Please don’t pity me

A while back Jon brought my attention to a blog post by a woman from a part member family. The last point was to not feel sorry for her her life, since she is not married to a member of the church.

Lately I feel like I’ve been pitied, but not in the ‘ah I feel so bad way’, but in ‘you are so strong in your faith way’. I know it might sound ungrateful, but some of the comments I’ve received I feel are derived from the fact that Jon is not an active member of the church. If I was married to an active temple worthy member, going to the temple by myself would be no big deal, but since I have a husband who is not an active member, I’m seen as a pillar of strength and faith.

I guess it comes from wanting to be a normal member of the church and I don’t want to be seen as different. I know there are times where I do want that attention or to be given special consideration, but overall I am the same as everyone else, it’s my husband who is different.

I sometimes forget my that my husband is not like other priesthood holding members of the church. When teaching a lesson and the subject of eternal marriage came up, I was more concerned about my sister and how she felt, than myself, even though we’re in similar boats, only she chose to marry outside the church and I did not, and she is not active in the church, and I am. Being an active, temple worthy member, I still feel that I am entitled to the same blessings as every temple worthy couple. I still feel support from Jon to allow me to practice my faith, though it is very different than him participating in my faith with me.

I guess I don’t see myself as so different than others within the church.

Sometimes I appreciate the words of comfort telling me I’m strong in my faith and that particular person admires me for what I’m doing. Mostly I feel that a person pities the situation I’m in and is glad they’re not me. I don’t want pity. I just want to be seen as the same.

This thought came up because I was asked to give a talk in church for this coming Sunday. It’s about eternal marriage-my part. The bishopric member who asked me to give the talk because he felt that I could give inspiration to others that are not married, widows, or in a part member family. He also expressed that I seem to be strong in my faith etc. I expressed my concern that not a lot of people know my situation, so I’m wondering how I can help those he wants me to when they might still see me as married to a worthy priesthood holder. He said I wasn’t needing to explain my situation necessarily but just focus on how an individual is responsible for themselves in the eternal realm, since we only have agency over ourselves.

I’m not sure how I’m going to approach the topic. I’m speaking as the opening speaker to a high councilman so I don’t have to take up a huge amount of time and I was only asked today, in which I have 7 table runners to finish by Wednesday and then a lesson to prepare for class this Sunday. I work well under pressure. In fact I’m sure even if I had two weeks to work on the talk and no table runners to make I would only get to it the week before and really start writing a few days ahead. In this case I just have two things to worry about, with teaching the lesson, but I’ve given talks on days I’ve had to give lessons before.

I’m just not sure how I’m going to connect to those he wants me to connect with without telling my plight, though I fear getting overly emotional and the focus being on my “sad” circumstances rather than inspiring others to focus how to be a good member of the church and how to work on being an member of an eternal family when you’re not sealed to another person.

I’m just not sure what to do.

4 Responses to “Please don’t pity me”

  1. Jonathan Blake Says:

    For my part, I don’t like the idea that you should be pitied for being married to me. If I beat you and the girls or slept around, I could understand. I’m doing my best to be a good husband and father, and yet I have become a burden, a “trial and tribulation” to be overcome.

    This prejudice that a faithful Mormon spouse is better than any other kind is one reason people leave the church. I have heard several ex-Mormons report that the uncharitable or insensitive way that their marriage to a non-Mormon or inactive Mormon was handled by ward members helped them to leave.

    One such woman was asked to bear witness to a group of young women how much she regretted marrying a non-member. She loved her husband deeply yet felt that the church demanded that she deny her love. To be loyal to the church’s teachings, she felt expected to deny how good a husband and father he was. She had to teach children in primary that her family wouldn’t be eternal. I think, in the end, she couldn’t believe that God would separate her good family, so she began to doubt the other things she heard at church.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that compassionate LDS members need to pay more attention to the tension and pain that “part-member” families feel when they are made to feel somehow less-than.

    I would also question the assumption that LDS marriages are better. According to one study, LDS marriages fail about as often as the general population—and 14% more often than atheist/agnostic marriages I might add. 😉 On average, any given LDS marriage appears to be no better than any other.

    Anyway, I just want people to stop assuming that our family life is a source of suffering.

  2. Carolyn Says:

    Tim tells me all the time he prays for Derek and me to go to the temple one day. I think people who are happy want you to be as happy as they are. People who are sad want you sad too.

    I don’t pity you and I know it would be hard for you to tell me I can’t have an eternal marriage. I know what you believe and I love that you want me as happy as you are. I also like how you don’t throw it in my face. I know my parents are disappointed in me and it’s something I’ve learned to live with. You need to realize it’s not always pity, that some people probably are at awe with you, knowing that they wouldn’t or couldn’t do it on their own. Maybe it’s more jealousy then pity? 😉

  3. Lacey Says:

    Carolyn,

    I am happy and I know you are.

    I know that if I make it to the Celestial Kingdom I may not be with Jon, and some believe I definitely would not be with him, especially if he were to die without changing his perspective.

    I know some members find comfort in believing they will be with their spouse, the one the love the most, if they make it to the Celestial Kingdom. that is a key focus in the LDS religion. I use to think that also. Now I find comfort in trying to do my best and knowing that whatever the outcome, all will be well.

    I love you and you are one of the best sisters I could have while I go through this time in my life.

  4. andrea Says:

    I don’t think you need to bring up your family situation in your talk and that you don’t need to worry about addressing a particular group in your talk. I think you should just focus on how both partners need to give 100% in a marriage. Both need to be understanding and willing to grow and change with one another. We need to live the best we can and then are rewarded accordingly. I think it’s pointless to worry about the next life. If you are doing something for the wrong reason, then should you really be doing it? I think it’s better that Jonathan doesn’t act like he’s an active Mormon (by having a calling, etc.)

    I wish you luck with your talk.

    I just want my family to be happy. Yes, to be completely honest, I would like them to have the potential of an eternal marriage. But, getting married in the temple and going to church aren’t guarantees that marriage and life are perfect. Heck, I’ve been having trouble feeling happy with my life lately even though there are so many things that I think I am doing “right.” It’s important to find balance and meaning in life regardless of what you choose to do on your sabbath.