When life is falling apart

Michelle posted the following question:

Hi, so my husband and I have been trying to live these principles for about a year now. We have seen it work in our lives, even before we read your books. We are saving money to buy your more advanced course. We are changing our thoughts and our language, which has not been easy for me, as I have lived with anxiety for the last 17 years. We are seeing a shift in our mental dialogue. We have some very lofty goals that we are excited to manifest.

The question I have has to do with changing the dialogue when you are in a job that you hate, doesn’t make enough money, and there is no space for promotion or increase of monetary value. My husband works about 60 hours per week and makes about 2000 every two weeks.

We have 8 children and our house is falling apart. My husband can do all the work to fix the plumbing problems, but he has no time. We can’t, at this moment afford to pay someone else to do it for us. We are both stressed out about it. He is very positive about it, but there are times where he can’t see a way to fix the problem. We have a very small set of skills between us. I have been stay at home mom for 17 years and we just had a new baby in December of this past year. My husband had to have back surgery a couple of years ago. He had a great job, but had to leave due to inability to do the work, because of his back, so now we make much less.

We tried to start our own business and don’t all our capital to do it, only to realize my husband has a difficult time doing jobs where people have expectations. He is amazing at everything, but he gets major anxiety. So, we are where we are at this point. I hope you don’t mind me messaging you, but we really want things to change. I know part of the change is being grateful for where we are.

Can you give me some insight? I am taking your Mindset Fundamentals course and that is helping a lot … but I am still stuck with this. It’s like I can see how we will be fine financially when I know we are going to get chunks of money, like tax return coming, but like you said in, I think lesson 8 of your course, it is so frustrating to get those bigger chunks because you want to make sure it goes to the right things, but when it runs out there is no flow, so you’re more stressed out.

We have ideas on creating flow, but are unable to see how to get there at this moment. I know it will come, but I know I need to trust I have enough now and be grateful for what we have. Any advice or inspiration would be so helpful. I know you probably don’t help this way, but if you do see this and you feel compelled to offer words of wisdom I would appreciate.

Life seems to be falling apart more the last couple of weeks that we have been investing in living this way than it has before. It just feels chaotic and overwhelming. Thank you for all that you have written and put together. We are extremely passionate about these principles and can see the truth of them in reading the scriptures and we know that Heavenly Father has led us to read your books to help us fulfill the plan for which he has placed us here. We are grateful for the future that has been created in us. I just need help to be grateful for where we are now.

Here is my response:

Hi Michelle, the good news is it doesn’t matter how chaotic or impossible things seem to be. God has a way of sustaining us and giving us what we need in the moment we need it as we choose to take a deep breath and trust him. It’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do – it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. And the only way to figure out how to do that is by trying and trying until you succeed.

You can’t do what I’m talking about unless life IS a chaotic mess… it’s the only path to discovering it’s true. Dare to believe that he’ll give you what you need today. As you get to the end of the day, look back and take notice of the things that went well. Are you still breathing? Are you fed? Do you have a roof over your head still? Look at that – he provided.

I would encourage you to listen to the podcasts if you aren’t already. There’s one that I’m trying to get published but it’s been held up in production called “Keep Calm and Watch What Happens”. Until that gets posted, try doing what the title suggest. When you feel the stress build, choose to be calm with the intention to see what being calm causes… keep repeating that to yourself “keep calm, and watch what happens…”

I dare you to test it. Let go of the need for things to be your way in your time. Practice being calm and let the Lord provide in HIS time, in His way. I promise you will see better results as you do that, than if you continue to fuss and fret that it isn’t already the way you think it should be.

Michelle replied:

That is exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you for your response. I had been telling myself, “Good thing, bad thing, who knows.” But I need to remember to be calm and watch. I will look forward to that podcast. I have been absorbing so much and it is bringing life into our lives. Thank you!

For more on this topic, visit www.prosperthefamily.com

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If something is a struggle, is it right?

Lisa writes:

Hi Leslie, I am sure you are totally busy, but I am just really bummed out right now. I am currently attending the University of Phoenix online to get my psychology degree. I am taking a philosophy class which I thought I would love, turns out the instructor is very picky so I am not enjoying or doing well in this class.

