When I was a member of my ward's Teachers' Quorum, my quorum adviser told us a story once concerning the law of chastity that really stuck in my memory. And because of a casual conversation at work a few nights ago, I revisited that memory and discovered--not for the first time--that something I'd been taught in church was utter crap.
What the quorum adviser said was that when he was dating his future wife, a friend of his asked why he hadn't slept with her yet. His response was along the lines of the usual LDS response, probably including how he had too much love and respect for her and that sex was only a good thing within the bonds of marriage, et cetera, et cetera.
His friend's comment was, "But why would you wait until you're married to find out what she's like in bed? If you buy a pair of shoes, you try them on first. If you buy a car, you take it for a test drive. Aren't you taking a big risk by not trying to find out if the two of you are sexually compatible?"
And my teacher's response? "Excuse me, but did you just compare my future wife to a shoe?"
I remember thinking, "WOW! That's a killer comeback! That must've shut him up! Way to put things in perspective!"
But when I remembered this experience the other night, I realized how idiotic that response was. It didn't address the issue at all. My teacher had focused on a small part of a comment that had greater meaning and pretended to be offended by it so that the situation would just go away. He did not address the substance of his friend's question in any way. That doesn't make him right, it just makes him a dickhead. I suppose if his friend had chosen a comment more along the lines of "don't you read the fine print before you sign a contract" my teacher would have had a little more trouble avoiding the question altogether.
I'm sure this story is not unique. But it frustrates me that almost four years after leaving the church I'm still finding things that made a huge impact on me and were complete crap. As much as I've tried to distance myself from the church, there are still little threads woven through my psyche that reek of Mormon bull.
It's kind of like cleaning a window--you start off by spraying the cleaner on it, and you take these big swipes with the towel that get just about everything off in a few seconds. But then you spend a lot more time trying to find the stubborn smears that held on. And then you have to move around and watch the light hit the glass until you've seen it from every possible angle to make sure there's nothing left.
And then as you walk away you notice another fingerprint right smack dab in the middle.