Politely

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I was a visitor at a branch this last weekend.  (Sidenote: how confusing is that first sentence to non-Mormons? This is why people think we’re weird. End note.)

At any rate, the Relief Society lesson was on the Word of Wisdom. As a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have had the pleasure of enjoying hundreds of different versions of this lesson.

But friends, it was the first time I had ever had a lesson about how to POLITELY follow the Word of Wisdom, and I was fascinated.

I grew up in Mesa, Arizona, surrounded by Mormons, and all my life, when it comes to the Word of Wisdom, I’ve heard: “I can’t. I’m Mormon.”

And it has always bothered me.

“Hey, want a drink?” 
“I can’t. I’m Mormon.”
“Hey, want a smoke?” 
“I can’t. I’m Mormon.”
“Hey, want to make out under the bleachers?” 
“I can’t. I’m Mormon.”

(Okay, that last one isn’t a Word of Wisdom thing, but I’VE HEARD IT PEOPLE)

The point is, when I follow the Word of Wisdom, I feel free. And “can’t” feels binding.

Plus,that phrase gives me a weird, uneasy feeling, like you’re judging the choices of the person who’s just trying to be nice and share.

So hearing how to follow the Word of Wisdom politely was amazing, and it was truly something that I had never taken into serious consideration before.

Continuing on with the lesson, another sister made a comment about how she responds to requests to go to the bar with coworkers. She said, “I used to say, ‘I’m sorry, I don’t drink’ but then I realized, I’m NOT sorry! So now I say, ‘I don’t drink’ and leave it at that.”

This sister went on to explain that by dropping the apology, she owned who she was, and there was no room  to question her beliefs. She doesn’t feel bad about choosing not to drink, because she believes the teachings of Jesus Christ, and follows the doctrine found in D&C 89.

I was so grateful for the chance to attend this branch, because it reminded me that the HOW of sharing the gospel is just as important as the why.

And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. (too much?)

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Caroline Bingham is the managing editor of Mormon Mommy Blogs, makes tons of cute freebies at Peonies & Poppyseeds, and talks about life as she knows it at The Bingham Diaries. Caroline has a solid testimony of blogging, a color coded system for everything, and is equal parts sarcastic and obnoxious. She lives in Virginia with her husband and their four children.

Comments

  1. says

    I just say “no thanks” when someone offers me something that doesn’t fit with my beliefs. That simple phrase seems to cover it very well.In these days of food allergies and special diets (I’m a vegetarian, BTW),.no one really asks why any more. And that’s fine with me!

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