Confessions of a Mormon housewife.


 The stresses of being a faithful Mormon can be a tremendous burden. This is especially true for Mormon women. The underlying culture of the LDS Church is to create a facade of happiness. The LDS Plan of Salvation is also referred to as a plan of happiness. When a Mormon chooses to live righteously, to be valiant in upholding their covenant promises, and carefully follow the process of repentance, they may receive God's blessings of the forgiveness of sins. Happiness is an outpouring of being a faithful, obedient Mormon. It is a means to project the positives of the LDS Church to the non-LDS world.

To uphold the facade of happiness, a Mormon women must always look terrific in public, keep a clean house, have a happy, successful husband, maintain perfect children, teach lessons at Church, be involved in the Relief Society, maintain a journal, do temple work, work on genealogies, and keep a six-month supply of food. When feeling overwhelmed, a past Living Prophet once told women to go into the closet, close the door, and cry. Come out with a resolved, happy countenance. (To the Women of the Church, Gordon Hinckley, October, 2003)

The stresses eventually become too much. At one time, Truth in Love Ministry would receive a number of emails from stressed-out women looking for answers. Living in Idaho, we knew about the large number of LDS women taking anti-depressants and the high rate of teenage suicide throughout the state. This was especially true in eastern Idaho where there was a much higher percentage of Mormons. To provide an answer for the stress LDS women were receiving, we launched our first outreach campaign with five billboards in eastern Idaho. The billboards pointed LDS women to a website, to find answers for the stresses they were feeling.

Lately, the closed doors of trying to be perfect are starting to open. Women within the LDS Church seem to be having enough of its culture and are opening up about its stresses.

One example of the door opening is the recent report over the weekend on the staggering amount of drug use in the state of Utah. Lisa Ling of CNN News was shocked to learn that the LDS Church was beginning to open up and address the problem. (Click to read an article from Salt Lake Tribune about the CNN program.)

On the CNN blog site, a Mormon woman wrote about the amount of drug abuse in an article entitled, "Confessions of a Mormon housewife." (click to read) While recovering from an undisclosed illness, she was beginning to see the LDS Church in a new light. "I was beginning to realize that I was living in a culture of attaining perfection. And I started to wonder, why do so many Mormon women strive for perfection." Yet, this same woman accepted this stress as part of a proud Mormon heritage. She was attempting to reinterpret what it means to be a strong Mormon woman in today's culture.

Perfection is part of the LDS Church culture. I believe it is here to stay because the process of becoming perfect is the essence behind the teachings of Mormonism. The religion of Mormonism is not about worshipping God, its about becoming a god [eternal life] and having an eternal family. This is only possible when a person "divinely progresses" by their persistent obedience toward exaltation.

True hope is contrived when deep down you know that you will never become perfect enough to meet the demands of the Church. True peace is elusive. To be an active Mormon means playing a part in order to be accepted in the culture of the Church.

While the LDS Church is trying to correct a very troubling problem with drug addiction, our hearts go out to those who are struggling with addiction. This also presents an opportunity for Christians to put an arm around the shoulder of an LDS friend and ignore the facade of happiness. Recognize their stresses and build a bridge of trust by being a real, trusted friend. Share the biblical message that we cannot appease a God by our works, but share that by faith alone, we receive the benefits of what Christ has already done for us on the cross.

The gospel of Jesus Christ will not instantly cure any stress-related ailments, but it will provide a starting point of peace by knowing the secure status of being completely forgiven in Christ.

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