Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about church.
It suppose it comes with the territory of having a leadership calling at church. I’ve been talking to other women from church about issues like community, unity, grudges, and if change is possible in a ward (congregation) culture.
I’ve seen individuals who go to church but don’t fully commit or prefer not to invest completely. I’ve been there. I’m there sometimes, even now. While reasons may be different, sometimes our actions are the same.
Sometimes I find myself going to church on Sunday out of habit and duty but rather than finding joy and spiritual uplift, I find faults or things I want to sigh and shrug away. Is it my fault? Is it church culture? A little bit of both?
There was a time awhile back when I was desperately trying to find a “passion.” I kept thinking of the quotation from Henry James, “there is nothing so simple as a great passion,” and I was increasingly frustrated that I could not find that simplicity—that great passion to guide me. Was I doing something wrong? I wanted it so badly. I needed it. I had to have it.
Then OCD blew into my life like a hurricane. Or maybe it was more like a tsunami that swept me up and dragged me into the sea. But when I finally was able to swim and make my way back to shore, I realized I had found my passion. Mental health advocacy.
But I also have realized that we need to have a passion when it comes to the gospel and following Christ. I see so many people going through the motions. When we are going through the motions and avoiding change or improvement, we have lost passion. If we don’t have the fight in us for something, anything, then we don’t have passion.
And passion is important. Passion is necessary.
Some may say that’s not true. Some might think passion is dangerous. I’ve been in ward council, trying to advocate for some change or another, and met this opposition. I’ve had to fight against it, literally fight. Not physically, of course (that would be an unwelcome ward council dynamic), but verbally with the passion I had for that course of action.
But it can be hard to maintain passion, especially when it gets beaten down again and again by those who resist or downplay it.
Which brings me to 2 Nephi 28.
In this chapter, Nephi is being awesome and talking primarily about apostasy and the ways Satan works. In 2 Nephi 28: 21 and then 24 and 25 he says:
“And others will he (Satan) pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.”
“Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion! Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well!”
I don’t want to make any judgment calls here besides to say that the Lord obviously doesn’t want us to take a back seat (or a quick snooze) when it comes to living the gospel and being a member of the Church. If we don’t have passion, we better figure something out and find some quick. We better be “actively engaged” in a cause. We better not be at ease in Zion.
I think some members of the Church have the erroneous belief that Church is an easy and comfortable place to be. Sure, we can feel at ease and comfortable in the fact that we are with others who believe similar things and that we have access to the Atonement, ordinances and covenants, and fellowship. But we cannot rest on our laurels and be guaranteed a free ride.
God requires us to work. He requires us to keep going, and not just in a “Let me just hop on this train and then take a seat and nap until we get to heaven” way. “Wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion.” All is (not) well. There are things to be done, improvements to be made, service to be given. Always.
So don’t just complain or avoid or stop. Do something to make a change. Find your passion. You have the ability to have it. We have agency for a reason. Follow the Spirit and follow your passion. Make a difference. Don’t just go along for the ride.