It starts with the attitude that the rules and commandments found in the LDS church are really too strict and confining. I’m guessing that, at least some of the time, FOMO kicks in. After all, it certainly looks like the people who aren’t members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are having way more fun than we are!
Then I think this idea of being a “Bold Mormon” enters in. (Maybe it’s planted there by the enemy of all righteousness, but I’ll save that in case I need a topic for another post.) It could manifest as a member of the LDS faith deciding to take a drink or having a smoke with friends who don’t belong to the same faith. I could be wearing clothing that most church members would feel is immodest. It might even be publicly opposing a church policy or even a commandment given in the gospel.
The underlying attitude is pretty much the same: “I’m brave enough to buck the system.”
Sure, there are times when things need to be questioned, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints traces its founding back to a boy with a question.
In this case, though, what I see from my perspective is the claiming of the label “bold” to cover cowardice.
How bold is it really to do something to fit in with the crowd? How much courage does it take to publicize your doubts and rally other doubters to support you — especially in a culture where disbelief is fashionable? How strong do you have to be to dabble in “forbidden treasures” that you can’t seem to gather enough courage to walk away from?
To me, it all just looks like caving — and that’s exactly what any similar choice in my life has amounted to.
In my experience, trying to disagree without being disagreeable takes real guts. Holding on to higher standards when you face ridicule takes courage. Being willing to be left out of social events and circles because you don’t indulge in the same behaviors as the rest of the crowd takes true inner strength. Staying true when it hurts, when you wonder what else you might be missing, when you face the possibility of unflattering labels is a real Bold Mormon.
So, I ask myself
- Am I willing to stand for Christ, no matter what?
- Do I trust the spiritual experiences I have already had as evidence that God is who I have come to believe he is?
- Am I willing to reach out to Christ and to church leaders for help with my doubts, rather than secretly suspect them of hidden agendas?
- Is what I know through the witness of the Holy Ghost enough to hold on to when facing doubts?
- Can I wait for my answers? Am I willing to pray, read, and ponder in order to find them?
Am I willing to let Christ make me into a true Bold Mormon?