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.