Sunday, March 27, 2011


The lesson in Relief Society last week was on charity. We have a new teacher who is  down to earth and sincere, and I really enjoyed her presentation of the lesson.

When she began the lesson, I opened it up on my cell phone, skimmed it through, and then set my phone down to listen. As I listened, the words I skimmed from the last portion of the written lesson stayed clear in my mind, and I felt like I might want to comment when we began discussing that portion. I don't tend to comment in relief society any more because when I feel like I have something worth saying, it usually contradicts what I assume is the majority view in the room.

The first paragraph of the lesson is a summary, and it says:

"The life of the Savior reflects His pure love for all people. He even gave His life for us. Charity is that pure love which our Savior Jesus Christ has. He has commanded us to love one another as He loves us. The scriptures tell us that charity comes from a pure heart (see 1 Timothy 1:5). We have pure love when, from the heart, we show genuine concern and compassion for all our brothers and sisters."

The last part of the lesson talks about loving all people, even if we don't approve of something about them.

"Even when we give to those in need, unless we feel compassion for them we do not have charity (see 1 John 3:16-17). The Apostle Paul taught that when we have charity we are filled with good feelings for all people. We are patient and kind. We are not boastful or proud, selfish or rude. When we have charity we do not remember or rejoice in the evil others have done..."

"The Savior was our example of how to feel toward and treat others. He despised wickedness, but He loved sinners in spite of their sins..."

Toward the end of the lesson, after another sweet sister expressed that charity includes not judging others for any reason, I felt like I should comment, and I raised my hand. I started by saying I hoped I could express myself appropriately, but that experiences in my life with my friends over the last couple of years had taught me that there is really no such thing as "love the sinner, but hate the sin." In order to truly love someone, we need to overlook the things we don't approve of. That doesn't mean we need to embrace those things ourselves, but it is usually best not to lecture people about what we believe they are doing wrong. In most cases they already know how we feel. I became slightly emotional as I mentioned that if I had not learned to embrace this attitude, that the current state of my family and daily life for my children would be much more difficult.

The teacher thanked me for my comment and moved on. I'm sure there are people who do not agree with me, that would rather follow the advice from church leaders that we have a responsibility to call our brothers and sisters to repentance. That is apparently how we truly show our love for them. But I have to disagree, and I hope my comment helped others to think about the gray area of showing true charity.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What Would Jesus Do?

I recently found out about a very interesting website.

I'm sure many would consider it the teachings of men, mingled with scripture. But regardless, it presents an interesting view (with possible scriptural evidence) of the way Christ may have viewed and treated gay people in the time he lived here on the Earth. I found it very interesting and feel that it personifies the Christ I believe in.

Here are summaries from two of the six scripture passages that the sight expounds on.

Matthew 8:5-13
The Greek word that the Roman centurion uses in this passage to describe the sick man – pais – is the same word used in ancient Greek to refer to a same-gender partner.

Matthew 19:10-12
Here Jesus refers to "eunuchs who have been so from birth." This terminology ("born eunuchs") was used in the ancient world to refer to homosexual men. Jesus indicates that being a "born eunuch" is a gift from God.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Touching testimonials

Loved these and had to share. They touch my heart and inspire me. Please enjoy!

Iowa son with two moms that speaks out for marriage equality.

Support of a Mormon father.

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. :)