I've decided to start a new series on the blog, titled "What I Wish I'd Said In Church." Because there are often things I think of in church meetings that I don't get the chance to say, either because it doesn't really fit the message, or because the lesson moves on before I get a chance to comment. They'll be short ideas, not fully developed essays, but they'll give me a chance to write more often, which I hope will get me back in the habit. So here goes.
In a lesson on the Word of Wisdom:
"So, not drinking tea and coffee is great and all, but I really love the part of the Word of Wisdom that teaches us to eat fruits and vegetables in season, and to eat meat sparingly. I think the Lord had more than just Big Tobacco in mind when He warned of the "designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days" (v.4). There are an awful lot of junk food and food product producers in this world who are competing for our grocery dollar, and a lot of good Mormons who wouldn't dream of drinking coffee nevertheless eat lots of salty, fatty, sugary food products that industrial conglomerates have specially engineered to make appealing to us, even though they aren't good for our bodies. I know that I feel better when I eat food that remembers when it came from--and especially when my diet is mostly plants that are in season."
In a lesson on trials:
"I hear a lot of people say that God gives us the specific trials we need to help us grow. I'm not sure I believe that. I just don't see God running around making Amy-shaped holes in the sidewalk. In other words, I think most trials don't come from God. He didn't specially select them to remove some character deficiency. Life is messed up. Sometimes stuff just happens. Sometimes people are mean. Sometimes people get hurt, lost their jobs, leave their spouses, or die. Life is hard.
Another thing people say is that "trials make you stronger." I don't believe that either. I think trials make you weaker. They hurt. They grind you down. But even in trials, the Lord can give us strength and comfort. He can weep with us and lift us and bring us closer to Him. Trials don't make us stronger. Turning to God in our trials makes us stronger. The grace of Christ, when fully embraced, makes us stronger. But trials just kind of suck."