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Hi there! Welcome to my corner of the internets. I'm a 26 year old therapist, photographer, and shop owner currently living in Seattle, Washington. My online spaces are educational and lifestyle accounts dedicated to educating, engaging, and empowering women through digital art, home design, and travel.... with a touch of humor and personality sprinkled throughout. Stay a while!

Ask A Mormonish Girl - Part 4

Monday, November 30, 2020

Good morning and happy Monday! 

We're back for another "Ask A Mormon-ish Girl" post! For anyone new, this is a series where I talk about my feelings on religion, being member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (aka "Mormon"), and reconciling all of this with democrat/liberal values. My goal of these posts is to help you know you're not alone with your questions and concerns AND to actually talk about them and create some conversation past "just have faith and it will work out". Overall, I believe in imperfect relationships, both with people and institutions. This series documents my very imperfect relationship with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  

(P.S. Please subscribe via email to be notified of future posts!)

If you don't see your question answered this week, please keep submitting it! I will get to all of them eventually! Every Sunday I post a question box on my Instagram (@emmycoletti) and I will save it in the highlight "Ask A Mormon-ish Girl". If your question is too long (or you don't have Instagram), feel free to email me instead at emmycoletti@gmail.com




Have you ever been treated like you're dangerous for questioning? 

Not to my face haha. 


How do you stay nuanced? I feel so much guilt to be in or out. 

One of the first things I do with my clients is teach them about "cognitive distortions" aka ways our thinking is distorted. I give them this worksheet. You'll notice one of the distortions is thinking in black and whites. I think everything in life is nuanced, not just religion. Science is nuanced: For everything we "know", there are 10 things we don't. Relationships are nuanced: Highs and lows are normal and liking and disliking things in others is normal. Jobs are nuanced: I've never met someone who loves their job 100% of the time haha... You get the point. 


For me, accepting nuance means accepting things for what they are, instead of trying to change them into what they can't be. 


How to deal with church when you're an "evil democrat"?

I know Jesus wasn't political... BUT. If we look at some democrat values... I'm not entirely convinced Jesus wouldn't support them... ,hahahaha. Jesus was all for sharing, being kind and welcoming, and loving everyone. He spent his time with the most marginalized people and stood up for them. I have a hard time imaging Jesus supporting a border wall? Or kicking immigrants out of the country. I can't imagine him supporting capitalism that leaves 99% of the wealth with 1% of the population. 


I mean, you could surely argue that his ideology aligns with Republican values as well. But, all I'm saying is that I don't think Jesus would have thought Democrats are evil haha. And I'm biased, but I do think a lot of what he believed in (equality, equity, forgiveness, sharing, love, acceptance) is align with Democratic values. 


Do you have advice for dating outside the church but wanting to keep the same standards (i.e., no sex before marriage, no drinking, etc.)

I mean, I immediately go to my therapist hat which is: Figure out what your values are, what your comfortable with in partner, and then communicate that with your partner so you know if you're compatible. I don't think necessarily needs to be in your Tinder bio or talked about on the first date haha. But, if you meet someone and have a genuine interest after getting to know them more, then I think it's good to let them know where you stand.


Is staying in the church the end all be all for salvation?

I'm going to refer back to my answer on the last question of this post


How do you feel about the members relationships with prophets? Sometimes it seem like they put the prophet's words above Christ's teachings. 

I would say I agree, this does happen, but that it is align with the religion. Mormons believe in continuing revelation which essentially means what the current prophet says trumps what past books/prophets have said. We also believe the prophet is a mouthpiece for God and Jesus' will. So, if a member does put the prophet's words above Christ's teachings, I think that aligns pretty well with what the religion believes. 


Talking to boundaries/family around how you love your faith vs how they think you should?

What they think you should do has no meaning to you. It's just someone's opinion. Are we also going to wear what people think we should wear? And love the shows they think we'll love? I think the main problem here is seeking validation from people we're not going to get it from and not being able to self-validate. What other people think of you is none of your business. Only you can know what's best for you. Whatever way you have/don't have faith... that's your choice! Don't seek approval from others for your decisions. And don't let their opinions make you question your decisions. No one knows you as well as you do, therefore no one is in a better decision to make YOUR decisions than... you. :) 


(I'm saying this so casually, but it took me like... tons of therapy to learn that haha.)


How did you decide to stop wearing your garments? Do you feel unqualified to attend the temple because you don't wear them?

Temple qualifications make me lol because it's just some dude in the bishopric determining my "worthiness". I've heard so much variability between what one bishop passes off vs what another would withhold a recommend for. So, "do I feel unqualified" vs "am I unqualified" are different questions. I guess I'll find out what I'm "qualified" for during my next temple recommend interview. 


Also, I never said I decided to stop wearing my garments 😊. People seem to want to label me as Mormon or Ex-Mormon and I can't stress "Mormonish" enough hahahaha. The religious things I do wax and wane, sometimes I am more Mormon, sometimes I am less Mormon. I never make permanent decisions about anything, because like I said above, I love nuance and living in the gray area. And I am always learning more about this religion, as well as seeing this religion change. Garments are the same nuanced thing for me. My relationship with them will wax and wane, but I don't think I'll ever force myself into making a final decision to wear them or stop wearing them. 


I also think this question is mostly asked as people are searching for some sense of validation/approval/community. My answer is and always will be: You do you and no one else's garment wearing or not wearing should determine what you're comfortable with. Religion and spirituality is a personal journey and regardless of what someone else does, you have to find comfort and validation in yourself and your relationship with what you believe in.


What are ways converts can come off wordly things such as coffee, since we have to?

I'm not sure I'm the best person to answer this, because I was raised in the church and in Utah (aka Mormon-land nonetheless haha). My suggestions would be to find replacements for the routines you already have. Like find a non-coffee drink you like in the morning, or a non-coffee drink at the coffee shop you used to frequent. I know a lot of people like Crio Bru and it's Mormon approved. 


I'm also betting there is probably a Facebook group out there for converts where you could ask this and get good suggestions! I know there are a few for LDS newlyweds, and LDS women and healthy sexuality (or at least I think that's what they're called). 


How do you feel about paying tithing?

A lot better now that I have 100% of my money go to the humanitarian fund. This is another one of those "am I qualified" vs if a member of the bishopric will think I am qualified during tithing settlement haha. I guess I'll find out! If they don't count it as tithing, I might look into donating 10% of my income to some other places, since I'm going to be marked as not paying anyway lol. But, as a whole, I'm all for donating money!


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That's it for this week! Kinda a hodge podge of random questions, but it was fun to switch it up! Make sure you check out my past posts for answers to the following questions:


For all questions garment related, click here


Click here to read the answers to: What things do you struggle with? What keeps you in the church? Do you feel like you are welcome in the Mormon community?


Last week's post I answered: I'm scared about the temple endowment and initiatory and what I understand to be a 1/2 lack of informed consent. What can I know about it/where can I find information to be ready beforehand? Why do Mormons think that wearing bikinis or crop tops is a sin? Thoughts on new age practices? (Yoga, meditation, crystals, psychics and that spiritual energy that can be found in physical objects.) I totally believe in it, but some members say that's against Mormonism. Do you believe the church is true?


Until next week!


XOXO,

Your Mormon-ish Internet Friend,

Emmy Coletti


Comments

  1. I really like your approach to tithing/donating under humanitarian. I hope you follow up on here once you’ve had tithing settlement/or a temple interview and if they have considered this a “full tithe” I also wonder if that’s something that would be Bishop specific (it shouldn’t be) but curious the outcome on this. I personally think it’s great! :)

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