I have hesitated to write this post because the dust is settling, and when controversy shakes people, it’s always a relief when the loud, angry debate moves on to the next topic of indignation, such as the pressing matter of red coffee cups.
But that little fire inside me that fuels my passion — and gets me into trouble — will not be silenced. So without the aim of trying to kick up more dust, I’d like to express some of my thoughts on the recent debate surrounding the LDS church and its policies regarding homosexuals and their children.
I am not going to get into the weeds in this debate. Much has been said on both sides, and I honestly think there are good points made by both those who are for and against the policy. But I’m not interested in debating in circles over an issue on which most people have already taken a stance and dug in their heels.
My thoughts today are addressed to some of my fellow LDS church members, those who have expressed very strongly their support for the policy, even going so far as to conclude that if you don’t support the policy, then you don’t support the prophet.
I’ve observed a few people sharing this sentiment, and every time I see it, I cringe. I know that these people feel they are doing the right thing and standing up for their beliefs, and I commend them for holding firm to their faith in the face of criticism, but the harsh, condemning way it is sometimes expressed hurts my heart.
I love the LDS prophet and apostles. I think they are good, inspired men. But can I be honest? This new policy is really hard. There are some parts of the policy I agree with, that make some sort of sense to me, but there are aspects of it that I find very hard, even grating, on my mind and my soul.
That being said, I still love President Monson. I continue to pay my tithing, go to church, avoid coffee in any color of cup, etc. — nothing in my religious life has really changed. I just don’t like the policy.
That’s why this whole “if you don’t support the policy, you don’t support the prophet!” attitude is so offensive to me. It leaves no room for difference. It sets up an “either you’re with us or against us” dichotomy, as if this one issue trumps all other aspects of a person’s faith. It doesn’t acknowledge that we are all children of God, all brothers and sisters with the same eternal potential, working to lift and help one another.
None of us are ever going agree with each other on absolutely everything in this life, but guess what, that’s never going to change! I’m guessing that even when we’re all together in eternity, we’ll still be debating over politics and ideology and whether or not it’s acceptable to listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving — because we’re all different! And I believe God appreciates our differences, otherwise he would have made a cookie cutter prototype, and we would all be a bunch of Jango Fett Stormtroopers running around this earth. (Big day here, Star Wars has made its way onto my blog!)
So here’s all I’m really asking: The next time you find yourself feeling the need to stand up for your beliefs — no matter the controversy and what side of the debate you’re on — can you take a minute to remember that the people you are debating with are not your enemies? They are your brothers and sisters, people who have endured a lot of pain and heartache, people who, like you, are imperfect but trying, people whose lives, due to circumstances sometimes outside of their control, have been set on a vastly different courses than your own. And God’s hand is at work just as much in their lives as your own.
They deserve your love, your compassion, your outstretched hand. Not lines drawn in the sand.by