Last night I got done working a shift at the Temple here in town. Every time I spend a night working at the Temple I walk away with a glow, a spiritual buzz if you will, that I always wish never had to wear off.
I got home and jumped onto Facebook and caught wind of the news. I saw that Same-Sex marriage was to be defined as apostacy. That didn’t entirely surprise me. Later that night I had a coworker Facebook message me asking about the other new policy. I looked at the article he sent and initially didn’t believe it. The handbook they posted didn’t look official, and I hadn’t seen anything from the Mormon Newsroom or LDS.org.
The article said that children of same-sex couples could not join the church unless they were at least 18 and denounced their parents’ way of life. I didn’t believe it because this also seemed much different from the way the church has been moving.
Let me be clear, I didn’t have any perceptions that we would start accepting same-sex relations for the members of the church. But I saw the church start putting funds towards assisting gay youth in Utah who often are at high-risk for homelessness and suicide. I saw Elder Oaks condemn Kim Davis for not fulfilling the oath she made for her public office. I saw the church promote protection for housing and work for the LGBTQ community. When I saw this it just felt like it was stepping away from everything my beloved church had been building. It was stepping away from everything I had been building.
I know it’s selfish, but it hurt because I knew this would hurt people I cared most about. In my two years as a grad student I have made some wonderful friends who are part of the LGBTQ community. These friends of mine have been there with me to suffer through horrible classes, laugh about the troubles of being a GTA, and showed the unconditional love for me even with our conflicting beliefs that my religion has always taught me to have for other people. These friends of mine shared connections with me I don’t have with anyone else.
So as I came to realize that the new policies were true, it broke and confused my heart. It’s been a lot of soul-searching. Looking through my social media I have seen much of the same feelings of confusion. I tried to give my coworker answers as to what was going on, but I honestly don’t have any.
But though I don’t have all the answers, there are some things I do know: I believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the true church of God restored on the Earth. I know not only that Joseph Smith was a true Prophet, and that the Prophets and Apostles called today are of God and do their best to adhere to the teachings of Jesus Christ. I know that these men aren’t perfect, no one on Earth is, but I’ve made promises to uphold their teachings and counsel. I still sustain these men as I did years ago when I was new to the church.
I could go into great lengths about how there is some practicality in this new policy, that it’s nothing new, or go further into the confusion it has caused me. Trust me, if you have frustrations or disagreement with this policy I understand, you’re not falling on deaf ears. For as much confusion this has been, interestingly enough I have found some interesting words of comfort in this time:
3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
These times are confusing, and hard, but God is never the author of confusion. People are the only authors of confusion. I implore anyone who is confused, conflicted, or angry to simply pray about this. I won’t say that you will all come to the same conclusions, or that things will be made easy once you’ve prayed. But what I will say is that Heavenly Father wants us to seek understanding, and it is never wrong to ask.