In true LadyMo fashion, I went on a fake temple trip to Winter Quarters for a trial run. I’ll explain.
I moved to my new ward in Olathe mid February. My first Sunday in O3W was MoBoy’s last Sunday (he would be transferred the following Thursday), and it was a little stressful for me. For the months preceding my move to Olathe, I effectively kicked MoBoy out of my learning process. Even though he was a missionary for the church, and through him I found the church, I had to keep “him” and “church” in two different boxes. And I did a pretty good job of it, if I do say so myself.
I didn’t do a good job of preparing myself for those two worlds colliding, however. Going to church with him (not with him, but with him there) was such a confusing day. I wanted to be there, but I didn’t want to be there with him. It made me question my motivations and seeing him was just so distracting. I couldn’t focus and I was weird.
He knew it, too. After Sunday School and before Relief Society, he stopped me in the hallway. He told me that something was different about me and wanted to make sure I was okay. I loved that he knew me well enough to know that something was wrong. I hated that I thought he was part of the reason something was wrong. We used that “eyeball” communication with which we try to read each other’s mind without actually saying anything, and I’m pretty sure he got it. With “eyeball” communication, I did tell him to stop trying to read my mind because I wouldn’t be able to answer his question until December (when he is released). Only a few words were actually exchanged (MoBoy: What’s wrong? LadyMo: I can’t tell you), but we both pretty much knew everything that couldn’t be said.
(Of course, this could be completely made up, but it’s at least what my eyeballs were trying to communicate.)
Even though I didn’t want him to go, I prayed he would be transferred. And he was. Awesome. Moving on.
The next few weeks were wonderful. I learned so much, I met amazing people, and I started to feel comfortable in this new world. Each week, without the distraction of MoBoy, I felt my testimony growing stronger. ‘Twas awesome. (Open note to MoBoy: please understand what I mean by that…)
Each Friday afternoon, I met with the Sister missionaries in Lawrence. We talked about the things we did that week, the people we met, the lessons we learned, yadda yadda. Sometimes we would read and talk about scripture together. I loved their company and I found so much comfort in their continued friendship. Much like Elder Packer said during conference:
I did not then have a firm testimony that the gospel was true, but I knew that my seminary teachers, Abel S. Rich and John P. Lillywhite, knew that it was true. I had heard them testify, and I believed them. I thought to myself, ‘I will lean on their testimonies until I gain one of my own.’ And so it was.
They also kept challenging me to move forth in my faith. Pray. Go to the temple. Ask questions. Act on promptings. Be humble. Up until this point, prayer was only a solitary act. I never vocally prayed with or for other people and would politely (or sometimes not so politely) turn down offers to pray. Sister R hoped that before the end of her mission, I would offer one prayer with her.
The sisters asked me what I knew about Patriarchal Blessings. I knew about them, but still had questions. I knew I wanted one and from my conversations with other people. I knew that they were a kind of awesome worthy of cartwheels and high kicks. But I still didn’t completely understand them. They encouraged me to talk to my bishop about it and to ask him some questions. So I did.
The following week, the first Sunday in March, I asked my bishop about preparing for my blessing. He said that he wanted me to attend the temple at least once before my blessing. I felt like he punched me in the face. I was excited about receiving my blessing and I was curious about the blessings God had ready for me, but I was not excited about going to the temple.
For almost a year, my objections to the church were mainly of the “my family doesn’t fit here” variety. I figured out how to overcome that perspective for my baptism, and in doing so, put all temple-y things out of my mind. Of all the things I managed to work through in a very short period of time, I still hadn’t come to an agreement with the temple. I knew that, no matter what, my fathers would never see the inside of a temple. They would never be welcome there. How could I consent to going into a building I knew was off limits to my parents? How is creating a “not you, only me” space Christ-like? I knew I didn’t have a testimony of the temple, and I was okay with that. I figured I could figure that out later. But I really wanted my patriarchal blessing!
I went to Natalie with my concerns. I figured that if I wasn’t ready to go to the temple, then maybe I wasn’t ready for a blessing. I felt like going to the temple in order to get my blessing would be cheating and selfish, so I needed some guidance. Part of me felt like I could hold onto my active resistance by refusing to go to the temple; even though no one was asking me to decide, I felt like it was my compromise between God and my family. I could learn from God and be close to Him in church while not dishonoring my family in the temple. And also, I wanted to be stubborn.
Natalie reminded me that I had been a member for about a month and, as far as the Gospel was concerned, I was still a BabyMo. I was frustrated because I wasn’t running fast enough at a time when I was still learning how to walk. In her infinite wisdom, she suggested I ask the J family (Marie and Adam) if I could tag along with them when they go to the temple. I liked it. I could do a trial run before I really go to the temple.
If Trial Run Temple Trip isn’t true LadyMo, I don’t know what is.
Next up – Winter Quarters and J family spectacularity.
So much love,