Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. - Matthew 7:1-2
I'm afraid I've mislead a lot of you. I don't want to help perpetuate the stupid stereotype that liberal Mormons aren't good, strong Mormons because I'll tell you right now I'm not (not strong, that is). I used to be. You could've called me Molly and I would've not only answered but also beamed with pride. Not now. I don't think this makes my views any less important or relevant. I'm trying really hard to do what is right - too hard, I think. I've seriously and literally made myself sick over it the last few days.
There are plenty of good, strong LDS liberals though, and their political views are strongly supported by scripture. Not to say they are better supported than that of our conservative counterparts, but supported just the same.
Really, what it all tends to come down to is our ability to trust in each other. Like Joseph Smith said, "I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves."
We are taught to pray about things, to "ponder" (hate that word) and meditate, study the scriptures and search things out in our minds and then in our hearts. When we've come to a decision, we go to God in prayer for his blessing.
Sometimes our decisions aren't what the Church at large would bless, but what if God's answer to our prayers confirmed our wayward decisions?
I believe with everything in me it's happened. It happened to me with Proposition 8. I felt a peace that took such a burden off my shoulders when I finally decided after much prayer in my heart. Others have told me similar stories, and too many others have rebuked them, saying that since their "answers" go against what GA's have said or otherwise, that they are automatically wrong. I think that's a load.
Is this church really the one for everyone on the planet? I don't think so.
There is much to love about this Church. It's brought me independence in a way I couldn't have found before. It's brought me a deeper meaning and relationship with God that I couldn't have found anywhere else. Teachings regarding our not having to pay for Adam's transgression and that of the Godhead resonated. Even as a child attending Pentecostal churches, I never believed in the Trinity.
I still believe in those things, and I hesitate to pick and choose - but what if?
The world isn't as cut and dry as we want to think. We are told the Gospel is simple and perfect, but that is only in its basics. When things start to not make sense, we complicate and lose our faith, either that of our own or of others, in the process.
We all have diferent histories and experiences; we're all wired differently. That's what's so cool about life.
So how often do we limit God's mercy to that of repentance and nothing else?
We look upon those who have left the Church or live, in varying degrees, a life contrary to what it teaches as lost souls. What if some of them are not so much lost but simply on a different path? What if?
Should we really be so strict? It's easy to live within well-defined boundaries. We won't mess up that way - but we're supposed to mess up. If we weren't supposed to, we wouldn't have repentance. Let's trust God and His plan for us and our brothers and sisters.
While we need to take care, we also need to understand that God has a plan for us all, and sometimes that plan takes us on different paths. As long as we're paying due attention to ourselves and praying along the way, I think we'll be okay.
Why must we complicate the basics? Love of our fellow man. Love of God. I feel we're more concerned with justice than we are mercy.
I really do believe we all pick and choose (see the Word of Wisdom - seriously, how many of us hunt and eat more meat and less grain? how easy it is to not drink and smoke, but that? naw. anyway). We're human. We do what is convenient for us...except for the bigger things. The more visible things. We want to appear righteous to even the detriment of our fellow man.
A friend of mine online told a story about a group of Priesthood who were asked "If you drove down the highway to find a sister in your ward stranded, would you give her a ride?"
As the story goes, far too many said they'd keep driving as to avoid the "appearance of evil" since they or she was married.
Spirit of the law or letter of the law?
I've known people who are so intent on going to the temple no matter what to even ignore the Spirit when it tells them to stay home. After having my second child, I suffered from mild to severe baby blues (not quite postpartum depression, but close). My SIL came over and told me she and her husband were planning a trip to the temple the next day, but they'd both felt that perhaps they were needed at home instead. After visiting me, she called and said she knew why she needed to stay home and that she'd be taking my oldest so I could rest the next day.
I had another friend not too long after that tell me that she believed that if anything was keeping her from the Temple, be it impressions, sickness, or a car breaking down, that it was Satan keeping her from her sacred work.
Sometimes that is the case, but I knew by then it wasn't always the case. My SIL taught me so much that day. The temple is important, service for the dead is important (and just the communion with God is important), but not nearly as important as service for those who are living.
Sometimes our experiences lead us to prayers which lead us to do things that would seem wrong to most others, most notably those within the Church, because we want to live according to the letter. It's just easier and less messy that way.
I'm right with the lot of you who like to delve deep into study over doctrine and quotes and history. I actually had my Institute director tell me as a new convert that I shouldn't attend Church condoned conferences that went deeper because I "wasn't ready yet."
Why? It helps clear up so much. The Spirit is there to help us - Why are we so afraid? I think it's partly because we tend to want to live according to the letter, and delving deeper tends to invite us to think (the horror!) and perhaps see things in a different light.
God works in mysterious ways, and his ways are not our ways. I think too often we take this and stand up a little taller in our (self)-righteousness. We do belong to the One True Church, after all. But the world isn't like that.
All that matters is what is between God and you. If you are sincere in your journey for help in your decisions and ask God and he answers, then that's all that matters. That's what I think.
I'd like to end with this fabulous quote from Orson Scott Card's really amazing article entitled Is There an R-rated Movie Commandment? (I intend to toss in my own two cents soon. So many topic ideas. So much for that dry well. Anyway)
"President Hinckley in particular has tried to get us to make wise decisions about such things on our own, refusing to get roped into giving us specific regulations that allow us to turn off our own consciences.
"Yet there are always Latter-day Saints who want to live in a pharisaical church.
"The Pharisees had a pious goal: Because they wanted to avoid disobeying the law even by accident, they decided to 'build a fence around the law,' surrounding the deep principles of Torah with a lot of small, specific regulations, so that by obeying those little rules, the Lord's people could be sure they wouldn't accidentally stray from the great law.
"The problem is that such a 'fence around the law' can give us a false sense of safety. It's so easy to obey such laws and yet join the category of 'fools' and 'hypocrites' that Jesus repeatedly rebuked. You condemn your brother for the mote in his eye, Jesus said, but don't see the beam in your own. The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.
"Paul called them whited sepulchers, those hyper-obedient souls who went to extraordinary lengths to defend the law -- and broke it repeatedly with their pride and their persecution of others.
"Surely we can recognize that Jesus was not being lax or careless with the law when he resisted the Pharisees.
On the contrary. Jesus was teaching us that you can't build a fence around the law, and then feel safe. Instead you have to take the law into your heart and embrace it so that you understand and obey its purpose."
I totally agree.
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. - Matthew 7:3-5