And with these words, Mormon’s are reminded that they will NEVER measure up or be good enough….because here’s a little secret…NO HUMAN WILL EVER BE PERFECT. Striving for perfection is a mission in futility and frustration…
As a member of the High Council with the assignment of speaking to my assigned ward on the subject of being perfect, I asked those in the congregation the following question. “By the raise of hands, who here feels that they will inherent the Celestial Kingdom?’ To my utter shock, out of a congregation numbering about 350, only a small smattering of 6-8 hands went up. This Wasatch front ward, full of active Mormon’s…most of whom paid a full tithe, did their monthly home or visiting teaching, held temple recommends, fulfilled callings and held family home evenings…didn’t feel that they were doing enough to reach the highest reward in Mormonism.
Although I admit that my example is anecdotal, I believe it illustrates reality inside Mormonism…the inherent knowledge among active Mormon’s that “Their best efforts are NEVER and will NEVER be good enough”
And no wonder when almost every priesthood leadership meeting is filled with denunciations from the pulpit for the few male leaders in attendance to do better…lengthen their stride…reach higher…jump further. For the field is white, ready to harvest and lo he that thrustest in his sickle with his might…the same layest up…blah blah blah.
As a young Elders Quorum President, trying my hardest to do all that was asked of me while still trying to manage a young, growing family and a growing business, I personally did all of the home teaching that had not been completed by the 25th of each month. But try as I might, I just couldn’t get to 100% [families being gone etc] every month. Each month I knew that the bishop would come down hard on me for not fulfilling my priesthood duties [which I took very seriously]. So each successive month I would rededicate myself and my councilors to once again reaching the coveted 100% home teaching goal....but it never happened, at least not consecutivly.
A few months after I had been released, I was surprised, when a visiting member of our stake high council stopped by our quorum to congratulate the new elder’s quorum presidency for three successive months of 100% home teaching. I felt humiliated and mad for two reasons. First because my presidency had never had successive 100% home teaching months…AND second, because since I had been released…I had NEVER had a home teacher....ever. Rather than put in the effort to reach 100% home teaching…the rather SMART new presidency just lied and turned in false numbers. I remember speaking to my rather stunned former councilors who also admitted that they too had not been receiving home teachers. We all agreed that we had been rather stupid for trying so hard...if all you had to do to get recognition from our inspired priesthood leaders was lie our ass's off.
But the need for perfection had been so great on this new elder’s quorum presidency, they just decided to lie rather than do the work.
As a full time missionary, numbers were very important. And despite claims to the contrary, Numbers were everything. Yes there were the required words to teach by the spirit…but god damn it…the spirit better get you at least 30 teaching opportunities a week or else.
Every Elder was measured against the other. Companionships that worked the most hours, placed the most Book of Mormons, taught the most discussions or if all the stars aligned, actually had a baptism were highlighted in our monthly “Report” Newsletter. Elders that excelled in their work habits advanced…elders that turned in less than stellar numbers…remained Sr Comps or a mere Jr Comp. Numbers mattered. And Boy did I have Numbers. I led the mission month after month… in many of the NUMBER areas and quickly advanced up the leadership ladder….reaching Assistant to the President the last 6 months of my mission. The quest for perfection was everywhere. I now feel bad for playing that game and mentally beating up those elders that just couldn’t or wouldn’t play along with the numbers/perfection game.
Sometimes…someone’s best really is less than some arbitrary number picked by a mission president and his AP’s.
Utah leads the nation in depression. Could this be related to the Mormon perfection quest and the reality of its failure members to actually reach perfection?
As a former Mormon, I now look back on my mormon perfection quest with a sense of glee that I was able to get off the Mormon Perfection Quest Merry Go Round. Knowing that I only have to please myself and no longer have the need to cater to the whims of old men in Salt Lake City and their never ending pleas to do more, give more, be more.
It’s said that water finds its own level, everyone is different, everyone’s needs and abilities are not the same…Living the cookie cutter, one size fits all LIFE offered by Mormonism is NOT an authentic life. It's a fake life. I am so very grateful I discovered this reality…while I was still at an age and had the ability to live an authentic life.