Church Calls for More Diversity

Posted by Heather , 10.29.2008 9:38 AM

I swear this is my last post before the election. I was sent this article this morning, and I feel compelled to share it. It is an article from the Salt Lake Tribune about an interview with Marlin K. Jensen. The interview took place in 1998, but I think it is just as relevant for today.

Here is an excerpt from the interview.

"Jensen said it is time for LDS members to take a broader view of political affiliation.

"We would probably hope that they wouldn't abandon a party necessarily because it has a philosophy or two that may not square with Mormonism. Because, as I say, [parties] in their philosophies ebb and flow," Jensen said.

"You know, the Republicans came very close last time to bringing a pro-abortion plank into their platform. That was maybe the biggest battle of their [1996 national] convention," he said. "Which shows that if you're a pure ideologue, eventually you're going to have trouble in either party."

"Everyone who is a good Latter-day Saint is going to have to pick and choose a little bit regardless of the party that they're in and that may be required a lot more in the future than it has been in the past. But I think there's room for that and the gospel leaves us lots of latitude."

Here is a link to the article: LDS Official Calls for More Political Diversity

I really appreciated his insights. I wanted to share because I have a gut feeling there are a few of you out there who are considering voting for candidates other than those affiliated with the Republican Party. Like me, you may feel hesitant/unsure about the "okayness" of doing so. Here you have it from a church authority. Be bold, be brave. Vote your heart!

Regardless of who you support locally and nationally, get out and vote!!! Early voting in Utah ends on Friday. Let your voice be heard!

And I'm Proud to be an American...

Posted by Heather , 10.22.2008 10:24 PM

So, I did it. I went out and voted today, and it felt great. The past couple weeks I have been reading and thinking about the Constitution, and I have a new found gratitude for that awesome document and the amazing men who sacrificed so much to bring it to us. How blessed we are, and what a huge responsibility we have to uphold it and do our part by being active citizens.

After my initial posts about why I support Barack Obama, I thoughtfully re-read many of the comments you all made, along with many interesting articles and talks from church leaders and decided to vote for__________. Haha, I'm not going to tell you who I voted for.

I am going to tell you a little about what I learned through the process that culminated in casting my vote today.

First, Heavenly Father wired us all differently for a reason. Each of us has a mission we are here to fulfill, and each of those missions is unique. The way we think about issues and the world is important, and it is ok--even desirable to be wired differently from each other. Kind of like the whole Yin/Yang thing.

For a long time I have been fighting against the way my heart and brain think because it didn't fit the mold of what good "dyed in the wool" Mormons are supposed to believe. I secretly was worried that maybe I'm just not Celestial material, because on so many issues I just see things differently than the culture I find myself in. I've come to accept that it's ok to disagree with really good people, even prominent members of the church. It is not okay to sow seeds of contention, but it's great that we see problems and solutions differently.

I have seen that in my own marriage. JT and I have very different ways of thinking about most things, especially household chores. But in the end it works out. There are many "true" ways to load a dishwasher, clean a bathroom, or mow a lawn. In the gospel there are many absolutes, like commandments, ordinances, etc., but there is also a lot of room for interpretation on how to do an awful lot of the execution. You see that in different bishops, apostles, etc. Everyone is unique, and every one has great value.

So, I'm feeling pretty good about that.

Next, I learned that it is more important to fear God than man. I mentioned in one of my posts that I would have a really hard time telling my gay friend that I don't think she should be able to get "married" to her partner because I believe that marriage, by definition is supposed to be only between a husband and wife, and that denying them that right didn't seem very compassionate. My good friend, Meg, said "You mentioned how showing them love and compassion could change them after we allowed them to get married. Rolling over and further blurring any moral boundaries our society has isn't going to change anything. Show them your compassion and love by getting them health insurance. But what of the Proclamation to the World?" This really made me stop and think, thanks Meg. Here's what I decided.

I need to fear God more than man. Period. I also need to strive to see people the way that Christ sees them, and treat them that way. So, while I would feel uncomfortable, I would be willing to explain to my gay friend that I believe that marriage should be between a man and woman. However, I don't think we should "throw out the baby with the bath water." I think it is important to recognize and validate the great people that they are. During such a conversation, I would express gratitude for them and the meaningful contributions they make in their spheres of influence. I would validate all the good they do. I would try to do what Elder Eyring talked about in his talk about unity in conference and build on common ground. Tangentially, our family has a lot of common ground with many gay/lesbian families because we have built our family through adoption, and JT carries a purse.

