Because Today You Don't Feel Mormon

Because Today You Don’t Feel Mormon

My friend looked at me from across a table with complete honesty as he slowly put together a string of words to tell me that he felt he could no longer be Mormon.

“You’re the first friend I have told.” He said and waited for my reply.

The next few seconds were a blur as I thought about my good friend and others like him. There is so much I wanted to say that I couldn’t express at the moment. So I ran home and wrote a letter to all the people I love so much who at some point or another have confessed something similar and with heavy hearts waited for me to say something.

To you:

Dear friends,

Nothing has changed. Not since yesterday. Not since years ago when we became friends. I think you are just as funny, just as smart, and just as capable of being happy as you have always been. I think you are strong to say how you feel. I think you are brave to search for answers that are significant and intimate to your life and situation.

I once heard a Rabbi tell this story:

I remember my student saying to me, “Rabbi Hartmen. I want you to know, but don’t get upset with me, I’ve become an aethiest.“

I said, “When did you become an aethiest?”

He said, “Wednesday.”

“Oh boy that’s a remarkable thing. What were you Tuesday? You were a believer right? And what happened on Thursday?” I said.

“Is there any difference between the way you lived when you were a believer and when you became an atheist?”

And that’s the criteria for me.

Labels and titles don’t define us. Our actions do.

In Matthew 7:20 it says, “By their fruits ye shall know them.”

You would have helped me yesterday, the same way you would help me today.

And I love you the same way today, that I loved you yesterday.

You aren’t the first to wake up not feeling Mormon, Jewish, Atheist, Agnostic, Christian, Muslim, or Buddhist. Our faith is a wave that pulls our souls in directions we sometimes don’t anticipate at different times in our lives.

And you have been there for me when it has pulled at mine.

I remember when you hugged me when I broke down in tears in a church parking lot. You were gay, I was anxious and we both felt like we didn’t belong there that day.

I remember the time we laid on the Idaho grass with the sun in our faces while we tried to figure out life. You were homeless and heavenless but we held on to each other.

I remember the first time I taught Sunday School and you sat in the second row telling jokes to break the ice so I wouldn’t be so nervous.

I remember the day I knew God existed, because you answered a prayer that was so unique and timely to my desperate circumstance.

And I remember the day I cried on the couch because I couldn’t find the answer to a question and I didn’t know what I was. You held my face in your hands and said you would love me either way.

This letter is to many friends, not just one. Because you aren’t alone. And because we need each other regardless of our circumstance, level of faith, or type of religion.

I am grateful for you as a friend. No matter what you are. Because you have loved me when I needed you most and to know you is to know God.

Whatever God or overwhelming happiness you believe in.

Carly Bird

Image: Cannon Kangaroo

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  • Reply Emily H. May 1, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    This is a beautiful post Carly. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Emily May 1, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    Carly, great post. Very insightful, mature and honest. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply R Kelly May 1, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    I like your line, “to know you is to know God.” I think when we know each other, we have a stronger, deeper appreciation for life and people around us and think of people as more than their labels – whether that be the surly customer service rep or the driver that just rear-ended you. Perhaps the essence of Godliness is gratitude, and we can only appreciate others when we know them.

  • Reply Jim May 2, 2014 at 4:33 am

    I like this. My oldest brother just married another man. It is hard, but he is my brother and I love him. He is one of the greatest person I know.

    I agree with what you said about people still being the same lovable and good natured people the day after, the week after, or even years after they have changed their belief in God.

    You are right, titles and labels do not define us. However, our deepest held beliefs certainly define our actions, decisions, routines, our lifestyle, our personality, our character, and ultimately, our very nature, over time.

    Even though we all have struggles, it is up to us to believe in The Christ who died for our sins and paid for our struggles no matter what they may be. Even being gay. Encourage your friend to remember Christ and to be like him. There is no other way but through him. And He looks upon the heart. Christ know and loves your friend even more than you do. :) thanks for the post

  • Reply Vicki Johnson May 3, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    I wanted to tell you how much this post touches my heart. It feels like we have been thinking about similar things. Thank you for writing this. I believe it will lighten burdens and lift up heavy hands.

  • Reply J Tiberend May 3, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    I am a convert to the church who had been married in the temple to a very wonderful gal. We both had our issues. But, our marriage lasted only 10 years. And, we the most wonderful daughter to show for it. But, I still try to be active though I still have my issues. But, this was the most beautiful and mature look at how we do label ourselve. Whether as an active, less active, or even “jack” Mormon. At the time of my divorce, I was just so depressed and full of anger.I wish that I could have been more mindful at the time. But, I have been blessed to get back to being as active as I can right now. God has blessed me with much even though I can’t always see it at times. Thank you!

  • Reply Lyn May 3, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    Thank you, 1.000 times, thank you!

  • Reply Matt May 3, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    Beautifully, beautifully put! This is exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you!

  • Reply Megan May 4, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    I love this!! Beautifully worded.

  • Reply Katie Wade-Neser May 5, 2014 at 2:55 am

    More people need to be like Carly Walker. Thanks for the beautiful, beautiful post dear friend.

    • Reply Carly Walker May 20, 2014 at 6:10 pm

      Thank you Katie. Did you happen to see the mentors section on my blog? You are on it. (: Love your blog keep writing.

  • Reply Gina Marie Rango June 15, 2015 at 8:25 pm

    I love this, and I love you.

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