that would say things in front of me just to watch me squirm. or to make me mad. or make me sad. and it was cruel. it really, really was. i didn't talk much about my faith directly with those people after a while as i knew it would do little to promote my ideals. instead i listened when i could and tried to point out errors without coming off as a snotty know-it-all. (people who know me know that was probably the biggest challenge EVER.) i should also note that these people were of one particular faith.

    i feel a tangent coming on...

    suffice it to say that i too was teased and asked ridiculous questions. i was laughed at and told i was going to hell. i was told i believed in things i didn't. and when i would deny such things, they'd say "yeah OKAY" in that special voice and roll their eyes and be all-around punks, ya know?

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  69. (continued from above because apparently my comment should have been an email...)


    it's rough, yo, and i'm proud of you for hanging on. i didn't hang on so much. and not because i was tired, though i think that wore me down to my lowest lows. i stopped hanging on because i didn't feel like i needed to protect the faith anymore. for so long i felt like it was my duty to stand up and say I AM CATHOLIC. HEAR ME ROAR. and like be all error-correcting and stuff.

    and don't hear this as me saying you're wrong for being all I AM MORMON. HEAR ME ROAR. because i think its awesome and incredible and perfect. really.

    but for me, i couldn't do it for long. because there were things with which i wasn't sure i agreed. and people i didn't like. and customs i couldn't follow - though that was more my problem with the people than the customs.

    and i guess it's always come down to that for me. if it were just the spirituality of the catholic church i was claiming, i never would have stepped away. there was a teaching here and there i couldn't reconcile. and it kept me from knowing my creator and forming an intimate and unending connection. so i took a step back. and i started talking to god. and connecting with that spirit of the universe that loves me so very much. and i feel much more whole now.

    and you know what? i'm still all BACK UP YO when i hear someone dogging the RCC. because you know what? there's a lot of misunderstandings. and a lot of churches teaching their people a lot of crazy stuff. and it's sad. and even though i do not claim to be RCC because i CANNOT claim to be RCC (because i do not believe and accept every single tenet of faith required to do that), i love that church like i love my liver and will explain it as best i can to those who seek truth about what She teaches.

    someone said once a certain something that has stayed with me to this day. "never attack, never defend. always clarify."

    because you know what, nat? people got some stuff all kinds of twisted in their heads about your religion and mine. they decide they know. and then they bash. and they preach. and they attack. and i don't have to defend. i have only to clarify. or not respond.

    and dude i have no idea where this went or how messed up it will sound when i hit Post Comment or what. but i just wanted to say that while it might not be the same, i feel ya. we all get it, i think. and i'm glad you've found something that works for you. and when i say that i don't mean in that cop-out, complacent, i don't have a real truth that i'll stand in kind of way. i mean in that, i'm glad your soul is happy and your heart is full and you are right with god kind of way. because that's the goal. that IS the goal.

    p.s. did you ever hear sermons or homilies or lessons or whatever they're called in the mormon church about other religions growing up? do you now? i have never ever ever in my life heard a homily about another religion. nor did i learn any crazy things like MORMONS HAVE HORNS while growing up in Catholic school. and i KNOW we learned about other religions. and cultures. (JAPANESE INTERN. third grade. Kimi. LOVE THAT WOMAN.) just wonderin.

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  70. This is the first time that I have ever been to your blog, and I'm glad that I'm here. This post is beautiful and I admire your strength. I read through the comments as well... and I'm amazed. I love finding good, kind, happy faithful people... whatever faith they may be. It makes the world spin smoother and the sun shine brighter. Thank you for that! :D

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  71. Dear Nat.
    My upbringing was similar to yours. I was out to prove that mormons were normal, and should not be looked upon negatively. That was my LIFE! I felt more in common with non-mormons than I did with fellow mormons. So I hung out with people of other faiths ALWAYS. BUT then... when I became a teen a lot of my friend started going to the giant church in my town, there they taught about why mormons were bad, even handed out pamphlets to my friends. That hurt my feelings. Something I loved was being campained against in a very hateful way. I loved my friends who were jewish, catholic, prodistant, atheist, muslim. I loved learning about their culture/life/ways/beliefs. It was interesting to me. And I couldn't understand how my own culture/life/ways/beliefs could be seen as evil, when they only uplifed me. And so that is when I decided I would never judge another because of their religion. It's all in God's hands. Not mine. I am not here to judge, or preach. Just love the Lord, and my creator Heavenly Father. I am a Mormon. I love the Gospel of Jesus Chirst. He taught me to love everyone, and not judge them, so I don't. the end.

    P.S. thank you for this post Natalie

    Kjrsten
    Haveacuteday.blogspot.com

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  72. Hey Nat, been reading you for awhile and though all your posts are well, AMAZING...this one hit me hard.

    I was raised Catholic on one side and Lutheran on the other. I decided as a young adult to become neither of those religions and have simply been "christian" since then.

    I fell away for many years and since have become a born again christian. All my friends see me a a raging sinner (insert eye roll) but truthfully I was and well as we all know will always be. But, I try hard to be what I know I can be and am called to be by Jesus. I have a blog I have neglected because I know I will lose readers when I go back and say OH YEAH btw, I've been gone because I became a new believer even though you know me as pretty much a hethen. Sigh.....I have been struggling on how to approach the subject....

