Monday, November 17, 2008

Even the Elect will be Deceived

The lesson yesterday in Relief Society was on the Second Coming. The teacher posed the question: “What evidence do we see that the last days that have been prophesied are here, and that the Second Coming is close at hand?”
Another sister quickly responded with, “Well, just this week we see that there are people who want to call evil good and good evil.” The teacher whole-heartedly agreed, and added, “Right now we see members who refuse to believe that the leaders of the church are speaking for God, but instead that they are merely voicing their own opinions. In the last days, even the very elect will be deceived, and none of us are immune to this. We must cling to our testimonies and to the words of the Prophets.”

I was grateful that no one actually mentioned the words “Gay marriage,” but it was obvious what was on their minds. And again, I couldn’t help but feel like she was talking to me when she said that the elect would be deceived.

I agree that it is now very important to cling to our testimonies! But if even the very elect will be deceived, how do I know that it is not the leaders themselves? Therefore, it is important to pray for the guidance of the spirit, and this I have done, and have felt peace with the side I have chosen on this issue.

Scott and I talked last night about how church went, now two weeks after his testimony and coming out to our ward. We attended an Elder’s Quorum social Saturday night, and felt very welcome and comfortable around the few families that were there. We have some friends that we still talk with and interact with like nothing has happened. Other people that have never talked to Scott seem to be friendlier with him than ever before. We met with the Bishop for tithing settlement, and he seemed at ease with us, carrying on a normal conversation with no mention of the testimony.

But there are others that seem to be ignoring us.

Scott said that he has noticed a couple of people, that as he passes them in the hall, they turn to look at the wall to avoid eye contact, whereas previously they would have at least nodded or said hi. Another person quickly said hi, but would have usually been more friendly and talkative, and instead seemed in a hurry to be on her way.

I was in near proximity to one lady a couple of times on Sunday. Normally that would be enough to start a friendly discussion. Instead, it was a quick smile and a turn the other way, off to something important she needed to do. I took a card to her home this week to apologize for my anonymous letter and let her know that I valued her friendship and wanted her love and support through this challenge in my life. She has not acknowledged it in any way, and I don’t know what more to say or instigate at this point.

Now, it is possible that we are reading things into these reactions. We are obviously very sensitive to our observations right now. I am most anxious about this one family with whom we have always been pretty close. I’m sure that they are just not sure what to say or how to react, much like Scott’s stalwart family members. I should probably try harder in the future to instigate casual conversations, but I guess at the moment I am a bit weird about it too because of my letter and card. I just need her to hug me and thank me for the card and tell me that she loves me, just like the Relief Society President did the first time she saw me after I sent a card to her in the mail.

But that’s not the reaction I got, and it hurts.

I guess I just need to be grateful that the reactions have been as good as they have, and that we do have friends that accept us for who we are.

And I refuse to believe that I am deceived, calling evil good and good evil. I am just following the spirit and what brings my heart peace.


Cadence said...

you brought up a good point by saying the the very elect could be the leaders... as for you neighbor if it'd help any we could all pay her a visit on the 22nd if you think that'd help??? maybe sing some early christmas carols... j/k... I guess thats just what happens, you win some and you lose some... but thanks for the post and your understanding and openness...

UTMOHO said...

Wow what would the neighbors think if they knew there is a MOHO party next Saturday in their neighborhood. LOL Well I to have noticed that since I have told people about my situation the ones who never talked to me before seem way more willing to start conversations. I think it is mostly cuz they want to ask me questions. Well keep it going, your awesome.

Scott said...

as for you neighbor if it'd help any we could all pay her a visit

LOL. I think they would be uncomfortable enough just knowing what all the cars in the street were there for.

For the record, I realize that the perceived cold shoulders at Church might just be the imaginings of a hyperactive sensitivity right now. There haven't been any overt signs of negativity. And regardless of whether anyone is really going out of their way to ignore me or not, I haven't felt bothered or offended or hurt by anyone's behavior, so it's all good, and I'm at peace.

UTMOHO said...

Oh, it is crazy that we thought that the neighbor's wouldn't notice all these very well groomed men coming to the newly outed mans house.

Pieces of Me said...

I had to teach that lesson this last Sunday, I was really nervous that someone would bring up the issue of Prop 8 and not following the leaders etc. and I would be faced with how I would respond.

