|Is the mask hiding who I really am|
or showing who I aspire to be?
“I know that when I was a teenager,” said Laura, “finding out about a church leader with a Word of Wisdom problem or about a bishop who sometimes cussed was appalling to me.” She continued, “but now, I have to say that it just isn’t a big deal anymore.”
Brother Alvarez echoed his wife’s sentiments, adding that “as a missionary or even in my twenties, I just expected so much of everyone, especially older members.” He recalled how he “seriously questioned the church when I found out that a then current member of the stake High Council confessed to having an affair.”
Both James and Laura were quick to point out that they don’t think that those things are okay. Said Brother Alvarez, “what that church leader did was devastating to his family, his ward, and so many people, but, I don’t know, now I can see that living like you want to live doesn’t just happen automatically when you get to a certain age or have a certain church responsibility.”
Sister Alvarez developed this same point when she said that “well, what I see now is that all of us find it difficult if not impossible to live up to the high standards and ideals that we believe.” She elaborated that “we all see a level of goodness, obedience, or purity we would like to achieve, but we also, especially as we get older, see how much we fall short.”
“Honestly it was really, really discouraging for a long time,” added Brother Alvarez. “It is hard to believe that the Lord would give a commandment without giving you a way to immediately fulfill it, but, sadly, that just seems to be the way people are.”
The Alvarezes reported that their teenage children are still “shocked when some respected member of the church falls so painfully short,” but, they added, “we’re guessing that over time they will also have much less of a problem with hypocrisy.” Concluded Sister Alvarez, “I’m not sure if it is a matter of lowering your standards or just learning some patience.”