A Good Mormon | Letters | Salt Lake City Weekly

A Good Mormon 

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I just quickly sat down in between classes and a column in your paper caught my eye [“Free Agent,” Nov. 21, City Weekly]. I loved it; I can relate in a totally different way.

I remember being an athlete, but an average athlete. As an eighth-grade girl, I clearly remember, I was just average at most things. It was after giving a talk one day in church that I realized I was good at something: I could speak in public, and I was good at it.

Thanks to a lot of moving, I had the chance to speak in each new ward, and I was called as Mia Maid class
president—another thing I was good at. For the next 26 years, I equated having the gift to speak and the gift to lead as being a good Mormon.

Because I was a good speaker, I wanted to be as knowledgeable as possible so I could articulate my message well. I have read the Book of Mormon 30 times, cover to cover. By the age of 38, my church résumé included: Mia Maid class president, Laurel class president, two-time Stake Camp director (the first at age 21), returned missionary, Especially For Youth counselor and speaker, Relief Society teacher, three-time Young Women president, two-time Relief Society president, wife of a bishop, and speaker for years at various camps, youth conferences and even at Snow College for a devotional.

Had I been good at dance, music or sports, my life may have been different. But I was good at being a good Mormon; if I was going to speak on it, I was going to live it—and live it I did!

A light bulb went on three years ago, and I realized the doctrine was crap. I wasn’t summoned by inspiration to these callings; I was called because I was (very) willing and damned good at running an organization, and I could motivate anyone to live it. I married a man with the same skills; hence, he was a heck of a bishop because he ran a good “business,” and he is a people person and could motivate anyone to do anything (Joseph Smith similarities, not even kidding).

So glad that together we saw the light and had our family’s records removed.

Shelly Smith

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