Monday, May 14, 2012

The Supposed Imperious Curse

There's a debate going on one of my relative's walls right now that I haven't really engaged in, even though it has evoked some pretty strong feelings on my side. (Thank goodness I have this blog to vent to!) It's over a pretty relevant, emotional topic but the strong feelings have nothing to do with the actual topic that is being debated. I'm more upset  with the side comments coming from now ex-members of the church. Comments like this:
When we were active in the LDS church, I would say a lot of...things, because I was told what to think/feel. Now, I know better than to think or believe something just because I'm told to.
...for all the years when I was told how to think/feel/believe in regards to [insert topic here]...
I remember being in elementary school and having to tell my friends that I wouldn't be participating in such and such activity on Sunday, or that I didn't swear, or didn't date, or drink coffee, or whatever the thing was that I wasn't doing, and them asking, "You're not allowed to do that?"

It didn't take me long to figure out that I needed them to know that everything that I have done or not done in the name of the church, was MY CHOICE. One friend finally grasped this concept and started saying that drinking, smoking, etc. was "frowned upon" but she stopped making the mistake of saying that I wasn't "allowed" to do these things. I have my own agency. I can do whatever I want. I can think and feel however I want. Yes. There are consequences to every choice you make. And there might be some consequences to those thoughts and feelings, but that is the natural way of things.

How can you be a member of an organization for 40+ years and be so confused? We teach agency and accountability in the church. Everything we do is because we are trying to be more like our Savior and follow His teachings. We have been given guidelines and commandments to follow. We have prophets to lead and direct the church; leaders who happen to be men (and women) who have their own opinions and ideas about things, and just happen to be recorded nearly every time they open their mouths. If they say something that we don't like, we can go to the Lord in prayer and figure out if it is something that we need to pay attention to, or if it is something that might just be their honest opinion (prejudices and all). You can't tell me that you never let something slip out of your mouth that isn't the most PC or is laced with prejudice or judgment. What if somebody was walking around reporting every single thing that came out of your mouth? Do you think everyone would be OK with what you had to say?

You are not a mindless drone. You are not a programmable robot.

I have never, never been told to think or believe a certain thing about a certain thing that I didn't feel I had the option to weigh what I was being told and figure out whether or not it was true.

Everything I have done in my life is because I chose to do it. Everything I do now, is because I choose for myself to do it.

I have grown up in the church, and throughout my 26 years in it, I have modified and changed some of my views and beliefs as I developed a relationship with God. Just like any relationship, it has changed and modified over the years.

If you are blindly following something because you think you are supposed to, that isn't the fault of the institution that is working to provide the best instruction they can; that's your fault. God doesn't expect you to do anything without asking Him. He just wants you to follow Him and do your best to be like Him.

I just want to emphasize, the church does not tell you how to think or feel about any certain topic. We do not live under the imperious curse.

If you feel that way, then you need to do a little soul searching and figure out what you think and feel for yourself. The church can only provide the groundwork and environment: the doctrine, the scriptures, the study materials, the gift of the Holy Ghost, the peace of the temple, the opinions of the leaders. What you think and feel is yours alone. If it is contrary to doctrine, then you find a way to reconcile make the choice of what that means for your life. No one else can.


  1. amen. well said. fb regularly gets me a little hot under the collar as well.

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