Monday, July 15, 2013

My spiritual side

So, as many of you may or may not know, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (a.k.a. I'm "Mormon"). I was born and raised in the church, but my activity in the church has been spotty at times. Although I avoided church, especially when I went to BYU, I never faltered in my testimony of Jesus Christ and what He has done for the world (and me).

With that said, if you don't feel like reading on, feel free to close the blog and come back on a less serious day. And really, I don't feel like debating any doctrine or beliefs, so I'm blocking comments on this post.

As a completely unrelated side note, I am listening to "Life and Death", a piano and orchestra song that is featured in the show LOST. This particular version is played by Paul Cardall, who is also Mormon. I consider it my muse when I'm writing something serious. Graham also used to play beautiful piano re-mixes of this song.

Anyways, we as a religion definitely have some doctrinal peculiarities, particularly ones that have heavily influenced my thoughts that I will voice today. One of which that I will discuss is the concept of The Fall (of Adam and Eve). We believe that Adam and Eve first lived in the Garden of Eden, in a state of innocence, having no sorrow or joy. When Adam and Eve partook of the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, they became "as gods, knowing good from evil". They also were banished from the Garden, becoming subject to death, having to work by the sweat of their brows, and bearing children. One particular part of the scriptures that stuck out to me was the fact that the Lord cursed the ground, and allowed thorns and thistles to grow, to somewhat force Adam and Eve to work for their food and living, unlike in the Garden of Eden where plants grew easily.

So, why is this one random part of doctrine stuck in my mind?

Let me remind you of Mormons' belief in eternal marriage. The thing about our church is that we believe that Joseph Smith restored the ancient Christian religion set forth by Jesus Christ, including the Priesthood, which is the power of God given to men on Earth. Our belief in this sets us apart because we believe that by the power of the Priesthood, we have the power to bind a marriage on Earth and in Heaven. So, when someone gets married (or "sealed") in the temple, the man and woman, as well as their progeny, are sealed together forever. Even though it seems like us Mormons get married young and commit to marriage quickly, most of us take our temple marriages very seriously. (However, not all Mormons get married or sealed in the temple, in case you're wondering.)

So, not only do I have a strong belief in the covenant or promise that I've made with God and with Graham, our marriage "priest" (or otherwise known as "sealer" in the temple) mentioned "The Fall" in our marriage ceremony. Let me preface this that every single "sealing" I've been to in the temple has been different. Usually, the sealer will talk to the couple, quote some scripture, say some inspiring things, and then get down to the ceremony (which is the couple kneeling across the altar from each other). It's only 20-30 minutes total. Our sealer talked to us about marriage being like The Fall of Adam and Eve, meaning there is a time of innocence in marriage, not knowing the true difficulties of marriage... otherwise known as the honeymoon period. And then, there's The Fall. Reality sets in. Marriage isn't easy. Conflicts arise. Imperfections are made clearer. The difficult thing about marriage it that it is made up of two imperfect people. And then when you add in children, life becomes much more difficult.

Graham and I easily relate to each other. Our relationship, although fraught with lies at times, comes easily to us. We don't argue, although we may get upset at the other person's decisions. We calm each other down when the other person is stressed or angry. We balance each other out well. For the first two years of our marriage, I was in complete bliss. Blissful ignorance, I guess. I had no idea what was going on with Graham, and I never doubted a single word he said. Then, when the truth came out in 2009 that he was lying and had other problems, I considered that to be the Fall. I then knew my husband was imperfect. We had our bad moments in the past 3.5 years, but we had some amazing times. I just remember times when my family and my home were my life. There was no place I'd rather be than at home with Graham and Carter. The few months prior to Graham's reveal in April.. I didn't feel like that. Things were different.

And now, I feel like I finally know my husband.. the whole person. Not just the side of him that he wanted me to see. Things aren't easy in our relationship. He has some serious anxiety, which causes him to act the way he does sometimes. He's trying to be 100% transparent with me, in his activities and everything he does while he lives with his parents. I still feel crazy at times with periods of paranoia and anxiety. I worry about him, whether or not he's telling the truth. I worry about a lot of things about him. Instead of letting this consume me, I go on with my life, acknowledging that he still can lie to me about things, but that it will all be revealed in the end, sooner or later. Our relationship is more strained, obviously, because there are physical and emotional barriers between us. And isn't this relationship and its complications more like the thorns and weeds that weren't found in the Garden of Eden, but instead were found in the lone and dreary world? I mean, I still have a choice to accept this as my fate, but I definitely feel like our sealer was inspired to use this counsel for us in our marriage ceremony.

But, one more practice that is unique to our religion would be patriarchal blessings. Like I previously stated, we believe that we have the Priesthood here on this Earth, which allows us to receive (and give) special blessings to members and non-members of our church, depending on a person's faith.. just like Jesus Christ did. A patriarchal blessing can be likened as a guidebook for a member's life and choices, depending on a person's faith. Anyways, I won't say much about my own blessing, but mine tells me to "accept the negative aspects of life", and that I will have much joy, but also experience temptations and many trials of faith. Obviously, this is the biggest trial that I have experienced so far. And yes, I have to accept that my husband has some serious issues, and whether or not I want to accept him and HIS negative aspects is still something I have to decide.

The good, the bad, and the ugly..

One thing Graham and I always ask each other on our conversations.. what do you want to hear first: the good news or the bad news? We almo...