I reserved the right to change my mind, and while I haven't changed my opinion, I've changed my attitude. I spent Sunday dwelling in frustration, arguing with my sister missionary about gay rights and, while I watched conference in the morning, I was completely unfocused, and I didn't watch in the afternoon. My sister missionary told me to study something, but I didn't want to. I considered picking up my Book of Mormon and just reading the next chapter, but in my imagination when I picked up the book, I tore it to pieces. I was neither willing nor worthy to receive revelation from God, so I didn't see the point of studying. I decided to bake instead.
I've been reading through the Book of Mormon and underlining the things that are meaningful to me. At the end of each book I go back and make notes in my study journal about why those verses were important. Though I was half way through Helaman, I hadn't gone back over Alma, so, after baking muffins, I decided to do that. I prayed. I told God that I wasn't sure why I was still trying, but I was.
I started flipping through Alma, stopping when I had something underlined. I had Alma 5:7 underlined. Perhaps I underlined it thinking that God had changed my heart, but it became my prayer that God would change my heart. But what really hit me was Alma 5:28 "Behold, are you stripped of pride? I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God. Behold ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand, and such an one hath not eternal life."
Was I stripped of my pride? Not at all, and I knew it. I knew I was refusing to be teachable, I knew I was holding on to my opinions as right, unshakable and better than everyone else's opinion. I had Alma 5:33 underlined as well. "Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you." I had some repenting to do.
I decided I should watch Elder Anderson's talk again, this time with determination to be humble and teachable. Five minutes in, I stopped it. He hadn't even started talking about homosexuality yet, but I was questioning. I don't have childlike faith, blind faith. I still think I know better than people speaking on behalf of God. When I try to just accept I feel like I am brainwashing myself. I remembered that I can write down my questions. That validates them, they are real questions, but stops them from consuming all my thoughts.
He said that there was always going to be sin in this world, but I thought after Christ's reign on earth that the world was going to be transformed/perfected/celestialized. Did he just mean in this current state there would always be sin?
He talked about the trials that some of the general authorities faced in their early years, but they all seemed really small, really trivial to me. If he was trying to conjure up sympathy by telling me that Packer had polio, it didn't work. Thousands of kids will die today because of hunger and preventable illnesses. You don't care. I don't care, really. If I want you to care, I'll tell you a story of a little girl, Sary, barely 7. Her dad is gone, her mom is in labour. Sary is trying to keep her two younger siblings calm as her mom screams with her legs spread on the dirt floor. Sary is doing doing everything she can to comfort her mother. She fetches water (it's murky, something you'd never drink) and brings it back to her mother. The mother screams again, and then the bady, a boy, slides out. Sary is there in time to catch the baby. She hands the newborn to her mother, but her face is paling. She's bleeding badly from a tear that happened during birth. "His name shall be Miro," she says, blessing the newborn child with her last breath. Later that afternoon, while Miro sleeps, the children dig up the dirt with their bare hands, and bury their mother in a low grave. They stand together weeping. When Miro awakes, Sary tries everything to comfort the boy, but she doesn't have what he needs. They haven't the ability to feed Miro, and he will die a few days later. They will dig a grave for him next to his mother's.
I hope you feel some sympathy, but the story is just a creation, something made up based upon what happens all too often. A story with loveable characters will elicit sympathy; stats will not. Thousands of kids are dying of hunger? So what. Packer had polio? I don't care. I suppose my concern here was with the delivery, not the message. Actually, I'm not sure what point he was trying to make. Trials make us stronger? Sometimes, but sometimes they kill us. I think I was most bothered by how much weight he wanted to grant to the trials of the general authorities, whilst seemingly forgetting the kids growing up in war zones, or the ones who struggle every day to find food, or the... the list goes on.
I had a few thoughts after that, like:
-Prepare for trials by remembering.
-Don't disconnect sex from all that goes along with it (namely intimacy, children, trust, love)
-Same-sex attraction = trial of faith. I'm not sure how I feel about that statement. it seems weighty. Same-sex attraction certainly leads some to trials of faith, but is it in an of itself a trial of faith?
-Beware of self-righteousness.
-Strength comes from trusting the Lord's prophets (yikes that sounds hard and scary)
-Experiences confirm that Jesus is the Christ (what will those experiences look like?)
-Jesus will comfort me.
After listening to the talk, I continued going through Alma. Alma 13:28 was again about humility. I need to be humble. That is a choice, but it is also a process, a journey that the Holy Spirit will lead me on. Alma 36:5 confirmed my thought that I am not worthy to receive revelation from God. That, however, won't stop God from making things known unto me. God loves me and receives me, and if I am humble, he will be able to teach me. For that I am thankful.