Over the past 10 years or so I have collected a lot of pictures, games, stories about Mormon beliefs etc and cut, pasted, laminated and filed them away. They have occupied a large shelf in my living room for me to reach into for 'Family Home Evening'. (We have kept this tradition but now call it 'Family Night' and there's a lot more games and a lot less religion).
Last week I spent about 2 hours sorting through these materials. I was not prepared for the emotional battle which ensued. As I threw more and more pictures and stories into the bin I began to feel a sense of loss. Some of these pictures were just beautiful and I felt sad when I threw them away. I particularly felt conflicted when I came across pictures of Nephi and other Book of Mormon Prophets whom I had loved as close friends since childhood. I felt angry. It is not Nephis fault that such deception has been shamelessly used to blind millions of people. Then I decided that since Nephi is a fictional character... just like Margaret Hale, Jane Eyre and Mr Darcy, Nephi could continue to hold a dear place in my heart. I kept his pictures!
The next unexpected feeling was when I came across a picture of Joseph Smith and I had a 'flutter of feeling', not of the religious kind but of the womb kind. Ah! Quick, in the bin! I think I'll just file that feeling away and pull it out whenever I need a good chuckle.
Once I was finished and stepped away to look at the rather bare but neat, clean non-Mormon shelf I felt refreshed, purged even. The pictures of the Temple have been taken down. One small framed picture of Jesus still remains in the kitchen. I'm not sure what how long I'll keep it, he doesn't look too happy these days. I haven't made up my mind on Jesus yet. JS has been monopolising my time so far, I'll get to Jesus soon.