I started writing this to a Facebook comment entirely against the new policy revealed in the viral news article, outing the Leaders of my Church. This post was one of the thousands, and they had a good reason. My post became too long, and Facebook would not let me post it. Please do not hate me for sharing my own explanation, on everyone’s doubts. These are my own thoughts on other comments I have seen for it and against it.
No matter what your stance is on my religion, I truly love you first as a person!
This “headline” and article disturbed me when I first saw it. I read the headline, read the article and was sick about it. I did not doubt my faith but did question the intentions. I thought why this would have to be? Or Why would the church need to clarify and change this in the handbook? Why would they reveal it so abruptly?
I became victim to it, in efforts to protect the people I love a very natural reaction. I liked several posts on Facebook that disagreed with this headline and commented on a few posts, how I too felt this was unfair. It was unfair for everyone involved.
Then I began more research because I am not about to make a rash decision without a better knowledge of both sides of the story. As I have mentioned before in my blog, I have made my own conversion and or reconfirmation to this church after questioning many of its restrictions and commandments years ago. A good friend who came from a home where she was the only member, and no one in her family, was, or ever had been, a member. She talked to me as I complained to her about how I felt captive and brainwashed. She turned to me and said, “The very things you(Misty) call restrictions are the very things that will permit you into eternal freedom and lead you in a life of health, love, and service.”
Well, thank you, Friend, for just making those rusty wheels in my head turn, and making me really have to search for myself, my hearts desires.
The thing that converted me back to Mormonism was the very thing I left it for. I left because I did not feel worthy, especially from the judgment and criticism I received from its members. I questioned if this church was true, and if it was, how could the members be so judgmental, when in the Scriptures it tells them specifically not too? There is a thought, we are all sinners not news to be (Gay, Straight, Black, White, Red, Yellow, Male, Female, Elderly, Young, and Younger) Doesn’t matter not one of us is more important than the other, which would make us equal. I alone am still not worthy of its eternal rewards, but that is what is so great about the teachings of this Gospel.
Through my greatest sins and transgressions, I was brought back to the church, and through what started out as what I thought was a humiliating repentance process, ended with me seeing myself as God does. It also completely converted me to believe in the purpose of our brother, our Savior Jesus Christ’s, sacrifice. This conversion can happen in this life or the next, so I hated that I was so hung up on the members of the church. I was hung up on them because I felt they thought of me unworthy to be in there presence, which is precisely what I see others taking from this release.
I also learned that the members of the church are not the gospel, but the doctrine is never changing no matter what pressure is on it. I am comfortable knowing I will never be worthy and am confident that if I have faith all things will pass and all things will come. I do not doubt who I am or feel unworthy of God’s love, because of the choices I have made. I will still face God on judgment day and receive my consequences for my sins and mistakes. I would be admitting that I don’t believe that Christ lived and suffered for my sins if I did not accept that I need His Atonement to make up for my fatal mishaps. I do believe He died for me, he died for all of us, and having that brings me comfort for the sinner I am.
This is what is so great about the bigger picture, I can guarantee when we get to the other side, anyone who has accepted the Gospel here on earth or in Heaven will live in peace and harmony. Even if they now participate in same-gender marriage, or are children of same-gender marriage! God is a merciful God, and he loves all his children, that is still the teaching of the Church!
Does it really matter at what age we are baptized? Or just that we are? I was baptized at 8 but considered myself converted at 25. I remember my heart conversion more than my baptism because it was all for me.
Another honest confession is I was so stressed about getting baptized because my sins were washed away. Holding onto that perfection was robust but purposeful. I can probably guarantee that within 24 hours I committed a sin (calling my brothers names or something like that).
Again pressure I interpreted wrong because I did not fully understand the Atonement. Are we really interpreting this message as we (as a Gospel) are not accepting of God’s children?
Say “yes” because I did and it will make me feel better knowing I was not alone. “Misery loves company!” J/K you don’t have to agree, just trying to put a little lightness in this sensitive situation.