I read once that if something is a struggle, then it is not the right thing to be doing. If I am meant to be doing something than it should be inspired and easy flowing. I want to be a life coach and thought that with a degree in psychology, it might make things better.

I am worried too because I am getting financial aid and if I fail this class I may have to end up paying for the class or pay loans back or something which will put me further in the hole. I am just sitting here wondering what I am doing and really very upset. I didn’t know who to turn to or even what to do right now, So I guess I just needed to vent. I am scared, lets just say that. I am at work right now, if I wasn’t I would be crying. – Lisa C.

My response:

Hi Lisa!

First of all, take a deep, deep breath.

Second of all, let me add my perspective on the comment, “if something is a struggle, then it is not the right thing to be doing.” I think there is some truth to that, but it’s been twisted.

I gave birth to a few kids, and every one of those labors was a TREMENDOUS struggle. That doesn’t mean in the least that it wasn’t the right thing to do. The truth is that ANYthing worth having is worth struggling for. The key is to keep your “WHY” vivid and alive. When you lose sight of why you’re putting yourself through something tough, then the pain is only magnified. When you remember the people whose lives you’ll change forever, the passion and the dream of that expectation is anesthesia that dulls the pain.

I can’t tell you how many times my husband and I thought, “We can do anything, as long as it gets us closer to our goal, and as long as we know it’s temporary.” We always said that about the un-fun things we had to do along the way.

Furthermore, if you give up now just because it isn’t fun anymore, then how will you ever be qualified to coach someone else through their struggles?

If I were you, I’d do what I could to remember the Law of Polarity and the Law of Rhythm, especially now. As horrible as this is, is how wonderful the reward will be on the other side. If it’s only a little bit bad, then the reward will only be a little bit good. If things are bad today, you can expect an upturn in your mood soon enough. Look forward to it, expect it. Be grateful for the pain today, because it is only through that pain that there could possibly be meaning in the victory.

As for the “flow” concept, yes, things can go smoothly and you can have that peace of mind being in the flow. But it is an internal thing. Life will always deliver challenges. ALWAYS. Life mastery means finding peace of mind and assurance that everything is going to be okay no matter what. When you live in that kind of a state of being, then the resources you need begin to flow your way more naturally. But remember, you’ve got to achieve that mindset before it flows, and that mindset can only be achieved in the middle of hardship. (Anyone can find peace of mind when life is going smoothly; the best rewards come from finding it when life is NOT going smoothly. That’s what separates the winners from the crowd.)

So, in reality, your hardship right now is a tremendous gift to you – you’re being given the opportunity to prove your mental toughness and demonstrate right thinking in spite of it. Pass the test and you leap to a new level of life success. Without the hardship, you would have no opportunity to prove yourself, and no corresponding reward would be waiting.

Anyway, I know this probably isn’t what you wanted to hear, but I hope you find it helpful.

Hang in there – a better day is coming if you respond to this the right way. Think, “How would a champion handle this? How would a highly successful success coach handle this?” You’ve got it inside of you to conquer this – be kind to yourself. Do your best and let God handle the rest. Whatever the outcome is, chalk it up to your experience that adds to the value you’ll have to offer your future clients.

Warmest regards, 🙂

Leslie

Lisa’s reply:

Thank you so so much Leslie! It means so much to me that you took time out to write me back! I love every bit of your reply. It all makes perfect sense! Again thank you so much! Just what I needed.

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Feeling guilty – Moms and Money

Question from Wendy:

Leslie,

I have a question that I hope you can help me with. In reading lesson 13 or 14 [of Mindset Mastery] I found part of the answer in your “temporary imbalance”. This is a good analogy and seems to answer the question about juggling the needs of your children while trying to run a successful business.

[But] I am struggling with some baggage that I can’t seem to figure out what to do with.

