Sunday, October 12, 2008

Thy Will Be Done


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.

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.
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.

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.

7 comments:

Original Mohomie said...

Thanks. You're not the only ones asking these questions and wondering what to do with all of it. Tough stuff.

Scott said...

Serendipity and I discussed these conflicts quite a bit this evening. I've posted a couple of the thoughts we had over on my blog.

Chedner said...

As I read my Scriptures tonight, I came across the following verses in the Book of Alma (which verses I think can apply to the spirit of this post -- I've bolded the one I feel is the most relevant to Proposition 8):

26:22 - Yeah, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing--unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed...

26:37 - God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.

27:18 - Now was not this exceeding joy? Behold, this is joy which none receiveth save it be the truly penitent and humble seeker of happiness.

27:27-28 - And they were among the people of Nephi, and also numbered among the people who were of the church of God. And they were also distinguished for their zeal towards God, and also towards men; for they were perfectly honest and upright in all things; and they were firm in the faith of Christ, even unto the end. / And they did look upon shedding the blood of their brethren with the greatest abhorrence; and they never could be prevailed upon to take up arms against their brethren; and they never did look upon death with any degree of terror, for their hope and views of Christ and the resurrection; therefore, death was swallowed up to them by the victory of Christ over it.

29:4 - ... for I know that he granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea, I know that he allotteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills, whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction.

30:7-9, 11 - Now there was no law against a man's belief; for it was strictly contrary to the commands of God that there should be a law which should bring men on to unequal grounds. / For thus saith the scripture: Choose ye this day, whom ye will serve. / Now if a man desired to serve God, it was his privilege to serve him; but if he did not believe in him there was no law to punish him. / For there was a law that men should be judged according to their crimes. Nevertheless, there was no law against a man's belief; therefore, a man was punished only for the crimes which he had done; therefore all men were on equal grounds.

I have more thoughts on how I see the tie-ins of these scriptures to this post (as well as your Scott's), but I think I would prefer any reader to seek them out for themselves.

Beck said...

Sometimes we pray for rain to bring relief to drought-suffering farmers, while an attentive mother prays earnestly for a clear and beautiful day for her daughter's wedding.

Sometimes (quoting "Other Side of Heaven") we pray for a tail wind while others pray for a head wind. Instead, we should be praying for a "good" wind.

Sometimes I pray to know the truth as I view the situation within my realm of understanding, and you pray to know the truth in the same spirit and realm and we come up with different answers to the truth. Can both be right? Yes, they can, as the Lord works through us individually, and gives for us that which is "good" for us at that time - line upon line... and my line may not necessarily be your line but both are right as they lead us to more understanding.

Cop out answer? Maybe... but you got me thinkin'...

Damon In CO said...

Serendipity,

Funny that lately I have been considering very similar things that you and Scott have.

I know I have no answers. I know I do have much thought and suppositions.

And I have come to a decision very much similar to yours.

I have faith and peace and comfort in my decisions and in my life...about who I am and what I am pursuing. I believe that this peace and comfort manifest themselves in my life.

I am comfortable with my relationship to God as it is and what more can one ask for? In this I find my peace.

I do not know what the ultimate result will be. I don't know exactly what God's purpose is in all of this and why Church leaders support specific action right now regarding gay marriage.

I do have faith that it will be ok and I have faith that respect and love for the homosexuals and their rights will ultimately prevail.

I often wonder what if the the ultimate purpose in all of this is to test the faithful of the Lord's Church...what if that's all it is?

For the homosexuals and those who love them and understand the plight perhaps the test is to have faith in the Lord as the Church supports anti-gay lesgislation.

Perhaps later, if/when the Church Leaders receive revelation to accept homosexuality...what if then the test is for the rest of the Church to be able to accept the revelations that are set forth from a prophet of God?

I don't know if that is the right answer or something similar.

When it comes to prop 8 I like to think of it in the same terms as Carol Lynn Pearson. (I don't know if you get her newsletters, but if you don't, you should)

Several months back she wrote regarding Prop 8 and a conversation she had with a friend regarding it. She sais to her firend that when she approaches things like prop 8 she tries to think about whether or not this thing will bring a little love to the world or take a little love away.

Haven't we always been taught how important this idea of love is in the Gospel? Love of God, His love for us, Christs love, our love of our fellow man.

Love and service become synonamous in the scriptures. And when Carol Lynn posed that idea of how to approach things in order to make decisions it made things so simple for me to understand and to see how opposing Prop 8 fits so well into the gospel.

Perhaps you and I don't need to worry about what others think and feel and believe they are sure of. All we must do is ahve faith and peace in our own decisions. Then, all we have to do is be firm in our convictions, speak out when prompted and otherwise live our lives and wait for God's greater purpose to culminate.

~Damon

Serendipity said...

Thanks to all of you for your insights. You've all given me some things to think about. It is nice to know I am not alone in my struggles.

Carolyn said...

This post reminds me of Elder Eyring's most recent conference address on Unity. I remember feeling very impressed when he spoke about the differing opinions members of the church hold to so dearly. He said that whenever a child of God feels very strongly about something, it is because they can sense something good about it, because it activates that Light of Christ that they carry with them.

I believe that when members of the church feel prompted to limit marriage to heterosexual couples, they see an echo of their Heavenly Parents' relationship in the compatibility of the sexes.

I believe that when members of the church feel prompted to support same-sex marriage rights, they are yearning to understand the all-encompassing love of the Savior and the emphasis He places on personal agency.

I have struggled with these conflicting ideals. I have to accept on faith that they are not, in fact, conflicting but all a part of the grand, whole truth. That grand truth is something I can't see from my mortal viewpoint. And so I will follow the prophet as the Lord's mouthpiece and trust that this is all a part of His plan.