I so admire people who never seem to falter or struggle with things inside the church. These people are so stalwart, so true, so endlessly faithful, that they make living the gospel look easy.
I am not one of those people.
I struggle. I complain. I dislike culture, practices, doctrine, leaders...um... I will stop there. You get the idea.
I have always struggled. I have always wanted it to be different.
I have sat in Sacrament meeting and thought to myself, "What if I just got up and left, and didn't come back?" I have wrestled my own soul against things I'm being told and taught like a gladiator in the ring with a lion. I rarely win.
And yet. I stay. I go. I serve.
Because when I am able to see past the things that I feel hurt over, I am able to see that the rooms are full of God-loving, honest, kind humans who have a home in the church. I see people giving until it hurts. I see the love of the Savior in their countanances. I see Jesus in the folks of the church.
I also see Jesus in the pure and simple doctrines of the atonement, of the Book of Mormon, of the Bible, in the hymns.
I see it in a Bishop who was voluntold to accept the call. I see it in a Relief Society President who loves without ceasing. I see it in the primary teachers who show up week after thankless week. I see it in the nursery workers who loved my toddler into staying without complaint.
I can not change the "Church" at large. I can't NOT feel frustrated when I feel practices robbing the church of its gospel-goodness, (trust me, I've tried). But I can feel happy when things shift, when is good is done, when real Christian love is felt.
I choose to believe when leaders say in conference, "Brothers and sisters, we live in a mortal world with many songs we cannot or do not yet sing. But I plead with each one of us to stay permanently and faithfully in the choir, where we will be able to savor forever that most precious anthem of all—“the song of redeeming love.” (Jeffrey R. Holland, Songs Sung and UnSung, April 2017)
I cling to the Ninth Article of Faith that claims we don't know everything, and that it WILL be revealed someday. I know God's love extends more fully, boundlessly and faithfully than we can even begin to comprehend.
I can't speak to anyone else's issue, hurt, or grievance. I wouldn't pretend to know what you feel.
I will only say that I have found there to be more good than bad. I know people expect perfection from the church, especially the one that claims to be the "fulness of the gospel." I believe it is the absolute best there is, and I believe it is because of our own human failings that it isn't quite as full as we might want. All is not lost. There is more to come.
So, I stay. I love, I serve, I question, I doubt, I pray, I redouble my efforts, I teach my kids. It is an eternal round. I am committed though. I will stay in the choir. Even if I'm not able to sing the way *I* want, or the songs *I* like. I am here to sing and to listen.
Listening can be the hardest part when you want to sing so very badly. Jesus is the master though, so I am just watching Him while I wait.