Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tattooed Religion

Ok so it is apparent from my outward appearance that I am tattooed.  I am also Mormon.  Not like the "tattooed Mormon" though nothing wrong with her, I'm just not that girl.  I do not attend regular meetings, hold a church calling, I have not been married in the temple and I do not regularly read the book of Mormon. 

Does this mean I am no longer a Mormon?  No, I do not believe so, and this is not the reason I am posting this.  I am not here to question weather I am a certain religion or not but I am here to talk about my experience being a "raised in the LDS church, but oh my gosh she is covered in tattoos!  what happened to her, Mormon". 

First off yes I was raised Mormon.  We went to church every Sunday, had family scripture study every morning, said family prayers together, and over all lead a very "Mormon" life.  My parents were great examples to me and are still to this day, people I hope to be like when I grow up. 

I got my first tattoo the summer after I turned 18.  I hid it for a very long while because I knew how my parents felt about them.  I have always had such a great relationship with my parents, especially my mother, and I didn't want that to change.  I'm not sure when they found out I must have blocked it from my mind but there is one tattoo I do remember showing my mother.  It was the first tattoo I had gotten on my lower arm.  This was after I was married and I believe even had my first child.  I came to my parents house to see a cousin and aunt that was visiting and reviled the new artwork.  Immediately my mother walked into her bedroom closed the door and stayed for some time.  Not wanting to face her, and the disappointment she carried, I stayed away.  I wanted so badly for her to accept me, all of me, but I also understood why this was a very hard thing of me to ask.  Weeks went by and I'm sure more tattoos came and little by little the shock was less and less.

She recently told me of a time when it all took a turn for her.   I had come to church to pick up my son she had been watching.  I was not dressed for the occasion and so my tattoos were showing and right away my mother thought "I have to get her out of here!"  She rushed me out the door and into the parking lot and I was on my way with my child non the wiser.  Here is the part where I believe it all changed for her.  Now mind you my mother has never treated me with disgust or ill will.  She has always masked her embarrassment for me quite well.  She had a thought  "she's my daughter too, and I would never treat her like that.  I gave her to you because I knew you would always love her."  I think after that she decided no matter my choices she was going to love me because nothing was worth loosing me.

And that my friends is what I am writing about.   I'm writing about the GOOD people in the Mormon church that don't judge me, or treat me different because I am a tattooed mother sitting in church.  They love and support me that one Sunday a month, or year I attend, because they know I mean well.  And those people go beyond my mother.  And they are in tune with the spirit enough to know that even though I do not regularly attend church meetings or volunteer to hold callings that I am trying.

 I had a friend ask me once

"so you go to relief society?"
"and they are nice to you?"
"haha, yes."

He was surprised, which I think is kind of sad, but even if there had been anyone who wasn't exactly a "saint" towards me I wouldn't let it keep me from going back because I can't let someone else decide what my life can be after all of this earth stuff is done.  I will tell you I have been treated like crap by other religions way more than my own...maybe they are still trying to save me...haha. 

All I am saying is this.

I am so grateful I got the parents I did.  They accept me and my family as we are and just keep praying for us, which we need anyways so I will take it.  I love my parents and the example they set for me.  There are really great people in all religions, and also some pretty crappy ones but don't let the bad ones make you hate a whole religion.  Look past the people and find a message that speaks to you, and your heart.  Make it work for you and do what you can to be a better person.  And also don't judge those around you because they picked a religion you disagree with, just do you.  

If getting tattooed is the worst thing I could do in my life I think I'm doing pretty good if I do say so myself. 


Shannon S said...

I loved reading this!!! Thank you for sharing your amazing thoughts and your mothers experience. And, I would be honored to sit next to you and your family anytime at church! :)
Thanks again for sharing!

Rachel said...

Ash, that was wonderful! The part about "She's my daughter too..." brought tears to my eyes. I too had a sacred experience many years ago where I felt a voice chastising me for judging one of His children. What a testament of the love He has for each one of us individually and a lesson in judging for me. It's an experience I will NEVER forget!