Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"There Are NO Victims. Just Volunteers."

My cousin Ferron and I are blessed to have a Bishop that understands and fully supports our need to serve LDS missions. He has assigned us the perfect counselor and mentor to prep us with lessons and every aspect of acquiring all the necessary steps before actually leaving, our former Bishop Lee Burdge. As far as church goes, Bishop Burdge has been the biggest influence I had as a teenager in actually helping me along those years to make a commitment to serve a mission. It seems very fitting that I started my journey in Minnesota with Bishop Burdge and it would be the right thing for him to complete this part of my journey with me.

I was browsing the web looking for random missionary and Mormon stuff and came across some very disturbing sites from ex-members and a whole bunch of angry people who really have a deep hatred for the church and anything LDS affiliated. Crazy hatred for anything of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They used everything from our church's doctrine to cast a bad light on our Prophets to showing garments, temple clothing and temple ceremonies. These sites attacked the law of tithing (which coincidentally we didn't come up with) and said our church is out to make a profit by exploiting the members to give money constantly and some sites insinuated that our need for female members are to keep them pregnant and brainwashed for domestic slaves. The writers of that site has obviously not met my mother or many of the "strong" LDS sisters in the church or they would know that is NOT the case.

Some sites told stories of getting our missionaries to serve young because they could be easily brainwashed and had the stamina and physically were prepared to give the "sales pitch" at any time and were too stupid to care if they were rejected by anyone. I have my own personal theories on why I know in my heart serving an LDS mission is what I choose to do and although some might find it debatable, I do NOT think I have this desire because I'm " too stupid." I know I will get doors slammed on me, people who will completely ignore me and if I baptize anyone, even more reason to believe in faith and small miracles. Rejection hurts me every time but it's a part of life, so I highly doubt being young will make it any less real for me when it happens. Isn't that something you deal with your entire lifetime? These sites and the things I browsed through were disturbing for me to say the least. I am not deterred from what will happen and luckily for me, I don't walk around in JUST underwear in public, so when I do join the "magic underwear" club, no one but my wife will be privileged enough see me wearing them.

During the summer, my parents asked me to explain the "Hie to Kolob" thing. My father didn't know anything about Kolob much less trying to "Hie" to it when he was baptized. My mom is a life time member of the church and didn't know much about this. It wasn't until a "less active" member compared the Mormons to Scientology that my parents asked me, of all people to explain this concept to them. I did and then I asked my mom, why she would raise our family in a church where she found some of the teachings 'sketchy'?

My mom came up with a few interesting answers and she explained:
"In life we have choices. In our choices, there are NO victims. Just volunteers. Because I find some of the things in church sketchy, does not mean I am right or I know everything. Because someone says we believe in crazy concepts like Kolob, it does not mean they are right or know any better." She proceeded to explain to our whole family that the story behind God creating a world in 6 days sounds crazy. She also said the whole story of Jesus and the Atonement sounds crazy IF you choose it to be. My mom told us if she had the choice, she would choose to be Catholic like my grandfather's family because it's easier and the guilt process in repentance is so much more convenient, but once you KNOW the truth, that "choice" was not an option anymore.

There is love, respect and tolerance among the LDS Presidency and members for those who have left us and even those who bitterly campaign against us. Those who show our temple garments and "magic underwear" publicly, those who find humor in stereotyping who the Mormons are, I say there is love for you still in the church. Personally, I don't want to be quick to judgment with those that have a bitter hate for the church and it's members. If I am foolish for choosing this religion, it's my choice. If our gospel principles and policies upset you enough to write such hateful things against the church, only the weak will be swayed.

Logically there are many more reasons to leave the church than stay a member. This is a very hard religion. This is a hard commitment. There is much WORK and much faith you must have to be a member in good standing. The concepts of a living Prophet that talks to God seems crazy. In the Bible thousands of years ago, the concept of having a Prophet was just as crazy. Joseph Smith or the prophet I struggle to understand but admittedly have issues with, Brigham Young - are they men or prophets of God? or both? The church history and Polygamy is hard to take in. ALL doctrines and practices in the church can seem questionable and for someone who is NOT a member or a former member, all these things past or present can be rejected.

Here are more reasons for once active members to leave the church and give some people reason to write hateful things about the church:
The work involved - the time that is consumed home teaching or visiting teaching.
More than likely you will get the opportunity to serve in a position at your ward. Meetings, activities and assignments, oh my.
What about the high moral standards you are expected to follow?
Then there are those who left because they were snubbed, offended, had serious issues with "sustaining" certain members or became prey for gossip.
What about the principle of tithing while you are barely making ends meet in your homes?
What about not being an "elite" member, the temple recommend holder because you missed the mark slightly on the other stuff?
What about those who have never felt the need to be part of an organized religion or reject the belief of being in the one "true" church?

I won't even pretend to have logical or well thought out answers for all these questions and things that happen in church. Here is my reference to the naysayer and non-believer:

Matthew 7: 7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you

I am continuously learning and I see that faith is the main reason I choose this church and I acquire knowledge by constant study and prayer. I follow the gospel principles of my own choice because it would seem a bit asinine to show up to church every Sunday and NOT apply any good principles I am taught in my personal life. That would be comparable to going to school and NOT learning anything. If that were the case, I could stay home every Sunday, relax and catch a sports game and complain about how I'm too busy to go to be around those hypocrites at church.

What I am sure of is that Christ lives and that there is a science to life. Like science, there are rules that need to be applied to get the expected results. Like science, NOT everything is logical or has every questioned answered. Like science, if you don't study the material or get to know what living things are before you, even if they can not be seen with the human eye, it can still exist. It isn't any less real because you say it is.