Anyway, it is kind of ironic, but this whole "fearing God more than man thing" is a thought that ultimately brought me back around to some of my more "liberal" ideas. I found myself questioning the way I thought because I was worried about how worried others were for the safety of my soul. I also questioned myself because I felt an intense need to "fit in" in the circles that matter most to me. I found that when I was listening to that voice of fear and doubt that said... you are a freak, how could you even consider thinking about ideas besides what is in the Republican Platform-- I was in inner turmoil. When I finally came to accept that Heavenly Father made me the way I am on purpose, I felt very liberated in my liberalness. Like I said earlier, at the end of the day, I would rather err on the side of compassion and fairness...I mean it. That sentiment is a very important element of who I am. If I stay close to the Spirit, I believe that it can be a tool and strength. Like any strength, if out of balance, it can become a weakness.

The last lesson I have learned that I want to share is this: It is more important to be unified than it is to be "right." I just absolutely love Elder Eyring's talk "Our Hearts Knit as One." Here's an excerpt from the talk that especially pricked my heart.

"In addition to ordinances there are principles we are following as a people which are leading to greater unity.

One of those principles is revelation. Revelation is the only way we can know how to follow the will of the Lord together. It requires light from above. The Holy Ghost will testify to our hearts, and the hearts of those gathered around with us, what He would have us do. And it is by keeping His commandments that we can have our hearts knit together as one.

A second principle to guide our progress to become one is to be humble. Pride is the great enemy of unity. You have seen and felt its terrible effects. Just days ago I watched as two people—good people—began with a mild disagreement. It started as a discussion of what was true but became a contest about who was right. Voices become gradually louder. Faces became a little more flushed. Instead of talking about the issue, people began talking about themselves, giving evidence why their view, given their great ability and background, was more likely to be right.

You would have felt alarm as I did. We have seen the life-destroying effects of such tragic conflict. You and I know people who left the fellowship of the Saints over injured pride.

Happily I am seeing more and more skillful peacemakers who calm troubled waters before harm is done. You could be one of those peacemakers, whether you are in the conflict or an observer."

I recognize my need to be more humble, to seek more diligently after revelation, and to strive to be a peacemaker. That's a lot to tackle. I'm a very prideful, lazy, stubborn, contentious kind of girl. I am going to work on it though.

So, there you go. That's my story. Sorry it's so long. NOW GET OUT AND VOTE! It's already started, you know. Click here to find your early voting location.


PS. Meg also mentioned that she wouldn't vote for anyone she wouldn't invite to her birthday party. Great litmus test, Meg. If I could invite anyone, after inviting all of you, I would probably invite Collin Powell, and anyone else he chooses to endorse ;)

A Day at Maple Lake

Posted by Heather , 10.11.2008 11:53 PM

Last week I went with my sisters and Brothy and Sissy to one of our family's favorite spots up Payson Canyon.

Ever since I was very little, we would go to Maple Lake every year, usually for my Grandma Carolyn and Aunt Nadine's birthdays. In the fall it is a magical place. The light is peach colored, and everything seems to glow.

This trip was no different. Many of the leaves had already fallen, so it was very quiet, like the hush after a snowfall. It was a "good medicine day," for sure. Here are a few pics Kristen and Aub took.

For all you Twilight fans...

Posted by Heather , 10.01.2008 9:26 PM

I started a new blog about LDS reflections on the Twilight series.  You are all invited to join the conversation!


Free Kids Audio Book

Posted by JT 12:30 PM

Hey, I know it's just really family and friends reading this blog, but I stumbled on something I thought you all might like. (It isn't more politics. :) ) Audible is giving away free audio books for kids. I just downloaded The Tell-Tale Heart for free in time for Halloween. :)

Anyway, I'm not getting any money for this or anything, but I thought I'd pass it on in case anyone else would like a free audio book. I found out about it from podcasts at my company. You can burn it to CD, or put it on your iPod.

Go here: They don't have a ton for free, but they're free. (Yes, there is a small catch, you have to sign up. I haven't seen any spam from them yet, though).

Here's a list of free ones:

They also have a lot of other ones you can buy, if you like audio books for kids.

If you do get one, lemme know if you like it.

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