    However, this post has inspired me. Though my "religion" does not get hateful rumors etc...the mere fact that I am a christian will be ridiculed, mocked, and poked fun at. It takes a strong willed special person to stand up and confess their faith to the world...especially the "net" world which we all know can be so cruel as they hide behind thier monitors....

    I think you are special and I think you are strong. I almost married a mormon boy years ago but knew I would never convert and I wasn't allowed in the temple though maybe with some compassion for me and my "issues" with the mormon religion, I could have converted...this being the very temple you speak of in Oregon. I may disagree with some of your beliefs for the very reason another reader wrote of above but I would never condemn you or anyone for being a faithful Christian. My very best friend is a Jehovahs Witness and we have a mutual respect for eachother. I respect anyone who seeks the Lord with all their hearts.

    Keep on keeping on....you are beautiful on the inside and out...and it shows :)

    PS) sorry about my rambling LOL and also whats up with measure 8? I must be living under a rock ;)

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  73. Wow. I had no idea all this went on last year. Thanks for linking back in your BlogHer piece today. After all the comments, I have little to add. Just glad you're out there roaring. :)

    (Dang, I didn't realize you were at CBC. I spoke too. Could have met. Oh, well.)

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  74. Can I just say, GOOD FOR YOU! Gosh, as Christians we forget WAY too often that the numero uno, most super-duper important rule is LOVE. love, love, love people! It's hard- but it is so important- the foundation of our FAITH! ahh.. don't ever let anyone make you feel bad about what you believe. You follow God, Jesus & the Holy Spirit to the best of your abilities and if people are splitting hairs over doctrine, well that's their problem. No one has all the answers, no one knows it all, and no church is 100% perfect. Anyway, keep the faith and keep up with your blogging. You're just fabulous! :)

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  75. Hi Natalie, I'm new to your blog so I'm catching up on some older posts, and I adore this with my whole soul! I'm at BYU right now (for just a teensy bit longer) and have to say I really relate to this. My cousin is Bishop Clay Sannar (the bishop who was shot and killed in his Bishop's office on a Sunday in August), and have heard some of the most hateful things I have ever heard in my life in the comments on those stories. Where's the love, the humanity for a hurting family? I admire you for standing up so beautifully for others to see and understand tolerance. Good for you.
    P.S. - I'm friends with Jared Crandall and he says you are just as lovely in "real life" as in the blogosphere, and that just made me oh so glad :)

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  76. Hi Natalie,

    I've been reading your blog for over a month now, and I find the posts about your faith to be interesting and educational. You make me feel even more excited to be a mother!

    Also, I'm a passionate atheist. I've wrestled with my "faith" for years, and finally decided two years ago that I actually don't have a faith. It can be extremely difficult to answer people's questions pertaining to religion when they not only have an "acceptable" answer in mind, but when they also judge your morals, beliefs, and overall personhood based solely on whether or not your response is pleasing to them. People tend to lose their humanity and become like dogs towards people whose beliefs they do not understand.

    But we can keep the dogs at bay! It is only by being positive representatives of our beliefs that we can change people's perceptions of us—and you're certainly doing a marvelous job of that! :)

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  77. I was baptized Mormon and took it very seriously at the time, but as I got older I realized that a lot of the beliefs of the church didn't line up with my own, and the Mormon-bashing didn't exactly help. I walked away and haven't considered going back since. My family weren't serious churchgoers ever, so my younger sister more or less grew up without religion and recently rediscovered the church on her own and was baptized as an adult. But even when I had kind of lost my faith in the church, I was still sensitive to the misguided insults about Mormons. They have always bothered me, no matter what my personal beliefs. My beloved great-grandparents were still actively involved in the church and the Family History Center. Recently, between my sister, reading your words, and general dissatisfaction about myself and my life have made me seriously consider going back. Even if we don't see eye to eye on everything, so what? It's a great church with a great emphasis on family and love for one another. I feel like it could only help me right now. So thank you for being so wonderfully open and encouraging about your faith.

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  78. I stumbled upon this post today and it's such a great read. Calgary has a separate school board and a public school board. The separate board is Catholic. It has never made sense to me how this could be part of the public system, but I digress. Growing up, I had a lot of friends who went to Catholic School so they all had religion class where they learned about other religions. I never attended these classes so I don't know if this is true or if it is just an ongoing joke for them, but they always talked about covering cults and how one of those is Mormonism.

    I dated a guy who's family was Mormon in High School so that joke has always bothered me. There are many things the Catholic Church does that I don't agree with, but I don't go around joking about how it's a cult. (I've thought about it when I'm feeling childish.)

    Personally, I'm agnostic, but my fiance is Catholic. This year I went to Christmas Mass with his family. It meant a lot to them to have me go and I think that's important. One of the biggest reasons I am agnostic, however, is because of this other religion-bashing. The points you make are great and I respect you for how you deal with all of this. You are the cool Mormon in my books.

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