My mom said something I thought lightheartedly summed up her will to make sure her kids and our future generations stay in the church, "It's our choice to be Mormon and if it is a crazy one, hang on for the ride cause were gonna' hie to Kolob." I think I'm going to volunteer myself to live by that motto.


sepa said...

what a completely different side of you. you were right when you said that i don't know you at all. i don't. however, i much prefer this sort of communication to the disrespectful, bitter rantings that i get personally. i'm glad others get to enjoy the softer side of you.

Karen said...

Marley you should really think about closing your blog to people who use it to attack YOU. You are THE MOST respectful person we know and if there was anything bitter ever uttered from you, you must have been really hurt. You are human. It's expected that you voice your thoughts. We love you and your wonderful family and hope you are not affected by a negative post by someone who clearly has NO IDEA who you are. Thanks for your service in our Primary too.

Utah Brad said...

as you know mars, we don't have a blog but we are loyal fans to yours. oh yeah, your mom's too. she's a hoot. i wasn't aware you associated with pompous characters. seems to me like someone needs a miss manners class on how not to use a mission prep blog to self promote. that person doesn't know you at all. so her sad little life is not enriched by your loving and genuine nature. i hope you stay humble and "choose" not to reply to that unhappy soul. satan has many ways to attack you. he sends them to attack you publicly on your blog that is meant to share your journey. it sucks but so does satan and his miserable followers. do not be discouraged. you have just encountered what kind of negative energy you will encounter daily while on your mission. we love you kiddo.

Robert said...

Sounds like someone is bitter but it surely isn't you Marley.
Thanks for always being a wonderful example of humility to everyone who is really blessed to know you personally. Don't you dare let anyone lead you to believe that you aren't a great person. In life son, you encounter ignorant people. Your job is to be the example you are by living the gospel. It's a choice to show restraint as well.

jill said...

oh my word! i have heard countless stories from many in the polynesian community how arrogant this person is. i see first hand, they were not joking. she is so arrogant that she tried to check congressman eni. epic fail. opps, i hope you knew that story before i let that slip. keep in mind, just because you think you are educated, it doesn't mean you were blessed with wisdom or common sense. keep sharing your journey with us. pray for those who are obviously self centered. clearly she doesn't know the first thing about you. i love you and i hope your journey continues to help you purge all the negative energy that tries to linger in your life.

Ammon said...

I can't believe how narcissistic some people can be especially when they admit to not knowing who you are and on a missionary blog even. So uncalled for. Great article by the way. Volunteer to CTR.

island block teine said...

so classy that sepa should use your blog to once again show how the whole world revolves around her. i guess your blog should have been an ode to her and she would feel better about what you write. anyways, let me stop.
i am soooo very happy that your family has made the choice to get rid of all that drama. you have family and friends that love and support you. i will keep my bad thoughts about sepa to myself and repent for them later. love from your aiga in carson.

nephi said...

You are going to make a wonderful missionary. More importantly you are a good person and have been a huge influence on many lives so far. I'm excited for all the people who will get to know you and love you for who you really are. It's disturbing that someone hateful would try to come on your blog and try to make you feel bad. That is the adversary you will need to fight against daily. Keep calm and keep moving bro!

Anonymous said...

I will pass on some wise advice your mother gave me about dumb people who I had to kick to the curb. They were of no use to me after years of being a nuisance and I kept being nice to them anyways. Even Jesus couldn't save everyone. He could only teach the willing. Why Sepa came on your blog to attack you is really pathetic! I am NOT shocked though. She's always been all about her. I will hold the rest of my comments to myself but I will give your mother a call now because Sepa will impose her stupidity everywhere and at any given time. On a missionary blog? Come on now. NO CLASS! Fight the good fight Marley. We are so proud of you to leave on your mission.
Alofas from Nevada

Koleta said...

Marley my darling nephew that I am having such a wonderful time getting to know. I pray that all you do be a blessing to others and upon you as well. I'm enjoying your blog and learning more about you.

And something for you this morning: Whenever life seems extra difficult, whenever it seems like the intensity has been turned up, that's a sure sign that you are close to your victory. Whenever negative thoughts are bombarding your mind, or you're tempted to get discouraged, that's not the time to give up nor is it time to back down! That's the time to press on with a new attitude because you are closer than you think to your victory!!


Siu said...

Marley we love reading your blog and only now feel compelled to comment. Sepa has really never played a big role in your life so don't trip. She is ridiculous. We always knew she hated your mom for no reason but to now start attacking you and so publicly - oh man it's not cool. You wrote about not being a victim, just a volunteer. Please volunteer to cut certain useless people out of your life. On second thought, if Sepa has gone this far to try and ruin what you share with us, she has already let you go. It will only sting for a little bit than you will remember you have purpose to your life. Catering to the needs of the selfish isn't one of those purposes. You must be doing things right if you have haters in your life.

YOUR fambam from Hawaii

Anonymous said...

I see your mom still has a sense of humor... hang on for the ride were gonna hie to kolob...too funny.

Dust your enemies off boy. Not worth your time. CTR!

Laura Lynn said...

Very good post. Yes, there are a ton of negative things about the LDS on the internet. My question is why don't these people use their time and energy to do something great? I don't know - opposition in all things I guess. I'm with your mom - I've often said, If I'm wrong, well then ok - I've lived a good life anyway! That should get me brownie points!

P.S. Watch out for those crazy artists!!