Jenny's blog

A friend’s wisdom

Today I called Susan to ask her where she got the ribbons for a music festival because I was trying to get some custom ribbons made as awards for and upcoming ward activity. Somehow the conversation turned to various problems we were having.

My temple recommend is only half-way signed. I went to the Bishop at the beginning of December to get it done, but with the snowfall and visitors and such I haven’t been in for the Stake President interview. And truth is, I get so ***AnGrY**** everytime I think about going to the Stake President interview I may have resisted going a teensy bit.

Our stake leadership sends out these reminder letters every few months asking us to dress up for that interview. There’s something about the way its worded that makes me so angry. I don’t have a problem dressing up to go to the temple, but I DO have a problem with people telling me I have to. I lie awake at night quoting scriptures and planning my righteous rebuke if anyone says anything to me if I show up in pants (“Get down off your Rameumptom and tell me I am being rejected from the temple because of the coarseness of my apparel.”). It also doesn’t help that the first time we went to the stake center for an interview, not knowing the “rule”, some …. (trying to find a polite word that means idiotic) …. member asked me if I had just come from work. Upon hearing the negatory, she proceeded to rebuke me for wearing jeans, saying that “here” we must dress to see the Stake Presidency. Whatever. I just ignored her, assuming no right-thinking church leader would ever suggest people had to be dressed up to enter their presence.

How wrong I was.

When I was Relief Society president and these letters came down from the stake requesting we remind our members to dress up, I ignored them. Never made the announcement. I even said in one meeting how I felt and asked if someone there could explain to me why we have to dress up. I really do want to support my leaders, but I have a very low tolerance for “rules” that are not part of the gospel. It shouldn’t matter how we’re dressed. Shouldn’t matter if I come in my jammies. Guarantee Jesus would see me. Wearing jeans to a stake presidency interview doesn’t necessarily denote disrespect for that leader. And I have never felt disrespectful to them (until now, of course). If they look at my clothes and assume I’m disrespectful of him or the Lord, then THEY are making that judgment. RIDICULOUS.

We get the same reminders from the temple presidency, too. Please. Every temple recommend holder prefers to go to the temple dressed up and feels awkward not doing so. Why can’t we just welcome them to the house of the Lord? If they are coming dressed down out of disrespect — so? What difference does it make? Certainly you’re not going to be condemned for what they’re wearing or their attitude. But you sure will be condemned for judging them. Imagine the person who is struggling and feels the need to get to the temple right now. They come in hoping for help, and some nut job temple worker gets on them about their casual clothing. That’s not exactly conducive to feeling the spirit.

We need to spend more time making sure we’re being Christlike, and less looking around to see if everyone else is being Christlike. We need to assume that others are trying just as hard as we are and stop making judgments based on what we see or hear.

I realize we are on the east coast and people are military and very retentive about their uniforms. But this culture of judging people or assuming disrespect to a superior or rebellion based on clothing should not carry over into the church. It freaking makes me angry.

Jared told me to just wear pants. But the thing is, if I wear pants, I’m being disobedient to a church leader’s request. But if I do, I’m capitulating and supporting this ill-thought notion. And if I wear pants and someone says something, I will go off — not exactly Christlike behavior. So I didn’t know what to wear and have avoided going to the interview.

So anyway, I brought this up with Susan in our phone call, and she reminded me something I should have thought of: that these feelings of anger towards church leaders will fester and fester until they destroy my testimony. She told me I need to address the problem so it can be fixed. Pretending I’m okay with or not being bothered by this thorn in my side is not going to make it go away. I have to find a way to pluck it out.

So we decided I would go to the interview in a dress. After it’s all done, I’m going to tell the interviewer what a hard time I had coming in and knowing what to wear. If I showed up in pants and said the same thing, they would automatically judge me as being disrespectful. Then it’s up to them. Thorn out.

So anyway, I’m feeling a lot better. It’s a blessing to have friends who can offer good advice when you need it.


DD is home from school today cleaning house. She goofed off this morning and missed the bus, so I finally made good on my threat to make them clean house all day if they miss the bus and kept her home. She’s been washing walls and stuff. It’s been rough since I had VTers come over and an awards ceremony at school for DS. I wish they would tell me if he’s only getting Accelerated Reader points, so I could stay home if I want.

And I just set up an appointment with the gynecologist Lynlee and Elizabeth have been bragging on. I am going to have and IUD placed to see if it helps with my wacky periods. And I want to talk to him about this PMS/PMDD depression and anger I’m feeling. The first time it got bad and this one I actually had suicidal thoughts. Um. Yipe. I will not let myself get like that again. It’s always the week before my period when this comes on. Hopefully the doc can help.

Posted by Jenny Smith

I'm Jenny Smith. I blog about life on the 300+ acres of rolling farmland in Northern Virginia where I live. I like tomatoes, all things Star Trek, watercolor, and reading. I spend most days in the garden fighting deer and groundhogs while trying to find my life's meaning. I'm trying to be like Jesus -- emphasis on the trying.