Saturday, August 2, 2008

In the Lab Without a Label

la·bel
1. An item used to identify something or someone, as a small piece of paper or cloth attached to an article to designate its origin, owner, contents, use, or destination.
2. A descriptive term; an epithet.
3. A distinctive name or trademark identifying a product or manufacturer, especially a recording company.
I have always appeared strong and put together to people around me, but really, I have become a people pleaser. I think this was mostly due to being an outcast online as I was raised much differently than many of those women on babycenter. I began this new thing over the past few years, trying to sort myself into the labels that fit me. I wanted to please my peers so I needed to find my peers by labeling. I have obviously had trouble with this. Many of us do, we want to feel acceptance, to fit in, and to be loved. As a mother this pressure becomes greater because its no longer just clothes and music we are matching to our peers, it parenting styles, belief systems, family roles and whether mothers work or stay home. Each person wants to believe their label is the "right" one and so you will often hear them boast of it in order to entice you to join them in their label. What they are in fact doing, is trying to gain your acceptance and "jump" you into their label or their kind. The same happened to me with religion. What on earth did I think would happen when I went to a large family board online and asked about all their religions? Of course each sent me a private message(kid you not, flooded my inbox with over 60) about their religion and why it was the "correct" or "right" one. We had been going to a nondenominational church where I just felt I was sinning and repenting each week and being told God's grace was always enough. I wanted to believe him, but I just couldn't. I wanted more, I wanted a place to make me accountable. We went eeny meeeny minney moe and picked Catholic, went to the church and to be real frank, got creeped out by the sexless priests. I don't want my children molested. We are all human and sex is a natural urge so the vibe we got there was not great. On paper it seemed nice, but in reality, priests are human too and unfortunately lack of sex for so long has caused many of them to fall into molesting of young boys. I have 3 young boys so I cant say that this didn't scare me. It weighed in heavily so we Xed this off our list. Next was the LDS church. It fit the bill well. We went to church and received our official Mormon love bombing and all was well. I now had a place where everything in life seemed grand. I would have my label, "my" people and be accountable. I would work my way to the temple in hopes of working my way to heaven. The missionaries were stunningly handsome and persuasive as well so that helped the baptism process to be speedy. Well, that coupled with the fact that I had pressure from all ends. The whole church loved our family, my Internet pals were all telling me it was "right" and the "only way to have the fullness of the gospel" and I think the there was pressure to fit in and be accepted by these people who immediately seemed to love us. In all this, what I failed to realize is, we just have to accept ourselves. A friend emailed this to me recently and it REALLY hit home. "Don't try to live up to every ones expectations of what they think you should do with your life because you will always have someone disappointed." How true is this? I have to quit being wishy washy. I have been acting like a puppet on a string. I have to stand firm. I know I will have all the pressure of the Mormon love bombing coming back to save me from a life doomed to hell for not going to church there, but this is how it is. Nate and I discussed it thoroughly for a while now and we wont be going back. We will let the bishop know and ask him not to send anyone over, to call us or bother us again. We will return items pertaining to callings and just be done with it. This doesn't mean our relationship with Christ ends, it continues......it continues with loving sufficient grace of His mercy. I realize looking back, I dont need humans keeping me accountable and locking me out of a Temple for "bad behavior." What I need is to read my scriptures, take care of my family and most of all, His grace. The thing I must work on is being strong in who I am. I was always strong as a party girl. I was a confident atheist, unconcerned for others who were concerned for me. In other words, I would give them the finger. In reality though, I am a grown up now and I need to get back that confidence and politely decline to deal with, associate with or bother with those trying to convert me to some "new" way of being. I am just gonna be me. If I dissapoint you, get off my blog, delete me from your friends list on myspace, dont call me, get on with your life because I dont need you in mine. Oh and one last thing before I get off here, the labels are crap. I am not a label anymore. My friend Crystal has always told me to get away from the labels, but I always blew her off assuming she was just one more person trying to give me advice and this past year I have had it coming from too many directions. She was right though. I am stripping the labels from my headlines. I am not a lab speciman, you can't label me anymore. You can call me Janis!

30 comments:

Veronica said...

I'm so sorry to hear you're having a hard time with the church and that you feel it's not right for you. I hope you find what you are looking for and that you can stay close to the Lord, despite what road you end up taking. Take care, Janis! I have enjoyed getting to know you through your blog! I'll still check in on you from time to time if that's okay :)

sheri said...

