Sierra's View: Having an Open Dialogue in the LDS Culture.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Having an Open Dialogue in the LDS Culture.

It's been a while, eh?
This blog ebbs and flows with my life and I think that's how it should be.

I had a baby. This is Georgia. She is seven months old and I just love her so much I want to eat her (normal, right? How could you not with that face?). She's the happiest baby ever and brings so much joy to our lives.

Since having Georgia, I have been having so many thoughts about how to raise her and what I want to show her, as a mother.
Because of this, I have a bone to pick with some of the culture that I am involved in.
Me, opinions? Shocking, I know.

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. To many of you, we are "Mormons." We have, however, been encouraged to not use this term because we believe in Christ. People seem to forget that we are Christians, but I digress. For the sake of this post, I will be using "LDS culture" to talk about the this particular issue.

Sometimes I fear expressing concern about the LDS culture because we, generally speaking, have a bad reputation. Too many people have misconstrued views and opinions of "my people" and I hate to feed the tiger, if you will. But, on the other hand, because I was raised in a different world that I currently live in (Raised in Oregon. Currently live in Utah), I feel like this discussion needs to be taking place.

*perfect transition here*

I like to talk. I am an introvert, but I enjoy conversing with others about real topics and issues and views (no small talk, please). I love having real relationships with people. It is something I value and that I put time into because it's important to me.
Because I value relationships and friendships, I find it incredibly empowering to have an open dialogue. I have always been an open book when it comes to my views, issues and personality traits. I find that I have nothing to hide and much to share.
But, I, unfortunately, have repeatedly seen too many incidents where people are not HAVING DISCUSSIONS ABOUT DIFFICULT THINGS.

It is hard to talk. Especially about difficult things. It can be awkward to have a discussion with your child, friend, family member, or spouse, but I am a strong believer that if we have an open dialogue in our relationships, so many more issues would be resolved.
I am constantly asking Tanner, "Why are people so scared to just have the conversation?"

I think the LDS culture struggles to have an open dialogue about difficult topics (i.e. sex, LGTBQ issues, racial inequality) for the following reasons:
1. Members don't have the skills to communicate difficult topics without feeling awkward or uncomfortable.
2. Members are too emotionally-tied to the situation or "feel too bad." Often people don't want to talk about a situation because they don't want to hurt other people's feelings.
3. Members don't have enough knowledge about the topic and aren't willing to see the other side or perspective and the lack of knowledge just leads to avoidance of discussing the topic at all.

It's not okay.
We need to talk to our children.
We need to talk to each other.
We need to talk!!!!!!!!

Have the discussion. Have the discussion with your child about sex and STI's. Have a discussion about what options there are if they choose to have sex.
Have a discussion with your son about consent and what it look and sounds like.
Have a discussion wiht your child about their testimony. Have a discussion with your child if they WANT to serve a mission. And if they don't, discuss ways to help their testimonies or other options.
Have a discussion with your spouse about your finances.  What are you spending money on? What expectations do you have regarding cost of living, etc.
Have a discussion with your spouse about your sex life. What do each of you like? What are you expectations?
Have a discussion with your child about their future and what goals they want? Do they want to go to a trade school? College? Masters degree.
Have a discussion with your children about having goals. Discuss with your daughters to have hobbies and goals...not just "marry someone rich." Help encourage them to pursue something that they love and to experience LIFE.
Discuss with your children the expectations of cleanliness and what that means.
Discuss with your children and friends about the temple. Guess what, friends? Did you know that you can talk about most of happens in the temple? Share!!! It's not a secret.
We need to have an open dialogue with your friends about motherhood and the wonderful, hard aspects about it.
Have an open dialogue with your friends about politics without getting too emotional or focused on your own personal political agenda.
Have an open dialogue about frustrations! With your career, with your religion, etc.
Have an open dialogue with your friends, parents, spouse, kids, about your emotional well-being.
Have a discussion with your daughters about getting married young and the dangers about that.
Have a discussion with your sons about what it means to be respectful to a woman.
Talk to your kids about body image and to be grateful for what their bodies can do.

And we need to be okay with others talking and struggling.
We need members who are willing to talk about their struggle with attending the temple and the real reasons why they aren't going.
We need members who are willing to talk about their struggle with their testimony because of addiction, mental illness, or just a change of beliefs.
We need members who are willing to talk! 
Because if we aren't willing to be talk and learn to see the other side, we are going to continuously be stuck and not progress.

It takes confidence, studying, and an open mind to have discussions like these. But I truly believe it is imperative and I would genuinely love to see it happening more. In relief society lessons, in homes, and in friendships, etc.

The entire purpose of our religion is to be Christ-like. Christ was not timid. Christ called people out. Christ was kind, but honest. Christ had discussions with people of all variety. That is how we progress, friends.

I want Georgia to grow up in a world where can feel like she can have an open dialogue and communicate what she feels openly. With me. With others.

Go have a difficult discussion today.
I dare you.

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