The baggage is this– sometimes I let my children be my excuse why I can’t succeed – it seems to be like the “money is evil” thing for me. But it is “mom’s who make money aren’t as righteous as mom’s who stay home full time and take care of their children.” Logically, I have several problems with this. One being that I have an Aunt who has all her children grown and she is now trying to get into her married son’s business and insist they have a grand baby for her?? Ok, so that is too weird, certainly, but I can see that it is because she dedicated her whole life to her children, and had nothing once that they all left. Surely our ultimate goal as parents is to put our selves out of a job, but it seems that there is a very fine balance between being to involved outside the home, and not having a life outside of your children…

I am currently working full time as an RN while my husband is in school full time. This has been really hard on our family and although I love the work I do, it always pulls me away from my children. I went from being a full time stay home homeschooling mom, to full time work almost over night after my husband came home from work complaining of stroke-like symptoms. This, after multiple “smaller warnings” from his body that he was not doing well. Anyway, in the car with 5 of my children wondering what I will do if my husband dies (not a happy drive home), I decided that I would have to get my RN license back and start working again. We have chosen to only have one person working at a time, always trying to have a stay home parent. This has been good for my husband’s health issues and given him the needed time to go back to school and go into a field that I hope will bring him fulfillment and joy, as well as provide well for our family.

So I guess I am hoping you have some ways that (as an LDS woman who is striving to make money) you have overcome this conflict. I guess I assume you have had to deal with it as I have in relief society and in homeschool groups. Not that what they think is really important to me, except it is what my “programming” is already saying.

Any help you have and ideas that will help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Wendy

Here’s my Answer:

Hi Wendy,

I wish I had time to spill all my guts about this one… it’s been a wrenching journey of my own to come to a conclusion I feel good about, and I am pretty sure it’s going to be part of what comes out in the Jackrabbit Factor sequel [update: which it did – read it free at PortaltoGenius.com], but let me just say this:

I’m convinced that Beverly Cleaver did our society a disservice. Since when in ALL of history, since God created the world, has woman EVER been able to sit at home and dust the shelves and read to her kids all day? She has always worked the fields, and done all kinds of manual labor just to keep the home running. What have all of our conveniences done for us? Should they have justified our right to watch tv with the kids and fold laundry while we’re entertained? Or should it have freed us up to make a more meaningful contribution, not just to our families, but to humanity at large? For what other purpose was the Relief Society organized? To make crafts for our home so that it can be the beautiful place where we teach our children that it’s wrong for mother to work?

Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s always better if the mother can be the one who is home. But as the prophets have said, sometimes there has to be individual adaptations, and you can be grateful that you have a marketable skill that can help in your situation with an ailing husband. Either way, kids need a nurturing parent, and they need to SEE how we make our contributions to the family and to others. It sets an example of industry.

And (as you’ll see more completely in your Mindset Mastery lessons), what matters more that what you do is how you feel about what you’re doing, and how you talk about it with the kids. Things really changed when I stopped apologizing to them for being so busy, and instead rallied their help for the cause, because “this is what our family does.”

I also strongly believe that when women’s traditional labors were turned over to automatic machinery, that should have freed us up to follow and act upon the sparks in our hearts that God gave us to make a difference in society… to bring RELIEF to our SOCIETY, in whatever form or fashion we feel driven.

Yes, it’s easier to work outside the home sometimes. There are less distractions, and a great feeling of being appreciated. I’ve been there. It can lure a person into a permanent set up, which has in some cases lead to the disintegration of the family. You have to follow the Spirit and do the right thing for your family, no matter what anyone else may say or think. If you’re doing what the Spirit directs, you don’t have to worry about the outcome.

It’s not the easy thing to combine motherhood with the work we do. But it’s possible, and during those temporary seasons of imbalance, the children’s dormant abilities will begin to sprout.

For example, my kids have learned that sometimes if they want dinner, they have to step up to the plate and make it happen. When they are motivated by a need, it’s no longer an assigned chore, it’s a contribution to the family, and they feel the psychic reward that comes from stepping into leadership of their own choice. If they choose to go hungry instead, then they get what they choose. I know this sounds harsh, but it’s life… and where better to learn it than in the home? Even my 5 year old has learned that she can be responsible for feeding herself a sandwich or cereal if something hasn’t been made FOR her.

What about the family meals around the table? We do those as often as we reasonably can, because we feel those are important. Like I said, I’m talking about temporary seasons of imbalance – not permanent ones.

