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JUDE - I am a single mum of 2 girls (now grown into beautiful women) whom I am very proud of.
As a young girl I was made go to church (non-LDS). I think it was just an excuse to get my sister and myself out if the house so mum and dad could have some free time to themselves.
It really didn't mean that much to me then. To me a bunch of do gooders on a Sunday trying to make out they were something they were not was not my idea of being a so called "Christian".
However I endured the few hours for my parents sake. Well my mum actually, my dad was a self professed atheist or so he thought he was.
I just found it awfully strange that us kids had to go to church but my parents didn't. Mmmmm Never did understand that.!!
Mum always said that the women gossiped and that she went a few times but decided then that church wasn't for her. I guess you'd call it 'church bullying'.
So I guess the grounding was there all along. Just hadn't realized it yet.
It wasn't until I married and had children of my own that I actually wanted that grounding that I had when I was a child.
Both my children attended church schools and services.
Mind you it was all the hands up hallelujah stuff and praise the Lord stuff that use to get me. Now I thought... Are you all crazy or aren't I just getting this religious stuff?
And talk about a snake pit!!! It was ripe with all kinds of not so good "Christian Values". Talk about desperate housewives. It was like going to a soap opera every Sunday. Not the same people during the week that's for sure.!!
I was starting to think Mmmmm maybe my mum was right.
So we attended for a few years.... Well until my girls finished school. Then they got to decide which and what church they felt comfortable with.
So I stopped going because I decided well if God wants me to go to church he better find one for me without all the pretense and drama.
Many years past and one day I had a knock at the door from 3 very cheery young ladies from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I hadn't heard of them before, so as the warm and friendly person that I am I invited them in to my house.
Wow!! It was a real awakening for me and that hole that had been void for so long was suddenly filled with a peace I could never describe.
We watched a DVD. I think it was called the Resurrection of Christ.... Well the floodgates truly opened....tears welled in my eyes.
They asked me if I understood it and would I like to have a few lessons. I did and was baptized soon after.
My world from then on changed or so I thought.!
I was fresh and new but did not have the true understanding of the Word of God and lacked true teachings and after the missionaries left I was not given support and was wide open to vulnerability.
I was sucked in after that by many people who took advantage of my good nature and kindness who were unfortunately in the church, people who I thought would care and nurture me. I was wrong. I lent money to them and did not ever pay me back. They told lies about the reason they needed the money and I lost thousands of $$$ to people who I thought were friends. Friends that I thought I could trust. People that I loved unconditionally. I felt betrayed and felt belittled.
Don't get me wrong I was just a very hard working mum that had a steady career and good work ethics. I was no means a millionaire. But I gave if a person had a desperate need.
In spite of this happening I continued to go to chapel every Sunday and was a very active member of the church and was given many callings.
My youngest daughter to my delight joined the church and decided to go on her mission.
That was a very hard thing to do for any mother with a daughter to see their children take on something as selfless as becoming a missionary.
What a leap of faith! And not being able to contact her was horrendous. It was like pieces if my heart had broken.
Unfortunately it was short lived and she became extremely sick.
The mission president would not allow her to come home and was going to get an American Dr. To come and see her, but they left it too long and she was getting worse.
She broke the cardinal rule and rang me from a pay phone and said "mum I want to come home I am really very sick".I know my daughter and I knew she would not be making it up. She sounded awful over the phone. I ended up calling the Mission President and said if you don't get my daughter on a flight by the next day I will be coming over there to pick her up myself. I was furious to say the least!
He had the Gaul to say "oh she is just putting it on.... It's not that serious. Its just a cold. Some 3 weeks later... She arrived home. Very very ill to the point if collapse.
I immediately took her to our Doctor who examined her and said she has to go to hospital ASAP.
Her breathing was erratic and her skin was yellow and her temperature was 43. Very high!
She had pneumonia and a very bad chest infection and was in hospital for 2 weeks on strong anti biotics
After 4 months of steroids and anti-biotics she was finally getting better.
I do not blame the church for her illness however I do to this day have very little respect for this uncaring Mission President who couldn't have cared less for her well being.
Talk about Training Camp. It was more like brainwash school!!
The church sends our boys over to another country to spread the word of Our Saviour.
I have seen many a missionary come back very changed. Some come back with a great experience and others come back brainwashed unable to cope in our society again!!
And here's the thing ....... If you don't go to church for a while.... Most members don't want to know you or pretend you don't exist. It's only when you go back to church they are all over you again.
So is that what God would have done? Left his flock and not returned?
I don't think so!!
He would have never given up!
He is always there for us..... People aren't!
Is the church and it's followers Christian?
Mmmmm I'll let you work that one out.
A Christian to me is someone who loves Christ.
A Christian is a friend who comes when you are in need.
A Christian is someone who loves you unconditionally. Who calls you to see if you are ok.
A Christian is someone that makes you feel good about yourself and puts your needs first before theirs.
I hope I have shared a little light on the subject.
My thoughts and prayers are with you Always.
And I say this in the Wonderful Name of Jesus Christ
JOEL - Thank you for telling me your story. I am sorry that you had the misfortune to have to deal with a few bad experiences within the church.
I admire your courage and resolve to get your daughter home from her mission so she could be treated for her illness.
You asked "Is the church and it's followers Christian?"
My answer to that question is, Yes of course the Church or gospel of Jesus is the true gospel and is Christian and while it's members are technically called "Christians" there are many times when some don't act like it. Everyone has their own concerns and problems that they must cope with. Sometimes people get so caught up in their own life and problems that they forget to serve others.
I strongly agree with your deffinition of what a Christian should be and have seen those traits in many LDS members and close friends I have known over the years. I appreciate how strong your faith is in the face of trials and challenges.