I have a good friend (isn’t that shocking?) named Scott, who is a Mormon born and raised, like me, but didn’t turn out as well as I did, for all intents and purposes. He’s been trying to be a good boy by our standards, but then he turns around and does things that are considered very serious in our religion. And then he feels the need to tell me about it. Every time. Like I’m the priest and he’s going to confession.
He tells me all those things that I really don’t care about, that I really don’t want to know. Why? Because I’m the best friend he has and I’m his support line, and my support really helps him. No matter how many times I’ve told him I don’t want to hear about his escapades with underage drinking, pot, and sex, he just keeps telling me. He says he wants to get better and be a good LDS person, but he just keeps doing it. When he gets a Sunday off from work, he doesn’t even bother trying to go to church, instead spending the time with his non-Mormon cousin, who is nowhere near a good role model, no matter who you are.
And he’s still turning to me for help when things go wrong.
Now, I’m no saint, either, that’s for certain. My massive pride will be my downfall one day. And I can have a holier-than-thou attitude toward people like Scott, although I would never say that to them. I can’t understand him. I just want him to stop. Whether he stops doing what he’s doing or just stops telling me about it every time I see him, I don’t even care anymore. He doesn’t get it, and he doesn’t want to take any time to try to learn. And here I am, the best friend who’s supposed to sympathize. Not my style. I don’t do sympathy. Someone tells me about their problems, I assume they want a fix, not just someone to sympathize. Sympathy is a stupid reason to tell someone what’s wrong.
And let me tell you, if you’re a Mormon who believes what the church teaches, inactivity (jack Mormonism) is never the answer. I’ve been there. Done that. That was a big part of why my high school life sucked so much. I was dating a non-Mormon guy who didn’t care one whit what I believed, I was stupid enough to think I could change him, I wasn’t going to church or Seminary, or reading my scriptures. And without those things in my life, it turned nasty. Boyfriend dumped me for another girl after only a month, and sister became. . . well, her charming self.
I’m not saying that church, or Mormonism in particular, is an inoculation against opposition. Bad things happen in life. Otherwise, life would be really boring. Religion, in general, is there to make us better for it. We learn from our mistakes. We grow to be better. When crap gets bad, you have God (whoever that may be to you) to fall back on. And sometimes you have exactly what you need to deal with the situation.
Case in point, I read East of Eden for the first time about a week before my sister was arrested. Let me tell you, the character of Aron is a perfect fit for her. Nothing exists in her world unless it is perfect. If I hadn’t read that book at that time, I wouldn’t have seen that. I would still have thought I was the problem.
Call it what you want. Coincidence or divine intervention. Me, I see the hand of God in my life every day. The more I go to church, the more I pray, the more I read my scriptures, the more I see Him. That’s why it’s hard to see so many people, like this friend of mine, not realizing what it took me an inactive ten years to figure out. We need to make room for God in our lives, too.