Well, this is already more than I planned to say, but hopefully it’s helpful. Believe me when I say I’ve felt guilty for working as much as I do, but I have to wonder, why on earth would God give me the ideas I get if he didn’t want me to do something with them? Every time I deny them, I feel the Spirit leave. Every time I honor them, and develop them, even at the expense of getting the laundry done or whatever, I feel the Spirit supporting and guiding me. I’ve had to come to the conclusion that it’s the adversary who wants me to shrink and NOT do all I know I can do.

Even my patriarchal blessing says: “Have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in your work as well, and you shall accomplish the purposes you have in mind.” When I got the blessing, that part really bothered me, because I didn’t want to have any work to do. I just wanted to be Mom. I had no idea that I had a work to do, but now I know it’s true, and I cannot let anyone else’s opinion of how I spend my time get in the way of it.

The scripture that has given me the most peace about it is this one from Proverbs 31:

10 ¶ Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She ariseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

To me, this means that the picture-perfect wife at home doing light domestic chores and coddling the kids cannot compare to a woman who is THIS busy. Thank heavens… because I wouldn’t want anyone to come take a picture of ME while I do what I do all day long! When you’re as busy as I am with seven children and an international business that we run out of our home, there isn’t time to keep my hair in highlights, or my fingernails in acrylic. I’m lucky if I get a shower sometimes. And I LOVE my life – wouldn’t have it any other way. There is so much joy in being industrious.

I’m not one who runs a perfect better-homes-and-garden household and struggles with the feeling of: “I don’t know who I am anymore”! Furthermore, when the kids are gone, I will not be left wondering, “So, now what do I do??”

Again, I love my life and I know I’m doing the right thing. I haven’t always been so sure, but I’ve scrutinized each step along the way, hoping I was making the right choice, and have been glad I did. I don’t question it so much anymore. I’m sure there is a “right” path for you, too. It may be different than what you think, so just stay open minded and ask for direction and peace of mind about it as you go.

Sincerely,

Leslie

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Church Policy Update

A message to my LDS friends who love the church:

This week there was a policy change within the handbook of the church stating that children of same-sex couples could not be blessed or baptized until they were 18, to which many responded with pain and anger, while others scrambled to add insight in hopes of softening the blow.

Some applauded the church for taking a moral stand (though controversial), while others immediately announced their intent to resign.

My Facebook news feed has never been filled with so many divisive comments over one single issue as I’ve seen this week. It’s been sad to watch MY friends pulled in two different directions, as the idealogical chasm instantaneously spread wider than its ever spread before.

I had no plans to add my comments to the fray. At first, to be honest, it was because I felt alone in my point of view, and lacked the words to convey how I felt. But as more and more people began to share the other side of it, I still refrained because there now seemed to be plenty of others saying it for me. But there are a few things I haven’t heard anyone else say yet, so here are my two cents.

I have many friends who are members of, or are sympathetic to the LGBT community, and so I preferred to remain neutral in the forum. With nerves so raw and emotions so high, it’s not taking much to offend either party, and I don’t want to offend anyone. The message of my books and programs is irrelevant to this issue, so I didn’t plan to speak of it on my blog.

But there is one thought that keeps troubling me. I believe there are some who are still confused and have not yet decided how to feel about it. People who love the church, who genuinely want to see the controversy in a different light than how they’ve seen it so far, who want to “stay in the boat” as it faces the next white squall, but who have not yet found peace on either side of the issue.

If that’s where you’re at, this was written for you.

(To keep this post on topic, only comments and replies from those in this category will be permitted.)

When I first heard the news, I was shocked because it sounded like the policy was an underhanded snub to gay parents, by punishing the child for their same-sex marriage. It took me by surprise, and I suspected it would trigger a lot of anger in a lot of people. I checked the official newsroom of the church and there was nothing there. No explanation. That it was originally leaked to a news station by an excommunicated member of the church and presented without context didn’t help.

Effectively, some of the earliest reports unexpectedly exposed us en masse to anti-Mormon literature through trusted news sources – not anti because the news wasn’t true, but because it was spun in a derogatory light with nothing available to counterbalance the perspective presented. Like a poison, even a small dose of anti can be crippling if not fatal to one’s faith.

