Oh Utah! Such a Bitter Battle …

Mom and babyTwenty 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).

4 thoughts on “Oh Utah! Such a Bitter Battle …

  1. I’m glad you wrote this. I have not, for the most part, engaged in discussions on the topic of SSM. I state my position, and then just walk away. I feel that, because I support traditional marriage and traditional definition of morality and chastity, I am always accused of hating and being closed minded — and how do you even talk with some one who has already made their mind up about you?

    I think your sister said it best, on a facebook thread yesterday, that she loves the Lord the most, and because of that she will follow him. I know that this issue causes great pain for a lot of people. In my own family it’s caused a rift so wide, I doubt that we will recover in this life time. But I have chosen to stick to the Lord and His position. I wish those that scream for tolerance would give me a bit of that tolerance they want. Loving some one does not mean we have to approve of what they do. I think anyone that is a parent understands that. I wish people would realize as well, that the Lord has standards. He gives us those standards because he LOVES us, not to hold us back. It’s our choice if we hold to them or not. I love the Lord, and that’s why I follow him. I believe HIS way will bring me the most happiness.

    • Family dynamics can be so hard! You know, when your kids just GO at it. I remember getting in such huge fights with my sister (poor, Fi!). When you’re the referee it can be monstrous trying to get each one to be quiet as you work to piece together what happened. Aargh!

      But, give it time. Time and the trials of life do a lot to change a person … mellow us out. I remember when I didn’t want to be part of my family any more (when just a kid). I’d pack my bags and “run away” or dramatically stomp out of the room, and my parents would let me go. Then I’d hear them having fun and I’d race back to be with them again. I think there are a lot of us in THE Eternal family of God that put themselves in time out. Father is so patient, much more than we are …(You know, you have a toddler!) D&C 112:13 “And after their temptations, and much tribulation, behold, I, the Lord, will feel after them, and if they harden not their hearts, and stiffen not their necks against me, they shall be converted, and I will heal them.”

      Thanks for the thoughts, and much love!

    • This is where it gets personal and tricky. You are assuming you know the Lord’s way, and I disagree with your definition. I believe the Lord loves us all equally and wants us each to be happy, period. And obviously, I don’t think SSA or SSM goes against his plan. So it’s hard not to take it as insulting when someone says “I’m choosing the Lord’s way,” insinuating that I am not, because I disagree. It is a very touchy subject on both sides. I agree that talking about it is key; so rough when both sides think they are the ones being looked down upon… I don’t have an easy answer.

      • Hello, Turleym,

        This is where we need to tread carefully, especially because you and I don’t know each other. This is my case in point. I have no idea who you are, where you are coming from, or what experiences you have had with Father in Heaven, prayer, and scripture study, and (though you know something about me as you are visiting my blog) in truth you know very little about me or how I came to my conclusions. For example, I did not state my opinion on SSM or SSA in my article at all.

        The other issue that we (you and I) have is that, I don’t know how you read my post (what voice you used in your head to represent my voice) and you don’t know what voice I had in my head when writing it, or the events that led up to me writing it (maybe you do, maybe you were part of or read a conversation on Facebook, but you didn’t make that clear in your comment, nor did you introduce yourself). I also don’t know what your voice is when you were writing your comment, though I do know that you want some privacy as you didn’t share anything about yourself. We are both making assumptions about each other based on our life experiences. Because if you did know me, you would have told me who you were and we would have been like – “Hey, yeah, [high five] how’re ya doing?” because if you know me, you know that that is what I do with all my friends, and even most of my acquaintances. 🙂

        So, I have a choice, as I am responding to your comment – 1. we can just go at it, slinging mud at each other and throwing out accusations, or 2. we can see where we agree. I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt, and assume that you (like I) prefer to have good conversations, so I will start with where we agree. (Maybe we’ll have to leave it at that, and if we do, agreements are a great stopping place.)

        1. God loves us and wants us to be happy.
        2. We both have had personal experiences that shape our lives and values.
        3. It’s hard when people “speak for God” as we each (hopefully) have had experiences with Him.
        4. We (humans) need to talk through issues.
        5. Issues are difficult when everyone feels that they have been mistreated (and for each individual, they probably have – but whether that mistreatment was done on purpose or not also may be an issue).
        6. There is no easy answer.

        Now, we may have an atheist friend who reads this chain of comments and says something like – “well, in my life experience, I know that there is no God.”
        If you and I refrain from having conversation simply because we don’t want to hurt our friend, then we are not going to be enriched by each other’s life experiences.

        So, to conclude, I’ll re-state #5, ‘there is no easy answer’. As you and I both continue to learn to go to God, taking the time to listen to His reasoning [see Isaiah 55: 8-9] (giving Him the same courtesy we are giving each other), we will both be better able to “assum[e] [we] know the Lord’s way” and we will both be better able to have hard conversations with our Atheist friend (who is reading this, thinking “you don’t even know what you are talking about.” 😉

        In the end of it all though, if we truly believe that God exists, our quarrel is not with each other, and it is not with our Atheist friend. It is with the Devil “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12

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