Elbow: July 2008

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Email Exchange With Mom

My mom and I write through email about everyday or every other day depending on what's going on in our lives. We keep in good contact but we haven't been discussing what is just under the surface. I've really tried to be honest with her but there are times when she makes it difficult for me to say what I need to say. She's amazing, and she's also very stubborn...much like myself (the apple doesn't fall far from the tree). And at the same time she is also very much a practical and by the book kind of woman which for me is such the opposite of the way I live. I tend to be more creative and open minded. Most of the time when we are together we get along but there are times when we just don't click and don't understand each other. Anyway, here's the email she sent me and below it is my response:

I want to tell you how much I love you and how important you are to our family.
I also want to tell you how much I love the gospel and how lost I would be
without it in my life.

I know that our Heavenly Father lives and Jesus Christ is truly our loving Savior.
Knowing of his sacrifice as he died on the cross being pursecuted and yet was so
willing to ask our Heavenly Father to forgive them, what a great example.
His sacrifice made the atonement possible for all of us..

I know the gospel is true.
It gives me peace and a purpose in life.
I also believe that living the commandments is the only way to true happiness.
Although the outside world would like us to believe otherwise and has a very distorted views.
I know that the gospel binds us together as families.
My greatest joy in this life would be for our family to all be striving to keep the commandment
so we can be an eternal family.

Maybe today you might not feel you need the gospel,
but on the other hand it might be just what you need to give you the inspiration
as you are being faced with very difficult challenges in your life right now.

Please remember that there has never been a time on earth where there has been so much wickedness and so much confusion and we need to recognize that is exactly what Satan wants.
Right now is the time that Satan is working so hard to destroy families and the basic family unit which our Heavenly Father has given to us to help us stay close to him.

Please know that I love you (unconditionally) more than I can express in words or on paper.
Please take every opportunity to read the Book Of Mormon ,
especially your favorite missionary scripture printed on you plaque,
which is 2 Nephi 31: 20-21.

"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope and a love of God. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ and endure to the end, behold thus saith the Father, Ye shall have eternal life. And now behold, this is the way; and there is none other way, nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the Kingdom of God. This is the doctrine of Christ and the only true doctrine."

I truely believe that Joseph Smith was inspired to translate the gold plates to give us another book to go hand in hand with the Bible so we might have the guidance that we need in our lives today.

I Love You



I really appreciate your thoughts. It's probably the most you're ever written to me in an email.

The most important thing for me, truly, is love. It means so much to me to know that you love me unconditionally. I want desperately to be close to you and to dad and to know that you are proud of me and that you respect and understand my decisions. While that is not the easiest thing for you to do right now because of my choices I do want you to know that in return I offer you an abundant amount of compassion for what you are going through as parents. I'm so lucky to have you as my mother and while I don't easily understand you part of the time, and you of course don't understand some of my most recent choices I know that we can set that aside and focus on what is most important: unconditional love and trust for one another.

I want to tell you something that I haven't felt the need to communicate up until now. While in the past I have struggled to make the gospel work for myself and to find the alleged joy that comes along with it, I was living in a state of depression that made me both frustrated and anxious. The Church wasn't making me happy, mom. Even my last couple of years at BYU as I was living the gospel were treacherous and damaging to my soul. And while I am a naturally positive and happy person, I wanted desperately to feel something organically 'joyful' about the gospel.

Being married to Wife's Name was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It was both enriching and painful at the same time. I don't regret it all the time, but there are times that I wish she and I never had to go through that. Wife's Name and I both believed a lie in that we were told that we would be happy if we lived that gospel and in living the gospel our marriage became a dark place where neither of us were progressing the way that our souls naturally wanted to progress.

I'm not saying that the Church isn't true. I'm so happy that you have found joy in the gospel and in your testimony of temples and of Jesus Christ. I too feel that my life has been blessed from the beautiful teachings of the Savior and what he taught but at the same time, mom, Jesus is separate from the Church. Living in a Church that tells people who they can and can't marry, isn't a Church that I want to belong to. And now at a time in my life where I've lost essentially everything, I've found more than I've ever wanted. I feel happier than I ever have. I feel more free, more blessed and more compassion in everything I do. And I know that it comes from being honest and from choosing to stand up for what I believe.

I don't know if the Church is true, I don't know if it is false, all I know is is that it doesn't matter. If living the teachings of the Church is suppose to make you happy then there's an inherent flaw within that paradigm. Therefore I've chosen to use my Heavenly Father and my personal relationship with Him apart from the Church as a way to seek out the best way for me to be whole and blissful.

Thank you for reminding me of my favorite missionary scripture. I remember when I picked that scripture it was one of the moments when I actually felt something from the Book of Mormon. I've always felt that there was so much war, so much focusing on death and destruction and genocide that the Book of Mormon lacked the ability to make me feel inspired to be at one with God, but remembering what 2 Nephi 31: 20-21 says, I feel at peace knowing that I still do continue to live the principles that Christ taught, "having a perfect brightness of hope and a love of God." And yet I've learned something new as well, that while the essence of Christ and what He taught is the only way that a man can reach 'salvation,' I believe that the Mormon Church is that path for some people and for others it is Buddhism, and others it is Taoism or some other form of spirituality.

I of course don't have all the answers for myself but sometimes lately I've felt blessed and so grateful for what I have and for how I am currently living my life. I no longer feel depressed, I no longer feel weighed down or lost. I am at peace and I am experiencing so much abundance from God. Basically I love my life and I want you to know that.

Maybe I've said too much, but I want to be honest with you about where I am at. I love you dearly, mom. You mean the world to me. I'd do anything for you and I'm so grateful for you in my life.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Ever After Happily