There are many people who are hurting, questioning, wondering what to do. I had a friend express concern about where to take her questions now? She did not know what constitutes safe or legitimate questioning, and she fears for her family and friends who are aligned with Kate Kelly’s group. Those are reasonable concerns, however, I don’t think anyone needs to fear, because Sister Kelly was not excommunicated for asking a question, despite the media narrative, and her own protestations to that effect. And when you think about it, our Church was founded on the fact that Joseph Smith had a question and went to the Lord in prayer and asked his question. Asking questions is a good thing. Honestly, I don’t think I have studied the Gospel this much and so intensively in many years, because of all of the questions out there. It’s been good for all of us, I think. We just need to make sure that we don’t get so wrapped up in our questions that we lose sight of our end goal of returning to our Heavenly Father.
So, my message to everyone, especially those who are hurting today, is this:
Heavenly Father loves you. He understands your pain fully. His son, our Savior Jesus Christ, suffered for you, individually, so that he could succor you personally. In Alma 7: 11-12 it states:
“11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.”
Do you believe that promise? And are you willing to take the Lord up on his offer to succor you personally? I hope you are, because he wants to. His burden is easy and is yoke is light – that’s a promise. Do that today, right now, you won’t regret it.
Perhaps, as well, if we stop defining ourselves with the terms of the world we would all feel better about where we stand in the Gospel and in the Church and in relationship to each other. No more feminists, left vs. right, conservative vs. liberal, cisnormal quasi boys and girls (honestly, I read that term on an LDS blog recently and I didn’t even know what it meant). We are children of our Heavenly Father and that is it. The only people we should be standing with is the Lord and with Jesus Christ.
Along with laying aside worldly terms and the labels we have given ourselves, is the need to remember our Savior Jesus Christ and His Atonement – every single day. We also need to show each other more patience and mercy in dealing with our individual issues. Before we hurl accusations at each other or say things we can’t take back, let’s give each other the room we all need to repent and to change our ways. People are hurting today. Have we all reached out to someone and offered our hand in comfort and friendship? Even if that person is “on the other side”? Let’s also stop assuming the worst about each other.
I consider myself a very typical LDS member, who follows the prophet and believes in the teachings of the Church. I did not find one drop of joy in the news of Sister Kelly’s excommunication. In fact, I had myself a little bit of an ugly cry about it. It’s been a big deal for everyone. And even though, I do think this is all for the best, I do not joy in the fact that this is where things are at. People are gloating in some corners, and that is absolutely not good, but for the most part, I don’t think people are rejoicing at this. They shouldn’t be, because we are Children of our Heavenly Father, and we have been given the commandment to love one another. So let’s strip away the labels and the world and do that.
The second chapter of Ephesians, in the New Testament, gives some good insight on how to do this. Verses 2 and 3 teach us who we are now,
“2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others”
Verseses 4 – 6, show us what God has done for us:
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
Verses 7 and 10 talk about the power of GRACE and how that perfects us and changes us into the people our Heavenly Father wants us to be:
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Finally in verses 19 and 20 we read,
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
So, are we willing to cast of the labels of the world, and to build our lives on the Gospel, and the teachings of the prophets and apostles? We have been invited in to be fellow citizens with Jesus Christ. Are we willing to take advantage of the GRACE that Christ offers us? Because it is there, he has already done the hard work, we have to choose to follow him and his path. Choose Jesus Christ and His path today.
From Ether 12: 27 we are taught and, again, invited:
“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
Weaknesses can come in all forms, and differently for each person. Are we willing to lay aside our pride, anger, frustrations, impatience, harsh feelings toward others, and misunderstandings with each other, so that the GRACE of the Lord can work on us, and thru us to strengthen us? Remember, Christ has already done the hard part, he wants to, and he can succor you individually and personally – and He will, if we let him. And we need to remember it is a process that might take months and sometimes even years. But if we are willing to accept this invitation, the Lord will be there with us, every step of the way.
Finally, from Moroni 10: 32:
“Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.”
My parting thoughts echo what I’ve already written. If you are hurting, you are not alone, and people DO want to help, even people “on the other side”. Go to the Lord with your feelings, troubles and questions. Be willing to follow his path and do things the way He has outlined to find the answers you seek. I promise things will get better, even if it takes time. But you are not alone, none of us are. That’s a promise from our Heavenly Father. Be willing to help those that are struggling and hurting today as well. Let’s all step back and count to 100, and then come back and see if we can work on healing and helping each other together.