Monday, April 20, 2015

My thoughtful response to "Meet the Mormon" naysayers.

I composed this blog post months ago. I barely remember writing it. 
Then today, I was in my "drafts." And I realized I just as well share it as keep it in a box for later. It may need a good bet of editing for clarity, but whatever.


Have you ever spoken to you child from another room, not in a shout, but still with enough volume that you could reasonably expect him/her to hear you? When doing so, have you ever not gotten a response? Me too. 

Lately, it has become somewhat troubling how easily they tune me out, especially when they're wearing headphones, and are relatively engrossed in something on a screen. It may be youtube, it may be a video game, or it may be a meaningless app like bejeweled blitz. Either way, they are missing the message. I speak their name louder... and louder... and eventually the message gets through. It's dinner time. I need you help with something. It's time to get ready for the ball game.  Any of the above messages should have been received the first time, but due to distractions, I had to repeat myself, again and again, with my simple instruction.

I can't help but feel like in this personification, we catch a glimpse of what is happening when there's a message that Heavenly Father is trying to tell us, but because of the distractions of this life, we are missing His message. We're instead focusing on something else that is keeping us from hearing our Heavenly Father's voice, which He is definitely sending, whether we are in tune to that message or not.


Different approach...

It's interesting. Naysayers is actually the perfect word. A naysayer, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is "one who denies, refuses, opposes, or is skeptical or cynical about something." 

The release of the new movie, "Meet the Mormons" while lovely and without guile in purpose, has opened the door to living, breathing cynicism - in this case by a man who claims that he, himself, is a Mormon. I truly believe he is. And I truly believe he has some work to do, as do we all. 

He says:

The trouble for me is that each of the stories is framed in that proper 1950s and ’60’s "Father Knows Best" or "Leave it to Beaver" format. Everyone is perfectly groomed. Any real frustration or natural craziness is hinted at rather than highlighted.

I say: Mmm-k. So you're saying you'd like to see more jeans in this picture.  Instead of the game of baseball, which is why I went to the ball field last week. Don't you think this would be a better picture, if I had focused on what was really "important."

He says:

"But something needs to be developed that shows the real us, the sort of Mormons you already know because we live next door and sometimes get on your nerves or even annoy the hell out of you. You can bet the LDS Church won’t do it. So just as soon as I can raise the funding, I’ll get busy producing the sequel: "Now Meet Real Mormons."
I say:

These real Mormons are a wonderful example to us of what I want to be. I am continually striving to grow in kindness, charity, understanding, hard work, physical health, forgiveness, love, and any other trait that is "of good report or praiseworthy." (See 13th Article of Faith) During the October 2014 General Conference, I heard time and time again, that the gospel of Jesus Christ is NOT given to us one time, at one service, through one sermon. We gain our light and knowledge line upon line, precept upon precept. In this case, examples of devout individuals, be they Mormon or any denomination or creed, have buoyed me up in my desire to learn and grow. I am not perfect. I am far from it. But by watching this movie, I am one step closer to my best self.

He says:

Actual church in "Meet the Mormons" was equally unreal compared to the church I attend. All the kids stayed in their seats and were reverent. People sat quietly waiting for the service to begin. Real Mormon church — especially in younger wards with lots of kids — sounds every bit as reverent and uplifting as branding bobcats.

I say:

Well darn. Can't please everyone. Especially you.

In conclusion. This movie is good for the soul. It is spiritual nourishment. A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will benefit from seeing it just as much as someone who is not.

6300 days

6300 days after I was born, Rodney Michael Steelman walked into my life.

AND... AND...

6300 days now, Rodney and I have been "together." 

What does this mean? It means I've had his companionship for exactly half of my life! This milestone just makes me so happy.

(Note: It's really close to the perfect half way point today. It actually happened back a few months ago, but today, I'm taking note of this milestone.)

So today, I wish to offer my deepest thanks to the powers that be, to God, to the universe, to all that is, for his presence in my life. 

Summer 2014 @ Harkers Island

One of my best friends Angie shared a song with me last week. She said, "Hey Leah - You'd really like this song. Have a listen. It's called Agape by Bear's Den." Angie was right. 

Agape is a very specific type of love. Link to an explanation that elaborates on it way better than I could hope to:

On wikipedia, I discovered "Agape has been expounded on by many Christian writers in a specifically Christian context. C. S. Lewis, in his book The Four Loves, used agape to describe what he believed was the highest level of love known to humanity – a selfless love, a love that was passionately committed to the well-being of the other."

To quote a line from the chorus of this newly discovered song: "I don't want to know who I am without you." This is exactly how I feel. When Rodney is with me, everything is ok.  Actually, everything is better than ok. It's just right. It's not always sunny and 70 degrees, but still, it's just right. That's how it's been for 6300 days, and I can't wait for what is to come for the next 6300, an on into eternity. I love you so much, Rodney Michael Steelman. #SteelLove #ForeverAndEverAmen