Last night I asked a few members of our Relief Society book
group to read the first chapter of a novel I’m writing. It’s not the Deseret
Book “faith promoting” kind of Mormon novel, and I wanted to see if it
resonated with devout Mormons.
I handed out my manuscript and admitted I’d tried it on
several non-Mormon friends and found they have no interest in a Mormon book
that doesn’t bash the church. Lynn frowned and asked, “You don’t bash the
church, do you?”
I’m a nice person. Why would Lynn think I bashed the church?
The light clicked on later. I no longer attend church on a regular basis—and most
Mormons who cease regular activity do engage in some church-bashing. I must admit,
I’ve been given to a bit of snarky remarking on occasion, myself.
It occurs to me that the attitude of ridicule towards the
culture (which is a fair target) and the sacred (which is not), is pretty prevalent
among the disaffected. The fact that Mormon services no longer meet my needs
does not justify lack of respect for those who do find spiritual solace there.
So far, I struggle to find the balance between expressing my
own views and showing respect for those of others. Do I remain silent when
neighbors tell me they boycott the neighborhood grocery store because it now opens
on Sundays? Is it offensive to state my own preference for shopping on
less-crowded Sundays? My neighbors are willing to drive miles out of their way
to patronize a store which does not violate tenets of their faith. Surely, I
can reverence their honest commitment to beliefs I no longer share.