Why the labels in the first place? I think all that caused you much confusion and frustration. I'm glad to hear you're done w/all the label crap. Be who you are and who you want to be. The ONLY person you are truly accountable to is your Heavenly Father. Everyone else is a mere mortal dealing w/their own personal issues to even give a crap about your deepest, darkest issues. I wish you all the luck in the world that you someday find true peace and happiness. You've been wandering around in life for a while now (and that's not said because of the whole church thing...it's obvious from all the things you've discussed about your life in the past) and you deserve some rest. Find what makes you TRULY happy and content and go w/that. If your soul is calm and at peace, you'll know you're doing what's right.

luv_of_saints said...

Janis,

Again this message to you is private. I don't have your e-mail and it's not intended to be put on the blog.

I am now in the process of my exit too. It's very painful for me but I could go on and on as to why I have to leave. Maybe one day I can write it all out.

You're lucky though that you could get out before your kids were older and became indoctrinated. That's the prob with my 13 yo dd.

Well, good luck with it all. My e-mail is wed011406@yahoo.com

If you find the 'right' church, please let me know! I am looking too.

Wendy

SAHM: Surviving Assorted Home Mayhem said...

Janis, You are absolutely right, you do not need to fit into a certain label. Like I said yesterday, there is a middle ground somewhere, I hope you'll keep that in mind and stay away from extremes in either direction. I also hope you had a glass of wine or beer last night and celebrated being you!
;-)

Whitney said...

I think you are awesome! You have simply explored other avenues and you are smart to question and seek your own answers. Good for you....there are many who can not or will not do that. I am proud of you and hope that everything you wish for comes true. Be good to yourself, you deserve peace.

Hugs to you!

Laura said...

Well I'm not LDS, so I'm not sure what all that means. I've been reading your blog for several weeks and all the changes. I know if you still look to the Lord He will guide you to where you should be, and that's with Him. I'm an active member in our church but that's not what defines who I am or what I should be. Just the God and the Bible it's that plain and simple...not sure why people/groups try to make it more complicated. Love Him and seek Him and He will direct your paths. If He tells the little children to come unto Me....then it can't be hard. He is our Father. I'll still be here to see how your doing and what your little peas are into! As you said we all didn't grow up in a home of believers...I didn't, but I believe now and know I wouldn't be who I am without Him, not because of a church just Him and the Bible! I'll be praying for you :)

Kate said...

Congrats and good luck.

A said...

I think you are right Janis. That is exactly all that your Heavenly Father sees .. no labels ... just Janis. That is a good place to start. Just be the very best Janis there is. Yip, just be Janis. Find who you really are and what brings you peace.

Good luck, honey.

Crikett said...

YOU GO GIRL!!!! This is the Janis I love to hear. You sound like YOU are in control and you know what is best for YOU!!! (and the fam, of course =) I hope you feel at peace with yourself and your life because of this. You sound like a new, stronger person! I love you girl!!! XOXOXO

luvstruth said...

Janis, I was so excited to read your last two blogs. I think it is great that you are following the call of your heart and leaving the LDS church. True peace can only be found in a relationship with Jesus, not the teachings of Joseph Smith and definately not the pressure of living up to their standards. Jesus accepts you where you are and loves you no matter what. Stay true to that and you will be find the peace that you are looking for.

luv_of_saints said...

yahoo.comJanis,

I'm right there along with you! Keep trusting in the Lord to guide you.

It sounds like you're doing great and heading in a good direction.

Bless you:)

~*~Heather~*~ said...

You are absolutely right, you do not need to fit into a certain label

Kate said...

You do not have to post this as a comment on your blog this is the only way I have to get in touch with you. I dont have your email. This is not meant for others to debate it is meant for you. I hope you find peace in your choices. I just wanted to share this with you so that you know and will hopefully admit that you are doin what you want to do and not using the church or "others expectations" as an excuse. I truly hope you do find peace and you know you can still drop in on us on BBC and I think you do know noone will pressure you or speak unkind to you. (We may hit you with the "love bomb" but it is better than nothing or ignoring you right darned if we do darned if we dont. Anyway... The last 2 paragraphs are really what made me think of you the most. Good luck.

This is a quote from Bonnie Parkin who was the former Relief Society President

"As women, there’s a busyness in our lives and we’re busy with a lot of good things. Being leaders in Relief Society only adds to that busyness. But, sisters, take time to slow down and ponder so that you can feel the Lord’s love for you. Feeling the Lord’s love in our lives includes being merciful to ourselves.

