No it isn’t. I’m just posting two blog posts in one day, silly. Don’t get all dramatic.
Apologies to my Nauvoodle readers, but I’m mostly plagiarizing myself here (can you do that?), because this is something I have thought about for a long time, and I think it is important enough to get it to a wider audience.
Basically, there’s a growing trend–well, I call it a trend, though it may be as old as society itself–of people identifying themselves with roles or traits that they have. “I am a Mom,” or “I am a football player,” or “I am Mormon,” or “I am gay.” Rather than think of these things as something they DO, or a trait that they have, they equate that thing with themselves. I’ve seen this cause all sorts of difficulties. If situations change, like you get injured and can no longer play football, you can feel empty & worthless, because the thing you identified as yourself is no longer possible. Sometimes something will come up that shines a light on problems with that role — for instance, you find out that you really screwed up some things you did as a Mom (and what Mom NEVER feels this way?). That can cause all kinds of twisted states of denial or justification, because you identify yourself as that role, and if you made mistakes, then YOU are BAD, or your entire existence is invalid. Sometimes what you thought that role meant doesn’t quite mesh with reality, and when you find out what is real, you feel you must completely separate yourself from that role and completely change who you are, because the situation seems too black-and-white, so you must throw that entire role away. For instance, you grew up as a card-carrying Mormon, believing everything about the Church must be chocolate and roses, then you find out about the Mountain Meadows massacre and Joseph Smith’s plural wives and you want to throw away the entire religion despite the testimony you had received about the Book of Mormon and the doctrines.
So listen when I say: it’s important to separate yourself from those things.
One thing that has caused quite a…lively…discussion on the internet and elsewhere is the subject of gender identity/sexual orientation and how it fits into civil rights and religious freedom arguments. There’s a lot of hate behind both sides of the argument, and it needs to stop. Now, I am not arguing whether or not homosexual acts are sinful. If you believe that Christ loving everyone means he doesn’t believe in sin, then maybe you should read the New Testament again. One does not cancel out the other. If you don’t believe in the Bible or sacred texts which enumerate what constitutes a ‘sin,’ then this discussion will have some things assumed as common ground on which we will disagree, and without that foundation to build upon, it will go nowhere, so you might want to skip the rest of this post.
The thing that gets me here is that there are two things being smooshed together that should not be smooshed together. Support of gay marriage, and support of people who identify themselves as gay. Are there antis who smoosh them together? Absolutely. Are there pros who smoosh them together? Most certainly. But there are many fair- and moral-minded people (whom, I believe, would include both the prophet and even Christ) who object to the one while loving the other.
When it comes to bakers and photographers, I like to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that in refusing to provide services for a gay wedding, they would not refuse other non-ceremony-endorsing services to a person who identified themselves as homosexual. It’s not the people or even the state of being to which they object at that level, but the ceremony which attempts to legitimize the union (both physical and societal) of 2 homosexuals. Do you see the difference?
I think one of the problems with this whole movement is that Satan is trying to push the idea that the sinner is indistinguishable and inseparable from his sin. Therefore, if you reject the sin (or even label an action as sinful), you are rejecting the person, when that is oftentimes the furthest from the truth. I have no doubt in my mind that Thomas S. Monson has a greater love for any gay individual that most people on this earth. As PART of that love (not opposed to it, as many would have you believe), he wishes that person to be eternally happy, and while protecting his rights AS A PERSON, he does not wish to cloud the issue and, honestly, make that person (and possibly others through example and mixed messages) far less happy in the long run by making that person think that their sin is not a sin and should be celebrated. He wants people to turn FROM their sins and gain eternal life.
Here is an example: Say I’m a kleptomaniac. I steal things, and rather than trying to stop stealing things, I decide that it is ‘fun’ and ‘legitimate’ because I ‘can’t help it.’ Instead of feeling shame or remorse for what I do, I seek to do it more, and get angry at anyone who opposes me in word or deed. Satan, the enemy of MY soul, has convinced me of many lies:
1. Because people are opposed to what I DO, they are opposed to ME.
2. Because stopping what I am doing is hard (and it gets harder the more I do it and the more I make excuses for it), it is ‘unchangeable’ and therefore stealing=me. Satan tells me I cannot stop because it is WHO I AM and I shouldn’t change WHO I AM.
3. Because stealing is therefore ‘impossible to stop doing,’ people who want or ask me to stop are asking the impossible and are therefore 100% wrong.
4. Anyone who does not support me in my stealing, by turning me in or not turning a blind eye to it or trying to stop me in any way, is a bigoted, judgmental hater of kleptomaniacs.
See the dichotomy? I HAVE to see it, because I struggle with a label myself. I have major, chronic depression & anxiety. I have had it since I was very small. I cannot make it completely go away. I have two ways I can approach it: 1. I can embrace it as ‘who I am,’ not fight it, and call anyone who doesn’t support the negative actions I do because of it as bigoted haters of depressives. OR, 2. I can realize it is NOT a part of my eternal soul but a weakness of the flesh and as such I can fight it. While acknowledging it may not completely go away in this life, I must endure to the end and fight, fight, fight, knowing that I WILL make SOME progress against the symptoms and that Christ, my Savior, will make up for the rest (though there are consequences in this life that simply cannot be avoided). It’s super hard. It can be discouraging, especially when, no matter how hard I try, I still show some symptoms.
But I also know that Heavenly Father and Christ will not only make it okay, but that they have given me the EXACT trials and weaknesses I needed to strengthen the parts of my spirit that are weak. I don’t remember them being weak — that pesky veil thing — but I have faith that it is so, because I have already learned and KNOW that my Heavenly Father and Christ love me and will do anything and everything for me. That includes not letting me ‘bow out’ of the fight because it’s hard. Heavenly Father wants me to know I can do hard things.