Wednesday, November 24, 2010


A Moho friend sent me this link. Right after that I saw the link circulating on Facebook because it is so amazing. or

Amen. A million times amen. Please take a minute to at least skim it if you haven't already.

This post goes right along with the family night discussion the kids and I had this week. It occurred to me then and it does again now that although I have taught them by example not to judge people who are gay, what about teaching them NOT to judge those people who do not understand gay people and tend to judge and criticize them? That is something I can really work on. Trying not to criticize or talk badly of anyone is a main goal I need to have right now. I don't always succeed. Sometimes I have to catch myself and stop in the middle of a sentence. But with practice, it can become easier. I keep trying to remember to see all people as children of God with different upbringings and circumstances and habits and understandings. God would want me to love them all and not criticize any of them, I'm sure.

It concerns me just how much my children tend to criticize each other. It hurts me, it gives me a glimpse of God's feelings for how His children treat each other. And I'm sure my children have learned to criticize from my own example, and that really hurts.

Here's to goals and continuing to become a better and stronger person!

And here's to blog posts like the one from this mother that gives me a greater hope and faith in our world and a better tomorrow for our children.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Reflection and preparation

The bishop called me in a couple of months ago to check on me, to give me a calling, and mostly to let me know that he was ready to give me a temple recommend. He got out his book, all ready to go, but I had to honestly let him know that I was a bit behind on the money I owe to the Lord, so he told me to come back when I was ready.

With the help of some Christmas money from my dad, I made an appointment this week with the bishop.

But since I met with him last, there has been general conference, and stake/regional conference, and I have had some doubt in my mind as to whether or not I will be able to truthfully answer the questions to get my recommend.

As I thought about it last Sunday morning, though, my heart swelled with excitement at the prospect of attending the temple. I had just written a check, and was ready to make an appointment upon seeing the bishop at church that day. I have had moments in the past when I thought I did not want to go to the temple again. A main focus there is eternal marriage, and why would I want to be reminded of that? But this time I did not fear my reaction to that subject. I have become a pretty strong person through everything, and I feel like I am ready to go back.

So now in preparation, I want to explore the questions that have been a problem in the past...

1. Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the prophet, seer, and revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys? Do you sustain members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators? Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local authorities of the Church?

2. Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

Here goes...

For the first question, I believe I do and always have sustained my leaders. "Sustain" to me means that I believe that leaders, both general and local, have been called by God Himself to those callings and that they have been set apart and given certain priesthood keys that they are entitled to with those callings. I do not believe that sustaining them means I have to always agree with every little thing they say, but I do believe that God will give them certain revelation on certain topics when the time is right. I know that every leader has people under their jurisdiction that they really connect with and touch, and others that they do not. It is the same for me as a teacher. Some of my students have a great experience with me as their teacher, while others do better to switch to a different class or are grateful when they do not have to endure my teaching any more. I think that is simply called life and personality, and that it is impossible for a person to please everyone regardless of how hard they try or how inspired they try to be. Sometimes personalities and personal ideas and opinions and interpretations get in the way of that. So even when a leader and a member do not always see eye-to-eye, that does not mean to me that the member automatically does not sustain them or does not believe they are called of God.

Does that make any sense?

I don't like the way the second question is worded, because I doubt anyone could answer it honestly. Aren't we all supposed to associate with our neighbors, be-friend them regardless of their religious affiliations or beliefs on values, morals, word of wisdom, etc? Don't most of us have jobs that require us to associate with people whose views may not be in harmony with our own? Just because we associate with them, does that automatically mean that we are going to agree with everything they say or choose to act as they do?

No! The idea is ridiculous.

I associate with many people who do not believe everything exactly as I believe it or exactly as the church teaches it. But that does not mean that I am an apostate for enjoying the time I spend with them, for cherishing the chance to serve them and to listen to and understand their points of view. Yes, a few of my thoughts and feelings do conflict with what the church teaches, so I guess I am in trouble for associating with myself. :) But like I've said before, I don't know all the reasons why I have felt like God wants me to feel the way I do about certain things. Either they really are true, and it's just not time for the Prophet to tell us yet, or I need to believe that they are true so that I can truly empathize with and therefore serve some of God's precious children.

If all people with temple recommends are required to be absolutely perfect all the time with regards to all of the questions, then I think there would be very few people that are actually worthy to have a recommend. I think we are just expected to do the best we can, and God will bless us for our efforts to improve and will tolerate or overlook our imperfections if we truly have a desire to attend and partake of the blessings of the temple.

That is all I have ever done or ever wanted. Truly it is. I hope my leaders can see what is in my heart this time and allow me the opportunity to return to the house of the Lord.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Holy Ghost

I've never been very good at seeking answers to prayers. When I pray to make a specific decision, I usually don't feel a confirmation one way or the other, so I end up telling God that I'm going to do such and such and to let me know somehow if that is the wrong thing to do.

But I do (or I did) know what the holy ghost feels like. I have had some strong spiritual experiences where I have felt like the spirit was testifying something to me, and I was just sure of it.

Such was the case two years ago when I prayed to reconcile my personal gut feeling on gay marriage with what the church teaches. It took a while, but the answer finally came loud and clear. I'm not sure how to explain this, but I didn't get the answer as to whether gay marriage is really okay in the eyes of God, but I did feel that it was His will that I support it so that I could truly understand and empathize with the struggles of gay members of the church.

And so I've stuck to that answer and cannot deny that it is truly what my Heavenly Father wanted me to feel.

But some individuals do not believe it is possible for me to have received that revelation. They believe that I have mistaken the answer somehow and that it must be coming instead from the adversary. One of the talks in a recent stake conference was on personal revelation, and the speaker emphasized the idea from Elder Oaks's recent talk in general conference that personal revelation cannot contradict what the leaders of the church are saying.

Today in relief society the lesson was on the holy ghost. The question was asked by the teacher, how do you know when you are feeling the holy ghost? I do not even attempt to voice my opinion in relief society any more. But especially on this subject I must take a back seat. I thought I knew what the holy ghost felt like, but if revelation I've received on gay issues is from Satan rather than from God, then I must have absolutely no idea what the holy ghost feels like or how to receive personal revelation.

So why even bother trying anymore? That's what I think. Everything I've ever felt or believed with all my heart to be true could just be a lie.

But I don't think it is. I'm pretty darn sure that God lives, that Christ lives and died for me, and that the gospel of Jesus Christ as taught by the Mormons is true.

But I am also sure of the position I am to take with regards to gay issues, and that I have a responsibility that I need to continue to pursue with the gay community.

And that makes church attendance and faith in the teachings of my leaders as hard as ever. I still wonder what the future will bring. Will I leave the church eventually? Will I come back in full force and truly "see the light" and believe every word? Or will I continue to stay agonizingly in the middle, unable to deny any of the things that I believe that the holy ghost has told me are true. Things that many believe are in direct conflict with each other.

No idea. But it makes me blah, that's for sure.