One of the things I love best about the gospel is that I can never plumb the depths—there is always more to learn, to understand, and to feel. This week I had what Oprah would call an “AHA moment,” but I prefer to think of it as a NO DUH moment, only because she owns AHA.
Without going into too much personal and irrelevant detail, I came out of hiding this week. Finally after almost fifty-two years of living, I am no longer worried about anyone finding out everything about anything I ever did. Two miraculous results happened: 1) I caught myself thinking, “So this is what it feels like to be Mormon,” meaning I felt the absolute lightness and peace that complete openness to the spirit can bring; 2) I realized the Atonement, by itself, isn’t enough. I’ve had the Atonement all along, I even dare to think I’ve understood it, but I realized this week that unless I do my part, it’s only partially effective.
And I don’t mean repent. That’s the easy part. I mean forgive. Myself. That’s the tricky part. Maybe the adversary is especially cunning when it comes to the things we hide about ourselves. Until this week, I didn’t realize that hiding is essentially the same thing as not forgiving yourself. Don’t misunderstand that I’m suggesting we all go on a TMI roadshow and expose every last detail of our lives to every last human. I’m only suggesting that as long as we feel anxiety that someone might find out something about us, we are essentially holding ourselves prisoner to unforgiveness.
In fourteen years of being a Mormon, I’ve never had the true and complete experience of feeling light and clean, not because I was unclean in any way, not because I hadn’t repented mightily, but because I was hiding the things I was afraid to acknowledge. Hiding is tightness and worry, toeholds the Adversary exploits with all his skills.
So this is what it feels like to be free.