Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I am not ashamed

This past Saturday I attended a temple session for the first time in at least 18 months. I've had a recommend for two months, but I've been afraid to go. Of course being out of the habit and working full time with five children doesn't help. Then also there was the tragedy of the night I took my children to do baptisms in December. With that experience, and with the focus of "eternal marriage" in the endowment ceremony, I was kind of worried about how hard it might be on me.

Then, during the week, I engaged in a contentious discussion on Facebook with Scott and a couple of sisters in my ward. My resulting anger made me feel unworthy to attend the stake temple day on the coming Saturday. I messaged the sister that I planned to go with and told her that I might not feel like I should go. She responded okay, but that maybe Satan was just working really hard on me because he knew I was planning to go, and so going was really exactly what I needed to do. I had prayed for forgiveness of my thoughtless words (not for my opinion, but for how immature I was in my reaction to their opinions), and sent messages of apology to the two Facebook friends. I received a forgiving message back from one of them that made me feel okay about my planned temple trip again.

The day of, I was not nervous or tempted not to go, and I looked forward to it. I carpooled with a good friend whose husband, of his own choice, doesn't have a recommend. First we attended a special meeting for our stake in the chapel, where the temple president and matron spoke.

He spoke of a man who stopped going to church at age 15. For forty years he had nothing to do with the church. All of his children and wife were inactive.

Then a daughter-in-law had them go to the Draper temple open house. While they were there in the celestial room he heard a voice say, calling him by name, "come back." He pulled his wife aside and asked her, "will you come to sacrament meeting with me tomorrow?" He now serves as an ordinance worker.

The temple president promised that if we attend the temple once a week, (rotating through the different ordinance work) our problems will be significantly lightened.

During the session I felt peaceful and happy. I did not feel guilty or unworthy. Words in the ceremonies that seem to contradict my opinions on gay rights did not frustrate me or make me feel conflicted. I had a feeling that there is a bigger picture that has not yet been revealed, and that for now I don't need to stress about what that bigger picture is. But I am in the right place, continuing to attend church and the temple and seeking for that which is good, doing the best I can to keep promises I have made in the temple. It was good to be reminded of those.

In one of the Facebook messages that was sent to me following the aforementioned discussion, my friend quoted that she is not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and will therefore stand up for it anytime she has the chance.

I nearly responded that I am not ashamed of the gospel either (but I decided to leave it alone). However, I am also not afraid to stand up for gay rights. I just put a new equality sticker on my mini-van. And this time it is not a magnet that someone can remove while my van is parked in the church parking lot. :)


Amy said...

Wait, someone seriously stole your sticker? That's...weird.
I feel the same way about the temple. Some of the words infuriate me, but when I'm there, for some reason, I feel at peace. I'm glad you had a good experience.

Scott N said...

Wait, someone seriously stole your sticker?

It could have been worse... she could have had her tires slashed...

(In the interest of fairness, I'll note that there's no conclusive evidence that Eric's car was targeted specifically because of the Equality sticker on it, but that does seem the likeliest explanation)

J G-W said...

Sarah, great post, thanks. The greatest blessings come when we find some way to let go of all the anxiety, the negativity, and put ourselves in a place where the Spirit can reach us...

There is a winnowing process, where gradually we let go of everything but simple faith, simple hope, simple love.

Sarah said...

Amy, not sure if it was stolen or just fell off, but we were heading to the van after church one day when the kids noticed it. My new sticker has been on for two days, and the corner already looks like someone has been picking at it.

Sarah said...

John, I am seeing myself gradually learning just how simple life really is. I always love your comments. Thank you so much for your support.