Sunday, February 3, 2008

Breaking the Mold

I think sometimes we as Latter-day Saints are afraid of breaking the typical mold of acceptibility.

On one hand, we're taught to stand for something. We're supposed to believe in traditional family values, which, quite honestly I'm 100% in support of. I know it might seem strange that I'm not in support of gay marriage and I would rather support traditional forms of family.

I'm not against gay people, for obvious reasons. I think many gay people are on the defensive in regards to tolerance. Either you are a proud out man (or woman) and if you're straight you're a liberal thinking person in support of their cause---or, if you're not, you're a homophobe.

Why can't there be something in the middle of such a broad spectrum?

I think in the Mormon community those who don't fit the mold are somehow excluded because they don't fit in 100%. You're either the Molly Mormon\Peter Priesthood type, or you're a screw-up. You're either active or inactive. You're a Mormon or you're a non-member. Someone couldn't possibly be "half Mormon" but you get my idea... We have these polarized ways of thinking that when someone comes along who doesn't fit the mold, we don't know what to do with them.

I admire my BYU Professors who don't show up wearing white shirts and ties. Hugh Nibley never fit the mold of what was a typical professor, including the fact that I don't know if he EVER wore a tie. He did it on purpose from what I remember. In fact, I think he was reprimanded on occasion for wearing his old fisherman hat on campus. He was a remarkable person but he was much too intelligent for his own good. He was smart enough to realize people didn't have to fit the mold.

I like to say that part of life is not just to become a Latter-day Saint, but a TRUE Saint.

Early Latter-day Saint converts didn't fit the mold of traditional society. Usually converts were found in the poorest of living conditions, in workhouses, factories, weavers' cottages and poor-houses. Anyone who believes their ancestors in the early church were rich is either a rare exception or a liar. They were the downtrodden of society. They were even poor by the standards of society in which they joined the church, not just in comparison with our standards.

And yet, despite their lack of education, cleanliness and monetary advantage, many excelled in a new environment. Utah was the place to build up Saints as they had to literally build from the ground up. Colonists face hardship and, I believe, if they were not truly converted before coming to the West they certainly were after relying on the Lord.

These people, like me, didn't fit the mold.

A man in a Preston cotton weaving factory, whose death would have gone unnoticed by neighbors, had the opportunity of joining the church and becoming a mayor of a small community in the Western States. He got his lungs adjusted not only to the altitude, but the lack of grime and filthy air he had to breathe from the factories. There would not have been a chance he'd have become a local politician in England, and yet, in America he had that chance.

We as members of the church don't always need to fit the mold to excel in life, and in the gospel. I am about to graduate BYU as an unmarried student. I do not think my lack of a marriage will deter me in my future. In fact, for my chosen career, not being bogged down by a young family might improve my chances of success.

I don't need to fit any mold to be a great person. In fact, I think that those who don't fit the mold become much more caring and compassionate towards others. We as same-gender attracted people in the church can feel downtrodden at times.

What makes us different from the outcasts of society who joined the church in the early days of the restored gospel? Not much! What prevents us from also becoming TRUE Saints? Not much. If its truly what we desire.

I like to think I'm gradually becoming a True Saint. I'm proud I don't fit the mold. Are you?


One of So Many said...

I think TRUE saints don't fit the mold anyway. How can you be a follower AND be a leader?

I'm starting to really love not fitting the mold.

Post-It Boy said...

Glad to hear it, fellow mold-breaker. :)