So my second reaction was, “What about this do I not yet understand?”

This-is-true

I asked that question because I wanted to believe that the change was inspired by the head of our church, the living Jesus Christ. I aspire to be a disciple of Christ, and at face value, the policy didn’t seem very Christ-like. However, I also knew that I would never get a witness from God about anything without first considering its possibility.

I presume that there are a lot of people on BOTH sides of the controversy who checked in with themselves and measured it against their world-view. If it fit their beliefs about God and morality, they were comfortable with it. If it went against their beliefs about God and morality, they were troubled by it. Naturally, everyone’s going to check in with themselves.

I tend to be conservative in my views, so you’d think the policy would have felt comfortable. But it didn’t. It seemed to fly in the face of several well-established principles to which I subscribe, such as “men will be punished for their own sins” and Jesus’ invitation to “suffer the little children to come unto me”.

I certainly hadn’t scheduled time to wrestle with something like this. I didn’t really want to stop and figure it all out. I had things to do, a birthday party to throw, shopping to complete, children to transport, laundry to fold, and customer service tasks to fulfill for my business. But this issue was big enough that it demanded my attention, at least until I could find peace of mind one way or the other.

So in hopes of getting some divine perspective, I asked a second question, “What could have possibly motivated such a change?”

Two scenarios came to mind:

1) Since same-sex marriage is still considered a serious sin within the church (one which is now considered apostate), I wondered if perhaps the leadership felt it wise to prevent same-sex marriage from seeming normal to other impressionable Primary children. Seeing it as normal in the world is a much different thing than seeing it as normal in a church which forbids it.

Regardless of membership status, all children are welcome in Primary. But maybe the leaders thought that if a child from a same-sex marriage is seen as a visitor and not as a member, perhaps any comments shared could be received by the other children with something of a filter. Maybe they would be able to understand that the visiting child comes from a different kind of environment than what is acceptable for members of the church, and so, we teach them to welcome and include the visiting child for as long as he or she wants to take part in the children’s organization, but to also be prepared that what is said by the child (through no fault of his or her own) may not always agree with the principles we follow as members in the Proclamation to the Family. I realize this explanation is weak and may seem harsh or exclusive… but remember, I’m just sharing my thought process as I scrambled to understand possible motives for the policy change myself.

2) My second thought was a realization of how merciful the policy was. At face value, it didn’t seem merciful at all. It seemed hateful and cruel. But I know my church to be anything but hateful and cruel, having been an active member for nearly forty years. So I thought I must not have the whole story. That’s when a second scenario came to mind:

Ordinances such as baptism are misunderstood if one equates “eligibility to receive them” with “being loved”. Baptism is not a badge of acceptance to a social club, it is a sacred covenant with attendant responsibilities. You have to understand the depth and significance of the covenant of baptism in order to understand how this policy not only affirms its significance, but how the policy in fact promotes the family, preserves parent-child relationships, and demonstrates wisdom in timing. After all, “The family is the basic unit of the kingdom of God on earth. The Church can be no healthier than its families. No government can long endure without strong families,” as President Spencer W. Kimball affirmed over thirty years ago. We should not be surprised that the church would stand compassionately in a position that encourages peace and harmony in the home.

Nobody is denied baptism, when the time is right. In this case, eligibility is set to age 18, when the child is legally free to live how they choose, and old enough to be on their own.

It also demonstrates mercy, because along with the ordinance comes a covenant, to which the child would be accountable. There are responsibilities and expectations that come with official membership, so membership should not be taken lightly. This new policy, I thought, is perhaps a way of giving the child a chance to make those covenants at a time and in an environment where they are more fully able to keep those covenants, and not come under condemnation for making promises before God that they may not be able to keep.

I’ve seen this particular explanation given many times since. The official statement finally given by the church touches on it here.

Honestly, it’s kind of inconvenient to be a member. With baptism comes a lot of responsibility, and it requires a lot from us, as we each take an active part in the ministry, without pay. But it’s what we covenant to do, because it brings forth other blessings that make it well worth the effort. I’m still convinced that it’s the organization through which God’s program for gathering Israel is carried out, in preparation for Christ’s second coming.

