Twenty years ago, I was at BYU as a freshman. I was on the threshold of adulthood, fresh and barely tested in life’s most difficult trials, and I sat down with a dear friend (we’ll call her ‘friend A’) to discuss polygamy (please don’t shut down – this is not the topic of this discussion). 😉 Anyone who knows the history of the LDS Church comes across this topic at some point and at some level or another, and needs to deal with it. This friend had no problem with it, which was shocking to me! So, I began to study the topic and mentally and spiritually ‘deal’ with it. As with everything, I went to the scriptures and prayer first and was taught by the Spirit and lead to sources that helped to shape my own opinions and ideas. Excitedly, I ran to share everything that I knew with another dear friend (we’ll call her ‘friend B’). I had no idea that this issue was, for her, a Doctrinal “Abrahamic Trial” (See Doc. & Cov 101:3-5).
The more I shared with B, the more she “shut down”. I finally got to the point, where I had to stop talking about the issue with her because it caused so much anguish.
Let me try to put this idea into a parable (certainly not a perfect one). Have you ever tried to comfort a crying and screaming baby? Sometimes, you just can’t do it and you have to turn the baby over to the Mom (or the Primary Comfort Giver, as the case may be). Have you ever been the mom and watched as someone tried to comfort your baby? You smile and watch, knowing that when they get tired of trying, they’ll give you the child.
I’ve watched B over the years on her path. She chose to go to the Primary Comfort Giver, who constantly says, ‘Come unto me and I will heal you’ (see 3 Nephi 17:7). She had to get her witness after ‘the trial of her faith’ (see Ether 12:6), and she continues to work with the Great Physician.
With some situations, the only thing that you can do is give the baby back to the mom.
That is not to say that we should not have doctrinal conversations in the fear that we are going to open wounds. Friend A engaged in a conversation with me that opened up the discussion and put me on a path of spiritual knowledge and understanding that has been a blessing.
Utah, is REELING right now, because of the recent events dealing with SSM and the rule of law (please don’t shut down! 😉 ) – those from this great state open their Facebook accounts or turn on the news and are bombarded with ideas and opinions. These conversations need to happen. Yes, we need to discuss with civility on all sides, (which can be difficult with an issue so charged, so personal and so painful) but these discussions need to happen! And, as we get better and better at communicating and listening, both with the public and, most importantly, with the Father, those conversations will change lives and hearts. (We will learn, like a grandparent can, how to comfort a baby that is not necessarily our own).
All over this state (and in other areas) people are having opportunities to speak. To bear testimony. To share their ideas and experiences. They are able to talk about their spiritual journeys. They are talking about the journeys of their friends and loved ones. Some are experiencing their own Abrahamic trials, and some are excited because they have been taught by the Spirit (which AMAZING and miraculous and they need to be strengthened and share their testimony of it!) Don’t shut them down by constantly saying – “Jesus said love everyone” or “don’t judge” every time a difficult doctrine comes up. We NEED to talk about the doctrine. We know that some will have hurt feelings (no matter how we phrase things) because it is their Spiritual Abrahamic journey. We need to hand them over to the Savior. He will know what to do. He will know how to “feel after them“. Just as I know how to hold my child exactly right.
Father in Heaven wants us to talk. He wants us to discuss. To share our logic. To share our feelings. To share our joy and our pain.
When my children have an experience (going to the dentist, falling off the bicycle, learning to jump off the couch) they want to share it. I want them to share it, too. I want them to learn how to express their ideas. When Daddy comes home I say, “Child A, go tell Daddy about your bug bite!” This allows them the ability to think through and process the experience.
We are Spirit Children; we need to talk about our moments in life, the happy, the sad, the nightmares, the triumphs, and the joys.
My children fight, they hurt each other, and they cause pain to each other. We talk it through together. My children also love each other, and play together, and need each other, and are learning to be loyal to each other.
In all of the human drama, it is VITAL to talk about eternal families – but it is just as VITAL to talk about THE Eternal Family, because, just as my daughters are learning to hold their newborn sister, we can help Him do His great work. If He could, if it were possible, if we would let Him, the Savior would bring all of us back to the Father (see John 17).