I think that this idea comes from many things. One is that people just don't understand our religion. They don't care enough to really learn about what we preach.
Another reason, I believe, is that it is the faults of the members.
Don't get me wrong. I don't think that anyone who truly loves this gospel ever willfully misrepresents our church. But I think that we live in a world where we feel like we have to make excuses for ourselves, no matter who we are or what we believe.
"I can't . . . I'm Mormon."
There was this t-shirt company that started making these "I can't . . . I'm Mormon" shirts awhile back. While I can see the humor in them, I think that this phrase perfectly illustrates what I'm trying to say; which is that sometimes we use our religion as an excuse.
By saying that we "can't" makes it seem like we are either ashamed of our religion or using it to take the easy way out. Is it a wonder that people think we let our religion rule our lives? We should be having our religion guide our lives. Instead of "I can't," it should be, "I don't."
What is wrong with just saying, "I don't drink coffee. I don't smoke. I don't drink, etc."? I almost feel like we are putting down our religion when we say "I can't."
Why do you follow the gospel?
I guess it really comes to your attitude. Do you follow the standards, doctrines, and principles of the gospel because you have to or because you choose to?
I hope that everyone lives the gospel because they choose to, not because they feel obligated. I hope they live it because they love God and Christ and they see that their lives will be better for it.
I don't drink alcohol just because I was told not too. I don't drink because, based on my religious beliefs, I have chosen not too. There is really nothing holding me back--I am over the legal drinking limit. But I have chosen not too.
It's a choice. And we should make it seem like we have made that choice--not just following blindly.