Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Finally ponderizing

I know, it's been a month since General Conference ... but I'm finally doing the right stuff. Well, trying, anyways.

So, I chose  Doctrine and Covenants 6:36 for this week (even BEFORE the kerfuffle about the new Church policy change/clarification occurred).

Doctrine and Covenants 6:36 - "Look unto me in every thought; Doubt not. Fear not."

I will admit that one of the perks of choosing this verse is that it is SHORT. It's not THE shortest verse in the scriptures ... but it's bite-sized, for sure, in length.

And, with how this week has gone, it's been very helpful. Even though we see "through a glass darkly," and we don't understand all the reasonings behind every bit of doctrine and policy, we can know that we will understand it one day. The truth will come. We will understand.

So, we have two choices:

  • Keep moving forward in faith - knowing that God loves ALL his children, but doesn't approve of all our choices; that He has given us loving leaders who hearken to His voice, for the benefit of the Church and the world; that obeying the commandments of God brings us safety and peace.

  • We don't. We think that we know better than an omniscient, loving God ... or the leaders that have been called by the Lord. 
I feel for those whose hearts are conflicted. I feel for those who feel that this new policy is hard. I have compassion for them.

Truly, the main reason why I did not automatically meet the news of this announcement with joy was because I know there are those who would malign our leaders as making this policy change out of spite or bigotry. That people out there could think that we, as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, aren't doing this out of love and compassion for those who struggle with the trial of same-sex attraction.

I have friends who identify as straight, lesbian, gay, or bisexual.
Does this mean that I love any of them more or less because of their sexual preference?

(The main reason I like and love people is because of what kind of person they are. I get that everyone is going to sin. Heck, I'm a sinner, too. We all will make different choices. Some will lead us closer to Heavenly Father. Others won't, they'll lead us further away from Him. ... If I decided to only have as friends people who kept the commandments ALL the time, I wouldn't have ANY friends here on earth. We're all in this together. It's our duty to help each other along. It's our duty to show love and compassion to each other. Even when we don't agree.)

Heck, I consider this the same kind of mostly-non-issue as having friends of other religions.
We all have different beliefs and understandings. Dude, even other Latter-day Saints in my WARD (church-speak for congregation) have vastly differing views.
I have friends that are LDS. I have friends that are Catholic. or Baptist. Or Methodist. . Or non-denominational Christian. And there some Christian sects that I haven't even named. I have friends that are atheists. Or agnostics. Or pagan. Or Wiccan. ... I don't know if I have any that are Jewish or Muslim or Hindu or Buddhist. But I look forward to making friends with them ... because the more that I can learn of their characters and their religions, the better of a person I will be. Not only because I'll have more factual knowledge, of course, but also because I'll be able to better understand THEM and their beliefs and the beauties of the tenants of their faiths.

Just like I appreciate when my friends of differing sexualities help me to learn about and understand them as people. I refuse to pigeon-hole them into their sexuality ... just as I hate to pigeon-hole any of my friends into their race.
It just sounds wrong and belittling to say "my black friend/my lesbian friend/my pagan friend/etc" as if that were the only thing about them.

No, I prefer to think and categorize my friends in better-nuanced ways (i.e., "my friend, L, who teaches theater and I've known since my freshman year of college and we would walk down the main drag of campus saying "little French" and "HORROR" back and forth and had cats named Lucifer and Angel and is hilarious and we joke that we're twins since our first and middle names are so similar and we had tons of fun in German class and she says some of the funniest things and she happens to be black." OR "My friend, H, who I met through blogging and a mutual online friend and she likes cats and she is a powerhouse at working out and she posts some of the most hilarious things on facebook which always makes me smile and laugh and she's just as hilarious when she texts and she wants to be a gangsteeeer when she grows up and I found her doormat for her online and she loved it and actually ordered it which made me feel useful and she's so down-to-earth and seems like the most fun mom/mom-friend ever and she happens to also be a lesbian." OR "My friend, D, who I crushed on my sophomore year of high school and he would insist on carrying my hugely, heavely backpack of doom and he made me the best ever mixed-tape which I still have and he used to have hair like Jareth from Labyrinth and he's very funny and he's a great dad to his girls and I once stabbed him in the leg with a pencil and it left a little scar and he's really forgiven me after I've begged for forgiveness but he loves to rub my nose in it and declares that he'll be telling the  horror story of the ALLANNA when he's in a nursing home to scare the other residents and their families and he's convinced his daughter that he IS Prince Jareth and my friend's daughter that he IS Deadpool and he happens to also be pagan. ... And he and I have some GREAT discussions about religion. He's very well-versed in a lot of mythology that I'm not so knowledgeable about  ... and there are other friends that I have like that.) Yes, there all have differences that I could pigeon-hole these people as, but I really believe that we're all more than just a sum of our parts.

So, love and compassion are what Jesus taught and what I want to emulate.
He also wasn't accepting of sin ... he was compassionate and empathetic to the sinner, of course! ... but, if sin wasn't a big deal, he would never have said, "Go and sin no more."

But he did.
He didn't say, "You do you."
He didn't shun those who sinned or tried to make them feel like crap.
He loved. He led. He showed us how to improve by His perfect example. He gave us a higher law to follow. And part of that was showing love and compassion while eschewing sins. He never promised that it would be easy or feel fair or be easy for us to understand.
So, my goal is to keep the commandments, to do my best to show Christ's love to everyone around me through how I treat them, and to doubt not and fear not.

And that's what I'm going to do my darndest to do.

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