I wrote this after April Ordain Women event.

I feel like I’ve been on this road for a very long time. Yet, I turn and look backward and realize I’ve only just begun. I’ve learned a lot in the last two years and I’m just starting to see how those wonderful horrible experiences are all interconnected and how they got me to where I am now. The very core of who I am has been challenged. My belief system has been torn apart piece by piece and I’m left thinking, where do I sit/stand in the midst of it all? I’m still unsure, but the road is long and I have plenty time to figure that out. Let me share with you some of my experiences along the way.

 

Through my faith transition I’ve learned many deep and powerful lessons. The gospel principles are simple. I think they are supposed to be that way, yet I find myself realizing how absolutely profound they really truly are. My latest discovery has been charity. Charity is so incredibly beautiful to me. As I flip through the scriptures I see so many ways that charity is described, but so far I think my favorite is the way Paul describes it in 1 Corinthians 13:1-8

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whetherthere be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

 

Verse 2 is probably my favorite and speaks volumes to the value of charity. We are nothing without charity.

 

Moroni 7:47 states:

But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

 

How can one attain the pure love of Christ? I think for Mormons (I don’t know, maybe it’s just for me) it started out as serving my brothers and sisters in callings that I held within the church. Callings that sometimes I would prefer not to have had, doing things I didn’t really want to do (visiting teaching coordinator). It forced me to become something more than what I was. To see people in a different light (Primary Choister). Service is hard. It’s a sacrifice. Giving of yourself is very difficult, and for a long time I conflated having a calling with the only way to serve. I mean, it is service don’t get me wrong but more recently I discovered the blessings attached to serving without a calling. Those moments are tender. It opened another door for me to understanding ‘the pure love of Christ’.

 

A very dear friend, sister rather, lost her newborn baby about a month ago. The situation was tragic and heart wrenching. I was reading her account of the experience and my thoughts raced with words of wisdom I felt like I could share with her. You know, ‘there’s a reason’, ‘he’s in a better place,’ ‘God, is in charge’. All are fine answers if you ask me. They are probably true to a degree, but then, as I kept reading her account the scripture in Mosiah came to me. It pierced my soul “…mourn with those that mourn. Comfort those that stand in need of comfort.” And my heart broke. I wanted to wrap my sister up in my arms and cry with her. I wanted her pain to be placed on my shoulders. I wanted her to know that she wasn’t alone. That I loved her and that I was crying with her. I was mourning with her. My eyes were open and my heart was full. “Charity suffereth and is kind.” Charity means more to than ‘serving as YW’s advisor’.

 

The second thing, and honestly it took me quite by surprise, was the possibility I was seeing something in my blessing come to pass. I’ve gone the rounds in my heart about what my patriarchal blessing means. If it was indeed inspired and if it is still applicable in my life right now? I can’t deny how it’s helped me understand quite a bit of my life. There have been times that it has given me purpose. It has reminded me that I have value, and that the Lord loves me. I enjoy percolating over things. Life, and the meaning of life is like a million piece puzzle just waiting to be solved and I will take one piece at a time and sit with it until it has a place. For a long time the gathering of Israel has always intrigued me. I had a conversation years ago with my father about it. He told me he also spent many nights ruminating on where the lost tribes could be. One day, seemed rather simple to me, I said to him, “what if they are right here amongst us? What if they haven’t gone far away? What if they are our brothers and sisters?” The thought was foreign to him but made him think and eventually agree that it was a possibility.

About two weeks ago as OW was fast approaching I was reading article upon article about the movement. I was upset with the church’s response to OW so I went to the OW site and read profiles of some of the most amazing brothers and sisters supporting OW and their reasons why. As I sat at my computer desk reading these profiles a line from my patriarchal blessing popped into my head. It was clear. “You will see the gathering of Israel as it takes place. Though the world will not see this faithful members of the church will and you will be among those”. My mind was blown. I always figured missionary work to be ‘the gathering of Israel’, and honestly that thought has confused me because, well, everyone can see that. So, to consider that OW is part of the gathering of Israel, I was blown away.

 

I just recently revisited my interest on the gathering of Israel and found this quote to be pretty amazing. ( lds.org)
“Jacob was a grandson of Abraham. The Lord made an everlasting covenant with Abraham that was renewed with Isaac and with Jacob and his children. God promised that the Israelites would be His covenant people as long as they would obey His commandments (see Deuteronomy 28:9–10). They would be a blessing to all the nations of the world by taking the gospel and the priesthood to them(see Abraham 2:9–11). Thus, they would keep their covenant with the Lord and He would keep His covenant with them.”

 

As I’m typing this I have often wondered what my place would be. What if I am asking too many questions? Am I on the ‘right’ side? How will I know? What if my questions about OW and about my Heavenly Mother is really Satan leading me astray? What if he’s trying to decieve me? And scriptures (and some of the words of the apostles) keep popping into my head. “If it were possible even the very elect could (would) be deceived.” Not comforting. Until my friend explained how the wheat and tares grow. They grow together. The farmer doesn’t pull out the tares until the wheat and tares are fully grown, which means, good and evil will grow side by side. Then, how will I know what I am? I thought to myself and, like my friend was reading my mind said, “I think the way you will know is by your relationship with Heavenly Father.”


Is this the beginning? Is this the gathering?