And as for members leaving the church, this truly is historic, and frankly, prophesied. IF the church is Christ’s true church, then we are sifting ourselves by how we respond to policy changes. Policy will probably continue to change as needed to respond to forces that threaten the church’s ability to administer the principles and ordinances of the gospel, in light of new laws and so forth. The ‘what’ remains immovable, while the ‘how’ gets adjustments sometimes.

We’ve been warned that there would come a day when we would no longer be able to rely on anyone else’s testimony of the church, of whether it is divinely guided or not, but that we must gain our own. We will not be able to endure on borrowed light. The church is either what it claims to be, or it isn’t. Joseph Smith either saw God, or he didn’t. President Thomas S. Monson is either a true prophet today, or he isn’t. Jesus Christ, the very Son of God, is alive and leading this church right now, or he isn’t.

You might ask yourself: Have I read the Book of Mormon? Have I tested Moroni’s promise? Have I done the same thing to find out if Joseph Smith was a prophet, and whether we have a living prophet today?

If so, and if he serves as the Lord’s mouthpiece, then we should be careful not to reject what is declared. The good news is that none of us are expected to blindly accept anything that is declared.

On the contrary, we are responsible and expected to take our concerns directly to the Lord and get our own personal witness of whether or not any declaration is divinely inspired. Without a personal witness, we will not stand. We will not see clearly, and we will not be able to remain faithful through the last days through the final preparations before his return.

Nobody is asking anyone to trust anyone else in this matter. We’ve all been invited to find out for ourselves, and to get a witness – an unmistakable answer from God himself. It’s literally available to everyone.

Ideally, no matter how we feel about this, we should ALL turn to God for clarity, not just social media. Our eternal welfare hangs in the balance.

I’ve tested Moroni’s promise, and I’ve come to know that the church is Christ’s restored church on the earth today, and I think we are seeing a manifestation of Lehi’s dream, real time. Many are so ashamed by this policy that they have decided to resign. “…And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, …and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost”.

To my friends reading this, if you sincerely desire to stay in the boat, you’re not alone. Be careful what you say until you have the clarity you seek. It seems that the most angry, disgusted, and defensive words are thrown the fastest and loudest. Take time to process your emotions. I wouldn’t want to agonize with regrets one day and be left to say, “I just didn’t understand; and because of my angry words toward the church, look how many were lost!” Hold off until you can process your disgust or disappointment privately with the Lord, seek his will, and then speak only with peace. Avoid the potential anguish and grief that comes from spewing angry words that can’t be unsaid.

But most of all, don’t take my word for what’s right and wrong… you know how to get answers! Sometimes when answers are slow in coming, we begin by simply choosing to believe. I choose to believe every day. Sometimes the witness only comes after we make a choice and begin moving in that direction. Sometimes the witness only comes after we put our life in greater harmony with the teachings we already know to be true.

Yes, it may seem easier to just leave. But I believe this is still God’s program for gathering Israel in preparation for Christ’s second coming, and there is still a work to do. Find out what God would have you do, and then do it.

There is a lot of ministering that is needed in the world. A lot of love, and service needing to be rendered. Love and service can be rendered inside and outside of the church. ALL the Christian churches do this, and non-Christian organizations do this work too. But it is the duty of the tribe of Ephraim to gather in the pure in heart, and supply the saving ordinances and covenants that prepare his people to receive him, and soon. This isn’t just about who feels loved and who doesn’t feel loved inside the walls of a certain building. To argue that this policy is mean or non-loving is shallow and misinformed.

His work is a gathering of the pure in heart – the humble, the teachable – and as Zion is established, those whose hearts are not prepared will feel out of place, offended, and hate what it is. People claim to be more enlightened because THEY would not deny baptism to a child who lives in a same-sex marriage home. So, they’re loving. But are they humble? Are they teachable? Can they pause to recognize the wisdom and mercy on which the policy is based? Are they humble enough to see how the policy demonstrates love and respect to gay parents who (the church acknowledges) are the ultimate authority over those children, even if the church disagrees with their lifestyle?