For the moment no one in my ward, except the bishop and two close friends know my husband is gay. I have simply said when asked why we have separated, that my husband is life is going in a different direction, and it has made it impossible for us to stay married. Of course there is rampant speculation as to what exactly is going on, but I figure people are going to sepeculate NO matter what.

I know that there are some sisters in RS who feel very stongly that what the church did in supporting Prop 8 was correct. To my knolwedge none of them have ever had to face the difficult issue of having a gay child or spouse.

I also know of one other sister in my ward whose husband is gay. They have chosen to stay together, and he has chosen to stay active in the church, but I know they still struggle. I want to reach out to her but she does not know that I know. My husband accidently found out through a mutual friend.

For my lesson I carefully had a plan of what I was going to say if the issue came up and how I was going to suggest to the sisters that they need to show love and tolleance for those struggling with this issue, and treat each other with the love the Savior examplified while on earth.

The good news for me the land mine was avoided, but I know it is only a matter of time. In many ways I was glad it did not come up because the sister who also struggles with a gay spouse was not there. I really want her to be there when I express my views, because I will probably say enough to let her know it is the cause of my separation, without alerting everyone else, hence opening the door for her to talk to me about the issues she struggles with.

Sarah said...

Thank you pieces, and good luck. I hope the opportunity comes soon for you and the other lady in your ward to be a great support to each other.

Thank you for sharing your experience. I think you were blessed during your lesson that the subject did not come up.

Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike said...

I would love to be one of the well groomed men showing up to your house this weekend. I think that if I was able to I would show up at your neighbor's door on purpose also wearing a the form fitting green argyle sweater vest that I tried on last week, asking if Scott was home.....

I really pray that I will not be one of the elect deceived. That is my greatest fear.

Alan said...

Dang Sarah, we missed our chance. We should all have gone over to your neighbor's house last night and knocked on the door and started singing some Broadway show tune.

loquaciousmomma said...

Sarah: I feel the need to correct the discussion your class had about the elect being deceived.
In Matt. 24: 24 it says:

24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

The JST clarifies it by saying:
JS-M 1: 22
22 For in those days there shall also arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch, that, if possible, they shall deceive the very elect, who are the elect according to the covenant.

To me, the most important part of those scriptures is the "if possible" part, which makes it a very rare occurrence to me.

From what I have read you are clearly a wonderful woman, trying to make sense of a situation that has been foisted upon you by no choice of your own. You clearly love your husband, and are masterfully living the commandment not to judge.

One thing I fear from what I have read, however, is the confusion that can come from trying not to judge that can lead to an inadvertent condoning of what is wrong. I believe it is possible, even required of us to love and accept homosexuals, but not condone any fulfillment of their homosexual desires.

Heavenly Father gave some of us the challenge here of having to overcome the tendency toward homosexuality. It is a surmountable challenge, just as other genetic conditions such as alcoholism are.

You can love your husband, support him in his struggle, but not accept his desire to define himself as gay and then live that lifestyle.

You said in your post that you worry that leaders of the church could be deceived. We have been promised that the brethren would be removed from this earth by God himself if they were to lead us astray. We can trust them, God is in charge. If they felt moved by God to support prop. 8, then it was not a mistake, but a righteous move, and we will be blessed to support them.

Elder Maxwell said in a talk in 1978 at BYU (Meeting the Challenges of Today):"But make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters; in the months and years ahead, events will require of each member that he or she decide whether or not he or she will follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions (see 1 Kings 18:21)."

Oh, Sarah, you are my sister in Christ, even though we have never met. I don't want to lose you to the sophistry of the world! It may go against what we are hearing in the world, or it may even go against what makes sense to us, but it is imperative that we follow the counsel of the prophet!

We are counseled to "lean not unto thine own understanding" in Proverbs 3:5, because our minds don't see things the way God sees them. That is why we have to trust Him, and His messengers the prophets in important spiritual matters.

President Spencer W. Kimball said "And the Savior said that the very elect would be deceived by Lucifer if it were possible. He will use his logic to confuse and his rationalizations to destroy. He will shade meanings, open doors an inch at a time, and lead from purest white through all the shades of gray to the darkest black." (President Kimball Speaks Out on Morality New Era Nov. 1980)

This is why we need to follow the counsel of the prophets, because we are all susceptible to the carefully painted lies that Satan attempts to feed us.