The LDS church teaches perfection. They teach members to pattern their lives after Christ and to live their lives worthy of the Savior's Sacrifice; to think like Him, to act like Him, and to be like Him. I completely disagree with this teaching. Since Christ is the Only Perfect Person, they are striving for perfection. It may not be a direct doctrine, but it is expected. What you do and how you act is preached over a love for Christ. Now I know why I came across as holier-than-thou for so many years. It was through no fault of my own since I was trying so hard to get to the celestial kingdom by living a sinless life as Christ did. So naturally, I would judge others for their sins not even realizing I had plenty of my own. The fact is we can't be and never will be sinless, and He has always known that!
No one is perfect except Christ, and no one should expect us to be perfect. God certainly does not expect us to be sinless, and that's exactly why Christ died on the Cross. He made that sacrifice for us because He loves us so much. He has always known that each one of us are sinners regardless of how hard we try to 'live our life worthy of His sacrifice.' He knows and has always known we would make mistakes and not be perfect as He is. There is no striving for perfection in Christianity; just striving to love Him with our entire being without overwhelming ourselves or trying to fulfill impossible expectations. Just by believing in Christ makes us worthy of His Sacrifice. It is a free gift He has given all of us, and all we have to do is accept it! That is how much He loves us. Any other teaching of this is not giving Christ the Praise and Glory He deserves.
--LDS believe all will be resurrected, not just those that believe in Christ, and I also disagree with this teaching. Unfortunately, many will not accept His free gift. I am pretty sure I would not get a free gift from Someone that I did not believe in, but I certainly could be wrong.
One of my main reasons for resigning is my children. I could never expect my children to be perfect, and I know they will make mistake after mistake. I do not and never will expect them to live the life that I am living, just as Christ does not expect us to live our life as He lived His. I expect my children to live their lives for themselves, be who Christ made them to be, and learn from their own mistakes -- another reason I was unable to force the church on them. What kind of mother would I be if I tried to protect them from making mistakes? What kind of mother would I be if I taught my children that they must live their lives 'worthy of the Savior's Sacrifice' or they would not make it to God and me in heaven? I would not be giving them the full experience of learning for themselves through the mistakes I know they will make. I will ALWAYS forgive them for the mistakes they do make, no matter how big their mistake is or how many times they make the same mistake - or any mistake. I certainly do not expect my own children to think like me, act like me, or be like me. Why would God feel any differently? He wouldn't. He feels the exact same way about every one of us as we feel about our own children! Except He loves us infinitely more than we love our own children. He does not want us to think like Him, act like Him, or be like Him. He does not expect us to live sinless lives; just as we do not expect our children to live sinless lives. And just as we will always allow our children in our presence and in our home and accept them for who they are, He will always do the same for us!
We certainly do not need to earn our way into Heaven (God's home) just as my children will never need to earn their way into my home. And earning our way into Heaven is what the LDS church is all about. I never understood how that would not transfer over into my children feeling the need to earn their way into my home. The entire focus and emphasis of the LDS church is not what I am looking for or what I need for me or my entire family, especially my children. All I need is Christ - no middle man will be sufficient. I could never expect my children to earn my love, earn their way into my home or earn a free gift from me. Why would Christ?
I undoubtedly felt the church was trying to make me 'live a perfect life' as the Savior lived, and if I didn't live a perfect life, I would not be worthy enough to live with Him in heaven. Every time I made a mistake--and trust me, I make lots of them,--I felt like I was falling farther and farther away from the celestial kingdom and in essence, God.
For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
A very good friend told me we must be held accountable for our sins. However, that is what the law is for. That's not what religion is for. Christ died for our sins and that is good enough for me!
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
--As a mormon, I had definitely fallen from grace. I was trying so hard to make my good works outweigh my faults.
1 John 1:8-9
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Many LDS women are trying to be perfect; I was one of them. Some may think it is not preached that way, but it certainly is felt and understood that way. What you wear, what you do, what you eat, what you drink, how you dance, what you say, what you read, what you listen to, what you watch, how you act, where you go, who you are friends with, etc. you are expected to be 'worthy' and better than the rest.
The Bible tells us there is no expectation of being sinless. The expectation is to love our enemies, pray for those who hurt us, and show love to all. I was not taught this when I was a member, because I was trying so hard to be sinless. I was so wrapped up in myself and trying to reach the celestial kingdom that I wasn't even thinking of others.
During my lifetime, I have attended several Christian Churches. I can speak for those churches by saying that guilt, expectation, weakness, and perfection were not issues. I can say I did not have judgmental feelings in any of those churches. I can say not one of those churches claimed to be the only true church. I can also say not one of those churches said they have the full truth and all the other churches are an abomination. They are just so happy you are there to worship and you accept Christ as your Savior. If by some chance I ever felt not good enough, then I would leave that particular church and find a new one. This is something you are not allowed to do in the LDS church. You are told where you will worship.
--Churches are called wards. Wards are zoned like schools, so where you live determines where you will worship. You are not allowed to search for a new ward. You worship where they tell you to worship.
I know the LDS church does not have to be miserable and depressing. However, mormonism has been proven to have a high depression rate in women. That is not something to blink an eye at and I suppose I used to fit in that statistic. Sometime within those seven years that I was a member, I lost myself in the church. I became somebody that I'm not. I became what the church wanted me to be. I became somebody that no longer had the Spirit of Christ guiding my life. I became a horrible, judgmental, miserable, unreasonable person with depression and anxiety. It took me resigning from the church to realize this, and that is very frustrating to me. Please don't misunderstand me; I am truly grateful for this journey. But I was extremely angry for a long time for allowing myself to become a 'molly mormon.'
After doing an internet search on depression statistics in the church and mormon depression, my heart aches for many people. I know exactly what they are going through.
When I was lost as a member, these were the questions I would get...are you praying enough...are you paying a full tithe...are you attending the temple often enough...are you reading your scriptures with a sincere heart...when is the last time you read the book of mormon...Just turn to the church and everything will be okay. It was all about me and what I was or was not doing. I don't think so! That's exactly what I did and that's when I lost myself in the church. I need a church with the first question being...How is your relationship with Christ...instead of what are you doing or not doing to make it to God. There is absolutely nothing I can do to be 'worthy.' However, I can do all things through Him.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
--I cannot do anything on my own without Him. And I need a 'church' that teaches me and my children that exact doctrine. I need a 'church' where we hear 'Jesus Christ' more than we hear 'Joseph Smith.' I need a 'church' where we hear 'Love' and 'Relationship' instead of 'testimony.'
1 Corinthians 3:6
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.
--God makes it grow. The church was not allowing me to grow. I was at a spiritual stand still headed backwards.
As a member, I never knew if I was going to make it to the celestial kingdom. This was entirely too much pressure. I had no desire to put my children through that same pressure. As a Christian, I have absolutely no doubt that I will be in heaven with God and my entire family, and that is such a comforting feeling! I am full of peace and certainty now and this is something I never had as a mormon.
My unanswered question was:
Why am I trying to live a life as Christ lived when He will always be the only Perfect Man who has ever lived?--especially since Satan was cast out of heaven for trying to be like God.
I was initially devastated when I received this answer that I will never be even close to sinless and should never try to be, yet overjoyed to find the truth that never again do I have to feel 'not good enough.' I am so happy with the person God made me to be and I certainly do not need a church to guide my life or tell me who I should or should not be!