Sunday, August 8, 2010

Perfection and Secrecy

I became good at keeping one secret. For the 20 years that I was married I kept it a secret that the marriage was unhappy and miserable. We went through at least 6 separations without even our children knowing about all but the last 2 of them. It wasn't until the last separation and the divorce was imminent that my extended family found out.

It was a huge surprise and shock to them because they didn't even know there were problems, let alone years of problems.  When friends found out I was divorced they were shocked as well since they were my neighbors and friends for years and I hadn't even given hints that something was off.

Why is it this way? Because the Mormon church has a belief system that we are to put on a persona of perfection. Nobody is perfect, but we better look perfect. Have you ever visited a Mormon church service? It looks very different than other Christian church services. Everyone is dressed to the 'T'. The girls and women are in dresses and have their hair done like they are going to high tea with the queen of England. the boys wear white shirts and suits. No pants for the girls and certainly no jeans or casual shirts for the boys and no evil flip flops.

 The Mormon's compete with other Mormon's with how their yards look, how their homes look, with how good their kids are.  If something bad happens, they are told it is because they did something bad to deserve it; if something good happens, they are told they did something good to deserve it (on fast Sundays during fast and testimony meeting, its interesting to listen to the wealthy people talk about how they are rich because they are righteous). They are always told they brought it on themselves. It is too much, too hard, too everything to try and be perfect. In Christian churches you are saved by Christ's love and sacrifice.  In the Mormon church, you are saved by all that you do: attending church (in the right attire), making bread, doing your church calling, paying tithing, attending the temple, being a good parent and having a good marriage. If you are failing at any one of these things, then at least look like you are being successful by keeping the truth a secret.

I have accepted that I am not perfect and never will be. Life just happens. I do not bring all bad things on myself by what I do and I do not bring all good things on myself by what I do-this is just life. Living an authentic life is a peaceful life.

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