10/21/14

Til We Meet Again

On Thursday, donnacarolvoss.com will have rocket lift-off, and everything will look different. If you enjoy this blog, you can continue to follow it under the Faith category of my new website, although it will be a little broader in focus. Still happily Mormon, I will write from a less inside-baseball perspective for the benefit of interested parties not familiar with the ins and outs of Mormondom.

I will be adding two new blog categories, which you may follow as well or ignore completely at your pleasure. The Family category will be short, hopefully funny, occasionally insightful posts about parenting. The Front Page category will offer my take on what’s happening in the everyday world.

A primary thrust of the new website is to promote my book, a memoir called One of Everything, to be published in print, e-book, and audiobook formats in May, available for pre-order now. Excerpts of the first three chapters will be posted, and a free book/e-book/audiobook will be given to one visitor each month.

Thanks for keeping me company so far. Hope to see you on the flip side!

10/19/14

My Part of the Atonement

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.

10/11/14

So You’re Saying, “Christ Owes Us.”

My wickedly funny, sometimes irreverent friend summarized our conversation thusly. Blasphemy aside, I think she’s right.

I was thinking about how virtually anyone who suffers wants to find a way to make the suffering meaningful. As hard as death in battle is, if loved ones know their soldier didn’t die in vain, the blow is somehow softened. Many foster children grow up to be foster parents, wanting to protect a child from what they went through. The first thing most of us want to do with lessons learned is spare others the same degree of pain.

We rightly express deep gratitude to Christ for redeeming us. It occurred to me the other day that redeeming us is also how he makes his suffering meaningful, which, as anyone who suffers can tell you, means tolerable.

It in no way diminishes the debt we owe Christ, but the bond between us is sweeter when we realize that he needs us, too.