Being a part of the Mormon church is like having your whole body painted with many layers. First you get the lessons...there are several coats of doctrine. Then you get baptized and confirmed; two more thick coats of paint. The "paint" is intended to refurbish you as a member, to make you more acceptable to the church, to "God," to others. With each Relief Society or Priesthood lesson, another coat is applied. With each meeting, each interview, the layers of paint build. A trip to the Temple takes several coats and is inspected after each year. Then one day, you realize, you can't move! When you question about your lack of movement, the inspector tells you that your foundation is just fine. You try and sit still and remain the representation of a church "remodeled" member. But the questions come from within.
Then you hear something. A crack. A deep crack begins from the inside out. You doubt yourself because you know if you don't keep quiet, someone will hear! Someone will SEE that your appearance is now damaged. Someone might question if you have been properly taking care of your foundation, etc. Then one day, it happens. Just a small patch breaks away. You see something unusual. You touch it and are surprised. "Is that my skin?" you ask. It feels so alive and real. You begin to gently pick it away, then in a fervor you are scraping as much as you can off. Paint chips are everywhere! Soon you are standing there uncovered. You feel free. You breathe. Your body aches from the release of all that weight. You sigh and do not worry that other "painted folks" will see you without your so called "protective shell" You start the clean up job. Quickly and efficiently you sweep up all the chips and flakes. There are so many of them! It seems overwhelming at first, but then the job is done. All the mess is tossed out. You love your clean house; the way your body can breathe and move and LIVE! You are rearranging your life and then BAM you find a paint chip under the rug. Somehow you missed it...or did you save it? One day you go to get a coat and a few missed chips fall from a sleeve. Little reminders of what used to be. "It may take a while to get rid of all this residue" you say. But that is ok.