Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Live on Purpose

When I was in HS, I had both member and non-member friends*.  Well, I had ONE non-member friend, really.  She was my best friend.  When I decided to join the Church, she was the only friend who really stood by me.

She had her quirks, sure.  But I loved her quirks.  She would eat mac & cheese and Mountain Dew for breakfast in front of our lockers.  She had a mouth like a sailor.  She didn't care what anyone thought, and I loved her for it.

Some** of my new friends, my "member" friends, would say things to me like, "I can't believe you're friend with her.  She swears."  Or, "Did you know that drinking caffeine is wrong?"  (Which, by the way, it isn't.)  These were MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS for crying out loud.  These were people who knew better.  They had been taught to love all our brothers and sisters, regardless of our differences.

It still blows my mind, absolutely shocks me, to know that there are ADULT members that act this way.  In HS, I would write off my friends inefficiencies with the old adage, "They're just young."   But it wasn't that.  It was their life style, their way of thinking.

When I would talk to my friend about all of this, it only soured her further toward the Church.  When we were older, and I was married, I would tell her that "The Church is perfect.  The people of the Church are not perfect."  That's why we have the Gospel, isn't it?  To learn?  To make mistakes, fall down, get back up, and try again?  Why else would we have an Atonement?  Why else would our Savior suffer through all that he suffered for us?

Sad to say my sweet friend still balks at the church.  And I meet new people all the time that are gun shy at bringing up the topic.  It does my heart good and makes me feel like I'm on the right track when, after getting to know me, they feel free to ask me questions.  Again and again.

I don't know what I'm trying to say here.  I know that the Church is true.  And I also know that, like any faction or belief or political party out there, there are going to be those people who just believe that they're right, and everyone else is wrong.

Back to HS, on one of the last days of my Senior year, a boy who I had known since 4th grade came up to me and said, "I didn't know you were a member, Kelly!  You always smell like smoke!"

I wanted to cry.  I really liked that boy.  And I always smelled like smoke because I lived in a house with smokers.  I wanted to cry.

Do we realize, the impact we make in peoples lives?  If we are so adamant about pronouncing our religion, which we should be, then we should also realize that everything we do will be connected with that pronouncement.  Every little, teeny, tiny thing we do wrong will automatically be connected with the only perfect thing existing on this planet.

I'm not saying we should be perfect.  I'm not saying that's even possible.  What I'm suggesting is that we live on purpose.  Let every word you speak, let every move you make, happen with the thought in mind that someone is watching.  Someone is connecting it with God.  Satan is waiting and hoping that you'll mess up so that he can't plant that awful seed of doubt in the person that was watching.

Don't give him the chance.

I think about the family who brought me to the Church. I think about the grief I gave them.  I put up quite the fight.  But they didn't care.  They didn't care that I lived with smokers, that I was raised to hate Mormons.  They didn't get offended at the rude things I said.  They only loved me.  Just as the Savior asked them to do.

"A new commandment I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that ye are my disciples, if you love one another."

*Footnote:  I just realized (thanks to Aprils comment) that I  made it sound like ALL my "member friends" in HS were this way.  That couldn't be farther from the truth.  They were only a small handful.  I had so many wonderful friends that supported me and loved me (and my quirky friend) just for who we are.  This post should have been more about their wonderful example, rather than the few who gave a poor example.

**By "some", I mean there were only a few who acted this way.  Not ALL my "member" friends acted in this way.  Far from it.  The End.


Nielsen Familia said...

I LOVE to hear your testimony Kelly! You are amazing!!!

April said...

Good post, Kelly! Can you just tell the names of the HS people you're talking about, though? Just kidding. Well not really, I am nosy like that. I don't like it either when people say ignorant things... and Cherry Coke is one of my best friends, so those caffeine comments are the most ignorant of all! But I know I'm not perfect and I've probably offended people sometimes. It's always good to be reminded that we need to set a good example.

Neff Family said...

Oh April, you needn't worry. In fact, I'm pretty sure most of those poor examples don't read my blog! You've always been an excellent example to me. Plus, i ant hear you saying those sort of things...can you?

Rachel said...

I like the "People in the church are not perfect, but the church is" comment. I have had to come to this realization too. It's a very true statement.
It's sad when members of the church push others away because of how they treat them.
However, I think most people are really trying to do their best, and and don't fully realize the consequences of some of their actions on others. I'd like to believe that if they did, they wouldn't do/say thing things they did.
Good post, thanks for sharing!
(And I admit I'm pretty curious too as to who specifically you're talking about, since I'd know them! HA! Curiousity killed the cat....

Neff Family said...

I agree, Rachel. A lot of people do do these things out of ignorance. I think a lot of people don't realize that those not familiar with the Gospel can find it...strange. Especially now with all the misinterpretations and what not going around. I told a non-member friend recently how "weird" they must think our going to the Temple is. She was relieved to hear me say it! The things that we find perfectly normal, even wonderful parts of our lives can be so strange to those who don't understand it. I totally agree though, that most of the time, we don't even know we're doing those things!

Josh and Shalae said...

Thank you for sharing this! I LOVE it and you worded it so great! There are so many members that think or are taught that those not of our faith are bad, but I think it's important to teach our children to befriend everyone! Maybe, because of their example, a seed will be planted that will someday bring them to the gospel. Thanks for your testimony!

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