Deciding on Social Change out of Personal Growth

Until recently, I haven’t felt much of the outside world’s push back on my new life as a Mormon.   But the issue’s been coming up in conversations with Shane, basically my only real contact to the secular world.  The last two days filming for his music video in Downtown LA made contrasting lifestyles of deep secular lifestyle vs. how I’m living now even more apparent.  I’m really happy living the gospel life and, given the contrasting experience, really glad I’ve been anchored in the good.

Since the deathbed torture days after college, I’ve only been in isolation, business contact with financial professionals, and then immersion in the LDS church.  I’ve been in a bubble at home, so there wasn’t really the need to choose between alternatives.  Though the very few times I did go to a bar or club, I knew I didn’t want to be there.  In that sense, often it isn’t so much that I didn’t have anywhere to go.  I just didn’t want to go to the bars and clubs people invited me to.

However slow (I’ve been a church member almost 3 years, going to church for 4) my progress may seem, my membership in the church has helped me grow as a person.   As I’ve immersed myself in the church by doing work at the CSUF Institute, going to different wards to meet more people, there’s a certainty that I’m finally where I should be.  I don’t mean a social belonging, though that’s coming along as well.  I mean the ways of living a good life, of being a moral and selfless person, and the beauty of family.  Things I’ve always held close to my heart and desired, whether if it was influenced by my upbringing or what Uncle Chen taught, are emphasized and lived by the good members of the church.  It’s a validation.  Also, an alignment of myself with other people I’m surrounded by.

Whereas before, in high school, college, and even recently going to Downtown LA, I’ve felt a disconnect with the world (aka the people I was surrounded by) who had different values, ideals, and motivations than I did.  It was hard, and felt wrong, to try to change myself to fit that lifestyle.

I’m glad to know it’s ok to value the good things and putting others first.  That it’s right.  That many other people are striving for the same things.  And that apostles, prophets, bishops, and teachers are encouraging those things.

It’s funny how as you live the gospel, the things that are right and true grow a deeper and deeper root in your soul.  You get a surety it’s the good, bright light.  And as the bright light gets brighter, the darkness gets darker.  The contrast seems clearer and there’s less doubt where I should be.

Now, the question is, when situations come up in the future, which they certainly will, how to separate myself and take that stand?  I know which side of the line I’ll choose.  However, when friends and even family are on the other side, the situation may be touchier.  While the simple answer is to just declare my stance, I feel often that’ll create too much of a rift.  Like a “you’re on that side of the line, I’m on this side.” But that’s probably where a lot of people create bad feelings instead of being able to live harmoniously together.  Though, if a friend or family is going to rob a bank, you wouldn’t want to be harmoniously together robbing a bank with them.

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