I interrupt this blog silence with another topic that is delicate and difficult.
Note: I have no interest in sparking a debate.
There have been a lot of people choosing to leave The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Some people that I respect, and like a whole lot are among those who have chosen to disassociate themselves with the church. I think no less of them, and in a lot of ways admire them for doing what has to be excruciating in the communities in which some of them live. They know that large parts of their communities are scrutinizing them, but do what they feel is best for them and their families. That is brave. That is admirable. I love them for that part of it.
When it comes to faith, we have to get on our knees, pray the crap out of our questions, and be ready to follow what we feel will be right in the eyes of God. Even if every single person around us things we are totes cray cray (too heavy handed on the abbreviated lingo in order to make this not so hard to talk about?).
These are some of the reasons many people, women in particular, are giving for leaving, and how I feel differently:
Women are undervalued and under utilized in the church, and don't hold the priesthood:
I put two together here because they are very intertwined. This issue could also have about a thousand bullet points and subtitles. It bothers a lot of women that in the "line of command" we ultimately answer to men. Bishops, Stake Presidents, Area Leaders, Apostles, and the Prophet are all men. This does not bother me.
I have always understood that our roles were designed to be different, but not unequal. Men hold and use the power of the Priesthood in our church. I have always believed this to be predesigned and agreed upon. We believe in a preexistence, and doesn't it make sense that we would have discussed what roles and powers would go where, and how we would balance each other (I know this is not taught in church doctrine, but has always just made sense to me.)? Two great powers: priesthood, and the ability to create life. We divided them, and each took and equal load. Because of this perspective, holding the priesthood has never been an issue for me.
I have always been made to feel important, heard, and even essential to my gospel family. Yes, I have held council with men in most of the capacities I've served, but I have been blessed to work with men who never lorded over me or made me feel as if they were more important or in touch with what God wanted me to do in that capacity. Also, this is part of the load I believe they agreed to take. I could go and write an entire book on how I feel that men were tasked with leading the church in the right direction, and women were tasked with leading families and children in the right direction. I know that could open a can of worms because many, maybe the majority, of women feel that leaves us confined and short-changed. I disagree. what is more important than children and family. Not anything I can thing of currently. I've digressed, but I want anyone looking into this church to know that I have always ALWAYS been taught and made to feel that I was precious to God. Precious and strong and capable.
Women have to go through men to have access to God:
False (Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica. Keeping it light enough?). I have direct access to my Heavenly Father. I can receive answers and revelation from Him right to my own self. There are doctrinal occasions where men were used as a buffer between God and women. I have always looked at this as Heavenly Father putting women in a place of precious protection. I don't believe he doubts our strength, but wants to let us know He, and his sons, have our back. This answer won't satisfy everyone, but has always felt right to me. I feel that I have a very personal and direct relationship with my Heavenly Father.
The church is out of date, and unkind to certain social communities, particularly the LGBT community:
I wish I could display my heart instead of use words to talk about this issue. I love these people, and my heart aches that these answers aren't easy or straightforward. However, I stand with the Prophet in the discussion of gay marriage. This is why if you could just see my heart we may be able to understand each other better and coexist in friendship, understanding, and an ability to agree to disagree. I want everyone to be happy. Everyone deserves to feel loved. Gay people don't make me feel weird or uncomfortable, and yes our kids can play together, and no I don't think you're evil, and I wish there was a way for you to just see my heart already.
. . .
I've spent, and will continue to spend a lot of time on my knees. I don't say this to let you know how spiritual I am. I know a whole lot of people who are maneuvering the world of spiritual faith more gracefully than I am. However, I am not blindly following or under-considering (is that a thing?) the issues that so many members of this church are grappling with. I've been grappling, and simply came out on another side.
I believe in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints with all of my heart and being. I've asked if this is the truth, and I have been given undeniable answers.
Do I have answers to difficult historical and doctrinal questions? No.
I have prayed about them, many times. I believe there are answers, and we either have them, and don't like/understand them, or we will have them in the future. Maybe even soon.
I don't believe in this church because it is convenient or popular. It isn't. It is kind of opposite of popular right now. I believe in this gospel, and follow these leaders because I believe God isn't going to offer multiple truths to suit different life styles and preferences. There is one truth, and I have never found more of it anywhere else. The truth was the truth for Adam and Eve, and it is the truth for me, and for the last person who will be born. I acknowledge there are inconsistencies. They are the errors of people, not of God.
To those who believe differently, I love you all the same. Please love me all the same too.