Remember my initial reaction to this “Headline” was hurt and pain for the news release, which wasn’t even released from my church. I still have yet to find it in the handbook, but that is because they have not updated it on my phone app. I have seen the copies that were leaked, but not the confirmation or the change in the handbook.
This church is susceptible to same-gender members and marriage and has financially funded and helped all people no matter their choices or situation. The church cannot change its principles or teachings because the world wants it too and they would feel more accepted.
I can testify that they do not teach their members to hate or not accept others. They teach them to love everyone. They are sticking to marriage being between a man and a woman, they cling to us loving everyone no matter what, and not judging others, and putting family first. This change did not change any core principles.
We all have our opinions feelings and emotions, but after research, the church is really trying to do it for good reasons even though it is hard to understand that, and I did not realize it at first.
I work with children from all sorts of home life’s, and they are young and not entirely sure, who they are, or 100% sure what to believe? Even at the age of 18 they sometimes still do not show great coping skills or judgment skills, but they are learning and trying. I find my most confused dancers between the age of 12 to 18 years old and have seen some dancers in such family turmoil. This turmoil has been caused by opposing beliefs coming from parents, who are members, with a child who is not, and vice-versa.
Some of my most supportive parents are not of my faith, but come to me because they know that no matter what, I will love and teach their child as an equal, no matter their color, creed, gender, or relationship desires! I cherish the opportunities to share my love with children who are openly gay, my love is all God gave me permission to give. He did not give me permission to judge, cast out, or exclude. Nope, thank goodness that is not my job!
In an extraordinary blessing I received in my youth I was told this “Misty, love everyone that you see, wear a smile wherever you go, and help whoever you can no matter their color or their creed. The help that you will give, will come back to you in many folds, it may not be in money but in blessings” Well here I am broke poor, but blessed out the wazoo, helping wherever I can, but failing on wearing a smile wherever I go, it is tough hard work, try it :).
I truly believe that those words came straight from God, through a great and worthy leader of my Church.
So why do I try to make each student, friend, family member feel my love even though we do not share the same creed? I do it because “God” has asked me too, in fact, he has asked all Christians too.
God is my judge, and through His teachings, he has made it very clear that I am no man’s judge. Do they all feel my love, Nope, because we all share our passion differently and we tend to think if someone does not share love, the same as we do, then they do not feel it?
Do I judge? Yes, and I hate it when I do, especially with negative feelings. Dang, it, I do it, let’s be real; I do it all the time, but not in the sense that you may be accusing me of. Another reason why I need my Savior’s atonement, just like my gay friends do, and my LDS friends do.
I never judge to the extent, that it would alter my love for anyone, but I do to the extent that I may remain safe from specific harms and distant from anger, hatred, and hostility. It is this Gospel that has planted and continues to implement the knowledge that I need to, love all of God’s children, NO MATTER WHAT.
Side note: Addressed to my friend, who inspired my thoughts on this super sensitive subject. I love you and your family! Your Dad was one of my favorite teachers, I loved that his favorite color was yellow, and from my perspective, he was a super loving and happy guy. I got to spend lots of time with your older brother, and your younger brother. Your brother was just like you, the type of people that light up a room when they enter it. I have some of my fondest memories with situations that your Family directly was involved in. I also covet and drool over your beautiful style and life, another sin
Friend: It seems like you’re pretty set on your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. I cannot blame you, nor do I judge you for those. I can definitely tell they have come from somewhere super deep, well thought out and have not been formed lightly. I genuinely hope that me sharing my findings does not offend you, but helps you understand that I am not a wrong person for standing by my Church Leaders.
I know it’s hard to understand my perspective because I am currently a member of the church, and I do feel like there’s a particular culture that comes with my church that I don’t always agree with. The culture and habits of the members are ever-changing, but the core principles and teachings never will.
I do agree with the gospel principles, and the Church is conflicted here, only between the teachings of God, and the desires of the people in today’s world. I can promise you though, they are not teaching hatred towards anyone, we as people are doing that ourselves.
I a member have sinned just as deep, as my friends who are involved in same-gender relationships, and through that, I was converted. And though every day I want to give up, I regularly talk to God to help me through. I don’t want to give up because I feel inadequate or unworthy, but because it is hard to see so many good people fighting over loving and protecting.
