I’ve been trying to pinpoint the moment I became a Mormon Misfit.
Was it the day of my birth? Was it being born to a couple not quite yet settled on their own religious path? Which tradition would they choose, my mother’s Catholicism or my father’s Mormonism?
They chose The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, so maybe that wasn’t the moment after all.
Was it in my childhood? Maybe the day my parents sat me down to break the news of their impending divorce? That was the day that my family no longer fit the ideal that would be proffered and presented to me over and over again in Primary class and from the pulpit.
But then again, in those years, my broken family is a nurturing place, regardless, with cracks allowing for others, like stepparents and subsequent siblings, to enter and settle in with love. I don’t feel like a misfit here.
Was it in my adolescence? The only Mormon in my high school and from a part-member family, I spend most of my week living outside the boundaries of my own ward. I feel like I’m not always understanding church expectations. Like when I’m called to be the Laurel Class President. I’m asked to choose my counselors… but when I do, my YW leader vetoes my choices and calls entirely different girls. I don’t even know how I got it so wrong.
However, on second thought, these are the years that my parents will drive an extra thirty minutes in the wrong direction to pick me up so that I can attend mid-week mutual. While this is a sacrifice I will not fully appreciate for years to come, a message is nevertheless conveyed every Wednesday night. This is where you belong.
Was it my college years? Maybe it was when a boyfriend’s mother advises him to break up with me for all the aforementioned reasons (divorced parents, part-member family) because I couldn’t possibly be a good Mormon?
No, I don’t think so. Even though I feel like everything about me bucks the school’s culture, it turns out BYU is really good for me, giving me just enough spiritual support and ownership of a fledgling testimony to get me to the next step.
So maybe it was on my mission?
Not even close. I win the lottery of mission calls and land in the center of SLC where sisters from all over the world, with all kinds of backgrounds, with all kinds of families, and all kinds of testimonies gather. I begin to think Zion is a place where Christ is spoken of in a dozen languages at once all in the space of a city block. It seems like we are all the same and yet not even a little the same. For me, there is no feeling on the outside here.
I don’t know. Maybe it’s now. Maybe it’s this place where I’ve come to shun all my prior certainty for an increasingly comfortable uncertainty because it drives me to keep searching for additional truth and light. Maybe it’s this place where I’m trying to choose faith over fear, and love over pretty much everything else.
But, who knows, maybe that doesn’t make me a Misfit at all. Because maybe that’s you, too?