Sunday, October 19, 2008

Trial of Faith

It would be so easy to rid myself of this turmoil and just do what I’ve always done and follow the prophet.

It would have been so easy for Joseph Smith to deny that he saw the first vision and avoid being abused and tarred and feathered and killed.

Or is it, really?

Joseph couldn’t deny that which he had really seen and experienced and knew to be true.

Likewise, I cannot deny what is in my heart, what the spirit has whispered to me about freedom and agency and love and tolerance.

I don’t know why I am letting this all get to me so strongly. It is making me physically ill. Every Sunday I am nervous, my stomach hurts, my brain is fuzzy, I can’t keep from crying. Today I have a headache. Proposition 8 doesn’t even affect me directly, but it hurts so much nonetheless.

One of the high council speakers today mentioned how some members of the church want church leaders to stay out of the Proposition 8 battle. And then he said that he agrees with the leaders and their involvement; that not being involved would send the wrong message to the world.

In Relief Society the lesson was about trials. It started out about the same way this blog post started, how Joseph went through so many trials because he could not deny what he knew to be true. That led the instructor to say how today, we face different trials than the pioneers did, but they are still just as hard even they are more emotional and mental trials than physical. And no matter what the world says is okay, we have to take a stance against things we know to be wrong, like pornography and … (she stammered a bit, like as if she wanted to say gay marriage, but didn’t. Maybe my letter had some sort of impact on her.) …the church has to stand up and say no to things that the world wants.

She said some good things, like how during trials we have to have faith in God that he is refining us and making us better. He allows us to suffer things so that we can show true empathy for others who suffer the same things. She commented on how a couple of her siblings have left the church, and she has seen her mother change from it. The mother is loving and accepting and non-condemning of those siblings, different than she would have been earlier in her life.

But then her thought turned to how some parents try to get the church to change their position and accept their child’s behavior, instead of just loving the child but still recognizing that what the child has done is wrong.

Every time she teaches, I feel like she is speaking directly to me, trying to save my soul from heading the wrong direction.

I have decided that something has to change. I have gone through this week striving for inner peace, striving to accept that God has a higher purpose in all this and that I don’t need to worry. But the peace has not come, and every Sunday I am in more turmoil than I was the week before. I cannot function like this. I know that the gospel is true, and I cannot leave the church, but continuing to stay is agony.

I don’t know what to do. I only hope that things will be easier when the election is over, but by then, will the damage be too much for me to pick up the pieces?


Scott said...

At least it's nice to know that we're united in our misery. :) :(

Somehow we'll make it through.

Evan said...

I'm in West TX, and Proposition 8 has not been mentioned once from what I recall. I feel so fortunate to not have to deal with that at church right now.

Anyways, I don't know your whole story, but I know how unfair, judgmental, and ignorant members can be.

Today I brought a friend to church (who happens to deal with SGA), and he is always nervous about coming because he doesn't have a white shirt. So today I made a deal with him and wore a blue shirt. It was a nice change from the white week after week, but mostly I was hoping he wouldn't feel so awkward. I also promised him that I would take him to sacrament meeting if that was what he wanted.

I don't know if it helped, but several people in my family kept asking me why I wasn't wearing white and why I was gone for a while. I explained everything to them (without the SGA part), and then one of them thought it was wrong of me to take him home early and how I shouldn't lower my standards.

People assume things. I just try to brush it off and focus on what the most important things in my life are and what the Lord wants from me. I don't think the Lord will look down on me for wearing a blue shirt. I think he will be happy I got my struggling friend to church, and I did what I could to make it happen, even if it meant missing an hour to get him home.

I don't know if that helps you too much, or if this story relates... just don't let that Sister tear you down too much :)

Serendipity said...

Thanks, Evan. I have always been one to take things too personally, even though I know I shouldn't. I will keep trying not to let people get to me.

And I have no problem with your wearing a blue shirt. Scott always wears a colored shirt. Last week it was lavender, with a pink tie I gave him. I am certain that God was glad you and your friend were at church today and didn't care a bit about what you were wearing!