Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I Am Ashamed

I totally understand if you'd like to ignore me. My husband didn't even want to listen to me.

I am sometimes ashamed to call myself mormon. I am ashamed to say that I am sometimes ashamed to call myself a mormon. Most of the time when a client asks if I am mormon I say, "Yes, but I am not like most mormons. I do not feel this way because of the gospel in which I believe. Nor do I feel this way because I am ashamed of believing in Christ or what he stands for as our savior. I am ashamed because I am always or at least generally thought of as a we, in corralation with a lot of imperfect human beings out there who also call themsleves mormon, instead of an I. No, I am not perfect, or anywhere near perfect but I do have my own thoughts and my own beliefs. And I am proud of them but I may not be proud of yours. So, please, unless you are a general authority, do not ever start, end or ever make a statement of your thoughts or beliefs using the word 'we' as apposed to 'I'.  I do not appreciate it.

The 2010 October general conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints just took place. I remember hearing one speach in particular and thinking, that makes me proud to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and now just days later I am once again ashamed to be in corralation with other memeber of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The talk of which I am happy to in corralation with is at the end of this post.

I remember hearing this talk and thinking of all the young people out there experiencing the temptation of sex before marriage. The young people who weakly succomb to that temptation and are then unable to have the joy and experience of serving a mission. I thought of the children of those young people who succomb to the very natural urge of sex before marriage who may experience the emotions of being adopted. I thought of the emotions of those young persons who have succomb to the temptation of sex before marriage and then having to deal with giving up a child. I also know the pain that my family has experienced due to a family member succombing to worldly temtation of sex before marriege. My familie's pain of having a family member who has only seen his family once or twice because his father had sex before marriage. I also remember being grateful for  one of my brothers who is such a huge example to me of what the atonement can do for a person when used. I remember being grateful to him for having that strength  to go through the repentance process and bringing an amazing woman into our family along with their wonderful children. I remember being grateful to him for having a level of strength that I am not sure I myself have and know that  I myself avoided similar  pain due to his example. I should have thanked him for that. For suffering so that I would have the opportunity of suffering less.

I heard this talk and remember thinking of all those families plagued with sex or pornography addictions and the pain they are experiencing and the pain that myself and my family experienced. I thought of the marriages and famililies torn apart by such worldly temptations. I remembered hearing the excuse, "I'm addicted it's no longer my choice", and being to so grateful for knowing with every fiber of my being that that statement is false and only something Satan so desperately wants you to believe. I thought of those marriages that have even suffered adultry and an unfaithful spouse and somehow managed to hang on to knowledge that they could be happy again. I remember be soooo eternally grateful for the knowledge that a man, who was so overcome with addiction that he once chose a computer over his youngest daughter, could once again become my loving, faithful father. I also remember hearing this talk and being so grateful and proud that because of the atonement and repentence my father and any other human being who take advantage of the atonement will eternally reside with my father in heaven.  

I remember hearig this talk and not being offended by, depressed by or hurt by the fact that I am infertal and do not posess the power to create life hear on this earth, married or not, but with still have the opportunity to raise life and the quality of life of others thanks to the gospel and the knowlede of the gospel.

I remember hearing this talk and being proud to know that right thing is to love above all else. I remembered that I do not know even one tenth of what the eternities hold and being soooooo grateful that I myself am not the one figuring everything out and doling out the judgement. I remembered being grateful for a general authority who would come out and speak about eternal hope and love with the absence of judgement thanks to the atonement. I remember hearing this talk and being grateful that I am blessed with the ability to hear the wise words of another and think of ways in which I can better myself as apposed to thinking and hearing how others should better themselves instead. I am proud to have a general authority who would come out and address in such a wide spectrum, the benefits and testimony of the atonement.

Today I am ashamed that others of my faith heard this talk and chose to change the words to serve their own purpose. Today I am ashamed that other members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints have chosen to concentrate on how others choose to live their lives as apposed to how they live their own. Today I am ashamed to share a label with those who openly judge others and place blame on others and yet call themselves followers of Jesus Christ.

My sister once said something extremely smart and that I quote regularly. She said, "I do not think about or dwell on what goes on in other people's bedrooms so why must they dwell on what I do in my bedroom?" I myself choose to concentrate on how a person conducts him or herself on a daily basis. When I ask for help to they help or disappear? When I am crying do they wipe away the tears or walk away sick and tired of my puffy eyes? Do they defend me to those who know nothing about me or do they talk about me behind my back when I can't hear them? Do they judge me when I fall down on my fat ass or do they stretch out their hand to help me off the ground?

I was proud when I heard Boyd K. Packers talk this conference. I was proud to hear him speak of the family and the healing power of the atonement.

Today my pride has turned to shame and frustration. Frustration that some people feel the need to take something so wonderful and beautiful and taint it with their own agenda.

