Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Peace of General Conference

A few years ago I had a really difficult time watching and listening to conference. Every little comment that might be construed to be against anything I believed--about homosexuality or same-sex marriage or even about the fact that my local leaders were handling everything wrong--made me really angry. I spent the days prior to conference ridden with anxiety for what was to come. Some conferences I cried. Some conferences I skipped. Some conferences I yelled at the TV and then my kids would turn in off because I wouldn't get up and do it myself. I would always try to listen to President Uchtdorf because he never said anything to make me angry, and usually said something that made me say ah-ha or amen.

But this year I watched or listened to nearly every minute. I spent Saturday with the TV on while cleaning my house. I missed a little bit of the conference here and there. I cringed a few times, especially during Saturday morning, every time "marriage is between a man and a woman" came up. But it didn't get to me. It may not be what I believe, but it is the current doctrine of the church, and with the way same-sex marriage has become legal in Utah and will soon be throughout the country, I would honestly be surprised if it did not show up in some of the talks. So it was said, and so I listened and said "yeah, yeah, yadda, yadda" in my head, but then between those phrases I gleaned treasures about the importance of family, things I whole-heartedly believe in for all families and all marriages.

It wasn't until later in the day when one of my friends texted me to ask if I was watching conference that I found out the internet/Facebook was exploding with anger and frustration at what had been said. It was then that I realized that I have finally started coming down a really high mountain. There have been hills and valleys along the way, steep upward portions and easy flat ones, times when I've beaten my own path through the bushes, and then with scratches and bruises have come upon other damaged travelers that I could help. Sometimes I got lost in the woods and would stop and cry, about to give up, when another traveler off the path helped me up and let me walk with them for a while, helping me to bush-whack our own path. In all of those difficult pathways there have been beautiful flowers and trees and birds and butterflies and waterfalls and sunsets. So many treasures of knowledge and enlightenment and peace in the midst of the frustration and pain.

But conference weekend, for once, was a beautiful meadow with plenty of shade to rest in, permeated with peace. That's what it was for me, while for others, it was the most difficult path they have been on yet. I didn't feel guilty about my beliefs that vary from things that were said. I did not feel guilt or fear about the fact that none of my children attend church. I only felt peace and hope. I felt love for the speakers, for the leaders who are struggling with their health and are daily attacked by the words of those who are angry with them and don't believe them. I felt a confirmation that they are doing the best they can with what they understand.