This past week brought a lot of pain to a lot of people that I love. That in turn, has brought me a lot of pain. A deep physical aching. A longing for them to feel loved and not hated. Because, they truly are some of the best people I know.
I feel many people assume that those of us who follow the teachings and stand by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints do so without thinking of how it will affect those we love. I have so many emotions about this, I felt no other outlet would help. So I hope this will bring another perspective into this difficult circumstance we find ourselves in.
I feel lucky to have an open heart. I love people very quickly and deeply. At times it has brought a lot of pain when that love isn't returned. But regardless, I've found that this gift I have, has lead me to have strong genuine friendships with people from so many different backgrounds and perspectives. And I wouldn't change that, no matter how painful it can become.
I believe in God the Father. I believe that his son is our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. I believe that they live and want us to be happy and have joy. I believe that they communicate to the Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I believe that they know more than I do. I believe they know better than I do. I believe they are governed by universal, eternal laws, that even they cannot change. I believe they mourn with us when we are in pain. I believe they long to change our circumstances to be what we want, just to make us happy, but in their mercy they abstain. Due to their understanding, they know that what would truly make us happy is perhaps not what we are asking for. So they resist. How difficult that must be. I am not a parent. But I have a lot of students I worry about and care for. I've learned that there is a need for discipline and rules and not giving them everything they want. As I believe we are God's children, if this is difficult for me, why would it be any less difficult for Him?
I believe that Love is not always supportive. So many people are accusing people of my faith to not be Christlike. The Christ I know was perfect and showed a perfect example of how we treat others. Christ did not condone sin. Christ did not pat people on the back and say "Okay. If that's how you feel, go ahead and do that. If that makes you happy then go ahead." However, I believe that he still exemplified perfect love for those he taught. The woman that was brought before him in adultery, how did he treat her? I imagine this women had never known love in her life. Not true love. And to be presented to a man, being surrounded by so many other men ready to stone her to death. What could she have been feeling? She knew she was guilty of what they accused her of, what could she have been expecting?... And in turn what was she met with? A man in his perfect knowledge, being a perfect example of love, asking those accusing her to cast the first stone if they be sinless. Imagine her joy when they turned and walked away. Her shock that someone would accept her in her sin and show her such a kindness. But then what does he say to her? "Go and sin no more." not "Okay, you didn't get stoned so if committing adultery makes you happy go ahead and keep doing that." It was then her choice to do as she would, but what peace that must have brought her to experience someone caring for her and wanting good things for her. This is true Christlike love. Acceptance.
I believe we will one day stand before our God with our Savior at our side and be accountable for what we knew in this life. I believe the "judgement" that so many religions speak of will come from us. Not God. We will be our worst judge and critic. So therefore, if this is what I believe, and this belief is so ingrained in me that it helps me make hard choices and guides me to good experiences, how can I go against what I believe God is asking me to stand up for? If I am to be accountable for the things I was taught and believe in this life, and expect to look them both in the eyes and be asked "Did you live what you believed?" How could I go against what I believe they are telling me to do now?
This is not easy. I do not do this blindly. I trust God and Christ. More than I trust any other living person. So I must continue to trust them even if the world doesn't think I should.
I have had to cause pain to people that I love. I have seen my choices to follow the teachings in this Church bring physical and emotion pain to them. It was not something I did with joy or pride. It was not something I did lightly. It was not something I ever expected to experience. I too felt pain. I too was breaking inside. I have never felt the longing to love and support someone I care about and feel that I am not able to. It hurts. I wish there was a way for me do both. Love God and trust in Him fully and also support those I care about in their choices.
I am trying to do the best I can. Because I truly love having you in my life. I love you. For everything you are. I plan to always love you. But please forgive me that I cannot support everything you do. Please accept me in my beliefs. Even if you do not agree with them. Please allow me my agency to live in the way I feel I must, just as you are living the way you feel you must. You do not have to support me in my beliefs, but accept me as I am and who I am choosing to be. That is all I ask. I still trust you and care about you and want good things for you. I am truly sorry for the pain that this controversy brings. I cry with you. If the day comes that I am proven wrong and it turns out that all I believed in was false, I will ask your forgiveness. Until then, please know I am glad you're in my life and wouldn't have it any other way. Believe me that I am doing my best to love you and my God. A God that I believe loves us more than we can begin to comprehend. A God that has to govern an entire planet of his children and must follow laws for the good of all of them. A God that aches with each one of his children and longs to be their comfort. Yes, a God that loves you. No matter what.