[Santa Barbara, CA]
We started off the month of October right with a quick trip to California to be with my family/extended family. I am so grateful we got to celebrate the life of my wonderful Aunt Christy who is battling cancer. She is one of the strongest woman I know & I cannot express my love for her & for her family. Not only were we with family & at the beach (heaven...right?), but the icing on the cake was listening to our beloved Prophet & Apostles speak to the world about how to come closer to our Savior & how to become better people. What a treat! I was in awe about how beautifully written and informative their talks were. It was exactly what our world needed to hear at this time. Over the past few weeks, I have had close friends & family question the Church's stance on social issues such as gay marriage & whether woman should hold the priesthood or not. I truly believe that these issues are not going to just go away. It made me really search the doctrine, ponder feelings in my heart & ask the Lord how I can stand up for what I know to be true. & this is what I feel so strongly about & what I wish to tell the world!
1. I am a women & I love it! I am so grateful for this gospel because I know I am cherished by not only the men in the Church but by our loving Father in heaven. I testify that He loves us, He is there for us, & He knows what is best for us. We have been given responsibilities because He trusts us! He has organized this Church according to HIS plan. Not our plan. I feel honored that I can participate & receive ALL priesthood blessings & power. We are all equal in the eyes of God & I am so grateful for the personal relationship I have with Him that has confirmed to me that this is His true Church. & I will do everything in my power to protect His laws & to preach truth.
2. The Lord loves us so much that He called a Prophet & Apostles to speak in His behalf. President Thomas S. Monson holds all keys to administer the Lord's work here on earth. It is through our faith & trust that we listen to their words & follow their wise counsel. The Lord will never lead his Church astray. In order to better understand this doctrine, read this article: http://www.lds.org/liahona/1981/06/fourteen-fundamentals-in-following-the-prophet?lang=eng2
3. We are imperfect humans who make mistakes. We have questions, doubts, & fears. We all come from different backgrounds, lifestyles, have had different experiences that have molded us to think, act, & believe the things we believe. We are continuously growing, learning, changing. As we know, the world is also growing & changing. But that does not mean that the Lord's gospel is going to change. If there is a question about whether woman should receive the priesthood (which there has been), the Lord will answer through his servants (which he has). In order to better understand this, read these articles:
3. I believe that Marriage & the Priesthood are key opponents of Christ's church. Without these beautiful gifts from God, we are nothing. There is no truth & no way to bring life upon the earth. Marriage is the gift of procreation while the priesthood is the gift to act in God's name. Satan is doing everything in his power to twist the "philosophies of men & mingle them with scripture". It is clear that Satan is going to lead those away who are open to letting him in. He wants to confuse, torture, destroy us & everything that we are destined to become.
4. I believe that it is our right to ask questions. That is what we are here to do: search for truth, have faith, gain a testimony & knowledge of the restored gospel, & endure. But when those questions have been answered by Prophets of the Lord, that is the true test of how we react. How are we going to respond to those words? Are we going to keep fighting & move forward that our own opinions will override the Lord's voice? Are we going to convince everyone around us that we know better than the Lord & the way he runs his Church is "unfair" or "unequal" because of gender & specific roles/responsibilities? Are we saying that we demand these issues be changed because of the ideas & philosophies of men?
5. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is not a democracy. We simply cannot pick and choose which commandments to follow nor can we change any of the counsel that has been given. The Lord has given us guidance & through our faith, we can have the courage & strength to obey.
5. I believe that there are many grey areas (such as these social issues) that us humans will not know the answers to. I do not understand why people are born with gay tendencies or why women don't hold the priesthood. I have many friends who are struggling & I cannot sympathize with them because I do not understand. But I also believe that this goes back to why we are here. These specific challenges are meant to break us down in order to build us up. It is supposed to be difficult. We are supposed to struggle & humble ourselves. I believe that this is the way that we ultimately find the Savior. This is how we become molded into who we are -- because we now can take our problems, doubts, questions to the Savior & invite the Spirit into our lives to teach us. To change us. To help us understand what might be grey in our lives. To become more like Him.
6. I invite you to take any of your fears, insecurities, doubts, tendencies, trials, sorrows, or anything that is bringing you down, I invite you to get on your knees & talk to your Father who created you. Ask your Father to help you. I invite you to listen to the Prophets voice & feel that peace within your heart. God is apart of you & is trying to speak to you. Listen to Him.