Sunday, January 29, 2017

Being Perfect is Impossible - But that's OK

In my last blog post I got a lot of feedback from other exmormons, specifically about this comment I made, “telling anyone to try to become perfect is awful. It’s creates a horrible cycle of guilt and self doubt. Discovering I didn’t have to live for anyone except myself was so freeing. I can be who I want to be without worrying if I am perfect or not.” I realized I could write a whole blog post on just this.

My first bump picture, pregnant with Rose
every one assumed I would give her up. 
The Mormon Church teaches that you must try everyday to be perfect, and eventually become perfect to get into the best part of heaven. According to Mormons there are three levels of heaven and in the highest level there are three levels within that level. To get to the very top, you need to be baptized, married in the Mormon temple, and become perfect. Anything else is subpar. The other levels are almost talked about with an air of disgust around them. They are nowhere near as “glorious” as the top.

I have always found this incredibly intimidating. When I believed in an afterlife it was the only thing I thought about. I was told if I didn’t make it to the top I couldn’t be with my family. The Mormon Church is one of the few religions that actually teaches that families might not be together in the afterlife.

This is super stressful. There is a reason Utah is in the top 10 most depressed states. Telling someone they need to be perfect creates a cycle of guilt and self doubt. The cycle goes like this...

  1. You are told you need to become perfect.
  2. You try your best because the afterlife you get depends on it.
  3. You slip up, small or big it doesn’t matter, you’re not perfect.
  4. The guilt sets in.
  5. You repent.
  6. You do your best, but make the same slip up again, you’re human.
  7. The guilt sets in again but this time self doubt follows.
  8. The self doubt overcomes you, because no matter how hard you try, you always slip up, because being perfect is impossible.
  9. The guilt that your family will not be eternal weighs on your shoulders.

Then things start all over again back at number one. The cycle goes round and round and the only way to break it is to wonder what type of God is up there if there and if one even exists.

The adorable Rosalie. I love being a mom.
I am so glad I kept her. She was a few days old here.
I battled with this cycle throughout my entire youth. It was not until I made a “big slip up” that I began to wonder if there was a God. It was not until I didn’t want to repent. The mistake I made could not be erased and I didn’t want it to be. I got pregnant and within days someone from The Mormon Church’s LDS family services was at my parents’ house telling me what my options were. No one asked me what I wanted. And when my decision to keep my baby and work it out with her father was made clear, the guilting started. I got excommunicated from The Mormon Church, for not cooperating. My dad told me he was sad I was no longer a part of his eternal family. That was when I had my moment of clarity. What type of god would tell a father to tell his daughter after she dies they will never see each other again? What god would rip apart families because someone made a mistake and took a different path? It was then that I began to question if there was a god at all. If one did exist, he must be very cruel and sadistic.

It took a good while for me to realize I didn’t need to feel guilty for getting pregnant and wanting to keep my baby. It took me a long time to not feel guilty about “tearing my eternal family apart” because I didn’t. It took me a long time to not feel guilt for my family’s emotions. For some people after leaving The Mormon Church it takes them a long time to not feel guilty after having a glass of wine.

Feeling guilty all the time sucks. Oddly enough now that I have broken away from the cycle of failed perfection and guilt, I am much more honest with myself and everyone else around me. Now that I know all the things The Mormon Church says are bad, are actually normal, I don’t feel the need to lie about them. I don’t even remember the last time I told someone a white lie, because I don’t need to. I don’t feel guilty about my sex life, my sexuality, having an alcoholic beverage a few times a week, or even wearing a tank top (because yes, Mormons think shoulders are sinful).
Rose and me a days ago. Whenever I do my
make up she asks me to draw a heart on each hand.
I am glad I was excommunicated.
Living a life always wondering if you are good enough is not fun. I have realized there is no god, and I am much happier. I only have to be good enough for myself. The only time I feel guilty is when I cheat on a diet, or when I occasionally lose my shit and snap at my kids. It’s ok. I am myself every day. I don’t try to be anything I’m not. I am a perfectly imperfect Megan, warts and all.

I don’t think there is a man in the sky judging my actions. I do what makes me feel happy and proud. I do service because it makes me happy, not because it will earn me cookie points in heaven, or my religion tells me to. I live for the now because there is nothing after. I worry about making the world a better place because my children and grandchildren will live here.

Be yourself! It doesn’t matter what other people think! There is not an invisible magician in the sky judging you!

Thanks for reading!    

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