Friday, November 06, 2015

My Thoughts on Recent Church Policy

I remember as a teenager how I would frequently think, and sometimes say, how unfair my parents were and how differently I planned to do things when I was a parent. One of those things that I thought were so unfair and horrible for my parents to do was to always make me have a job. Not only would they make me work, they would also not let me quit just because I was sick of it, didn't like it anymore, or didn't care for my co-workers. They would listen to me cry and complain and then send me on my way the next day to go do it all again. I really fought my parents over this issue. I had so many friends whose parents didn't make them work, or if they did, they would let them quit their job if they didn't like it anymore. It just wasn't fair. I thought my parents were so unmerciful and unloving. Which is actually quite ironic looking back today. I am now doing the hardest job I could ever imagine. I am raising five little girls who test my patience every single moment. They are often disobedient, ungrateful, messy, and stinky. On top of the children I am raising, I also spend every single day doing the exact same things that I did the day before...endless laundry, dish washing, scrubbing, dusting, picking up, making meals, etc. The other day I was feeling so under appreciated and overwhelmed. Cory was home early and I was starting to fix dinner. As I was cutting some potatoes, watching my children and husband having the time of their life outside, I started crying my eyes out. I decided that I just needed to leave. I'd go to they gym, sit in the hot tub, and just have some alone time. Cory and the girls could figure out something for dinner. I got in the van and drove away. At first it felt good, but as I approached the last street in my neighborhood, I came to a stop. I knew that I needed to go back home. I needed to fix a healthy delicious meal for the people that I loved more than anything in the world. I needed to bath my children, tuck them into bed, and kiss my husband. I turned the van around and went back home. My job isn't easy. In fact, I'd be lying if I didn't say that the thought of just walking away hadn't ever crossed my mind on a really bad day. But, I wouldn't ever do that. And I believe that part of the reason why I wouldn't is because I was taught by a loving mother and father that even when your job is hard, monotonous, tedious, or exhausting, you can cry and complain for a moment, but then you pick yourself up and get busy doing it again the next day. As a 16 year old girl, I did not understand how my parents could be so unmerciful, and yet as a 35 year old mother, I can't even express how grateful I am for parents who knew better than me. Parents who could see how important it was for me to learn what hard work was and what endurance was all about. There are many other examples I could give of things that my parents did or enforced that I thought was absolutely ridiculous. But now as I look back, I can only applaud them and thank them for having the courage to teach, persist, and battle through my immature and selfish understanding of life. They could see what I could not, just as I can see struggles that my own children will face in their future if I do not help them to overcome their individual weaknesses now. The perspective of experience is a powerful one. One that only a parent can understand as they do their best to raise good children in a confusing world. Recently my church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, has come out and stated new church policy regarding homosexual families. They have stated that children (under 18) cannot be baptized as a member of our church if their parents are homosexual. There are many people, people whom I love and respect, who feel that this policy is unmerciful and unjust. I do not understand all the reasoning behind this policy, but in my limited understanding and perspective, I feel peace because of two things that I know for sure.... 1. The prophet and apostles who lead the church today are men of God. I recently read a comment of someone saying that this new policy is completely inconsistent with the gospel of love. When I think of President Monson, the one word that comes to my mind is charity. He is a man of incredible love. He loves others in a way that I only dream of. As I have studied his life through books and articles, I have been so amazed by his kindness, thoughtfulness, and charity toward ALL men, women, and children. I also know how much each of the brethren who stand beside President Monson show love to all men, women, and children of all faiths, races, and cultures. They stand for love. Just recently Elder Oaks stood in front of the court and fought for the rights of homosexuals in regards to jobs and housing. I also remember a talk given by him called "Protect the Children". These are wise men who are educated in amazing ways (heart surgeons, professors, lawyers, presidents of companies, etc) and who have chosen to lead a life of service and love in proclaiming truth and testifying of Jesus Christ. There are no decisions that are made lightly by these 15 men (12 apostles and members of the First Presidency). In my life I have had the blessing of meeting a handful of these men in person. I don't know how you can look into the eyes of one of these men and not know with your entire being that these are men of God. These are men that I will stand beside, even when I don't completely understand the whys. This is not me following with blind faith, rather it is faith with eyes who have seen the hand of God in my life as I have chosen to be obedient the words of his anointed prophets and apostles. 2. The Lord counsels man in the Bible that God’s ways did not come from man or from this earth. “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8–9). Just as a child doesn't understand why their parents would enforce rules that just seem to make no sense or that seem completely unmerciful and unloving, we too, are children to a God who sees all things. His ways are not our ways. In my studying of the Old Testament a couple of years ago, I felt somewhat bothered that the God that I felt I knew, seemed to be different in the Old Testament than he was in the New Testament or the Book of Mormon. The loving merciful God I knew seemed so inconsistent with the one who would create a flood so great that the entire population, save a few, would be destroyed. But then one day in my studying, I came across the following quote, "But says the caviller, is it right that a just God should sweet off so many people? Is that in accordance with mercy? Yes, it was just to those spirits that had not received their bodies, and it was just and merciful too to those people guilty of the iniquity. Why? Because by taking away their earthly existence he prevented them from entailing their sins upon their posterity and degenerating them, and also prevented them from committing further acts of wickedness." All the sudden I understood. Although this example is different than the recent policy, I feel that at some point I will more fully understand the why of this as well as the why for an entire population to be destroyed in a flood. But for now, knowing what I know about our loving Father, I know that all things will be made right someday. I know that his love for the children who may not have the opportunity to be baptized until a later day because of their parents' choices, are just as loved as any other child in the world, because they are HIS children. His love is perfect. His ways may not be our ways, but his ways are perfectly just and merciful.


Carrie said...

Love you and your words. Nicely done. You are amazing and a spiritual giant to me.

Launa said...

Love your words! I could never say it this good, but my feelings exactly! My faith in the prophet is enough!
I would love to share this if you agree?

Melissa said...

Launa, you are welcome to share. Thanks for your kind words Launa and Carrie.

Andrea said...

Beautiful stated.

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