How I’m working for change inside my church

As some of you may, or may not know, I was born into the Mormon church.  I was baptized when I was 8. Received the priesthood when I was 12.  Went on a mission to the California Ventura mission, and a number of other “expected” checklist items within the Mormon church.

Over the last few years I have had what many call a “crisis of faith.”  I have watched the way my sisters, and nieces have been treated and taught within the church.  I saw the horrible, and somewhat despicable way my cousin was treated when he came out as gay. Ive watched family members shun, and discredit others that were different from themselves, and look down on “non members”, and its bothered me.

Now before I go any further let me explain a few things about my personal faith.  I believe in God.  I always have.  I also believe in the power of prayer.  Throughout my life I have had too many experiences to make me doubt that God is real, and that he listens to peoples prayers.

But the question I have held for a long time is this.  Why do people commit horrible and often tragic actions in the name of God?  A God they believe and teach is merciful, loving, and offers forgiveness to everyone.  Why do the actions of church members not mirror the teachings of God?

I have heard many answers throughout my life.  Things like, “The church is perfect, but the people aren’t.” Or, “God gave mankind free agency.”  These kind of answers never set well with me. Especially when I see the actions of man being passed off as “Gods will.”

Gender and racial inequality within the church has been something I have struggled with my whole life.  And recently, the new rules and laws against the children of same sex couples has been hard to swallow.

However, this video raises some very interesting questions.  How do we fight for change, and still respect the beliefs of others?  Like Chelsea Shields, I am not sure I have a good answer to that.  So for now I continue to have faith in God, and have faith that my prayers on this subject are being heard.

101. My Tattoo

I have always found tattoos beautiful, and works of art. I actually really like art. Most people don’t know that about me. I am not sure what it is about me that makes people think I don’t appreciate art, but I do. The idea of finding that one piece of art that you want to carry with you for the rest of your life and having it placed upon your skin is just a cool idea. I have looked for the tattoo I have wanted for years. A couple times I thought I had found the one I wanted, and then after much thought and consideration decided against it. A few months ago I started thinking about the idea of getting words for a tattoo. Words have power, and if done right can be made into something really cool looking. Once i decided I wanted a phrase as my tattoo I started looking around for what I wanted. Now it wasn’t an active search, and I was not spending very much time on it, but I was looking around. I thought about many of my favorite quotes, but dismissed them for several different reasons.

A few days ago I came across the perfect phrase! When I read it I was blown away at how much it spoke to me, and how much I wanted to live by those words. I even have it taped up on my wall in y office now. I would want an artist to play with the words to create a design I would like to have, but the words are perfect.

Here is the problem. I am Mormon, and in my religion we are counseled not to get tattoos. The reasoning behind this are many, but the bottom line is your shouldn’t get tattoos in my religion. Just a few weeks ago one of the leaders of my church was here, and I had the opportunity to hear him speak. Straight out of his mouth he said “Dont get Tattoos!” But I want one, and always have!

I have been having a hard time with this, and to some I know may find this stupid and petty, but for me its been a struggle to deal with the fact that I want a tattoo, and my religious duty side saying that I should follow the counsel of a leader and church I believe in.