We all have questions, and sometimes we want to leave the church. But here’s why you shouldn’t leave church attendance behind.
#1: It’s not about what people believe; it’s about God.
I’ve had a lot of issues with Mormon culture and people’s expectations. Even just recently, my sister told me that people perceive me as this perfect person, which I get annoyed by. And I have issues with people saying that I have to do things a certain way—when what they tell me isn’t doctrine. Rather, it’s based on personal opinion or something that someone said one time. But I don’t go to church for people; I go to church for God.
#2: It’s about serving, not being served.
I could go to church and say, “Well, no one talked to me today. Guess no one cares that I’m here.” Or, I could say, “Who can I serve?” I guess that hasn’t really been my experience, but it’s a thing I’ve heard over and over again. We go to church to serve others. That’s what we said we’d do when we got baptized: “To mourn with those that mourn; yea, give comfort to those that stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:9). In my experience, I’m mostly like, “Why are people saying these things? Do I really need to be here if I can read the scriptures and the words of the prophets that I know are doctrinally correct?” And the answer is that I’m there to serve.
#3: People (including you) are imperfect.
Brigham Young, for example, was a prophet of God who taught many truths. He also wasn’t a fan of African Americans, but that was the mortal SUPER imperfect part of him. That didn’t mean that the teachings of God weren’t true. It’s like Elder Uchtdorf’s talk: God works with what he’s got. And what he’s got is imperfection. And that includes my limited way of thinking that might make me get offended at church every once in a while.
#4 We need the sacrament and the other covenants.
In the church, we make covenants with God, not men. And the sacrament takes place during sacrament meeting, so if I want to keep up my relationship with God, I have to devote myself to him despite anything that I’m not a fan of. And the temple is the place where we make other covenants and promises with God, and we need those things.
#5 You have a testimony in there somewhere.
I know that Joseph Smith was called of God to restore the church, imperfect as he was. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet called of God today to lead the church. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and within its words, you can find goodness for your life. I know that the temple is the place where we make covenants with God, not man. And my testimony, the testimony I’ve received over time, has kept me going strong through some of the hardest things that have happened to me.
So what I’m saying is don’t give up. Don’t give up on yourself. Don’t give up on God. Just keep going and keep trying. And remember what you know to be true.