I feel the need to post this, and have felt the need to do so for quite awhile actually. This week, yet another post on Facebook shocked and upset me to the point that I felt I shouldn’t put off writing this post any longer.
Elder Jeffery R. Holland tells us: You “check your religion at the door.” Not ever.
My young friends, that kind of discipleship cannot be—it is not discipleship at all. As the prophet Alma has taught the young women of the Church to declare every week in their Young Women theme, we are “to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in,” just some of the time, in a few places, or when our team has a big lead.
“Check your religion at the door”! I was furious.
(Israel, Israel God is Calling. 2012. https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/ces-devotionals/2012/01/israel-israel-god-is-calling?lang=eng)
I understand that having standards can be perceived as being difficult, or hard, or even inconvenient. But I also know that they are only those things if you allow them to be. Those of you who are flaunting your disobedience on social media are hurting more than yourselves. You are hurting those who are in your family, and may need a strong example of being a believer in their life. You are hurting those who are not members, and look to you as an example of what a Mormon is, and are damaging their perceptions of the Church as a whole.
Elder Holland even tells us that you are giving up your privilege to be with your family eternally, and possibly receive the condemnation of “The sins of the children be upon the heads of the parents.” Why? Because if you teach those around you that sinning isn’t a big deal, that you can “check your religion at the door”, those people fall into the category of those unable to receive the fullness of the gospel in their lifetime.
Now, if you decide to sin that is up to you. Please, for the sake of the rest of us stop posting your sins on social media. Don’t post a picture of the coffee you bought today because you NEEDED it. Don’t post pictures of yourself wearing clothes that caused you to break covenants made in the temple, just because they were CUTE or STYLISH. Stop posting pictures of parties where you may not actually be consuming alcohol, but it appears you are. Don’t tell us about a movie that you saw or a book you just read that is Pornographic. It’s not ok to “take a break” from church, even for one week or even one hour. Just STOP.
Make a stand. It’s not hard. Just say, “No thank you. I choose not to…” Because it is a choice, you always can do something, you just choose to not do it. I know people who have done this countless times EACH DAY. Even if the decision is, “ok. I will sin.” Choose to not post it for all to see. Your relationship with God is yours, it’s private, and it needs to be protected, even if your relationship consists of the philosophy “I do what I want.”
I’m sorry you chose to give up blessings in this life. I’m sorry you chose to not be with your family eternally. I’m sorry you think that you are more important than God.
I need you to know one more thing. You are making more work for the rest of us. It shouldn’t be up to me to teach your daughters about modesty in dress and bearing. It shouldn’t be up to me to teach your sons that those types of movies and websites are in fact damaging their spirituality. It shouldn’t be up to me to help a wayward person understand that just because you don’t have a testimony of certain principles, and don’t live them, that they shouldn’t forfeit the eternal blessings that you have because of your example. And even if my calling isn’t with the Youth, or with the adults, or anything at all. I still worry about them, I still want to help them, and I still need all the help I can get to be an example of faith, trust, and how to let God lead you in life. And yes, even how to love the sinner while condemning the sin.
To be very honest, I have had a very hard year spiritually. It’s been rough. And a lot of it is because of the reasons above. People have been checking their religion at a door, and I have been fighting tooth and nail to keep mine intact, as well as undo damage done by the examples of those who know better and strengthen the testimonies of those who I love.
I do not consider myself perfect, staunch, or a zealot, by any means. Far from it. But I am doing my absolute best and it is my sincerest wish that everyone else would too. Walk away from the coffee, put down the dress, don’t drink a ‘mocktail’, stop reading the romance novels and movies, and if you are struggling post inspirational pictures and quotes that will help you focus on what is truly important, instead of flaunting your sins to the rest of us.