Saturday, 5 April 2014

On General Conference

I have often stayed up to date in the happenings of the MoHo world as I follow blogs and read about what people are saying.  I read of people who feel sad, hurt or angered by things the general authorities say and wonder why they stay in the church.  I wondered if anyone I'm following would have posted about this morning's conference.  I noticed rather, a post about a new car.  Not a word about conference.  I'm a little jealous of those that can live today and not care about what the general authorities are saying.  Since no one I follow has yet remarked about the anti-gay doctrine reiterated at conference, I feel ahead of the game.  I watched conference this morning at the stake centre. I knew about this before I joined the church, I'm not sure Elder Neil L. Anderson said anything new, but it was still very painful to hear.
I noticed his slow approach to the topic.  I hoped he'd skirt around the issue and move on, talk about the dos and not the do nots.  At the first hint that his talk was going to make me uncomfortable I wanted to get up and leave, but I sat through it.  I starting fidgeting with my pen, I put down my journal.  Somehow I felt betrayed, let down by the church that was supposed to be supporting me.  The more he glorified families, the more I felt like I didn't belong, could never belong.  There was no place for me to be single.  As he spoke about the laws, I felt opposition.  I am fully for marriage equality.  Let all men practice their religion however they want.  Let gay people get married, have rights, and lovely families.  What's wrong with that?  How better can we show love for people than by letting them love, be loved and be protected by law.
One of the most painful statements, though it seems nice enough, was "The Savior taught us not only to love our friends, but also those who disagree with us."  That sounds great, but that's not really what Jesus said.  Jesus said love your enemies.  Am I your enemy, Elder Anderson?
I started texting my sister missionary after his talk.  I wanted words of consolation, but she wouldn't soften what Elder Anderson had said.  I hope he's wrong, but she just reminded me that he's an apostle.  I don't care.  She said I didn't like it because I don't understand, but frankly, I don't think he understood.  She suggested that his words are God's words, given to make us happy.  They might make some of us happy, but traditional marriage doesn't work for everyone.  She told me to pray.
"God... I don't know what I want...  you don't care what I want anyhow."
Why does what I want matter to God?  If he knows what is best, my desires are forgotten.  On a better day I'd have an answer to this, I know it's out there, but not today.
I thought I should try praying again.
"God, help me to want what you want."
I left the conference a few minutes early.  I didn't want to talk with anyone.  They might ask what I thought about conference...  Then what would I say?  I thought the first half was good.  The Church, however, is an "ism" that must be accepted as a whole; the seemingly good along with the seemingly bad.  If I thought I were a better judge of truth than some old men in suits I might forge my own path, but for now, I know no better way.


  1. Patricia,

    While gay rights and such aren’t issues that drive me*, feminism is, and I can relate to you regarding feelings about General Conference and Church leaders. However, I don’t have any easy answers, or any answers at all, really…

    For context, I find myself increasingly asking questions about women’s roles, within the Church now, and in the eternities. I don’t think I explicitly disagree with anything apostles have said, but I do insist that something more needs to be done for women in the Church, and I am frustrated by the slow pace of change, and I am frustrated when I feel like my concerns are being dismissed because “the majority of LDS women don’t feel that way”. I am also incredibly frustrated when people question my righteousness, because I do love the Church and our leaders, and I try to trust in what they say. But it’s not always easy.

    I find comfort in Paul’s words, that we see through a glass, darkly. I think that we all see through different glasses, too. I’m sure that my view of feminist issues is just as clouded as those who disagree with me—I just happen to like my shade of glass better. I look forward to the day when ‘that which is perfect is come’, and I like that Paul assures us that we will come face to face and know even as we are also known. I am convinced that God knows you and cares about what you want. I don’t know how that, in practicality, changes anything, but I have to believe that he knows, and loves, and has room for everyone in his church (if it were perfectly implemented). I sometimes struggle with feeling that way, but in the end, I know it’s true. (And as a not totally unrelated note, my favourite part about this section of scripture is that Paul frames his words about seeing through a glass with a reminder that above all else, charity is critical.)

    Anyway, I hope my words don’t come across as if I’m trying to answer your questions or diminish your concerns. I can't claim to fully understand your experience. I’m not even assuming that anything I’ve said will help you. I hope it does, but I understand if it doesn’t. In the end, all I really want to say is: I feel you. These things are hard. If you want to talk, I’m always here.


    *By this I don’t mean that I don’t care about or recognize those issues, just that they don’t stir me as deeply as, say, feminism. Perhaps they should, but I also think that, individually, we can only fight so many battles, and I don’t think that gay rights are my personal hill to die on. That being said, I empathize, a million times over, I empathize, and I wish things were different.

    1. AND, I'm so sorry for such a long comment. I probably broke, like, 50 rules of internet etiquette. (And that was the heavily edited version of my comment, hahaha.)

    2. Thanks Katelyn. I appreciate you so much. You should know that. Thanks for your comment. I really value what you have to say because I think you get it; these things are hard. So, yeah, let's talk.
      And don't worry, I don't know the rules of internet etiquette, I think there should be one that's like "be respectful," and you followed that one. Apart from that, say whatever you want :).