Friday, November 13, 2015

You Are Called My Brother

As I have struggled with the events of the past week or so I have had friends and family reach out to me in love and kindness.  Thank you all. 

I want you to know that I am still here.  I still have a testimony of my Savior Jesus Christ.  I know that my Heavenly Father loves me.  That this church is true.

I have read many Facebook status', news articles, blogs and comments, I have shared some of those on social media.  In searching for understanding and healing I have turned to the words of our Latter-Day prophets and have found peace and comfort in all most anything that I have opened up.  I have read about faith, hope and charity.  Learned more about the word hope. 

I am eternally grateful for hope.

As I was searching to find truth and understanding I came upon the quote above and it led me to the talk that this comes from "Ye Are No More Strangers" which was given by Bishop Gerald Causse in the October 2013 General Conference.

Following are some of the truths that spoke to me.  May they speak to you as well.  

"Though the membership of the Church is increasing in its diversity, our sacred heritage transcends our differences. As members of the Church, we are admitted into the house of Israel. We become brothers and sisters, equal heirs to the same spiritual lineage. "

Equal heirs.

"During His earthly ministry, Jesus was an example of one who went far beyond the simple obligation of hospitality and tolerance. Those who were excluded from society, those who were rejected and considered to be impure by the self-righteous, were given His compassion and respect. They received an equal part of His teachings and ministry."

They received an equal part

"In this Church our wards and our quorums do not belong to us. They belong to Jesus Christ. Whoever enters our meetinghouses should feel at home. The responsibility to welcome everyone has growing importance. "


 "We all need to work together to build spiritual unity within our wards and branches...
Unity is not achieved by ignoring and isolating members who seem to be different or weaker and only associating with people who are like us. On the contrary, unity is gained by welcoming and serving those who are new and who have particular needs. These members are a blessing for the Church and provide us with opportunities to serve our neighbors and thus purify our own hearts."

"In this Church there are no strangers and no outcasts. There are only brothers and sisters. The knowledge that we have of an Eternal Father helps us be more sensitive to the brotherhood and sisterhood that should exist among all men and women upon the earth."

He then tells of this passage from the novel Les Miserables...

“‘This is not my house; it is the house of Jesus Christ. This door does not demand of him who enters whether he has a name, but whether he has a grief. You suffer, you are hungry and thirsty; you are welcome. … What need have I to know your name? Besides, before you told me [your name], you had one which I knew.’
“[Valjean] opened his eyes in astonishment.
“‘Really? You knew what I was called?’
“‘Yes,’ replied the Bishop, ‘you are called my brother.’”7

We are all brothers and sisters.

 "So, my brothers, it is your duty to reach out to anyone who appears at the doors of your Church buildings. Welcome them with gratitude and without prejudice. If people you do not know walk into one of your meetings, greet them warmly and invite them to sit with you. Please make the first move to help them feel welcome and loved, rather than waiting for them to come to you."
Welcome everyone.

 "I bear witness that no one is a stranger to our Heavenly Father. There is no one whose soul is not precious to Him." 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Stand By You - Rachel Platten

I cannot get enough of this song.  I just can't.  Forget about Fight Song...

This is my anthem right now.

Speaking Up and Speaking Out

During this past General Conference, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints I watched and listened.  And when Elder Nelson came to the end of his talk "A Plea to My Sisters", I felt that I was personally being asked to "speak up and speak out". But I wasn't sure what I was supposed to be speaking up about.

Now I know. I need to speak up about love.

I am not a Mama Dragon, and strangely enough I have never considered myself a Mama Bear. Although I have a deep respect for those who identify with those ideas, I do not.

I am simply a Mother.

A mother who loves each of her children deeply and wants them to be happy and well adjusted, and above all, loved.  Last night I cried myself to sleep from the confusion and the hurt and the heartache that I was feeling about a policy change that was made by the LDS church regarding members who are in a same sex relationship/marriage.

Tears fell as I wondered how many amazing, talented, beautiful, creative, loving children of God were hurting and crying out.  It was as if I could feel this wave of sorrow flowing heavenward.  I cried as I worried about how many of those would hear this policy change and hurt so much that they would attempt to take their own life, or even worse, succeed.

If you think that this change won't cause such feelings and actions I say softly, you my friend, are wrong.

I don't have answers about this.  I am not here to offer up explanations. I do not and will not presume to speak on behalf of my church.

I am here to say that there are people who are hurting and angry and sad and confused. You may have loved ones who this affects directly and hurts deeply. There may be people in your life, people you love and adore who are suffering immense pain from this and you are not even aware because they are too frightened to say.

You may not know any of these people personally, maybe you think this policy change doesn't really affect you. Or it's not that big of a deal, this is the way that it's been with people in polygamist families.

Are you surprised by the reaction to this policy change? Are you upset with those who are hurt and angry or who are questioning?  Do you think that they shouldn't question?  That we should just pray about it end of story? That all of this is just showing who REALLY has true faith and who doesn't?  If you think any of these things, I say respectfully, you are wrong.

Before this year I may have fallen into any one of those categories.  But I no longer do. This year I have been witness to the incredible pain that has and is being felt by the LGBTQ community. Pain that I was ignorantly unaware of.

I am here give that pain a voice.  It may be small and soft but I will try.

It has occurred to me, that maybe, just maybe, the reason for this policy change is so that people can become more aware of the gaping wound that is out there.  Then again, maybe I'm WAY off base. But I do think that we have only just begun to see and feel the heartache.

If you believe, as we have been taught in the LDS religion, that we are literal spirit brothers and sisters then this pain should mean something to you. This pain should tug at something in your soul. You don't have to understand the pain. You can't. You don't even have to agree with it but please, please acknowledge it. Don't try to down play this heartache with empty platitudes. Look deep into the eyes of our brothers and sisters...

Our LGBTQ sisters and brothers are dealing with a pain you nor I will ever understand.

Let me say that again leaving out those letters of the alphabet that seem to be so polarizing...

Our sisters and our brothers are dealing with a pain that you nor I will EVER understand.

I myself, have had a minuscule glimpse because I have a daughter, who at the beginning of this year, came out as gay.  I say minuscule because we are at the very beginning of this journey with her. This week I was blindsided by the idea that it is highly possible that she will be considered an apostate in the future because of who she loves.  My heart and my brain cannot comprehend this. I do not know. I cannot say that I understand.

I  can say this.  My love for my her will never change. I will stand by her in both good times and bad. She will know that I love her unfailingly. I pray that she will never question that her family loves her, no matter who she brings through the front door to introduce to us.  I hope that anyone who steps across our threshold will feel of that love as well.

We are all children of a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother who, I believe, stand unfailingly beside us. Who want us to stand just as unfailingly with one another.  We have an older Brother who loves us with an unconditional, incomprehensible love. He, He is the only one who can understand our individual pain because He went through it all.

I can only hope that my words and actions are a small reflection of His. As the primary song says, "I'm trying to love as He did, in all that I do and say."

I am asking that you, my brothers and sisters, do the same.

Love as Jesus did.
Love one another.
Be kind to one another.

Especially at this time when emotions are high and spirits, hearts, and emotions are raw.

Be kind. Love. Reach out.

There is a great pain.  As I said before, a gaping wound.

I do not speak with the force of a Mama Dragon, nor with the roar of a Mama Bear. My hope is that it is more like that of

saying, I love you.