The U: Mormon rumspringa

By and

I lost my testimony. I just can’t remember where in the world I put it.

It’s not that I’ve had a crisis of faith. It’s not that I can’t reconcile certain points of doctrine with my personal beliefs.

I just don’t like going to church. In the last five years, my attendance has dropped from nearly 100 percent to its current state, hovering at a comfy 33. And I have no real reason why.

Sure, I’m not technically inactive. I can usually be counted on to attend Sacrament Meeting every week?or so. And if I were given a job (heaven forbid), I’d probably do it. Delivering pies, setting up chairs-whatever, I’m a good sport.

Of course, to get a job, my bishop would probably have to know who I am. Switching your records from ward to ward-it’s almost an art form.

I don’t feel guilty about my current inactivity. Just as Amish teenagers have rumspringa-the time in which they can snort lines of coke off toilet seats without repercussions-so do Mormon youth have the U.

This is the place to explore what I like to call “Lies Your Bishop Told You”:

1. Drinking isn’t fun.

Oh, my friends, but it is. I’ve never done it, but I’m not going to delude myself into thinking that I wouldn’t be having a better time in general if I did.

If you don’t drink, good for you-but don’t tell yourself that it’s because you can have just as much fun without it.

You can’t. Resign yourself to leading a more boring life than the Catholics down the street.

2. Relief Society IS fun.

Oh, gimme a break. Crying about how you aren’t married? Learning how to can peas? Do I even have to say anything more?

3. Church is more interesting once you get to college.

I really believed this one for a while. Then I realized that even though we’re all older and presumably wiser, Sunday school lessons will still resemble the same old, same old we had memorized back when we were 12. Meh.

There are more, and I’d keep listing them-but I’m sure you can think of them yourself. Heck, feel free to send a few of them in to The Chronicle-we need the letters.

The real problem is?these reasons and others like them aren’t quite enough to stop me from going for good.

When it comes to my religion, there are things I disagree with, and there are things I don’t like. There are even things that I just pretend never happened. (*Cough! Polygamy! Cough!*)

But unfortunately, I really do believe it. And that sort of makes it impossible for me to have my records removed just because I don’t want to get married in an ugly wedding dress.

(The Biggest Lie That Your Young Women President Told You: Strapless wedding dresses aren’t flattering.)

But people who honestly leave any religion for reasons as pathetic as, “Jeez, this whole kneeling down five times a day is really getting to my back,” or “I am SO over circumcision,” or “Don’t you think that speaking in tongues is a little?um?creepy?” probably didn’t have very good reasons for joining-or staying-in the first place.

Here’s a rule of thumb I like to live by: If you joined for the Jell-O, then you can quit because they stop using Wonderbread during Sacrament. But if you didn’t join for the Jell-O?well, you might be out of luck when it comes to apostatizing in good conscience.

There are things that are wrong with any church or religion. Lots of things. But just as you shouldn’t join something for the wrong reasons, neither should you let go of something for the wrong reasons.

Sigh. I am officially going to die 10 percent poorer than I ought to.