I am a Mormon man and have been for some time.
I remember when the logo for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was all in the same sized font. I remember when there wasn't a logo.
I go to church on Sunday and sometimes on Wednesday when my youngest daughter Anne is in charge of New Beginnings or some other Young Women program, and I go to as many of my teen boy's church basketball games as I can.
I am a home teacher. I am often so late in the month that I am early.
I have a temple recommend, which I have sometimes struggled to get and keep, but I have it safely packed in a little piece of plastic in my wallet.
On Sundays after two hours of teaching Sunday School and then holding down the CTR boat during sharing time, my wife and I sit in the chapel for sacrament meeting in the left section, second from the back row.
We never save our seat because we have been asked not to in our ward. But we don't complain that our neighbor, a single woman with five children and an accompanying grandchild, saves the bench for us. Said grandchild sometimes sits with us and colors with my wife while I do my best to stay awake — harder to do now that our meetings start at 9 a.m. instead of 11 a.m.
Frankly, I prefer the p.m.
Admittedly, my mind wanders at times. Sometimes I think of my oldest daughter, who lives in what her neighbors consider to be a flop house and recently told me that when people visit and do drugs, she and her unborn child are safe because she closes her bedroom door.
Sometimes I stay awake during the sacrament meeting talks by wondering what my daughter is doing there a couple of cities south of our home just blocks away from her own wardhouse, which she hasn't visited. I wonder if I were to actually go pick her up if she would come to church with us.
My oldest daughter was the Laurel president when she was younger. She planned activities that she thought the inactive girls would enjoy, as a way to interest them into coming to church. She held meetings at our house and made cookies. She made a silver-leaf etching of the Mount Timpanogas temple with the words "I'm going there someday" written along the bottom in pretty calligraphy.
My wife asked her genuinely the other day if she ever thought, while sitting in her Young Women class talking about getting married in the temple, she would ever be jobless, living in a partially plumbed house, having a baby with some guy who has no insurance and a job history that can't be put on a resume.
She shook her head "no."
She will be having her baby in April. She is not married to the father, and at this point, I am OK with her not being bound to him in any way, so I don't suggest marriage. It will probably be easier for her to not have his name on the birth certificate.
She asked to use my middle name for the baby. I suggested that John is a little boring by current standards, but I think it's sweet that she wants to.
As I get older I cling a little tighter to my religious beliefs. The times I chose not to follow the standards of my church, for whatever reason I came up with, were the darkest times of my life. Had anyone suggested to me at the time that my misery and non-compliance were related, I would have rolled my eyes and muttered how they "just didn't know the real world."
The fact was that I had been in the real world all along. And so has been my daughter. Today we are in it together. One decision affected the next for me, as it is currently for her.
I wonder if she looked at the mistakes I made years ago as an excuse to change her standards. Did I do the same with my parents as a younger and less experienced man?
So I sit in sacrament meeting trying to invent an event to which I can invite my daughter so her mother won't worry for an hour or two this weekend. Regardless of any decision she makes, she is still my little girl who runs around the house as Captain Woman — super hero to anyone needing someone to beat up their foe.
Sometimes I get my temple recommend out and look at it, checking the signatures and the dates. I breathe deep, and overcome the urge to quickly put it back in my wallet for safe-keeping.
Today I will explain to my daughter that having that little piece of paper is worth whatever the price I have been asked to pay.
Cheney writes, often humorously, at davisoncheneymegadad.blogspot.com