Thursday, May 30, 2013

What I Wish I'd Said In Church, Part 1

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."


  1. Oh, I wish you would have said that first comment IN church!! It's so true. It's a whole lot easier to run and not be weary when we are eating well, not just avoiding alcohol and illicit drugs. It is often mentioned in church that the commandments are not a buffet where we can pick and choose what we want - and that applies to all parts of the commandments! Yah, one more advocate for public health!!

  2. love this 100% Both comments. But especially the trials thought. So refreshing. I've been missing your POV, so now I can get it again! Thanks Amy :)

  3. Turning to God in our trials is absolutely what makes or breaks us. Trials will make you weaker if you don't turn to God, but otherwise mine have made me stronger with His help.

  4. I love both of these, but the second comment is especially thought provoking and inspiring to me as I prepare a talk for sacrament meeting about trials. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and please continue to do so!

  5. "Trials don't make us stronger. Turning to God in our trials makes us stronger." I completely agree. I have always had health problems but when I was 19 they got much worst. Now I have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and I am barely hanging on (with no work, no school, no independence and sometimes no movement at all). Even with Gods help. So thank you for understanding. Trials suck!

  6. One thing I don't like in the W.o.W. lessons is when they bring up how Joseph Smith didn't drink brandy when he had the surgery on his leg as a young boy. That that story should be some moral compass for us saying no to things that aren't good for our bodies. But we have no problems with the narcotics that are given to us when we have to have surgery in hospitals today...drugs that are more dangerous and even more addictive than brandy. Hospitals even send us home with them. I don't know what the moral lesson is in that story...That's something I wish I had said in church.

    I think your comments about trials are spot-on. When something difficult happens, we like to look for a reason why..."why did this happen and what do I need to learn from this?" Sometimes, there is no "why." Sometimes bad things just happen, and like you said, we need to turn to the Lord to gain strength, even if there is no understanding to be had. Thank you for your thoughts.

  7. This post really resonates with me! Thank you for your thoughtfulness and courage in posting these! Here's a thought: If you follow the Word of Wisdom, not just the "don'ts" but truly follow the SPIRIT of the law, could you be overweight? I submit that you would not be. So many people's drugs of choice like refined sugar, caffeine, etc. can be equally or more detrimental to health when they become addicted to them. I wonder when people will wake up and realize this!

    I also like your point "trials make you weaker". I guess we need to be weakened sometimes or "compelled to be humble" before we sometimes seek the Lord as we ought to. I do think that the Lord has custom-crafted our experience on Earth, down to every incident and trial, however, and that as Spencer W. Kimball has stated "we agreed to these trials before we were born".

    Keep up the lovely writing, I will keep you bookmarked!