Uh, it’s all just so hard…
"I like the word 'indolence'. It makes my laziness seem classy." --Bern Williams, programmer/consultant
What are my personal false gods/idols, eh?
More appropriately, the question is what AREN’T my personal false gods/idols?
If conveniently ignoring things that you don’t really like or agree with and pretending they don’t apply to you counts as putting things above God, then I’m the leader of the pack. I should start my own support group. I find a rationalization for not doing (or doing, as the case may be) EVERYTHING.
R-Rated movies? Well, some of them DO have artistic value. Or are just amazing by any standards. Anyone seen America Beauty, for example? The Life of David Gale (I thought I was going to DIE when I saw this one--it’s SO good!) Or Fight Club, which may not have any artistic value to it but it’s just so freaking good I can’t stand it? Yeah, I disobey the counsel on this one.
Tattoos? I have two. And am going in for a 3rd. Any reason? No. I just like them. And I think they are cool. Again, not following counsel.
Making out? Uh, duh. Although I’m not sure too many people follow the counsel on this one.
Judging people? You bet--but I mean, really, if you are going to go out of your house in a plaid shirt paired with your best leggings that give you a HUGE wedgie and walk around in public where everyone can see you, isn’t it only natural that I wonder “What on earth was that person thinking?” This one, however, I think I’m ok on, since it clearly says in 3 Ne 14:2 and Matt 7:2, “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” So I figure I’m ok on this one, since I’d never die in a bad ensemble and when I get to HF, He’ll look at my track record and say, “Judges on attire and shoe choice…well, you are wearing a really nice pair of Steve Madden silletos and those are some slamming jeans…paired with a GREAT top! I judge you based on your attire--way to go!”
Swearing? For a girl, I’ve got one durrrty mouth! I’m not going to lie! I could make a houseful of frat boys blush. And I revel in it…I think it makes me funny. Hmm…a good LDS doesn’t use inappropriate language like that, but I sure do.
Dirty jokes, Cosmo magazine, immodest halter tops and cleavage-revealing shirts, extreme love of money, a deep love of rap/hip-hop music with as many sexual references and swear words as it can have, inappropriate dancing, breaking the Sabbath to go swimming at the lake, etc, etc, etc…The list goes on and on.
Realistically, I know that all these things obviously chip away at my relationship with my HF, since I know the counsel on these things and I choose to ignore it. Why on earth do I constantly choose to ignore counsel, hence placing things of the world above the Lord’s wishes?
I’m very much an “of the world” Mormon, even when I’m not trying to be. I grew up with an insanely liberal mom who went through stints of going to church and not going to church. She doesn’t even know all the rules and counsel on things that the Church lays down (for example, when I told her that you weren’t supposed to masturbate, her jaw dropped and she said, “What?! Are we made of stone?! That’s just ridiculous!”). So, I internalized these sort of lackadaisical ideas about following church counsel. It wasn’t uncommon for my mom to crack open a beer after work on Saturday and then go to church on Sunday. Conveniently ignoring things.
Really, my personal false gods and idols are periphery things. Things that in my opinion aren’t hugely important, other than that I’m being disobedient. I obey the WoW and try to pay my tithing. I attend my meetings, engage in intellectual conversation about the church, and try to do my best when it comes to things that I quantify as “big” things. The little things, though…I let those slide.
There are many reasons why I choose to ignore the little things. It’s a product of my upbringing, for sure. It’s also my way of thumbing my nose at authority and being rebellious in safer ways than doing drugs or whatever. I mean, TAKE THAT, Church leaders! I will totally watch that boob scene in Titanic and I will not avert my eyes!
It’s also probably because I’m lazy. And those things take effort. Not a ton, but honestly, I’m supremely lazy. I mean, really, do I have to flip over the DVD cover to see if it’s rated-R? And honestly, why should I hunt around for something else to do on a Friday when everyone I know is already going to the club down the road to engage in closer-than-a-quad dancing to music that is highly inappropriate? And do I really want to think of a bunch of silly phrases to say instead of swearing? Nah--too much work.
Not that any of this is an excuse. It’s my own admission of my lazy reluctance to do what I’m supposed to do. And I think most people have their things that they just don’t want to do, for whatever reasons. And isn’t that part of the point of this life? To look at all that stuff that is soooo much fun, soooo convenient, or soooo much easier and then suck it up, to prove your obedience to the Lord and your faith in His ways? I doubt I’ll ever understand what’s so inherently terrible about an eyebrow piercing or a tattoo, but I’m sure I’ll eventually understand that by following the counsel on this, my life will be blessed. Arguably less pretty and decorated, but blessed none the less. And that’s called growth. And that’s a good thing.