Friday, November 13, 2015

Leaving the Church is Not the Same as Leaving the Gospel

There have been countless times when I have admired each of my brothers for their powerful restraint – for weighing the situation before drawing conclusions.  And then there’s me.  Even more countless times of leaping so much further than I have obviously looked.  When will I learn?!?

Recently I had created a post called “Any Day Now – Reprise” comparing the new Church policy to the system’s ignorance of Marco, a character in the movie “Any Day Now” starring Alan Cummings and Garret Dillahunt as a same-sex couple who love Marco and battle it out in court for full custody.  Perhaps I was wrong – or ignorant rather.  Just as so many of the characters that were supposedly trying to protect Marco were ignorant.

“Last week, the church instructed its local leaders that same-sex couples are apostates and that children living with them can't take part in church activities, including baptism, until they're adults and leave home.”

It’s a hot topic on facebook and in the news.  People are leaving the Church as a result of anger, or disbelief, or lack of understanding – or prayer.  Did they pray about the revelation?  Did they pray about having their names removed from Church records?

I, myself, have struggled with it.  In my post, I said I was ashamed.  I felt ashamed.  I still do to a degree.  Still have not felt that satisfactory confirmation, but perhaps I’m getting closer as I read beautiful testimonies from those who are no longer members but still have the faith that it will all work out.  I have read testimonies of those who’ve had to wait to be baptized or go through the temple and found “great rewards” that they may have overlooked if they hadn’t had to “fight” for what they have. I have also read about hurt and pain and anger and lots of questions and many who have leaped bounds without looking – many who sound as though they were wavering in the church for a while and are looking for an excuse to leave. 

I have read these comments on facebook:

“I still have great reservations about this policy and am still processing my feelings about it . . .”

“Does anyone see that the new policy has been re- examined in order to PROTECT children from having to make difficult decisions about their parents lifestyle before they are ready?! This is a fragile relationship in the world already, and the LDS church does not want to make it more difficult. People get over yourselves and stop trying to take everything that is good, and make it into something it isn't.”

“ I love children, all children. Period. When I read the media's presentation of this statement, I was a bit conflicted.

“The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day saints is the Church Christ founded in his day, and has been restored to earth by Him under direction of his Father through a prophet.
“The church is still guided by revelation from God. If we believe this, and I do. We are hearing the word of God when the prophet speaks, (or makes policy).
Still, we do not blindly follow the Prophet or the Church. If we have questions or conflicts, we should ponder and pray for our own understanding and personal revelation to obtain confirmation of them.

“It seems the same people who already criticize the Church are the ones making new criticisms.
“In the end, I would look at it this way. God is the head of this church and guides it through revelation to his Prophets . . .

“Because I feel conflicted, I will pray to understand this policy better. In the end I am God's Child. So are you. He loves us all equally, and personally. In understanding that I have no conflict.”

How so many view the new policy

As I have mentioned in several posts, I have often felt discrimination from the Church or its leaders or in lessons or presentations because I was single, or because I’ve been in debt or friends who have come from broken homes or have been cheated on or friends who have been abused . . . it’s hard to sit through lessons or talks that are geared to the minority, when I’m believing the majority don’t fit into that “perfect Mormon mold” and I know there are quite a few that really don’t want to.

We have been counseled from the beginning to “not just take the leaders’ words on faith” but to seek our own confirmation – to study it out and to pray – which I have been doing.  I still feel misguided, insulted, hurt, betrayed . . . but I know I can feel differently if I rely upon him rather than the words on facebook or even those who have blogged in defense of the church or in defense of the new policy.  Those who have painted the “unbaptized” children as the chosen ones – who have to “fight” to make it worth it. 

And then there are the church attenders who seem diligent as far as attendance goes, but have issues with the gospel - or simply don't know or are familiar with even just the basic beliefs.

I wish I had a gift with words.  I don’t feel like I’ve expressed myself accurately.

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