I would like to point out that those who believe in polygamy could take this talk and use it to benefit their cause in so many ways. Men and Women, around the world, who are infertal by now fault of their own, could have taken offence to the parts about the CREATION of life and the power to CREATE life being an essential part of the plan. Those who have had a child out of wedlock, premarital sex, experienced first hand the power of any addiction could have chosen to focus on sin and condemn themselves to the will of satan amd misery as apposed to hearing about the power of the atonement. Any weak human being can take the words of another and twist them to hurt or offend others. It takes strength and humility to find and concentrate on the words and wisdom of others ,who have experienced so much more then they, and better themselves with the knowlege and wisdom so generously shared by another.

I choose to try to stay stong and humble and apposed to weak and judgemental. I sure hope you will choose the same.

Please feel free to comment on my thoughts. Good or bad.

Here is Boyd K. Packer's actual talk.


Nowhere are the generosity and the kindness and mercy of God more manifest than in repentance.


This general conference was convened at a time when there is such confusion and such danger that our young people hardly know which way they can walk. Having been warned through the revelations that it would be this way, the prophets and apostles have always been shown what to do.

The Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith “that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world.”1 When the keys were restored, they provided priesthood authority to be present in every home through the grandfathers, the fathers, and the sons.

Fifteen years ago, with the world in turmoil, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” the fifth proclamation in the history of the Church. It is a guide that members of the Church would do well to read and to follow.

It states in part: “We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”2

“The Gods went down to organize man in their own image, in the image of the Gods to form they him, male and female to form they them.

“And the Gods said: We will bless them. And . . . we will cause them to be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.”3

This commandment has never been rescinded.

“And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.”4

It is intended that we be happy, for “men are, that they might have joy.”5

Lehi taught that men are free and must be “free . . . to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day.”6

The old saying “The Lord is voting for me, and Lucifer is voting against me, but it is my vote that counts” describes a doctrinal certainty that our agency is more powerful than the adversary’s will. Agency is precious. We can foolishly, blindly give it away, but it cannot be forcibly taken from us.
There is also an age-old excuse: “The devil made me do it.” Not so! He can deceive you and mislead you, but he does not have the power to force you or anyone else to transgress or to keep you in transgression.

To be entrusted with the power to create life carries with it the greatest of joys and dangerous temptations. The gift of mortal life and the capacity to kindle other lives is a supernal blessing. Through the righteous exercise of this power, as in nothing else, we may come close to our Father in Heaven and experience a fulness of joy. This power is not an incidental part of the plan of happiness. It is the key—the very key.

Whether we use this power as the eternal laws require or reject its divine purpose will forever determine what we will become. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”7

There is something very liberating when an individual determines of his or her own free will to be obedient to our Father and our God and expresses that willingness to Him in prayer.

When we obey, we can enjoy these powers in the covenant of marriage. From our fountains of life will spring our children, our family. Love between husband and wife can be constant and bring fulfillment and contentment all the days of our lives.

If one is denied these blessings in mortality, the promise is that they will be provided for in the world to come.

Pure love presupposes that only after a pledge of eternal fidelity, a legal and a lawful ceremony, and ideally after the sealing ordinance in the temple, are those life-giving powers released for the full expression of love. It is to be shared only and solely between man and woman, husband and wife, with that one who is our companion forever. On this the gospel is very plain.

We are free to ignore the commandments, but when the revelations speak in such blunt terms, such as “thou shalt not,” we had better pay attention.

The adversary is jealous toward all who have power to beget life. Satan cannot beget life; he is impotent. “He seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.”8 He seeks to degrade the righteous use of the life-giving powers by tempting you into immoral relationships.

The Lord used the expression “is like unto” to create an image His followers could understand, such as:

“The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man.”9

“The kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field.”10

In our day the dreadful influence of pornography is like unto a plague sweeping across the world, infecting one here and one there, relentlessly trying to invade every home, most frequently through the husband and father. The effect of this plague can be, unfortunately often is, spiritually fatal. Lucifer seeks to disrupt “the great plan of redemption,”11 “the great plan of happiness.”12

Pornography will always repel the Spirit of Christ and will interrupt the communications between our Heavenly Father and His children and disrupt the tender relationship between husband and wife.

The priesthood holds consummate power. It can protect you from the plague of pornography—and it is a plague—if you are succumbing to its influence. If one is obedient, the priesthood can show how to break a habit and even erase an addiction. Holders of the priesthood have that authority and should employ it to combat evil influences.

We raise an alarm and warn members of the Church to wake up and understand what is going on. Parents, be alert, ever watchful that this wickedness might threaten your family circle.

We teach a standard of moral conduct that will protect us from Satan’s many substitutes or counterfeits for marriage. We must understand that any persuasion to enter into any relationship that is not in harmony with the principles of the gospel must be wrong. From the Book of Mormon we learn that “wickedness never was happiness.”13

Some suppose that they were preset and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn temptations toward the impure and unnatural. Not so! Remember, God is our Heavenly Father.

