Sunday, January 11

Broken and bleeding

"The Church is a hospital for sinners, not a country club for the Saints."  But most Sunday's it seems more like Pebble Beach than ER.  

And so I go, dressed in Sunday best, shining my pearly whites for everyone to see.  Each of us needs the reassurance that the Church's program works without flaw: righteousness leads to happiness.  If you go to Church and read your scriptures and pray then you'll be happy and everything will work out, come what may.  If you don't find answers, you didn't ask hard enough.  If you didn't find healing, you didn't have enough faith.  If you aren't happy, then something must be wrong.  Not with the Program of course, but with you.

Is the Church really a hospital?  Where are all the blood and guts; the tears and bullet wounds?  Why does everyone look so happy and perfect?  Why is no one broken and bleeding?

I wish the Church were more like a hospital.  Where people were unafraid to show their flaws and wounds--where each of us sees each other the way we really are.  Where we feel better because all of us are failing, and none of us have all the answers.  Where hearts are broken at times when prayers aren't answered.  Where people do everything they can, and still come up short.

I wish Church was a place where each of us could feel comfortable asking for help.  I wish it wasn't awkward to ask my roommate if he could hold onto my computer because, try as I may, I just can't overcome pornography on my own.  I wish I could share my doubts and questions without being made to feel like I was apostate.  I wish I could go up to the stand on testimony Sunday and say "You know what?  I don't know.  But I believe, can't that be enough?"

I need a hospital: I'm not suffering from minor fatigue; I need to be hooked to life support.  

I have doubts. I've hurt so many people who I should have loved.  I've done so many things wrong, I don't even know if I can do right.  I have unanswered prayers.  And I certainly don't have the answers for your problems either. The Gospel may well indeed be the 'perfect plan' but it sure doesn't seem very perfect. As Eve once asked, "Is there no other way?"  This is really the best God has?  Because often it seems pretty lonely, and hard, and long.  "Knock and it shall be opened unto you"?  Too often the door slams "in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside.  After that, silence."

I'm done pretending that answers are easy or even that they always come.  I'm done pretending that more faith is always the answer.  I'm done pretending that the Atonement can just magically fix everything.  I'm done pretending that I'm at a country club.


  1. "Why does everyone look so happy and perfect? Why is no one broken and bleeding?"

    There Medicated :-p

  2. Church is like a hospital...just as long as you only need a band-aid or ibuprofen. If you come in with blood everywhere, people always seem to be worried about getting their hands dirty helping you. And it always seems like they'll let you bleed to death in the waiting room.

  3. One of the best posts I've seen in a while. Brutally honest.

    I've basically stopped looking to the Church, institutionally speaking, for anything beyond band-aids or ibuprofen. I just don't think it's capable of more than that on an individual basis. My covenants are not with the Church, so I go to the one I made the covenants with, try to listen for inspiration, and do my best from there.

  4. amazing post.

    Church is a place to be honest about life: it's beautiful, but boy it hurts a lot.

    Stumbled acrossed your blog, and I'm definitely adding you to my preferred blogs!

  5. most people do not want others to see them as broken and bleeding. maybe because they fear God more than man, and don't want others pitying them or looking down at them. perhaps you are braver than everyone else. braver than the girl who goes home and cuts herself in the bathroom, then banaids herself up so no one knows. but i can tell you one thing for sure and that is that the gospel of Jesus Christ works. he can and does heal. maybe you haven't yet experienced that healing, but i have. i went through a difficult time and became very depressed. just as i was about to kill myself because in all honesty it was the only logical thing i could think of. it scared me so bad knowing that i was going to do it, i fell on my knees and as the words "oh God" left my mouth that feeling left me and i have never ever felt that way again. Do i still get depressed, yes. did my sadness leave, no. but Jesus healed a part of me that day and made me stronger. the "church" may not heal your hurting soul, but Jesus Christ will. His work, his gospel, his atonement is for the individual. i don't understand everything. i wish i did. i wish i knew why my prayers made in faith aren't always answered. why a blessing to heal the sick doesn't seem to be heard. but i don't. is my faith insufficient? i'm not sure. but i will keep in the faith. i will continue to trust in him because i have had experiences in my life much too powerful to ignore. i guess that is what faith is. it is what hope is.

  6. wow...i love this post!

  7. Is it an odd request to say i would love to sit down and talk with you, to pick apart your brain?

    There were times where I stopped going to church because I couldn't stand all the fake happiness going on, but like those before me have said, it's not the Church that heals, it is Christ.

    Our Church is not just a religion, it is a culture and some people have been sucked heavily into its traditions.

  8. Thank you for speaking to me. I love the gospel, but I understand how people at church often don't understand. They are imperfect and I'm imperfect too. Anyrate. You spoke to my soul. Thank you.

  9. Hi Mark,

    I am blog surfing tonight and I felt like I should let you know I really liked this post.

    Here's my .02. I have settled on comparing church "worship services" to a gym, not a hospital. Some people already have a workout regimen, some look to the gym to provide them with one. some already know how to use the machines. Some prefer to work out in group classes, some in a 1:1 setting with a trainer, some go with friends or a significant other and spend more time talking than working. Some put on makeup and don't want to sweat too much. and some (like me?) have a "gym" membership but lack motivation to go. All of them (to some varying degree) share a common goal of fitness.

    Maybe instead of comparing those people reacting poorly re: the bleeding person to fully trained nurses in an ER, it'd be more appropriate to compare them to a group of middle-aged housewives doing a low impact aerobics class at the local ymca. They don't have a clue how to react or what you need or want them to do for you...

    I like your blog.


  10. So, I was just browsing through your blog, and this is a really great post (as are the others, I'm sure, but I haven't quite gotten to them yet.) Sometimes I think the same thing on Sundays.