An Insider's Look at Mormon Culture

Worthiness

I asked my Relief Society visiting teachers not to present the lesson while they visited this week. I explained that I had read it and not found it relevant. The “senior companion” proceeded to give the lesson regardless. I do admire her dedication. And I did find one point of the August lesson with which I agree. I think we should all live worthy of worshipping and being in God’s presence—however we define God.

Of course, my definition of worthiness differs from the standard Mormon temple recommend interview.  While I believe that God cares that we are honest in our dealings with our fellow human beings and have good relationships with family members, I’m not so sure He cares much about some of the other items on the checklist. In fact, since we’re all so different—and so good at rationalizing—I’m pretty sure the same list doesn’t work for everyone on a meaningful level.

What works for me is to examine my own mind through meditation. To check out my real, sometimes hidden, reasons for my beliefs and actions. To see if my ego is on a rampage. I really like the Big Mind philosophy taught by Genpo Roshi at the Salt Lake Zen Center. I have also found practicing with Michael Mugaku Zimmerman Sensei rewarding.

I don’t maintain a personal checklist of things I should and should not be doing because that technique—like New Year’s Resolutions—has never worked for me. But when something bothers me, I find peace through meditation. Although I’m not particularly good at meditating, sometimes I’m able to address an emotion such as fear or anger—acknowledge and accept it—then find a way to deal with it constructively.

 My method does not provide me with a card proving my worthiness. And it doesn’t convince my visiting teacher that I don’t need her instruction. But that may be my ego talking.

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