I think the title sums up this entire post but just for fun… let me go into more detail. I am writing this because I have a post that may or may not cause some confusion or questioning regarding my religious beliefs. So before anyone jumps to conclusions and assumes things are or aren’t true… let me just bring it all out for you. After this post, this subject is CLOSED. FOR. DISCUSSION………… PERIOD.
So, once upon a time… (true story) after Carlo and I became engaged, we sat at his place…. talking about the future. Tears in both of our eyes… (seriously… true story) discussing the fact that maybe we shouldn’t have gotten engaged so soon, discussing the fact that Yes… we will be living in Italy some day,Yes… I will be an entire ocean away from my family and everything familiar to me, talking about how many children we want to have, having many children can we afford to have & what kind of life we will have.
During the children topic came the big question….. WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT RELIGION? Neither of us are willing to give up our own religion for the sake of the other’s. So, we did what we thought was best, we went to get some counsel from BOTH sides. We first met with the bishop of my Singles Ward. (shout out D12!!) Bishop Christiansen had been my bishop for a few years and he and I had many wonderful meetings regarding Scripture study, callings & the future. As we sat in his office, Carlo asked what the difference was between the Catholic church and the LDS church. Bishop C then went on to explain things so that he could understand our beliefs. Bishop then said something that stuck with us.
“Build your relationship/marriage on your common beliefs and go on that. Make that the foundation and teach your children what both religions teach. Sonia, you will have to baptized your children in the Catholic church. You don’t have a choice. It’s important to Carlo and his faith, besides…. it’s just water. It’s not going to hurt. Carlo, you will have to let Sonia bless your children in the LDS church.. You don’t have a choice. It’s important to her. Now, when your children are 8 years old, if they want to be baptized in the LDS church, you must let that happen. You must respect your children’s decision.”
A few days later, we went to speak with a priest at the church Carlo attended. As we mentioned our situation, the priest looked at me and said, “Your children must be Catholic. You must raise them in the Catholic church.” I very politely said that I was not Catholic and that my religion was very important to me. I also mentioned what Bishop said. The priest merely replied, “This is the Catholic church, there is no compromise.” As he spoke these words, I already knew what my decision would be. After our meeting, Carlo and I decided that we would be going with the counsel of Bishop C and with that, Carlo also wanted me to ask him if he would marry us.
From that point on, Carlo has been very supportive of me and my callings in the church. He has come with me to baptisms, baby blessings, regular Sacrament meetings & even Ward parties. I have also been supportive of him and his association with the Catholic church. I have attended Midnight Mass at Christmas, Easter services, & service projects.
Being away from family and friends, he knew (I made it VERY clear) that I would not abandon my beliefs and that if he wanted me to be happy, he must allow me to continue going to church, be active and support me when I have the missionaries over for dinner. One of the great things about being LDS is that you can go to any ward in the world and be welcomed with open arms. You are instantly with family. After our move to Torino, Carlo came home and told me to get ready to go out. It was cold, wet and rainy. There was snow on the ground that was starting to melt. I asked where we were going, he said 1st, to try and find you some boots to walk in this weather, & 2nd, to find your church building so you can find it on Sunday.
(let me take a sec and brag about him!) We came home and we were both cold, & and our feet, shoes, clothes were wet…. but he did it because he knows how important the church is to me. He did it because he loves me and he promised that he would do everything he could to make me happy. We’ve now been married for over 3 years. He has welcomed into our home, every Sister Missionary and Elder that has come over for dinner. He has willingly (his choice) sat in during the message at the end of the meal. He has made friends with the Elders. He has made friends with people in my Ward….. because he loves me!
I have also made friends with people from his church. His priest is well aware of our situation and he has been very kind to us. I go with him to some of the church gatherings….. because I love him!
He has kept his promise to me, and I will keep my promise to him. We as parents are responsible to do the very best we can when it comes to raising our children. As Bishop C told us, we have built our marriage on common ground and we will go forth. Our children will decided what religion they want to be a part of. Do I want them to be LDS??… or course. Does Carlo want them to be Catholic??…. yes, but that’s not up to us.. it’s up to them. It would be no different if we were both Catholic or LDS… the choice is not ours… but our children. As long as they believe in Heavenly Father we will be happy.
So, with that.. I will say for the last time (regarding this issue)…. I am, have been & will always be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have a testimony that has been made stronger because of the decisions I have made in the last 4 years (that I have been with Carlo). I have felt what it is like to not have the spirit with you when you don’t attend church and it is a very lonely, sad feeling. I feel the love of Heavenly Father and his son when I attend church, meetings, & meet with the Missionaries. I have my free agency to do what I want and I do exactly what I want. My faith has been and will continue to be tested in everyday life and I will continue to pray for strength, guidance, patience and understanding. The Church has always been there for me… and I WILL NEVER deny, doubt or question the teachings of the gospel, and the leaders of the church. I WOULD NEVER turn away from my church… especially since it has brought me so much joy. I have said this before and I’ll say it again….
I know for a fact that the reason I am truly happy in my life… here in Italy, away from my family and everything familiar to me… is because I have the church. The church is my family. As long as I’m at church…. I am home.