Monday, June 29, 2015

Gay Marriage Dispute

Social media has been brutal this past weekend.  So many opinions, so many articles, so many arguments.  And even though I wanted to just avoid it all, I couldn't help but read everything I came across.  I wanted to hear both sides. I wanted to try and understand this supposedly important debate about gay marriage.  But mostly I was just sad.

Before I get into anything I just want to say that I can honestly empathize with both sides.  At one point in my life I really thought that being gay was a choice.  I remember saying once, "Bisexual people are just horny and will hook up with anyone."  I was that closed minded and that judgmental. I'm not saying that those of you opposing gay marriage think such horrible things, but I really did have strong opinions against it all.  Then I grew up some, had more life experiences, gained gay friends and my opinions changed.  Now I'm at the point where I'm not upset about gay marriage in all 50 states.  I'm even happy about it.  But the thing that hasn't changed is my belief in the family--and marriage is the base of that.  As a Mormon, I have confidence in our faith and am comforted knowing that temple marriages will always be between a man and a woman.  So if you're living the gospel, stop freaking out.  If you live the way you're supposed to, then you don't have to obsess about gay marriage.  Have some faith.

I think it's totally fine to state your beliefs on social media, but I just hope it's for the right reason.  I saw many people post things on both sides that were tasteful and not emotionally driven.  But I saw a lot of posts that were judgmental and far from loving.  And this was on both sides.

I'm going to be a bit hypocritical here, because I need to work on this as well, but we really need to be more Christlike.  I'm not saying that being Christlike is to drop your beliefs and accept the opposing view's ways.  I'm saying you need to be loving.  We need to stop looking at each other based off of the labels we have separated ourselves into.  We need to think about how our words do influence people.  If you had a gay brother, would you word your comments the same?  Your beliefs wouldn't change, but I'm sure you'd think about how your words would affect him.

Some people say, "Taking offense is a choice."  I agree, but that doesn't mean it's not hard.  I'm not a crier;  I just don't really like to cry.  But after reading a few days worth of Facebook "discussions" I ended my day by giving a heartfelt prayer to replace my anger with love, and to make the sting lessen.  And then I cried myself  to sleep.

We have to stop judging people.  We are always going to have different opinions, and sometimes they will be about topics in which we will have strong opinions and feelings.  This is a test of your charity.  Please, share your beliefs all you want, but don't be pointing fingers.  It's not a surprise you're all mad at each other.  Everyone knows a conversation will never end well when it's always "you do this" or "I don't like how you...".

This was definitely a rant post, but I know I'm not the only one who feels this way and I'm fairly certain you were the people who kept quiet all weekend.  So, I'm sorry if you had a sucky weekend as well.  I still believe that people are inherently good, but the internet is just so good at providing mediums for tactless comments.

Oh, and please don't say "The next thing we know polygamy will be legalized!"  Because guess what--we already did that.

Friday, June 26, 2015

That's why it's called FAITH

I am LDS.  I grew up Mormon, went to church every Sunday, went to Early Morning Seminary every weekday through high school, go to BYU, served a full time mission, and basically just drip of Mormon shiz.  But I guess I'm done just playing that part of the model Mormon. Because I'm not, and I don't want to trick people into thinking that I am.  Let's be real.  I've got problems.  And I'm pretty darn sure all of you have got problems of your own.  It's not like we need to make our trials public on our Facebook walls, or explain our sins at the pulpit #awkwardtestimonyproblems, but we don't have to make people think that we've got it all together and that our faith is super strong and unwavering.  Because news flash: faith doesn't necessarily mean sure knowledge.  Remember that scripture that says, " is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true" (Alma 32:21).  Alright, the English major in me wants to explain why I used that quote, but I'm gonna break the rules (because I'm super edgy) and just let you ponder on that while you simultaneously continue reading.  You can do it.  You're probably smart.

So here's the thing.  I've got questions.  I've got loads of them.  Does that make me a bad Mormon?  No, of course not.  People are always saying it's good to have questions.  It's ok to have doubts.  I'm pretty sure lots of people wonder why marriage and family are the focus of our faith, but some people never can get married and some women can never have children.  No one really knows why black people couldn't hold the priesthood until 1978.  There are a lot of things we just don't know.  But it's when you voice certain questions, or certain doubts when people start to get awkward.  And suddenly if you have these questions, they judge your faith, or what kind of Mormon you are. (Whatever that means.)  So here is an example that I can think of off the top of my head that is guaranteed to make many members cringe.   Women and the priesthood (or the lack of).  Did that make you wince?  Did you shrink at the thought of talking about this in Sunday School because you've had some uncomfortable memories?  Do you wonder about this yourself, but feel like if you bring it up people will question your faith?  Ok sorry, I'll stop bombarding you with rhetorical questions.

I'm starting a new paragraph because the other one was getting too long.  My English professors would not be impressed.  Anyway.  Why do we get so uncomfortable when women and the priesthood gets mentioned?  There are many questions we can't answer, but why is this question the awkward preteen covered in acne and self-consciousness when the other questions are just cute and ignorant?  (That was my attempt at personifying questions.)  There are probably lots of reasons, but I am going to focus on one explanation.  Really, what I think it comes down to is our attempts of reasoning our way out of the question.  Instead of giving real answers (because we don't KNOW right now) we try to explain why women don't have the priesthood.  How many times have you heard that women don't have the priesthood because their role is to have children?  Or that men are the lesser sex so they NEED the priesthood to make them better.  Gag me with a spoon.  Please.  This post's purpose isn't to talk about women and the priesthood, but let me clarify some things before I move on.  First of all, don't compare priesthood with motherhood.  They're not comparable.  Fatherhood and motherhood is the binary.  Priesthood has nothing to do with that.  Second, women are not better than men, so don't try to make me feel better about not holding the priesthood by placing me on a pedestal.

Ok I'm done with that.  But if you want to read about 13 more pages of that click here.  I wrote a paper about The Feminine Mystique and how it relates to the LDS culture last semester.

And this is where I'll try to bring this all back together.  People, YOU DON'T NEED TO KNOW THE ANSWERS TO EVERYTHING.  Because we just don't know everything right now and the minute you start reasoning your way through questions you've got people saying that men suck so they have the priesthood and women aren't worthy if they aren't mothers.  It's OKAY to say "I don't know."  You can have super duper awesome faith without knowing because like Alma 32 said, it's not a perfect knowledge, it's a hope.  If we knew the answer to all our religious questions, faith wouldn't be necessary.  I believe that having questions and facing your doubts is the ultimate act of faith.  Not knowing is scary, but that's why we have faith.  It's a hope for things that are true.  I have a pretty solid testimony that God is my loving Heavenly Father.  I also know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer.  I can't claim that I know everything else.  I might believe, or maybe just hope.  But that's good enough.  The prophet and the apostles are the ones who are supposed to be special witnesses of Jesus Christ.  We should be sharing our witness to others, but it's not the same.

So again, let's be real.  I love being Mormon.  I love the direction and happiness it has provided me.  I love how the Gospel of Jesus Christ gives my life meaning and pushes me to be better.  I will try to be my best self, but I'm not gonna try to make you think I've got it all together.  But even though my life might seem like a mess right now, that doesn't mean it always will.  I have that faith, but that doesn't mean it's perfect.  Because is that even possible?