Is there such a thing as "following too closely" the Brethren?
I just feel too rebellious, too cutting edge, too non-conformist, too free-spirited - not wanting to fit the mold of the standard member of the Church. Why is this? How come I can't just be "normal"? Why do I have to fight against the conformity of it all? I want to follow, but I want to do it in my own way. Maybe I feel this way because I have never "fit in" to the mold the way I see everyone else "fitting in". Maybe as I try to "fit in" I know that I'm different and it's all an act, so I need to relieve the pressure of this act by acting out and being a bit rough-around-the-edges just to give anyone that comes close to me to know that I'm different... even though deep down I want to conform and be "normal" - I just can't.
I've been growing my hair a bit longer just to put out signals to everyone that I'm a "radical" in hopes of getting a reaction from the "straight and narrow" brethren (who are scandalized by any returned missionary not appearing as a missionary conformist for the rest of his life!) that do not reflect who I am - or do they? I've thought that I might not wear a white shirt to Church anymore (Oh my!)... and I've even contemplated putting hooped silver earrings on just to see if anyone will notice! :)
(Therapist interlude: Can't you see Beck - you're not comfortable with who you are and you're not honest with yourself and the role you're playing so you are seeking attention and wanting someone to notice and feel your pain!)
At the Worldwide Leadership Training on Saturday I wasn't at awe with the Brethren at all. Their spontaneity "act" of chatting together and role playing was so polished and rehearsed that it came across to me as phony and sanitized. I know they were trying, but I just once would wish that they were truly human and not so controlled by the every word they say. Maybe it has to do with the "cameras rolling" mentality - I don't know, but I don't see the Savior teaching by a rehearsed script and the Holy Ghost directing the scene yelling "You're on!" I know the correlation department and their "manuals" have their purpose to keep a vast array of peoples and cultures in some order of conformity - and I recognize needing some sense of central control. But have you ever looked at the manuals for YM and YM lessons? They are an absolute joke - outdated and dry as an ox skull on the dusty pioneer trail.
The training session spoke of "teaching by the spirit", but then they talked about using the manuals. My definition of "teaching by the spirit" is to teach from what you know and to be spontaneous to those feelings and promptings (ideas of your own that come into your head - dare I say "INSPIRATION" - of personal belief instead of correlated dialog from on-high. Give me a break! When I taught my lesson on Sunday - I threw out an idea about a principle and then let the discussion flow - with no absolute plan of the prescribed end result. The Spirit bore witness of what was taught and class members FELT the lesson. Fortunately, the class I teach is allowed to be more free-spirited in context and agenda... and being free-spirited permits the Spirit to be free to participate!
Maybe I am just begging for attention. I know I concern my wife that I am expressing more and more this "radical / tough" attitude. I'm sure my double life has something to do with my complex of never fitting in as much as I try.
But sometimes, you can be following too closely in the steps of conformity and miss the message of the Spirit, of the Prophet, of the Savior - all together.