I’ve tried to think of a reason or connection to feature ole Chowderhead for some time now. His tag line is “Grab a cup. Five bucks at the Door.” I played around with the idea of writing about some party story from my past. I almost considered Adam for the post I did featuring Not a Punk Rocker, but I think I made the right decision for that one. Once I figured out that the majority of my “Party Stories” are too embarrassing to list here I was stuck for a moment. When Chowderhead finally wrote a post about the perception of what we should or shouldn’t do, it came to me. I also have this sort of feeling towards a word I hear a lot, but we’ll get to that in a minute. I don’t think Adam gives himself enough credit when it comes to the Spiritual – Philosophical – Preachy – Advice type stuff he does. I usually agree with what he has to offer, and think he should offer a bit more of it. Don’t you think so?
Rock On! \m/
Anyway, You’re Allowed to Continue…
After being baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints I started to receive several questions and comments, usually containing the word “allowed” within them. Before taking the lessons and becoming a Member I would combat these sort of questions and comments in a negative way, mainly because I was a punk and didn’t really care. I would often say something to the effect of “I’m free, white and twenty-one. I can do whatever I want.” Nowadays this seems like a sorta rude thing to say, so I try to be more humble and humane when answering others on topics related to my beliefs and standards.
Some of the questions I’ve gotten include;
- I didn’t think you were allowed to have caffeine? (When seeing me drink a coke)
- I didn’t think members were allowed to be Masons? (When seeing my symbol (ring) on my hand)
- You’re not allowed to drink, right? (General question while out with the Missionaries)
- You’re not allowed to have sex? I’m out! (From a family member who shall not be named)
- How come you can’t have coffee or tea? (General question while out with the Missionaries)
and so on and so forth…
First off, one of the main teachings of the Church is that of our Free Agency, our freedom to choose the right or not. This idea is very central to our happiness when we think of eternity. Our Heavenly Father gave us this free agency because he loves us and wants us to be happy. Without free agency we couldn’t know happiness because we wouldn’t know what to compare it to. It’s impossible to know pleasure if you don’t know what pain is. This also means that we can in fact do whatever we want.
I don’t abstain from tobacco, alcohol, drugs, coffee, tea and sex** because the Church has told me to do so. I abstain from these things because I choose to. I don’t see them as rules and guidelines, at least not in the temporal sense. They are a sort of Spiritual guidelines I suppose. The thing is though, I can have a cup of coffee if I want. I can smoke a cigarette, or partake of some jello-shots. No person or thing is going to stop me. I might get a sort of guilt trip from members or family, but for the most part this will be out of love, not disappointment. I shouldn’t have need to worry about this though, for I choose to abstain, and here is why.
I truly believe in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon. I truly believe that they are the words of and from our Heavenly Father. I know that my Heavenly Father wants me to be happy, and in turn I want to do whatever I can to make Him happy as well. I’ve now lived both sides of the coin, so to speak. I know what I need to do to procure the most possible happy moments in my life, and that means abstaining from the aforementioned things. Now, I know there are a few people thinking, and possibly saying out loud to themselves “Hey, I do all (or some) of those things. I’m still a good person though!” Let me address you for a second.
You are absolutely right!
When I speak about these things I’m talking about myself. The way I live my life, and the things I choose to do or not do is a reflection of me, not you. I’m not judging you, I am judging myself. Now, I may make a suggestion to you about something you maybe shouldn’t (sorry for “shoulding” in this post Adam) do, but this isn’t because I think you’re a bad person…or that you’re going to Hell because of it. I know what’s helped me become the happiest I’ve ever been and I want to share it. That’s the only reason. If you don’t want to take my advice, fine. I’ll still be here if you need me, and I’m NOT going to say “I told you so”.
13) Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14) And above all these things put on charity***, which is the bond of perfectness. ~ Colossians 3: 13-14
*Featured Image Credit: StevRayBro (and NBC)
**I will elaborate my answers to these questions in a later post
***Here “Charity” refers to the Pure Love of Christ
Are there any terms like “Should” or “Allowed” that you don’t like? Have you any general questions about the Church for me?