One sister, Joan, was struggling with cancer and believed she was close to death. But she felt she hadn’t done enough, felt she was unworthy, unready to die. As she sent up silent prayers of remorse for her inadequacy and shortcomings, what came back to her was a sweet, calm assurance that she was enough. The Lord impressed upon her that the daily, weekly, monthly assignments—like family home evening, scripture study and prayer, visiting teaching, and temple attendance—that she was using to measure her work and worthiness were actually gifts, gifts from Him for her to take advantage of, to help her, to bless her, not whips to beat herself with. Charity brings relief.

The Lord loves us so much that He has given us wonderful aids to help us better ourselves and bring us closer to Him. We don’t read the scriptures and hold family night and say prayers to check off a list or receive a grade. We do them because they change us, bless us, teach us. We are not loved of the Lord by incremental scorekeeping—65 percent affection in exchange for 65 percent visiting teaching, 30 percent love granted for 30 percent scripture study, 80 percent blessings in answer to 80 percent daily prayer or temple attendance—we are just loved by the Lord, period. His ability to love us in our imperfection is part of what makes Him the Lord. The more we come to know Him, the more we know He loves us. "

That's what I remember about all the "things" that would make me somehow "perfect". They are gifts from Heavenly Father. He sees them as blessings.

Michelle said...

Janis, I hope you find what you are looking for. I am glad that I have found my answers and that I am happy. I hope you can find that happiness somewhere for yourself. Enjoy being Janis, no one can ask more of you than that.

Adrienne said...

Way to go! There's no reason to let labels define us at all. The Lord doesn't need labels to love us, His love is unconditional. I'm not LDS, but there is a certain article of faith that they believe in that states that they believe in letting others worship as they please. Basically, if someone is LDS, they would accept that you have decided to worship Christ in a different way.

Sankat said...

I agree with you, that you have to find yourself...that is very important. It is something that it has taken me a while to do, and I still have work to get to know myself better. There are SOO many people that disagree with me, and I am totally fine with that, as hard as it is to deal with...it is what is right for me, not them. It is my life, not theres.
I am sad that you are dishearted about the Church. For me it was/is a WONDERFUL point of strengh, friendship, and spititual growth. I have learned so much from it and found peace. Just remember NO ONE is perfect...except for Christ and his Gospel. I do hope you find the peace you are looking for.

rubyjade said...

I agree Janis, find yourself. It sounds like you are needing something.

Mormon love bombing eh? I don't think you realize that those Mormons really genuinly care about you. They weren't trying to save your soul from hell. Mormons don't talk like that anyway, you should know that. I'm a little surprised at how you're sort-of turning on the LDS ladies. I thought they've been nothing but sweet to you. I'm sorry if you had a different experience. Which ever direction you choose, stay true to yourself and stay close to the Lord.

Preece Family! said...

Janis~ I know this is a generic statement but I find it so true and I often have to remind myself about it... Christ and His Church are perfect, not the people who follow him. God would never put a label on you just as we would never do that to one of our own children. I dont think that anyone should fear going to hell for having a beer or wearing a miniskirt, that truly will NOT happen. You are a good person and your heavenly father knows that. Being an LDS member can be hard at times, people feel that there are a lot of expectations to live up too, but who's expectations are those, not our heavenly fathers. I think we all need to remember that at times and know that the gospel is what is true and not get caught up with the rest of it all. For me I have a found a good balance in life and am a memeber of the LDS faith. I have a testimony that it is true. I want you to know that anyone who condems or judges you is in the wrong and it is not what Christ or heavenly father would do. You have your own choices in life and can choose what you feel you need to do. I have so many friends of other faiths and I do not judge them or feel they are going to hell. I know that Heavenly father would not do that to any of his children who are true believers of christ and good people. I feel really sad that everyone has to judge everyone else and other religions. We are all children of god. He loves us all equally. I do not look down on anyone who is not LDS or has chosen not to be LDS. Nor do I look down on any LDS members who make their own choices in life.... that is what we are here to do, live our life, learn, and make our own choices. You dont have to live up to anything or anyone... those feelings arent coming from Christ. God Bless you and yours. I hope you find peace. Take care.

Brian said...

You go, Janis!

Alex said...

Janis,
Just wanted to say I'm sorry you're having a rough time and feeling so alone. I'm a convert myself, so I know what you mean. I hope you find peace and stay close to the Lord as you search for His guidance. I know He loves you and wants you to be happy and at peace. Good luck with everything, especially on the TTC front... I'll be thinking about you. (((Hugs)))

Tilly said...

