I was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I served a mission for the church. I go to church every Sunday and would consider myself a Christian. "Mormons" as we are more commonly known have gotten a lot of flack for being "Homophobes" especially concerning Prop 8. I am not an official representative of the Church nor can I make an official statement for all members everywhere, but I can tell you what I think and believe. Please don't stop reading because I'm not about to try and convert you to "Mormonism." While my religion has very much shaped me into the person I am today, I will do my best to keep to phrases that everyone who reads this will understand although I will use (and define) some terms that relate to the Church.
As I said before, I was raised in the Church. I was baptized at age 8 and I even attended Brigham Young University-Provo, the notorious "Mormon School". I also served a mission for the Church. (Mine was cut short due to medical problems) Needless to say that I very much believe what the LDS Church teaches. One such principle that I would like to quickly put a definition to is "free agency". I didn't know that many people didn't understand this term so briefly it means that we believe each of us is responsible and free to make our own decisions--no one makes them for us. Ultimately, we are in charge of our fate or destiny or whatever term you would like to use. This has always made sense to me. I may be influenced in one way or another but what I choose is ultimately my own choice.
I'd like to relate this term with the aforementioned article. No, not in a "You choose to be gay" way. That's not what I mean at all. I believe we all have our own struggles and whether or not being gay is a choice or not isn't my concern right now. As Single Dad Laughing, Dan, said in his article,
"I think it doesn’t matter if you or I or anybody else thinks homosexuality is a sin. It doesn’t matter if you or I think anything is a sin. It doesn’t matter if homosexuality is a sin or not. In fact, it doesn’t matter if anything anybody else does is a sin or not.
Because sin is a very personal thing! It always has been and it always will be!"
This is where "free agency" comes in. Dan expressed great concern for writing his article for fear of backlash. I write this knowing that there will be many people who read this who will disagree with what I have to say and how I interpret things, however, I am not afraid to share my beliefs. I'm not afraid to stand for what I believe. And right now, I want to stand for what I believe and I want to exercise my free agency.
I believe in LOVE. I believe in making the choice to accept people. There is a big distinction between accepting people and accepting actions or decisions. I said before, I have very strong beliefs. However, the strongest belief I have is that of love. I have a firm belief in loving people despite their actions that I might find "sinful" or "wrong". I am amongst a minority because I am a Mormon. I have heard nasty hate filled words from people. I even have lost friends because, "I can't be your friend if you keep going to the Mormon church because that means you are going to hell." I wasn't very old when this happened and it broke my heart. How is it that someone can judge me and not want to reach out and be my friend simply for my beliefs? I've been taught that God will judge us and I believe that. I believe that it is my responsibility to do MY best on this earth. I will live up to what I believe is right and I will make sure that I feel comfortable with where I stand in God's eyes.
Therefore, it isn't my place to look at someone and spew hate and venom in their direction because they make a choice that I believe is wrong. Where would that put me on my own personal standing? I believe that each of us is a child of God. We are literally Heavenly Father's children. He loves each of us so why shouldn't I? No, I will not participate in things I find wrong, but I won't stop being a friend. No, I'm not gay, but I have very dear loved ones and friends who are. Simply because they are gay does not mean that they are any worse at listening, talking, laughing, loving, sharing, and being a human being than any other person. I love them. I love my friends who have tatoos, piercings, different colored hair, different religious beliefs. And it's not just my friends I love, I hold no animosity towards anyone else who has chosen their own path in life (once again, I do not mean this in a way that I believe gays choose to be attracted to the same sex. Whether or not that is the case doesn't concern me because they are still people.)
I have chosen my path and to some it may seem strange. I have chosen to be a Mormon and I have chosen to be different--to stand out from the crowd in my own way. I have chosen to stand up for what I believe and I will not stand down. I have a moral compass and it points to love.
I know that at times I've made less than kind decisions in my life but I'm not perfect. I just do my best every day to be the kind of person my parents and my Heavenly Father can be proud of. I do my best to offer a helping hand to those in need, to smile as often as I can, to put my arm around someone and let them know I appreciate who they are. I hope that others can see the love I have for them. That I care about them as a PERSON. That you can't be defined by the piercings you have, the tatoos you have, or who you are attracted to. I believe you are defined by how you treat others.
A little food for thought: How do you treat others who are different from you?
I don't normally receive many responses to posts that I have put up so if you have an opinion I would love to hear it. I'd like to challenge everyone to make a new friend this week--someone who is different than you, someone you may have deemed "weird" before. As I've come to know, outside appearances really don't amount to much.