Monday, April 06, 2015

The promised NEXT post

In which I refer to "My Experience in the Conference Center During the Opposing Vote" by Erin Hallstrom.

I will first give this caveat that I added as a comment immediately after posting it on Facebook:
I know that I don't always say all that much in my heart about my religion ... but this is one of the times that I really felt inspired to do so. 
I also want to state that we (as the LDS religion) state that ALL people are "free to believe how, where or what they may," per the Thirteenth Article of Faith. So no pressure to think that I'm going to be at all offended/hurt/whatever if you believe differently than I do. Because I won't. ^_^

So, keeping that in mind ... here's what else I feel needs to be said:

This article resonated with me.
Two parts, especially:
1 - "Let me clarify something: while I don't agree with the method used here, I don't have any personal issue with those who felt the need to dissent. I know there are members in our faith with a wide variance of experience and belief. We don't all have to think the same way to be brothers and sisters. I genuinely hope those who felt the need to oppose can find some peace within our community."
YES ... the problem isn't with differing opinions. It's with the method chosen, thought up and decided on in advance, that I find inappropriate.
2 - "However, the dissenting votes had an unexpected result for me. For years I have grown used to the routine of the sustaining vote. I raise my hand in faith--but perhaps without the level of thought such an act is owed. Today I found myself raising my hand just a little higher. More than ever before, I wanted my sustaining vote counted."
As Michael pointed out, the plans of the organized group behind the "opposed!" votes were known to many in advance. The Prophet and other leaders of our church did not stop this from happening. And, maybe against the plans of that group, there has been a bit of a rallying among the saints and an awareness of the covenant that we are making to support the work of God moving forward ... and to NOT take this covenant we make for granted.
It also brings to mind this:
“The standard of truth has been erected; No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the great Jehovah shall say the work is done.” Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 4:540.
If it is God's will, He will have it done.
Our duty is to love, wait, and watch.
As some friends are pointing out, some feel distanced, unheard, unrespected.
Love them. Friendship them. Listen and prayerfully guide them.
We are all brothers and sisters. We all chose to come to earth, to partake of the great plan of happiness -- to learn and grow. We all are trying. We all need help and cannot do this alone. We cannot expect Christ to do everything. We are a way to help serve His people.
We will never be punished for loving others. But we cannot allow ourselves to be led astray or to, through inaction and fear, allow others to be led astray. We need to, as Elder Pearson instructed, read The Book of Mormon and the words of our modern prophets every day, every day, every day. If we familiarize ourselves with the Gospel through personal prayer and scripture study, we'll be better able to follow Christ and see things as they really are. We will be lead by the Holy Ghost. We'll be better examples, better leaders, and better people.
I am honored to be able to raise my hand to sustain my leaders. By raising my hand to sustain them, I am not "voting" for them ... I am covenanting to support them, to follow them, to help them as they carry out the work of the Lord.
I testify that Thomas S Monson is a living prophet, called of God, to serve the world in this day and age. I sustain him as well as his counselors and the quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators who are called of God to serve, lead, and instruct the world. I know that when I follow the prophet, I am blessed. I KNOW that Heavenly Father does not (nor does any of those He has called) desire our blind obedience --- He WANTS us to prayerfully study the scriptures and seek for knowledge and wisdom. He WILL give us it as we are ready for it. He knows all. He knows our hearts. He knows what we need, better than we know ourselves. He loves us and wants the best for each and every one of His children. And we are ALL His children. His desire is for us to serve Him because we WANT to -- willingly, happily, joyfully. He does not lead by coercion, only by gentle persuasion. Because He loves us perfectly, without beginning or end. Because He IS love.
And THAT is why He gives us commandments; why He gives us scripture, both ancient and modern; why he gives us apostles, teachers, bishops/branch presidents, stake presidents, patriarchs, seventies, and all other leaders that we have. It's why we have Home and Visiting Teachers. It's why He presented us (and we accepted) the Plan of Salvation.
Because HE. LOVES. US.
And Christ loves us just as much, as is demonstrated by how He taught how to return to our Heavenly Father; how He chose to suffer for all the pain, sins, and suffering of ALL mankind; how He was willing to die for us so we all will be resurrected, how He appeared to some of those who loved Him to let us know that He lives, how He gave us the keys of Priesthood Authority and restored those to Joseph Smith, Jr., after the apostasy-- this time never to be taken from the earth.
All of this is proof to me that God LOVES us.
And THAT is why I love Him. And I will try to be better and to serve Him better every day.
And He will STILL love me through all my failings -- that I will repent of so that I, as a loving daughter, can become more and more like my Heavenly Parents and my elder brother (my Lord, my Savior, and Redeemer), Jesus Christ.
So I will work harder to love my brothers and sisters. Even when (especially when) we have differences in thought and opinion.
I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

No comments:

Counting ...

HTML hit counter -
EU Users: This might use cookies. If it does, let me know and I can work on getting one that doesn't.