Janis, no one can or wants to make this decision for your.
I think it is good to get rid of the labels, and the extreme things that were and are weighing you down. Your plate is very full.
If you still believe in prayer, find a quiet moment and think back to previous prayers and find within yourself the strength to pray again, and to recognize the answer that comes.
Janis, I don't know where you have gotten the term love-bombing from, but it makes me think you have been reading in some places that will surely make someone angry and unhappy with the church.
Beyond that I visit teach a woman who has been inactive for a couple of years and refused to even return our phone calls. She was vocally leaving the church and doing it with style. Drinking, partying, loud pronouncements against church doctrine, broken temple covenants. Well, she was at church Sunday, and seemed really interested in picking up where she left off. Sometimes, people need a break to figure out if something is their choice or the choice of others. I think this is what she was after, she felt it was not her choice. Now, she has returned, of her choice.
So, by all means get rid of the labels, and simplify your life, but for heaven sakes, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, and don't be bullied by either side of the argument. Just my observations on what is going on for you right now. email me at tillyrae@gmail.com if you get the urge.

Tilly said...

For the record, I would steal away for a night with my hubby under the circumstance on a Sundy. I don't think that any reasonable person would begrudge you such.
You may be interested in this site, if you have any doctrinal concerns confusing you. I have found it to be very useful on my journey when confronted with things that seemed confusing.
http://jefflindsay.com/LDSFAQ/index.html
This is the only way I have to contact you, so I wanted to throw this out for your consideration. Beyond that, since this is more like an email, don't feel obligated to post it. If you would like to let me know what you think, or such, just email. Honestly, I don't "really" know you. I have followed you a bit on the internet, but likewise, you don't really know me. I am not going to profess love, or admiration, or fear, or celebration, but I will give you a cognitive response to what seems to be plaguing you, that is, after all, what I can convey over this impersonal medium called the internet.

Katie Hampton said...

Hey Janis,
I hope you find what you're looking for, I really do. And I hope it brings peace to your family. And I hope you'll still visit us on the LDS BBC boards. We've enjoyed "getting to know" you, and we'd love to hear from you from time to time and see how you're doing.

--Katie (sunnyrunner)

Sam and Tara said...

Janis- Have you ever read the book "You Are Special" by Max Lucado? If not, I highly recommend it.

Good luck with everything, I hope you are able to be who you really want to be. Please know that God loves you no matter what.
Take Care-
Tara (*sand*n*sun*)

jon said...

Good for you, trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and NOT in a man called Joseph Smith. As we learn more and more about the LDS church we realize that it has no foundational truths, but instead lies. Glad you got out. Peace.

Amy Brooks said...

Janis, I don't know that you ever fully understood the "mormon church" if you think we belive you are now doomed to hell for not coming. Mormon's don't believe that way at all. We believe that Heavenly Father loves us no matter what. His love is unconditional in all respects. We are His children and being a mom yourself, I'm sure you can understand how unconditional love works. You would still love your child even though he/she made a mistake or did something very wrong. It doesn't mean you think they shouldn't be punished for it because you understand they need to pay the consequence for their mistake, but you also understand that you can still love them and make sure they still know you love them. You give them the opportunity to still be in your presense even though they made a mistake. That is how God's love works too, so just because you decided to leave the "mormon church", doesn't mean we believe you will be doomed to hell. I wish you would have actually studied the faith more, because it seems you are confused on many things mormons actually believe in. And I agree with you in your labeling post, that you are wishy washy and aren't sure what you are searching for and maybe jump into things to quickly before you fully understand what you are getting yourself into. Take your time and focus on what you want to learn and study things out BEFORE you just decide this is the right path for you and your family. You have several children and it's not fair to them that you keep bouncing them around in so many different things. Give them SOMETHING stable in their lives that they can hold on to.

lilpeasinmypodfrom~God said...

Amy while I know you meant that respectfully, I would appreciate it if you looked at my homeschool blog and saw just how blessed and stable my kids lives really are. They are young and dont understand labels yet and couldnt care less where we went to church or if we went. They get to be home with me, we live by schedules and routines and order, they have regular rises and falls to their life. switching churchs is not going to ruin them for life lol

Preece Family! said...

Janis~ I am so rolling my eyes at that comment that Amy left. Please dont think that all LDS members judge you so harshly. I think you are a great mom and agree your kids are very lucky to be so scheduled. Please refer to the first sentence of my previous comment in regard to our friend Amy...

Janice said...

Too bad you didn't make it a year so you could have the strange and interesting experience of going to the temple.

Cheryl said...

Im honestly disgusted by the amount of disrepect manifest by some of these comments on the Mormon faith. I dont hear anyone of that faith disrespecting the faith of other religions.

There is a foul amount of ignorance displayed by those people.