I don't necessarily write a lot about my church. Not in blog posts. I share little snipets here and there about my faith and how much it means to me....but this is different.
Yesterday my church made a very big announcement. An announcement that is shaking up everything. And I want to talk about my feelings about it.
When the announcement was first released yesterday I felt a sinking pit in my stomach for two reasons. One because it made me sad and two because I knew there would be so much controversy and the arguing and disparaging things I would have to read for the next who knows how long, stressed me out. I have many flaws but one thing I am not nor will ever be is a bigot. I hope people who know me (and people who don't) can at the very least feel how much I truly love other people. I was never taught by my parents or my church to hate another because they were different than me in any way (race, gender, sexual orientation) or because of their religious or political beliefs. But people are not perfect and I understand that some may have run into members of my church who think and feel and behave differently than that. And I understand these people's actions and behavior can be easily blamed on a church because that church is seemingly different. It is a church that has always been at the center of very strong opinions and is frequently questioned and made fun of in entertainment. Let me also say though that at this point....it's starting to feel like an excuse. Everyone is just looking for an excuse to prove it all wrong. To criticize this church and it's leaders. And to that I will say....I think that's kind of the point.
Let me clarify- and in doing so I will share my personal beliefs about this gospel. This life was not made to be easy. Roads are not getting easier to navigate, they are getting harder. That is not changing any time soon. Anyone who has been taught and believed this gospel will know that. Statements are bolder and beliefs much more black and white. How else is the Lord going to test the members of His church? Because this is just the kind of thing that is going to make you question your beliefs, your religion, and it's leaders. And you have to make a decision. This gospel is not an "on the fence" gospel anymore. It is choosing a side.
So how does one do that? Well my friends.....it is one word, five letters. and the hardest principle in the world
Last night I prayed for understanding of this decision. I asked my Heavenly Father to help me understand. And the answer I received is....I might not ever fully understand. And that's ok. Because I have faith. I know this church is true. I know that the prophet of this church was called from God. I know that decisions in this church are not made by 12 men around a table in Salt Lake City Utah. I know they are made by our Heavenly Father who knows His children and loves them. This is not made to be viewed as a punishment. This is made to be a faith tester and builder. If you have a relationship with the Lord and you love Him and trust Him then you have to trust that there is a reason for everything...even this. And you have to believe that He loves His children enough to always take care of them. He will not forsake anyone who comes to Him. He is perfect. The Atonement fixes all and heals all. Someday we will have all the answers but having all the answers is not the point or purpose of this life. This life is made to test us. To make us decide which side of the fence we are on and what we're willing to give to our Heavenly Father.
To my friends and family and anyone else reading this who is not part of my church and who I know will have a lot of questions and strong opinions about this I just want to say...you know me. You know how much I love my church, the principles it teaches, and I love my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. That will not ever change. That doesn't mean I hate anyone. I don't. And this decision wasn't made to cause hate or bigotry. Hate and bigotry are personal feelings or opinions that have nothing to do with the church's decision or it's teachings. This is not a political issue even though it will be made into one. I stand by my church and my Heavenly Father and that also will not change. It doesn't change the love I have for the people around me. In fact the love I have for those around me is magnified by the love I know our Heavenly Father has for all of His children.....love I have been taught about by my church my whole life.
This is hard. I understand. Believe and trust in our Heavenly Father and the Atonement of our Savior and the real and everlasting love they have.
"Only the pure love of Christ will see us through. It is Christ's love which suffereth long and is kind. It is Christ's love which is not puffed up not easily provoked. Only His pure love enabled Him- and us- to bear all things, and endure all things"
-Jeffrey R. Holland.