“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” -Viktor FranklThat's the way God created us.
Today after sacrament meeting, my Bishop read a response from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints over the pulpit. The letter was in response to the recent Supreme Court Decision on Same-Sex Marriage. This was actually the second time I have heard it, as it was read in the same manner last week in my parents' ward where we were visiting. Both times our three oldest children were sitting with us. Both times I felt deeply about what was being read.
This life offers so many challenges, hating each other does not need to be one of them. The letter was so full of love, compassion, invitations to love each other better while protecting religious freedom and well articulated boundaries for houses of worship. I know many have heard hate, bigotry and judgement. That is not what I heard. My heart was so full of love for my Brothers and Sisters on all sides of this "issue" as the letter was read. So many hateful names, labels and words are flying around on all sides. It was a relief to sit with my children and husband while my deepest beliefs about the value of every soul and the appropriateness of even those with deep religious convictions having needs and boundaries, were re-affirmed in such a manner. Many of my dearest friends and family fall somewhere on what is now being referred to as the gender and sexuality spectrums. I love them all. And I do not think their rights mean I can't have my own feelings and joy around my heterosexual marriage. Or that I can't teach my children of the satisfaction achievable as husband, wife and offspring.
In our family we talk about everything at the dinner table. We've covered pornography addiction, drug use, dating, consent, human trafficking, masturbation, college applications, grades, homosexuality, the differences between inter-sexed, trans-sexual and transvestism. We've talked about Kaitlyn Jenner and what her family is going through. And we've taught God's pattern of family, procreation and the raising of children. I have friends who consider themselves gay, lesbian and transgendered. I grew up in Las Vegas and now have classmates who were one gender in High School, but will be another at our reunion. And I care for all of them.
What concerns me is that heterosexuality seems to be being turned into the life of bigots, non-Christians and haters. That is just not true across the board any more than it is true that all Hispanics are illegal or all women with short hair are lesbians.
My son is in school with a trans-gendered youth. "Mom, he's being treated really bad at school. What should I say so he knows I am still his friend and that I'm here if he wants to talk?" My response? "Son, you need to find out first if "he" wants to be called "he." After that, tell him what you just told me, and know it will cause trouble for you. Hang in there. In this family, we love people like the Savior does. We don't have to understand and we don't have to agree. Love them. For now, that's all I know to tell you. You have to find your own way in this. Just know I expect you to stand up for others and NEVER be the one cutting them down for any reason. Just pray for your friend to have the strength to keep moving forward, these youth are at higher risk of suicide than any other. And thank you for caring about others when it may not be popular." I don't hate anyone, nor will we put up with that from our children.
Some of the recent actions of government concern me that soon I will not be able to worship, or even teach my children if it means not embracing same-sex marriage as the same as my heterosexual marriage. They are not the same thing any more than a man having one wife is the same as a man having 4 wives. And every person must decide for themselves. I only pray I will get to keep deciding for myself how I teach values to my children. And as always, compassion is at the top of that list.
Hate and anger are addictive. Name calling and finger pointing, as well as blame and persecution are also easy to get hooked into and swept away by. Love, however, must be fought for to be maintained. Of course I want to believe others will agree with me and think I do things right (and have faith in my motives). They won't. Too many opinions and beliefs counter what I hold dear. I just hope this debate doesn't swing the other way and make traditional family the enemy while persecuting and hating those who believe in and live it.
Every one of us matters, and so do our beliefs. Please pray with me that there will not be a pendulum swing eradicating the 1st amendment and our rights to worship according to our own conscience. Just because I believe in traditional marriage and family above all else, just because I believe having children should be about the children, doesn't mean I think everyone else is going to Hell. It means I have seen a great deal of the world and the suffering it has to offer, and chosen the safest, most healthy, most appropriate model *I* believe in and trust. Only time will tell what these decisions will mean for all our children and grandchildren. The Savior gave His life for what he believed in, so I suppose that means I can have the courage to lose friends and freedom in order to live the life that I believe in. I'd rather my friends love me still as I will love them, but some may not be able to hold my deepest convictions about faith, family and marriage. And I will be OK either way. It will not define how I treat others, for I get to choose that no matter what the law says. I choose Love.