Saturday afternoon my sister and her wonderful daughter stopped by as I was slowly cleaning the garage. After hellos and hugs, she said something along the lines of “I’m interested to see what your blog will say about the announcement by the Church this week.”
It would seem that many, many people have had a lot to say on the matter.
As a general rule, I am skeptical when I hear bits of a story here and there when I haven’t had the time to investigate for myself.
So, I took the time to read the additions made to Handbook 1 of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and then to listen to the full explanation by Elder Christofferson and Brother Otterson.
In fact, a clear and thoughtful examination of the additional wording regarding same-sex attraction, same-sex marriage, and covenants was simply a reaffirmation of what had already been known before the sensationalized news story.
At least, a reaffirmation of what I had known before.
I know that it would be naïve to think, however, that there wouldn’t be hurt and angry feelings at the initial announcement.
One news agency showed tears flowing down a father’s face, in agony because he felt that this would force his son to choose between him and a mission to share the gospel.
Others showed people labeled as faithful members who wanted to “push back” against the announcement as it punished children of same-sex couples.
While understandable that it may seem confusing at first, these initial perceptions simply aren’t true.
Quite a few people have taken the time to post clear, point-by-point responses to these misperceptions. I have found them to be pretty logical and straightforward.
Hence, there really is no need for me to add my own two cents of interpretation to the dialogue.
You know, the WHY of the whole discord.
“WHY are others so blind to what is so obvious to me?”
I’m sure that people on each side have asked this very same question of the other. There is no mystery regarding what causes blindness in spiritual matters.
But past experience would show that very seldom does an argument based in what one sees as rational thinking change an opponent’s perceived irrationality.
It generally just invites more arguing.
More hurt feelings.
So, let’s take a moment and reflect on the WHAT and HOW of the situation.
HOW do we move forward past the contention and into sincere conversation? Will we be able to agree to disagree?
The great thing about freedom of religion is that each church organization has complete autonomy to establish doctrine and policy, while at the same time has no authority to force anyone to take part in a faith that doesn’t reflect personal beliefs.
In short, I can’t force you to accept my definition of sin and you can’t force me to change that definition.
Conversely, you can’t force me to feel guilt over something that you feel I’m doing wrong.
Nor I you.
I can only respect an organization that chooses to not undermine a young person’s family belief system, allowing them to wait until they can choose for themselves what their definition of sin to be. An adult is able to differentiate the behavior from the human being.
Ann and I know that our children are mature enough to love us even when they see things we do that they disagree with.
Perhaps more important, I would like to think that we are mature enough to accept that.
I can also respect that others may struggle to understand things that are quite clear to me. I’m sure I have a hard time wrapping my head around things that make a lot of sense to others.
We choose to go forward.