I want to apologize that the teachings of the Church during your adolescents made you feel such sorrow, because your father was not active, and you thought you would not be reunited with him in heaven. This same Church has definitely taught me that there is a lot that happens after, this life on earth, questions that are answered, misunderstandings that are straightened out. We never were meant to know or understand all the answers, and if we did how could we practice faith?
I know that from the heart that your Dad hosted, and the good life that he lived, you will be reunited again. The desires of our hearts are probably most important to our eternal salvation, and I know that your heart is HUGE.
I just want to give you my two cents on the perspective, as I understand it after doing more research. The reason for this change, which again I have not seen its confirmation or denial, but I do believe the change is true. I still feel the change is in alliance with the same church that you once knew and followed, and the same core principles it practices.
The church wants families to live together, love together and live with peace and harmony. It is hoping to prevent a child from feeling like they have to deny or disagree with their parents. Just like the many kids, I teach and I, myself as a child, I did not know how to believe this Church, wholeheartedly. My heart was later converted at 25 years old.
Ironically, my conversion came after a temple marriage, an unwanted divorce, almost or pretty much being dis-fellowshipped, some more sins, a sealing cancellation, spending wake-less nights on my knees, reading, and researching the teachings and the anti-teachings. I do not expect anyone to ride off my conversion, but like to share it because it is not the typical bells and whistles kind of story.
I found the Church after committing some of its reddest sins. I can guarantee that presented with the same situations that brought me back to the church as an adult, would not have been received the same when I was young and dependent upon my parent’s approval.
My childhood perspective would not have seen it the same way as my adult self, nor would my parents have seen those mistakes I made, as they did when I was an adult. I would have hidden my sins from them for fear of their disapproval or shame, we had a much more developed and less hostile relationship, as I entered adulthood. They were able to set my sins aside and be content with their knowledge that they taught me better, but I was now an adult, and I was expected to deal with my own consequences.
Even though I was baptized at eight, and my parents let me choose to be, I decided to be baptized because I knew it would make my parents happy. As a child I wanted nothing more than to make them proud of me, I felt the most pain of my life as a child when I felt their disappointment in me.
The Church is hoping to relieve this conflict until the understanding becomes more mature and respectful not resentful. It is actually how we all should be about this news: More respectful and less resentful.
Children understand a lot, but it would be tough to understand and believe that your parents were wrong and you would have to deny their choice, and agree that the life they were living was sinful and against God’s plan. It is hardly a Child to know the difference, just like when you lost your dad as a child, it made you feel like you would not live with him in heaven, because of how you perceived the churches teachings and his current state of mind at the time of his death.
It is hard to understand the whole picture as a child, the second coming scared the crap out of me as a child, I had all sorts of nightmares about natural disasters, and being separated with my family during earthquakes. Funny: In a dream, I remember about the second coming I got stuck on the black hill while all my family was on the red-hill here in good old St. George. We were separated by fire, and now with a better understanding, I am not afraid of being separated, and I anticipate its arrival more than anything!
Another youth misinterpretation was when I caught my Grandma smoking at the age of 10, and I may have bawled for days. I cried because of how I perceived my Gospel teachings, not what my parents taught me. I honestly thought she was going straight to Hell, and I would not see her again, that is pretty devastating for a child who loves her Grandmother with all her heart. This literally broke my heart into pieces, because I had no idea how to perceive the Atonement, in fact, I may have had no idea at that age through middle school what that word even meant.
It was not until I was probably 16 that a comment was made to me “Good people have bad habits, but bad habits, do not, make good people bad.” Well now that I am older and a bit wiser I get it, and that is what I honestly think the Churches purpose, in clarifying the situation is.
My perspective as a child of the Gospel was utterly different than it is today, and I am more understanding now of the Leaders of my Churches purpose. We learn a lot through our youth, but we also don’t understand a lot! The church does not want this conflict in a home for the child’s benefit.
