Due to Stake Conference next weekend, we had our fast and testimonial Sunday today and our Break the Fast theme was "That's So Mormon."
I didn't grow up in the Church so naturally, half the typical food items and cultural aspects of being Mormon are still quite foreign to me. I can pick up on most - but with food, it's definitely a learning experience which made me ponder.. am I really that Mormon... culturally that is? For example, I learned tapioca in marshmallow and mixed fruit is "frog eyes" and both that and jello are not desserts, but side dishes.
I recently also learned what a Hawaiian Haystack is from a lovely reception of our friends who got married last week. I was stuffed to the brim from all the Hawaiian (coincidence?) food served at my bridal shower earlier that day so I had to take the word of those I love and know well who consumed it and exclaimed, it's awesome! For those of you who aren't familiar with it, it's a combination of rice, gravy, fruits, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole and sour cream and wa-la - Hawaiian Haystack.
As part of the wedding planning process, I have also been able to learn much more of LDS culture. For example, including a photo with an invite - completely Mormon. Another Mormon thing? Bridals! Yes yes... I know there are many non-LDS brides who also take 'em but in general, they are definitely the minority and when I talked with a lot of my non-member friends about it, it was definitely a new concept to them. As is the timing of sending out invites - non-members traditionally send invites out 3 months prior but LDS culture is closer to a month within the wedding.
It seems there is always definitely more to learn about cultural LDS stuff and with each passing day, I am finding that out.
I suppose it's the same with the Gospel. There's always something to learn and even when you think you've got it all down, there's more. Some of the learning can be instructed (someone can tell me what a funeral potato looks like, the ingredients and directions to make it, or I can try to learn by example, watching someone else cook 'em, ask questions, etc. ) It always surprises me that we go to Church each week, talk about the same scripture stories and the same principles and doctrines, yet feel differently about it every time. The Spirit knows how to teach you something new with each relearned concept and the application to our own lives is varying as we grow and learn. Challenges are thrown are way that cause us to apply each principle again and again, yet it feels different and in the end, we look back and realize - look how much we've grown.
I've been reading the scriptures for more than a year now and I still have not gone through all of the Old and New Testament, but despite having gone through the rest of the scriptures, I still would not be able to summarize all the stories within the Book of Mormon. I feel inadequate most of the time compared to those armed with so much more depth of each biblical story, but I hope with time, I will just continue reading and learning, and never lose sight of the learning that will happen with each passing day. I must be patient and diligent and put my shoulder to the wheel when it comes to studying everyday and ensuring my studying is progressing.
In the Church, there is so much emphasis on spiritual growth and spiritual stagnation is the same as falling backwards. I think of my own growth in learning about the scriptures and the culture and I know I want to continue forward, not backward which means not standing still. And then, when I take a glimpse into my oh so Mormon life, I will smile and know I have made an effort and seen the fruits of my efforts.