Recently I have had to defend my position on marriage equality and my disgust at the Church's involvement with Prop 8. One person even mentioned my confusion and conflict with the Church teachings and statements by Church leaders.
This got me to thinking. I don't really feel all that conflicted. I know what I think and what I believe.
There are two parts to this really, the political and the religious.
1. The Political
I am a firm believer in the separation of church and state (and a card carrying member of Americans United. I feel that not supporting marriage equality and not fighting any other law that treats LGBT citizens differently from other Americans is - at its heart - un-American (and not worthy of a Latter Day Saint).
We are all equal under the law.
Regardless of our religious and moral beliefs, we should all support that.
2. The Religious
It's sad that I have to state this - but maybe we should all state it more often - Thomas S. Monson is a Prophet of God. I sustain him. I am blessed by his presence in my life.
I love reading (and listening) to talks by the First Presidency and the other General Authorities (past and present). Many people that read my comments on-line may think that I don't accept these people as inspired by God, that I don't follow their advice and guidance. That is wrong.
But there is a however. There are times I have heard things that I have considered wrong, troubling, or even infuriating.
When I first joined the Church, for instance, it was my single state that bothered me the most. In Sacrament, in Relief Society, and even in General Conference, the ordinance of celestial marriage was always emphasized as necessary for exaltation.
Now why would a woman's eternal existence have to be dependent on a man?
I found this to be very hurtful. I can't count the amount of times I ran out of Relief Society crying. I even went inactive for some years due to this. (Of course, this was before I discovered Paxil.)
But the Church changed, that is something I have discovered. They do change. They learn from their errors and mistakes. We should not make the mistake of thinking that everything that comes out of Salt Lake City is infallible. They moved on from polygamy and denying the priesthood on racial reasons. They have become more sensitive to single women and, now, they are reaching out to the gays.
Who's to say that there won't be further changes and outreach? Many like to say that Church is the "same yesterday, today, and forever." But the Scriptures actually say that it is God who is the "same yesterday, today, and forever."
Of course, many also tell me I must bide by and obey the Prophet's and our Church leaders' statements and proclamations. But do they say I have to do so blindly? My mother blames my obstinate attitude on my ancestors. I am descended from Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick. They were Quakers and they were persecuted for their religious beliefs by the Puritans (who themselves came here to escape religious persecution).
I don't claim any special revelations or connection with God. No more than anyone else. And I am positive that Presidents Monson, Eyring, and Uchtdorf are very holy men. But what I do claim is the right to ponder what they say and pray about it before blindly obeying it and accepting it as gospel.