Saturday, November 7, 2015

Suffer the Children

I am not usually afraid to have an unpopular opinion (for example: pink Starbursts are the worst ones. Deal with it), but I am afraid to talk about this particular topic. I will try to be as respectful as possible: my goal here is not to upset people. I just feel the need to share my feelings.

On Thursday this week, the LDS church made an announcement that surprised and angered a lot of people. The short version of it is this: Individuals in same-gender relationships, marriages or cohabitations will now be considered apostate by the Church.

That was not the surprising part, considering that such relationships are against the core values of the Church.

The part that has people the most worked up, however, was the far more complicated second half of the announcement: Children of same-gendered parents are no longer eligible to receive a name and a blessing as an infant, or to be baptized, confirmed, ordained, or serve a full-time mission without First Presidency approval.

It sounds really, really bad on paper. I know it does.

When I heard the announcement, I will admit that my heart sank when I thought of the children involved. The little children who Christ so loves... why would they be punished for the actions of another?

It was hard for me to get my head around. It still is, to be honest, but I feel like I am closer to understanding now.

I had the opportunity today (or yesterday, now) to talk to and read a lot of varying and valid opinions from people who I love and respect dearly. I was given the opportunity to hurt with those who are hurting, and to talk through things with friends who were just as concerned as I was. This really helped me to work out my own feelings on the subject, which I would like to share with you now.

I feel like I have been blessed in my life with the ability to know the truth of things that are presented to me, and I know that the Church is true. I have been a witness to the miracles that this Gospel brings, both in my life and the lives of others. I have felt the love of God in this church, and I cannot deny that.

With this knowledge, I have been able to accept that I am not meant to understand everything. I do, however, have faith in the Brethren, and I believe that they only have our best interests at heart. They are all good men with a deep love of both God and all mankind. I cannot believe that they would ever make a decision just to be cruel, or to intentionally hurt anyone.

I do believe that they really do have the best interests of these children at heart. They are not forbidding them to be baptized, they just want to make sure that the child can first comprehend what that decision means for them and their families. To be baptized and ordained in the church means you need to have a willingness to comply with the standards set therein. They do not want to tear families apart, but they do need to make their position clear, and I can respect that.

In my initial state of doubt and sadness, watching this video from D. Todd Christofferson really helped me find some peace. He is firm, but loving, and he explains so gently what these changes really mean for us. I highly recommend watching it to gain more insight.

All in all, my personal policies remain unchanged. I will continue to love and support everyone around me to the best of my ability, while continuing to be the best Mormon I can be. Jesus Christ was a man of strong faith, but also a man of universal love. I will continue to strive to be such a person.

God loves all of his little children. Our task is to show that love through our actions, no matter what.

So, to all of the General Authorities, the Mormons, the non-Mormons, and to the LGBTQ community: I love you, I support you, and I am praying for you.

I truly believe that everything will turn out okay.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

My Bark is Worse than My Bite

As a general rule, I try to post mostly interesting and (hopefully) well-written things on this blog... which is why I don't seem to write too much. However, this might not be either of those things. This is just me trying to work out some feelings, and saying some things that I feel need to be said. I hope you like it anyway, if you choose to read it.

So, anyway... 

A few days ago some random guy on Tinder called me a "dog". Stupid, right? The reasonable part of me knows that I should not care what some idiot on a questionable dating app thinks of me.

But, unfortunately, I am not always a reasonable person. It was like getting sucker punched in the gut, and every negative feeling I have ever had about myself suddenly came rushing at me. Those thoughts have soaked into my head and my heart this week, and right now I am half-convinced that Mr. Tinder was right about me. What if I am a dog? And, if I am a dog, am I one of those Chinese Cresteds with a weird face?

To be fair, this is still pretty cute.


All I have been able to think about this week are these insecurities. "I am not smart enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough. I'm not as funny as I think I am. I am not as nice as I should be. I must be really annoying. What if I have no real friends?" Et cetera.

It has been exhausting to hate myself this much.

So tonight I decided to fix it. I took this picture:

I took this picture so that I could see all of the things I needed to change in order to become better, and of all the pictures I have taken in my life, this one is probably the most "me" of the bunch. I'm in my pajamas with no makeup. I didn't fix the lighting or any of the flaws in my skin. I only let myself take one picture instead of having ten to choose from. I haven't waxed my eyebrows in like... two months. There are so many things I could say that are "wrong" here... but I actually liked this picture.

I was surprised by how much. It's not perfect, but it's me. 

And I am okay with being me.

I can't say that I have had a full turn around and that from now on I will always be confident and fabulous, because that is simply not the case. However, this has been eye-opening for me. It has showed me that I can be happy with myself in spite of my flaws, and that, as my own biggest critic, I can be pretty darn shortsighted sometimes. 

All in all, I have learned two things from this experience:

1) I am not horrible, but guys on Tinder sure can be. And, 
2) When you think about it, dogs are pretty great. They are cute, fun to cuddle, super smart, and have great hair. Where's the bad?

I can't see it anymore.