I feel so confused. My nervousness of the last week was all but gone until this morning as I anticipated attending church. I hope this blog post will help me sort out my thoughts and feelings.
I think the thing that confuses me the most on the Proposition 8 issue is that there are people on both sides of the issue that say they have prayed and that they have received confirmation that their viewpoint is right with God. How is that possible?
I have a friend in CA that I called a few weeks ago to discuss the subject with her. She has lived in CA for several years now (since she got home from her mission, and she is my age, 34). In our telephone conversation I learned that she knows people that are gay and there is one in her extended family that she knows well, and that she "understands" them and has love and tolerance for them. She shared with me that when Proposition 22 was going on a few years ago, she wondered why the church would get involved in politics. So she prayed to understand, and felt like it was the right thing for them to do because it is a “moral issue”. I let her know that I didn’t agree, but I quickly realized that nothing would change her mind at this point, so I kept my arguments to myself.
Meanwhile, when I read or hear stories of loving same-sex relationships, I feel peace. I think I feel the love of God toward these people as they lovingly serve each other and care for adopted or foster children. When I read the church’s news release “The Divine Institution of Marriage” I feel anger and confusion. Scott says that he has prayed and pondered the issue several times, trying to be open to the fact that the leaders of the church are seers and receive revelation from God for the church. But he always gets the same answer, and he does not feel good about Proposition 8.
So which answer is right? Mine and Scott’s? My friend in CA (and the leaders of the LDS church)?
Anyway, in Sunday school today we discussed Christ’s appearance to the Nephites in the America after he was resurrected. He taught them (3 Nephi 11: 28-29):
And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been.We talked about how that for three generations after Christ’s appearance, there was peace. His visit and teachings were so impressive on the people that peace lasted that long. Their testimonies must have been so strong to pass the testimony and message and peace to their children and their children’s children.
For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.
If they were truly at peace, doesn’t that mean they would have sincerely loved any gay people that would have been among them? Does that mean that as members of the church truly follow the teachings of Christ, we will be able to find peace as well?
I’m just sitting here staring at my computer, feeling more and more confused. It seems impossible to bring peace to this issue. People on each side have such differing opinions. On one side it is God’s will because the prophet says so. On the other side, it is love and charity and agency and everything that the plan of salvation is really about. Is there any way to reconcile it so that there can be “no disputations among [us]”?
And are both sides really inspired? If they are, what is God trying to accomplish? Or is this contention somehow really of the devil? If so, which side am I on? Am I on the devil’s side even though it feels so much like God’s love? But how could the devil possibly influence so strongly the leaders of the church?
In Relief Society today someone made a comment about how when we have trials in life, we have to have faith in God that He knows what He is doing, even if we don’t yet understand it. Is that His answer to me: have faith that he is on both sides, and that this division in opinions needs to happen right now for a greater purpose?
In 3 Nephi 11:11, Christ says:
And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.Even He that was greatest of all had to suffer the will of the Father. (Although at least I think He understood why he had to.) I don’t understand why I am suffering, but I think that He is telling me that in order for me to feel peace right now, I don’t have to agree with Proposition 8, but I do need to have faith in His greater purpose.
I think that’s it: don’t ask why, just let myself feel of God’s love for all of his children, have faith, and thereby find peace. It is not an easy thing he asks of me, but I will try.