"Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it." - Ferris Bueller

Tuesday, May 24, 2005
The Ideal Vs. The Comfortable
There are many blogs run by LDS church members – most of them affiliate themselves one way or another with a cyber-“organization” loosely referred to as “The Bloggernacle”. Content on these blogs range from testimony to cookbook sharing. Discussion ranges from the personal to conversations that stop just short (and sometimes cross right over into) profaning that which many people consider to be sacred.

That is their choice. Blogs are, after all, a medium of self-expression.

There is one blog in particular which, in my humble opinion, repeatedly makes light of many things I believe are best left to quiet conversations in private places. I will not link to them – should you wish to find them, you’re more than welcome to Google their subject matter.

One thing they continually harp on is the Church’s unceasing promotion of what they refer to as “The Ideal”.

“The Ideal”, they say, is something very much unattainable. So, dear reader, what exactly is “The Ideal”? Well, lets review:

“The Ideal” consists of a two-parent family with a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM – I’ll borrow from their glossary so as to conserve keystrokes). I could go into more of what “The Ideal” consists of, but I believe it’s best described by The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in The Family – A Proclamation to the World.

The Brethren are very precise and specific in their language. The Lord doesn’t waste ink, airtime, or bandwidth.

What I believe the people on this blog are doing is, instead of attempting to help the group aspire to live something close to “The Ideal”, they are rather consoling one another into becoming comfortable with living standards not much different from those found in the world today.

I believe the teachings of the Gospel exist to enable man to aspire to be more than he is – to become more than the world would have him be. The world would have us scratch the earth like turkeys when we are capable of soaring with the eagles.

“But,” they insist, “ ‘The Ideal’ is just not possible in today’s world. A family unit with two parents is rare – let alone the idea of a SAHM. Today’s reality does not permit such a standard to be lived.”

In their minds, and in the minds of many, this may be so. Never the less, the teachings of the Prophets and Apostles – both living and dead – state the fundamentals laid out in the Proclamation to be the standard set by the Lord. Is it easy? No. Is it attainable? Yes.

Regardless of what we may publicly profess, we can only testify to that which we have experience. I grew up in a family where my father was the sole breadwinner and my mother stayed at home with me and her other six children. It was not the ideal situation in a worldly sense. Tough choices had to be made – often at the expense of my mother’s worldly aspirations. For the record, my mother is one of the most brilliant women I know. She could have done most anything and been phenomenally successful at it. She chose, however to raise her children the best way she knew how – and for her that meant staying in the home.

Did her staying at home with us make a difference? Well, from the seven of us unruly children there have been seven missionaries and six temple marriages. Are we perfect? Hell no. Get us together in one place and you’re lucky if the building is still standing when all is said and done. We’re a work in progress.

“But,” they insist again, “that was your parent’s generation. Today’s reality makes “The Ideal” far more unattainable. Surely you can see anyone teaching “The Ideal” today is simply expecting the impossible”

And again, in their minds, this is the only reality they can accept. That said, up to this point my small family has been able to live something resembling “The Ideal” they say is unattainable. Is it easy? Hell, no. It is a struggle every single day because my wife is also one of the most phenomenally brilliant people I know. There are a million things she could be doing other than raising our two children. Starring on Broadway is one of them. Some days are better than others. I won’t go into details of how we make it work, because this is not the place for such a private discussion. Sufficeth me to say that we make it work – sometimes better than others.

My point, and I do have one, is this: This life is meant to be a proving ground. The Lord said as much to Abraham. We either live the principles of the Gospel as they are taught to us, or we don’t. There is no cataclysmic consequence if we don’t. We simply don’t get the blessings (both temporal, spiritual, and eternal) if we don’t obey the commandments associated with the blessings we seek.

So I'll let the rant and complain, but I won't just sit here while they attempt to portray themselves as mainstream.

Here endeth the lesson.
Yup. Exactly how I feel. But instead of being brilliant, my wife has a natural talent for business. And I'm a schlup. We're God's little joke.

We're also happy.
I think the "ideal" means we are all translated together.. Until then we share the world with everyone and try to do our very best with what we have been given..
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