Sure, membership is inconvenient, and some people already feel burdened by their membership and only needed one last thing to feel justified in leaving for good. Conveniently but sadly, this controversy has given them the permission they’ve been looking for.

One friend of mine was particularly concerned about members who have already gone through so much in the process of learning how to embrace their gay children. These grandparents now agonize that their grandkids won’t be able to be baptized as members, when they had previously hoped to facilitate that.

But hopefully the grandparents will see how this can be a really good thing for ALL involved. It prevents the church from dividing families over doctrinal disagreements while children are under legal guardianship. It respects the family unit, it respects gay parents, and it respects the law. And in essence, perhaps the children of same-sex marriages under this policy are in some ways just as unaccountable as a child who is not yet eight – a concept that should give grandparents a comforting perspective.

Let me share something that adds another important perspective, written by Delisa Bushman Hargrove:

…I used to believe that acceptance of baptism had to be immediate. It took me some time to process that, while absolutely necessary for salvation, there is a time and season for all things.

I first encountered proselyting restrictions as a BYU foreign exchange student in Jerusalem. As a Mormon, I signed an agreement that I would not discuss/proselyte my religious beliefs to residents of Israel.The agreement was reached by the Israeli government & the Church. We respected the law of the land.

The second time–and more particularly emotionally potent for me because I’d become a student of Arabic & Near Eastern Studies–was when, as a missionary in Scotland & while living in Germany, I couldn’t share the Gospel with Muslims. That was hard for me when sincerely approached. I recognized that their lives were in jeopardy if they returned to their country and came to understand the Lord’s respect for life.

A missionary served in our ward in Texas who was a child of polygamous parents and from a polygamous community. He told us about the process it took for him to join the Church. He had to wait until he was 18 and then had to receive special permission from the First Presidency to be baptized. He did not have to “divorce” his family, but did have to recognize the difference in lifestyle and understand covenant expectations.

I’ve fasted and prayed with teenagers who sought parents’ approval for baptism. Sometimes approval was granted. Sometimes it wasn’t, and the child waited the several years to be baptized at/after 18. During those times of prayer, I realized how much the Savior respects parents and their agency. I really appreciated that, as a leader, I shouldn’t/wouldn’t pursue any course of action to underhandedly somehow subvert a parent’s desire for his/her child so that the child could be baptized.

And, today. The Church has been such a voice in the same-sex arena, that I feel that the new policy shows respect to LGBT parents. (no driving any doctrinal wedge between parents and a young child or in any way implying that it will take their children to “save them” from their parents.)

I read the policy in the handbook and did not see anything that indicated the child has to publicly denounce their family. I keep thinking of Elder Christopherson whose brother is openly gay, and who still attends an LDS ward, and the love that is evident within their family.

I do believe that God loves all of His children and acts lovingly and respectfully to each of us.”

Have courage, get your answers that you need for peace – you are promised that you will receive them if you lack wisdom and ask of God (James 1:5). Then stay the course.

Here are a few more posts that provide additional perspective on this policy, which may be helpful:

The 9 Facebook Myths About the Church’s New LGBT Policy

Waiting on the Lord (from a Gay Mormon Guy)

Insight into new LDS Church policies

Why The New LDS Policy Change Is Actually Pro-Gay Family

New Additions to the LDS Handbook: Do the Brethren Need to Check with Social Media?

And again, here is the official statement by the church:

Church Provides Context on Handbook Changes Affecting Same-Sex Marriages

I’m confident that as you get your answers, you will not only find peace of mind, you will feel God’s love and compassion for those on both sides of the issue, because that what a true answer from God feels like. Most of all, you’ll feel it for YOU, because he wants to assure you and fill you with his love, especially when you’re on the right track.

Updated 11/10/15: Some believe this is only an issue in the minds of those whose faith is not strong enough to trust their church leaders. I want to address this. There are many who have faith in Christ, but who are not so sure if the church leaders are inspired by him. That’s an extra hurdle to get over, and some get over it more easily than others, while some don’t see a need to, and some have tried, but tripped on the way. We need to have patience and understanding for everyone, no matter where they are in that process. I believe we will be judged only according to our understanding, and what we did with what we know. So, let’s be sensitive and try to remember that we’re all just “walking each other home.”

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