As a child, I believed in God, but I had no revelation other than just what I felt in my heart. The church felt good in my heart, but had I not been at my parent’s home I may have not even known the church existed. If my parents still raised me the way they did, without the church, I would have still felt good because the comfort and safety that I felt from the love and acceptance my parents had for me and others, and for the things they taught me. The Church can take the hit of all these frustrated people if the Church is to blame, then they served their exact purpose. Which is not to divide same-gender parents and their children.
The church understands the perspective of a child, and usually, a child wants most to please their parents! The conflicting feeling between having to choose between the membership of a Church and satisfying their parents can be hard on a young child, even a young adult. It is also hard for a child, just like it was for you as a child, to think about them not being an eternal family.
There are all sorts of chances to be that eternal family, but there are a particular set of commandments that we have always been asked to follow here on earth, and they have not changed. I do think the end result in Heaven will be severely different than what we anticipate it to be here on earth. We will all remain equal, be equally judged, and equally loved just like the Gospel says we will.
The church does not want a child to feel that torment, and I feel confident that if there was a same-gender couple that truly believed and understood the consequences of their decision, which is against the teachings of the Gospel, that they would understand why the church would not want their child to feel conflicted between them and a membership.
Some of my best insights on this situation are with those who know and have accepted their gay beliefs. I am grateful that they, being what others may think of as the “Victim,” do not change their feelings towards me as a friend, because they know I love them first and always as a person.
All of them are welcome to attend, in fact, let’s be real. All of us (members) are welcome to attend too. There is not one perfect member of our Church, and even ideal attendance does not guarantee our eternal salvation, it is the desires and actions of our heart.
Which then makes us question well if we are all imperfect, why can’t we all be members? We all can, and so can those children when they become 18, and they are no longer feeling turmoil or confusion about why their parent’s relationship is a consider a sin, by God. Children are innocent but they love their parents, and they need to not be faced with the feeling of having to choose between, God and family until they reach a certain maturity. Family First!
I would bet my life on it, that if one of those children lost their lives before they reached 18, that our loving and merciful God would welcome them with open arms to join his army of angels. In fact, I probably should have waited until I turned 18 because I would have to work a little harder to understand, and I would not have fallen away at that age and then made my true conversion years later. With my adult understandings, my baptism would have made more sense to me.
These children in a home with same-gender parents are not denied any eternal salvation, once they have baptized as a member they have the opportunity to serve missions, to get married in the temple, and to receive all the covenants that every member has the opportunity to receive.
The more I think about it, the more “the lazy Mormon” in me thinks “lucky them they don’t have to live through all those fun visits I had to have with my Bishop in my awkward teenage years, because of false judgments other members passed on me, SO AWKWARD.”
Just so everyone knows I am not, that lazy of a Mormon, anymore. Just trying to bring a little humor to our very tense situation! OK! I will admit I am still a pretty lazy Mormon, just ask my Bishop and our Ward family they would agree. They might not be happy with my slacking, but they love me none-the-less.
On a serious note: I had to wait 12 months to turn my sealing cancellation into the First Presidency. My Bishop new my heart, and he felt I was worthy, but that was not injunction with the “Horrible” handbook. My childhood or young adult-self would have got pissed off with the Church, and felt like they did not care about me or my situation. Being a bit more mature I realized that this was a law that had been in the Church, set by God. I needed to let my selfish and prideful desires go, and find strength through the wait.
My sins became red as scarlet as everyone asked why my innocent husband had to wait for his adulterous wife(exaggeration), but the humility that I learned was one of 3 significant conversions I have had to the Gospel and its unchangeable principles.
The day I got my letter from Gordon B. Hinkley, himself, telling me that I was able to marry the 2nd and now the only man of my dreams, for time and all eternity, was one of the best days of my life. This Gospel would not mean as much to me, if I jumped through the hoop that God set forth himself to teach me, my jump would be for my own comfort for fear of everyone knowing my sins.
I will admit I may have stretched and or justified the truth here and there as a child to not humiliate my parents, and friends that were members by my sins. I found all sorts of desire in opening my transgressions and boasting about them to my non-LDS friends, who were against the Church. Why, because they did not judge me, or wait, was it because I did not feel judged around them?
