Nothing inspires blogging like a too-close win on NCAA Football.
I was speaking with a few friends the other day and I happened to ask if they were ever ashamed to admit to being Mormon. We discussed issues for the most part and admitted to being variously ashamed of the black priesthood ban, negative stereotypes of members, and other items. I am ashamed of those things, but I'm mostly ashamed of the Atonement.
Not what others are usually ashamed of, but I guess I should try and explain.
The toughest thing about the gospel for me to accept is that we're never done. The game isn't ever over. Death doesn't finish it. There's never going to be an end. It's really eternal. There's no point at which we've done enough. So, we keep working forever and we'll always have to go to work. In short, the Mormon retirement plan sucks.
I suppose that wouldn't be bad if I could pay my bills and have some left over for TiVo and Taco Bell after I put in my ten hours at the steel mill. But we'll always be indebted to Jesus Christ. I mean, forever.
In theory, this should still be pretty great. Lots of people (myself sometimes included) find great solace in this. Despite the supposed advantages of "salvation" (whatever that ends up being in your case or mine), I'll always have obligations. Obligations to act a certain way, do a certain thing, be with a certain person, be in a certain place, et cetera. I don't want any part of those obligations.
Is that selfish, prideful, ignorant of the gospel? Yes. Quite clearly. But I want what I want. I hate being obligated to others, especially when the obligation is indeterminate. Some obligations can be very rewarding: I'll be at the desk in the jock dorms for ten hours if you'll give me my room and some food. I'll strike out ten guys if you'll score four runs for me. I'll play my hardest for three hours if you do the same. I just see the less determinate obligations as shackles that can't be cut. A long term relationship with a woman? All that means to me is that too much is never enough. A long term relationship with Jesus Christ? Unfortunately, much the same. However, it seems that the alternative might be a great deal worse.
And then there's the inadequacy. Being a believing Mormon involves a number of things:
1) Admitting that the Spirit had to tell you what's true. You couldn't figure it out on your own, at least not without a hint. Rationality is just more comforting. This is much less annoying than
2) Admitting that God is just better than you. Smarter, better, bigger, stronger, and probably knows who'll win the World Cup. You can't beat him or even draw. You lose by admitting to being religious. Hey, I think I read somewhere that the essence of pride is competitive! Can't imagine how that might apply.....
3) Never being able to be fully responsible for your own salvation. Being "beaten with a few stripes" would at least punish you to the extent that you deserve and then there would be no more claim. Anything over that would just be oppression due to power differential. That I can handle.
Sometimes I actually think that I'd rather be beaten and banished than exalted and indebted. I know this isn't too sensible, but it still holds some sway with me.
Is it just me that worries about this stuff? Maybe I just don't get it......of that I'm certain.(Note to potentially offended readers: I'm still onboard. I still think the Church is true. I still believe in Jesus Christ and the Atonement. I just wish it were "easier" or involved some system whereby I can get what I deserve and then be left to do as I will.)