Sunday, August 23, 2015

Voting According to Conscience

This weekend I had the marvelous opportunity to visit the Gila Valley for one of my best friends' reception. I also visited the Gila Valley Temple for a session. 

Tears came to my eyes as I soaked in the celestial room. It seems like forever since I've been here in the Gila Valley. It is here that I gained my strongest testimony of the temple. 

After making mistakes that distanced myself from the Spirit, I made a goal of attending the temple every week for a year. That was in January of 2014. I have stuck to my goal ever since then.  When I go over a week without attending the temple (which is rare) I can clearly feel the darkness of the adversary seeping into  my soul.  I then compensate by going multiple times the next week (hopefully that still counts!). By renewing my covenants (including my obedience to the Law of Chastity) each week in sacrament meeting and at the temple, my Savior has enabled me with the strength to not "be tempted above that [I am] able; but [has] with the temptation also [made] a way to escape, that [I am] able to bear it" (1 Corinthians 10:13). 

This week has been very difficult for me as the Supreme Court has declared the Constitutionality of same-sex marriage, overriding the voice of the American people in most states. 

My Facebook feed is exploding in rainbows with the hashtag "lovewins." Not all of these posts are positive. I've seen some memes of "Mormon Hate Loses, Love Wins," as well as others involving snarky remarks to those who don't support same-sex relationships. 

Naturally, there are many posts decrying homosexuality. One of my friends had the status of "I'm deleting any of my friends that are supporting the queers. Because if you really are my friends you wouldn't be posting that crap anyway." 

These conflicting views tear my heart apart, because I know that the Gospel of Christ is true and that it is the only path to true happiness.  I also know that same-sex attraction is real (obviously) and that most if not all who experience it have not chosen such feelings. Romantic relationships with the opposite gender/sex don't come easily or naturally for many gay people, but they still need human connection. 

Today Elder D.Todd Christofferson announced that members who support same-sex marriage will not be in danger of losing their membership of temple recommends. 

With announcements like these, it amazes me that people still see us Mormons as brainwashed zombies. Even though the Church is clearly opposed to any lifestyle discordant with the Gospel of Christ, we are given explicit permission to vote according to our own conscience without fear of Church disciplinary action. 

However, some of L. Tom Perry's last words to the Church included the following:

“We want our voice to be heard against all of the counterfeit and alternative lifestyles that try to replace the family organization that God Himself established. We also want our voice to be heard in sustaining the joy and fulfillment that traditional families bring. We must continue to project that voice throughout the world in declaring why marriage and family are so important, why marriage and family really do matter, and why they always will.”

I love that L. Tom Perry admonishes us to tell people why family is so important. I know that we must stand with Christ regardless of societal trends and modernly accepted lifestyles. Though it might not be popular, I know that the only path of peace and happiness is the one that leads to Christ. 

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