Friday, August 6, 2010

Take it or leave it

I had a seminary teacher that talked about the blacks receiving the Priesthood, and how it could not have happened sooner because of the culture of the time. It came when God knew it was time to come, time that the members of the church could accept it, and the outside world could deal with the Mormons accepting it. Imagine how much worse the persecution of the Saints in the early days of the church would have been if blacks had been treated as equals.

But I'm sure there were members that knew in their hearts that it would come, even though leaders of the church had said otherwise, some even indicating that it never would, that blacks were born inferior because of their lineage back to Cain and their behavior in the pre-existence.

I believe that the situation with gay rights is much the same, that God knows right now is not the time. Many members of the church are not ready for such acceptance, and other Christian churches would hate the Mormons even more. But I believe the time will come. It will probably still be a long while yet. The apostles must all be in agreement, and there are some apostles that will never be ready for this, so time (and some apostles) must pass first. But it will happen, and then there will be members on the other side of the issue that will find themselves struggling to follow the Prophet, just as many of us are struggling with this right now.

And because it will take time, there will be more suicides. There will be more disowned gay children. There will be more mixed orientation "eternal" marriages that end in divorce, bringing pain to both adults and any children involved.

But I have to have faith that everything will be made clear when God knows it is the right time.

And so I face the struggle with knowing what is right in my heart and still having faith in my testimony of the LDS faith and in a living prophet.

My daughter faces the same struggle as she says, "Why would God require marriage as part of the plan of salvation AND allow people to be gay?" As she and I discuss this and question it, she comes up with the same conclusion on her own: there has to be something that God has not yet revealed. There has to be!

And so we have faith that the gospel is true, but that everything will be made right.

The proclamation on the family has room for such revelation. It does not use the word "only". If it is inspired, and if God knows all things that are to come, don't you think "ONLY between a man and a woman" would be in there?

And so it is that many will say I am a heretic, that I am deceived. So it is that I cannot have a current temple recommend. But just like Joan of Arc, I cannot deny how I feel. I cannot deny that I believe the spirit has whispered this to me. And so I stand up with courage, refusing to deny my religious and political beliefs on gay rights. At least I don't face being literally burned at the stake for it, but I have definitely chosen chastisement over the freedom to live as a "Molly Mormon" any more.

When I said on Facebook, jokingly, to one of my high school acquaintances that quoted Elder Holland in an effort to help me realize I am deceived, and I stated that I believe the leaders of the church are deceived instead, that is really not quite how I feel. Rather than deceived, I believe that they have simply yet to receive further light and knowledge on this issue. But I believe it will come, and then we will all know how our precious gay and lesbian brothers and sisters fit into the plan of happiness.

Until then, I believe God smiles on those who try to deny their feelings and live the gospel, on those who stick with mixed orientation marriages for the sake of their beliefs and spouse and children. I believe he weeps when it becomes too hard, and one of them takes their own life, but forgives them and receives them into his arms. I believe he cries with spouse and children when marriages break, but smiles on the parents and rejoices in their efforts to remain friends and keep the family together as much as possible, and smiles when they find happiness with other partners. I believe he smiles on and shares in the joy of two men or two women finding and loving each other, committing themselves to serving and caring for each other, even without "marriage" if they must, even without the promise of eternal life, according to what they are taught.

I believe God looks on our individual circumstances and blesses our efforts to do the best we can with the situations we are in.

And these beliefs bring me peace and hope as I face rough times, and as I recognize and rejoice in the baby steps being made with regards to gay rights, like Judge Walker's ruling on Proposition 8 in California this past week.

Take it or leave it. None of you will convince me otherwise at this point. And if I am totally wrong, I believe God will forgive me, for in my heart I simply have the best of intentions as I try my best to follow the commandment to love others and to live the gospel the best I can with the circumstances I am in, and as I teach my children to do the same.

15 comments:

The Wife said...

I think I'll just say ditto. That's pretty much how I feel.

Sarah said...

Thanks. Knowing you agree makes me feel less crazy because I have lot of respect for your opinion. Of course you and I have both been given similar circumstances that have brought us to this conclusion, circumstances that I wouldn't wish on anyone! Good luck to you and Chris. I hope you can both remain happy with the path you are on.

this blog author said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A.J. said...

I think that because of Prop 8 gay marriage will got to the supreme court and become legal in every state. Maybe that is part of god's plan and by fighting gay marriage the church actually helped society come closer to accepting gays and lesbians or maybe I've had one too many beers. -A.J.

Jeff in Colorado said...

Sarah - I have to "ditto" your comments as well. Thank you for stating it so well.

And to AJ...
I also noted the irony --- The LDS Church's efforts in California have now proven instrumental in sending marriage equality to the US Supreme Court. And though it will likely take a few years, marriage equality will happen and the church will have been instrumental.