Paul promised that “God . . . will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”14 You can, if you will, break the habits and conquer an addiction and come away from that which is not worthy of any member of the Church. As Alma cautioned, we must “watch and pray continually.”15

Isaiah warned, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”16

Years ago I visited a school in Albuquerque. The teacher told me about a youngster who brought a kitten to class. As you can imagine, that disrupted everything. She had him hold the kitten up in front of the children.

It went well until one of the children asked, “Is it a boy kitty or a girl kitty?”

Not wanting to get into that lesson, the teacher said, “It doesn’t matter. It’s just a kitty.”
But they persisted. Finally, one boy raised his hand and said, “I know how you can tell.”

Resigned to face it, the teacher said, “How can you tell?”

And the student answered, “You can vote on it!”

You may laugh at this story, but if we are not alert, there are those today who not only tolerate but advocate voting to change laws that would legalize immorality, as if a vote would somehow alter the designs of God’s laws and nature. A law against nature would be impossible to enforce. For instance, what good would a vote against the law of gravity do?

There are both moral and physical laws “irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world” that cannot be changed.17 History demonstrates over and over again that moral standards cannot be changed by battle and cannot be changed by ballot. To legalize that which is basically wrong or evil will not prevent the pain and penalties that will follow as surely as night follows day.

Regardless of the opposition, we are determined to stay on course. We will hold to the principles and laws and ordinances of the gospel. If they are misunderstood either innocently or willfully, so be it. We cannot change; we will not change the moral standard. We quickly lose our way when we disobey the laws of God. If we do not protect and foster the family, civilization and our liberties must needs perish.

“I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.”18

Every soul confined in a prison of sin, guilt, or perversion has a key to the gate. The key is labeled “repentance.” If you know how to use this key, the adversary cannot hold you. The twin principles of repentance and forgiveness exceed in strength the awesome power of the tempter. If you are bound by a habit or an addiction that is unworthy, you must stop conduct that is harmful. Angels will coach you,19 and priesthood leaders will guide you through those difficult times.

Nowhere are the generosity and the kindness and mercy of God more manifest than in repentance. Do you understand the consummate cleansing power of the Atonement made by the Son of God, our Savior, our Redeemer? He said, “I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent.”20 In that supernal act of love, the Savior paid the penalties for our sins so that we might not have to pay.

For those who truly desire it, there is a way back. Repentance is like unto a detergent. Even ground-in stains of sin will come out.

Priesthood holders carry with them the antidote to remove the terrible images of pornography and to wash away guilt. The priesthood has the power to unlock the influence of our habits, even to unchain from addiction, however tight the grip. It can heal over the scars of past mistakes.

I know of no more beautiful and consoling words in all of revelation than these: “Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.”21

Sometimes, even after confession and paying penalties, the most difficult part of repentance is to forgive one’s self. You must come to know that forgiveness means forgiveness.
“As often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me.”22

President Joseph Fielding Smith told me of a repentant woman struggling to find her way out of a very immoral life. She asked him what she should do now.

In turn, he asked her to read to him from the Old Testament the account of Lot’s wife, who was turned to a pillar of salt.23 Then he asked her, “What lesson do you gain from those verses?”

She answered, “The Lord will destroy the wicked.”

“Not so!” President Smith said that the lesson for this repentant woman and for you is “Don’t look back!”24

Strangely enough, it may be that the simplest and most powerful prevention and cure for pornography, or any unclean act, is to ignore and avoid it. Delete from the mind any unworthy thought that tries to take root. Once you have decided to remain clean, you are asserting your God-given agency. And then, as President Smith counseled, “Don’t look back.”

I promise that ahead of you is peace and happiness for you and your family. The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is that a man and his wife and their children can be happy at home. And I invoke the blessings of the Lord upon you who are struggling against this terrible plague, to find the healing that is available to us in the priesthood of the Lord. I bear witness of that power in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

4 comments:

Spence said...

Okay, I only skimmed the talk, but do you not see the blatant battle cry against gay marriage in that talk? What else can he mean by trying to "legalizing immorality" or "voting against laws of nature."

I'm glad you choose to focus on the positive messages in that talk, but there was certainly a subtle political message in there, and it's not a tolerant one.

Megan said...

Thank you, Callie. I really appreciate your words and your viewpoint. It was very refreshing to read and it touched my heart. We sure miss you guys.

Dani said...

Wow... It's so nice to know I'm not alone. I can completely relate to this. I think those are the exact words I have used in the past "I'm not like most Mormons". I didn't grow up in the church, in fact if you think of the opposite of a Mormon, that was me. And when I joined the church, I lost about every friend I ever had. So when I meet people, I immediately take a defensive position if my faith ever comes out. As soon as you "label" yourself a Mormon, people think they know you, or know your views or judgments. But I could never worry about someone else's flaws. I got PLENTY of ma' own! I unfortunately love my coffee (doesn't mean I ALWAYS drink it), I swear like a sailor (mostly when no one is around, but I gotta admit I have to try real hard to watch it), and I miss my old flamboyant gay guy pals (because seriously, they make the best girl friends EVER).

Dani said...
This comment has been removed by the author.