My wrong perceptions of the Church in my youth gave me very conflicting feelings and anxiety towards it, another thing the leaders don’t want these innocent children to feel. Often times when you are hurt by the Church, because of your interpretation of it not accepting someone you love and adore, you walk away and never look back. The Church is not “not accepting them” it wants them to be involved with their parents and love them until they can completely comprehend how that unconditional love works.
I find great comfort in knowing that all of these children in same-gender homes are not denied any of these opportunities, that even I did not get until I was an adult. They are not denied any other blessings or any opportunities, they are only asked to wait until they are at a better and more comprehensive state of mind to understand the larger picture, in order to not look down on their parents.
The Bible teaches that marriage should be between a man and a woman, and it also explains in that book that people would try to change his teachings for their own comfort. I know you know all this and I am not trying to throw the book at anyone, because you can take one scripture from one chapter and another from another chapter, and the dang book can contradict itself when taken out of context. I have had the book thrown at me so many times by members of my Church and by people who are not members, and every time I could have retaliated with the same book if taken from a different story, without the entire chapter.
There is no point in us continuing to hurt each other over it, we are all Good people just trying to survive and protect the ones we love.
I am an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. My Church has not taught me to hate or judge gays. They have their own struggles that I will never know, and I will love them just as God and my Gospel have asked me too. I love and support, all my friends and family, first and foremost as people! I want them to be happy in whatever makes them happy, I find joy in seeing their happiness and growth.
This is stereotypical of me but being a dancer, I had the opportunity to have all kinds of gay friends starting at a very young age, even when the country was still against it. In fact, I can think of several situations where, I was the only person on my dance company that knew of my gay friends, their desires or conflicts. They confided in me because I was the only person they felt would not judge them by knowing they’re, then secret! I was the first person that they came out too, and yet I never wavered in my love for them. Through fighting for my gay friends I wavered in my belief for this Church, but now that I understand it more I know my God and His Gospel do not hesitate in their love for them, as they don’t waver in their love for me (sinner).
Does it hurt me that this hurts my gay and straight friends? You bet it does. Now knowing the entire story, I believe that the Church is not doing this from the standpoint of hate, nor are they teaching their members to hate or be not accepting.
I now understand more of the reasoning behind it, and I know that my church is mourning the way this news came about. It was not fair for someone to leak these sensitive changes or updates, without the church being prepared to teach us why. The church would never let the news create its own headline, and get a hold of something that they did not present to their members first. They have a great history of educating the process and reasoning on a subject as sensitive as this. I am confident that when we are more educated, that we will feel reassured of the love God has, for every single one of his children!
I apologize that I jumped to so many sad conclusions and questioned for a brief moment the meaning of what I thought was horrible news, and a bad move from our Church. But, no matter if it is the President of the Church, the President of the Country, The Pope, Buddha, a small business owner, or a large business owner -making and presenting a sensitive decision will never please everybody, and will almost always offend somebody if they choose to be.
There are good people all over the world arguing over this, but let’s have confidence in our own beliefs and agree to disagree on things that we may not know all reasoning’s why.
It does not make you wrong or a bad person to stand up for your creed, and it does not make me wrong, or a bad person to defend my creed when attacked and correct myself for attacking. There can be two good (GREAT) people who don’t see eye to eye, but they can feel heart to heart.
To my friend who inspired me to write this message, thank you for always sharing your feelings. I love you and can see that you are a significant and influential person. Your brave comments and your pure heart, make me dig deeper beyond the initial stories and headlines. You make me check myself and my beliefs, and I am thankful for your compassion and love for all the World, and we are definitely united in our Love.
Even after my questions, I still believe in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and support a decision that was clearly conflicting for its Church Leaders to release due to the interpretations. Being LDS does not make me a wrong person, and it still and always will teach me to love unconditionally.
I want all of my peeps to know that I do not require any of my friends to have unity in faith, but want to have unity in love. I love the discussions and comments from all sides because they make me have to dig deeper, to remember and understand, why I love and believe this gospel with all my heart.