I must admit, it gets really old defending my religion every five minutes. However, it's my trial to bear, so I won't complain. I've gained an even deeper testimony of my Church by dealing with all of the people that would have it destroyed. For that, I should be grateful.
My mom asked me more questions over dinner tonight. She says she doesn't understand the whole motivation behind going on a mission to convert other people. She sees something offensive and intrusive in missionary work, and she claims that Catholics are better than Mormons because Catholics, according to my mother, don't try to convert other people to their faith.
OK, so she's talking in what I know to be a false generalization, first of all... and sure, Catholicism doesn't have missionaries like we do. But I've been teased and taunted by Catholics for my faith. Is that defensible to her? She ridicules the Church because we ask questions, and make people seriously consider their own religious convictions, in order to help them understand themselves better. But she'll defend the people that have accosted me and my LDS friends in mean-spirited ignorance for what we believe. I'm sorry, but that doesn't make sense to me.
Since we were on the subject of Catholicism, I mentioned that I didn't like the fact that they hang an over-sized image of the Crucifixion on the front wall. To me, that is morbid. I remember going to Immaculate Conception as a child with my mother and aunt and being scared to DEATH of that thing!
My children do not need to fear Jesus Christ in order to understand him. I don't need to stare at a gaunt and dying image of the Savior to appreciate him! I don't like being bullied into faith through fear. I told my mom that, as a Church, we don't celebrate the Savior's death; rather his life, and the things he accomplished through his ministry. If some people feel better having their crosses and what not, they're free to do so; however, the Church does not treat the Crucifixion with the same attitude as the Catholics. She immediately became defensive, asking if people were all expected to think that way. I responded that it's all a matter of preference.
Then she said something about women not being able to go on missions, and I corrected her. We can go on missions at the age of 21. The Church encourages us instead to get an education. That way, we won't go on missions, come home, get married, and then have no professional education of any kind, and therefore run the risk of not being able to support ourselves. I see the wisdom in this. And hopefully, my mother does now as well.
I don't see why she's so hostile towards what she so obviously does not understand. If I'm a different person now than I was before, it's because I've changed for the better. It's like she suspects them of brainwashing me. Finally, I said that, just because someone is Mormon does not have to mean that they no longer think for themselves. If anything, I've never had to be so independent! I have people all around me that are determined to destroy my faith, and because I treasure my faith more than life itself, I exert much of my energy in building it, maintaining it, and repairing the damage that others seek to invoke upon my testimony... all I want to do is live a Christ-like example, so that my mom won't have to look at me with hostile questions in her eyes anymore.
I must stay faithful. One day, she will see the light. She will know that I have found truth, and want so desperately to share it with her. It is my prayer that she will be at my wedding ceremony inside the temple... and I do believe that Heavenly Father is already leading us there... Heavenly Father is putting these questions in her mind, I just KNOW it! He is answering my prayers!