I should probably be in bed right now, but I had some thoughts that I really wanted to share and hopefully get some feedback on. I have a lot of pet peeves in life, things that just rub me wrong for whatever reason, but one of the bigger pet peeves I have is in church when RMs share "The Mission Story." I wouldn't say that the story is necessarily bad, or I dislike it, but the few guys who share it to grab attention as to how great a missionary they were or how righteous they are have ruined it for me for good. I had an unbelievable two years serving in Ukraine, and I would never, EVER, trade that experience for anything, but at the same time, I have realized that my mission was different from so many others. I was a first counselor in a small branch in Nikolayev, Ukraine, for nine months. There were times when the only priesthood holders at sacrament meeting were the missionaries and when we had to share impromtu talks for about half an hour because whatever member that was supposed to speak didn't show up, or we simply didn't have anyone left to speak. These oddities or rarities led me to learn a great deal about HOW the church is run, proper order and procedure, and in turn I think has ruined so much of Mormon society for me. I was reading a blog tonight where the female writer was perturbed that the Home Teachers had not asked her to assign someone to pray. I can relate to being the unnoticed one in life, despite being abnormally large in size for all my life, people, and more notably girls, have ignored me all my life, but I disagree with her on this instance. Men were set as the head of the household for a reason, and women were given to them to assist in the decision-making process. It has nothing to do with holding women back or anti-feminism, but it has to do with following the natural order God has set forth. I'm not good at keeping commandments, but that is more because I lack discipline as opposed to me being defiant to commandments. I do, however, understand that God has an order, and upsetting that order leads to confusion and disarray. Any of the recent Gay marriage debates or the rise in divorce rates are strong indicators of this, in my opinion. It is this lack of understanding of how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints works that I have a hard time overlooking. So many people make commentary or negative remarks about a certain principle or technique, and really miss what the point of what we are doing is, and that is learning. God doesn't need everything to be perfect, he needs us to learn, and part of learning includes making mistakes, but also knowing what the proper response or procedure is in a given situation. I have a major pride issue, i.e. I'm overly prideful, and I have seen myself over and over make these same sorts of assumptions. Realization of this has caused me some pain, but in turn, has helped me to better understand that everything has a reason and just because we don't know it doesn't make it wrong. Its late, so I'm not sure that makes sense, but I at least know what I am trying to say.
As long as I am ranting, another thing that bothers me is how so many people make church into their social life. Religion at its core was developed to provide people with support, but I think too many people abuse it as their primary means and support. I know not everyone is the social butterfly that I am, but it may surprise some people to learn that being social and open and conversational is actually hard for me to do, and that at my very core I am a shy person. I am seriously grateful for what I have been given in life because of my membership in the church, but I see these things happening, and it makes me sad because I feel like the true spirit of the gospel is being lost here. It shouldn't be something hard to fix, either. I'm not saying I'm the one to fix it, but I won't be the guy that pipes up in Elder's quorum to say, "I remember back on my mission..."