So maybe you are right... maybe Prop 8 was all part of God's plan.

Sarah said...

Jeff and AJ, I totally agree. I've thought and said that before, but when I do, my Mormon friends think I am completely off the deep end. :)

Rob said...

See, told ya. Joan of Arc rides again.

Dani said...

Sarah, you are such an inspiration to me. You are an amazing mother, wife, and Daughter of God. This Mormon friend doesn't think you've gone off the deep end.

BigRedHammer said...

I read this article in the Tribune and thought of all of us LDS gays.

http://sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/50045886-82/faith-anti-christian-refuse.html.csp

And a quote: “In the name of Christ,” Anne Rice wrote, “I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life.”

Sarah said...

@this blog author: loved your comment. Thanks.

@dani: already knew you were on the same page with me. Thank you for your encouragement. I send all the same messages back to you. Take care!

@Rob: I know, right? :)

@Scott: thanks for sharing that article. Very interesting. As I read it I couldn't help but hear certain Mormons that I know deny the blame or accusation that they are un-Christlike, but instead see it as evidence of the scary world we live in and satan's influence. Very interesting to recognize how the adversary is affecting the world from within the churches. Perilous times indeed.

Keaton said...

Hi Sarah,

I think Black members of the church are insulted when they hear that the reason they were denied the priesthood was because the Church membership was not ready to accept it. Joseph Smith personally gave Blacks the priesthood. We know of 7 blacks who were ordained in the early church. This was nothing more than a prejudice of Brigham Young and perhaps his time. That doesn't excuse it. Was this part of Gods plan. No!! This was pure and simple prejudice which withheld blessings for generations of worthy black members not to mention those who did not join the church because of our nonanswer of prejudice. Someone needed to correct a mistake and take the issue to the Lord. That simple. Brigham was a man of his time but should have been above the fray. The gay issue is exactly the same. Think through the generations of church membership how many must of suffered being alone in church activity or falling away because of the exclusion. Think of the unspoken difficult marriages that endured the unspoken broken intimacy. Now that we are a more open society we see in living color what happens to a group who don't fit the gospel plan by way of exclusion. Again the Lord must wait for someone to have the courage to take this to him. Until then the denial of love and blessings will continue. Silent suffering and suicide will continue. Prejudice will continue to be an underlying character of some church members. Family is family and is always a blessing when bonded by love. To deny one the right to that bond of companionship is morally wrong. I just listened to an LDS former high command general who was over interegation in the Army. He said that fear is never a productive method of gaining information. Bonding is the method that always worked. He unfortuately retired pre-Bush years. He also sadly indicated that of the 10 men who developed the torture Bush stategy...4 of the 10 were active LDS members. We have a ways to go before we are the Lords Church. Love not fear, inclusion not exclusion, freedom of expression not repression....blessings to Sarah.

Sarah said...

@keaton: very interesting thoughts. Thanks. God allows his children their agency, and does not force revelation on the leaders. They must ask and be ready for the answer. I'm not sure how to put my thoughts into words. I believe God would rejoice to have certain parts of his plan revealed sooner than later. I'm sure it is hard for him to watch the consequences as he waits patiently for the leaders to ask and be willing to accept His word on the matter.

gail said...

Sarah,

I have heard this comment many times, or at lest one close to it about the timing of Declaration 2. I don't know, but if this is true and the only thing God is waiting for is for us all to be ready should we not be doing everything in our power to prepare the way of the Lord? Should we not be doing everything we can think of to end the suffering of our gay brothers and sisters. Yes Prop 8 may be Gods way of speeding up the acceptance of all of God's children in this country, but it still pisses me off to know the brethren do not seem to lift a finger to end the homophobia that excites in every unit of the church I have attended that they say they do not agree with yet they can mobilize the membership of the church to raise millions to promote flagrant fiction to pass a law that hurts families. It still pisses me off to know that the church I love seems to not care that their polices do nothing but encourage the high rate of suicide among our gay brothers and sisters. I am not even talking about the undefended prohibition on gay sex. There are are so many other policies that would not change their stand on gay sex that would have a huge effect on the misery that is inflicted upon the gay brothers and sisters of the church. Sarah, how do you turn the other cheek?

J G-W said...

Sarah - You are incredible. It is a mark of your incredible generosity of heart, that in this time of heartbreak and pain, you are reaching out to and comforting and thinking of others. Please know, my heart and my prayers go out to you, and Scott, and the kids.

I agree -- to understand that we need more light and knowledge on this issue (who can disagree that we do?!) is not to say that our leaders are deceived. I also appreciate your insight that it is not always "the Lord's timetable" that causes delays. Sometimes it is our own hardness of heart that the Lord has to work around.

I am so grateful for your soft and generous heart.

lanabanana said...

Amen. That's all I'm sayin'. Amen.