Monday, September 08, 2008

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end ...

The woman who introduced my family to the Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) is dying.

She invited my mom (and, therefore, our family) to an open house. I must have been about three ... they way that I work out my age is that I remember going to the Methodist church in my hometown (my mom's family was Methodist. When she started dating my dad, his family joined, too) ... and that when we joined the church, I was in Sunbeams (the name of the class for the three-year-olds.)

(Another note: I am OLD. Primary, the LDS children's (ages 18 months- 12 years) organization has been reorganized since I was in Primary. They no longer refer to classes with the same names. When I was little it was Sunbeams (3), Stars A and B (for the four- and five-year-olds, respectively), CTR A and B (six- and seven-year-olds), Valiants A and B (the eight- and nine-year-olds), then the boys and girls would split up for Blazers A and B (for the 10- and 11-year-old boys) and Merrie Miss A and B (for the girls). When you turn twelve, you go into Young Men's or Young Women's classes (like I've talked about Young Women ... two years in Beehives, then Mia Maids, then Laurels. At least THOSE names stay the same, so I don't feel  like a complete dinosaur) (The young men are Deacons, Teachers, and Priests. In case you wondered.) ... And one of the fun things about the old Primary class names is that there's a Primary song for each of those classes. The only song I really don't remember is the song for the Blazers. Since I was never a Blazer. Since I'm not a boy.) Now the class names are: Sunbeams 4 for the three-year olds, then CTR 5-8 for the four- to seven-year olds (you'll turn FIVE in the CTR 5 class. It does make sense, really.), and Valiant 9-12 for the eight- to eleven-year olds. Then, when you turn twelve, it's out of Primary and into Young Men's or Young Women's classes. Which are still fun. But you don't get to sing out of the Primary songbook near as often.)

Gosh, I talk in parentheses a LOT. I should be sorry. But, honestly ... I cannot tell a lie ... I am not sorry. Unless I'm being graded on this. Then I fall at your feet in abject sorrow and not-a-small-amount of humiliation. Please pardon my parentheses addiction.

But, back to my point. I'm very thankful that Dorothy brought my family (my mom and me, really) into the Church. It has been an incredible blessing to me in so many ways. 

Without the Church, I would not have met some of my dearest friends. The Brinkerdink family (no, it's not their REAL name. But it's a very real nickname in the home ward. ^_^), Terra, my Jessima ... all the girls that I had classes with in my home ward. MICHAEL (very important, hence the all-caps), Jonnie-Bean, Pie, my Brookie-kin, Dianne ... my life would be so much sadder and paler without my friends.

Without the church, I'd probably have dropped out of school and married that stupid first boyfriend I had. Because, without my longing for a temple marriage and an eternal family, why shouldn't I have married the boy I was convinced would be the only man that would ever love me. Yes, I gave up a future career at McDonald's (no, I never worked there. But, if I had married him and forgone college, I probably WOULD HAVE) for a forever family with a man who is absolutely perfect for me, with a great family that I love being part of. Who I most likely would never have met if we hadn't been in the same church.

Without the church, I'd be quite a bit crazier than I am now. Through the teachings of the scriptures and revelations (both personal and from the prophets we've been given, modern and ancient), I'm able to keep a bit more of an eternal perspective. And I know that as much as I miss my Pop-pop and Grandma Darlene and Grammy and Grandpa I, I WILL see them again. Death is not the end. And that soothes my heart a great deal.

Yes, I do love my religion. I'm very happy to be a member of my church. Even when I hear some crazier'n-a-craphouse-rat rumors about what "those Mormons" do. (Hint: No naked basketball. No strange sexual initiations. No plural marriages for over 100 years ... and if you did, you'd be excommunicated. No, really. No animal sacrifices.  ... and if you hear something and you are really curious, go find a member of the church to ask. One you trust -- since I do know some of my friends that might string you along. Not that I could TOTALLY blame them ... but really, we will answer your questions.)

But, really. I've been a member of this religion for over two decades. If you have any questions, I am more than willing to answer what I can. And refer you to where you can find answers that I can't supply. ^_^ (I can give you personal answers from my singular perspective. And I can research doctrinal issues. I'm not a great scriptorian. I don't have lots of passages memorized. I should work on that, I know. But I know lots of the Primary songs. ^_^ And I don't mind doing some research. If you're here to Bible-bash, I'm not as thrilled. Contention is not my cup of tea. Nor is it something that invites the Spirit to teach. You know who likes contention? Could it be ... SATAN?!? Yes. Yes it is.)

I will also confess that I am one of those members of the church that doesn't get offended all that much. This is why I do find the humor in Mormon humor. 
Like this column by Eric D. Snider: How to Be a Gooder Speechist
(Remember, he uses a tool called "Satire." It's not meant to be taken literally. ^_^ If you're wondering about the post, make sure to read his comments and reactions. Excellent. No wonder I'm such a fangirl for his writing! ^_^)

Or this site which gently pokes fun at a lot of Mormon-isms. SeriouslySoBlessed
Again, not to be taken literally. And if you don't get why this is funny, just ask a member of the Church. Some won't get it (because they've broken their funny bones. Or had them surgically removed), some might find it offensive (because they had a violent sense-of-humor-ectomy. Poor dears.), and others won't be able to read it through their snickering. Use THAT last one. Once they stop laughing, make them explain it. ^_^

And, after reading those posts/sites, I'm sure that you'll see a difference between gently poking fun at something and completely bashing something.

Remember, as J. Golden Kimball once said, "The Lord has a sense of humor. Why, look at some of us!" 
(Or something to that effect. ^_^ Which is the whole point of J. Golden Kimball stories. ^_^ That and you get to swear while quoting a general authority. ^_^ Gosh, I do adore that man. Too bad he died LONG before I got here. Maybe we hung out in the pre-existence? I'd like to think so. ^_^)


Kate the Great said...

What a Rock star you are! I loved reading that..... even if I don't count as one of the cool people you'd not have met.I see how it is. all those hours of sitting in choir next to you meant nothing!! *wink*

I was lovely though!!!! I had no idea that is how your family joined the church, since I've always thought of you as growing up in the church.

Thanks for sharing! Hey I am having a girls night with some peeps from my ward this friday night. Wanna come?

Allanna said...

Oh, Katie-Kate, you know that I love you.

And I'm totally interested. What time? Email me the details, okay?We'll see if I can swing it. I need some Katie-time. I'm having withdrawals!

(And I totally forgot to mention Aubri, too. And you know how much I love the both of you! I guess that I figured that everyone knew and respected our magical bonds of friendship! My bad!!)

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