So most of you probably know that I am a question asker. I don't like to hear "I don't know, we'll all know one day." I hate that. So much. And recently, I have had more and more things come up pertaining to the church that have bothered me. I've asked and I've been getting that same answer. Over. and over. You can imagine how frustrating this may be for me.
So I searched for answers myself. I read blogs of people who feel the same as me. Listened to speeches that address how I feel. But I never once prayed for comfort or for the answer (I still haven't). I never looked up what the General Authorities say on each topic. I have never asked a bishop. I just looked for things I wanted to hear. Things that would make me feel like I'm not alone. But I learned a valuable lesson last night. I couldn't sleep. I even tickled Nate's back to try to get me to sleep. And I NEVER. ever. do that.
Yesterday evening, I was reading one of the blogs I often read (the blogs mentioned above) and the author addressed the whole blacks not being able to have the priesthood thing. I thought, wow, this could not have come at a more perfect time for me. This is the question that's most recently been on my mind. I was empowered and thought I found the answer and found that there are people just like me and it's okay to be mad about this! And I still think that it is okay to be upset about this subject among others.
Later that night, in bed, I read a debate on why the church has done/does certain things. My sister was involved in the debate as were a few of my good friends. (The issue was not about blacks not being able to have the priesthood, and I will not go into what this issue was, but just know it was a big enough "issue" to start a debate between a non-member and members.)
I did not find any answers to my questions of the church (specifically blacks and the priesthood), but I did read some awesome testimonies and facts. Reading these made me feel the spirit. Even though it was a debate and seemed maybe a BIT contentious, I felt the Spirit so strongly reading those comments that I almost cried. And that, also NEVER happens. ever. It may sound weird, but right then and there I realized that it is okay NOT to know the answer to things but it is also okay to ask questions, as long as you go to appropriate sources for the answers. It is also okay to hear "We aren't supposed to know the answer to that in this lifetime." That does not mean I am following the church blindly, it just means that I have enough faith to understand that eventually my questions will be answered. It means that I have a few things that I KNOW to be true and those things outweigh all of my questions by a long shot.
Honestly, last night was an experience I have been waiting for for awhile now. I knew how my sister and these people felt about the church, but I had never seen any of them stand up for it like they did. (Okay, maybe I did a few times, but I never took note of it.) In fact, I don't think that I've ever PERSONALLY seen anyone stand up for something like that. It just made me realize that if there were 5+ people standing up for something and backing each other up (even if they didn't know each other that well) that this is the real freaking deal.
I'm tired of trying to find things wrong with the church. I'm tired of trying to push myself away from the truth for fear of being vulnerable. I'm tired of trying to be different and trying to ALWAYS play Devil's advocate. I'm tired of trying to NOT be the typical Mormon. I like typical. It makes me feel content and good.
I learned in 24 hours (yes, I know, that's a short amount of time to learn so much) there are things I will never understand. And that's okay. And sometimes bad things happen. Even in our church. But the point is is that things can be forgiven through the Atonement. While that may not be a good enough answer to some people, it is good enough for me.
The church may not be right for everyone. And that's fine. All I know is that it makes me feel good. And it has always felt... right. Comfortable. Good. If in the end, another religion was the "right one," then at least I'll know that in living the commandments of my church, I lived the best life I felt I could. And that's what's important. Just like in any other religion, they all (basically) teach things that will better the community as a whole. And in the end, I think, that is what is most important about ANY church.
While I am still a bit confused and still have many questions, there are some things I do know.
I do know that Christ died for ALL of us. Every. single. one of us. Even the worst of the worst, he died for their sins, too. I also know that because of Christ's sacrifice, that we may be forgiven of our sins. I can testify of these things personally. I know that MOST of the members of the church are good people. I know that most of the people in the world are good people. Just because we are Mormon, it does not mean that we are the only good people in the world. If anything, our church is just a foundation for us to strive to be better people. I know that none of my church's commandments are there to intentionally hurt anyone. Christ would not do that. And our whole gospel is centered around being Christ-like.
I know that there will always be people who try to find bad in everything the church does. And I know that now, I must stand up for the church to those people.. even if they never understand what I'm saying... at least I tried. And even though there are people like that out there, not everyone is bad. I firmly believe that most people are good.
I know that reading blogs of others who feel as I do may make me feel better, but in the end, will not give me any answers. It is nice to know that I am not alone and never will be, but it is nicer to know that I can find the answers I'm looking for if I just let go of my pride and get on my knees and ASK.
Are there certain things I am not okay with and probably never will be? Yes. But there is SO much more good in the church than the things I'm not okay with. There are so many things that I am okay with and that make me feel so good about life. And those things are what keep me going.