Friday, June 13, 2014

Stop y'alls bickering...please

So, a stake president and a bishop are holding two members of the LDS church to a disciplinary council. Thankfully, because of the large preponderance of friends I have who are either LDS or ex-LDS or deeply involved in social movement issues, this is figuratively ALL that I have seen on my Facebook feed. Every other post is about Kate Kelly or John Dehlin.

However, there isn't a lot of love going on there.

There is a lot of hate. Lots and lots of despair. A plethora of antagonism.

What happened to love? It seems we forgot a little about what Jesus stood for.

And this is towards both sides. Both those that "support" the brethren (the leaders of the LDS church) and those who "support" Kate Kelly (leader of the Ordain Women movement that advocates more equality in the church for men and women in part by giving women the priesthood) or John Dehlin (founder of the Mormon Stories podcasts where members and ex-members can simply tell their story).

I personally don't care what either of these people did as a relation to how we treat them. I do know that I'm not the biggest fan of the Ordain Women movement for various reasons (which is not the purpose of this blog). I also know that Dehlin's podcasts have been quite helpful in my own LDS journey. I've met many men and women who feel inspired by Kate Kelly. I am friends with people who have left the church over
John Dehlin and others who feel he is a tyrant.

Someone posted on one of my FB pages that he was upset for a group for sending encouraging notes to John Dehlin. He claimed it was like they were thanking him for apostatizing. What if they just wanted to thank him for sharing stories that helped with my testimony. What if some people felt power and spirit from Kate Kelly? Who are we to say they should be ostracized from the church and from our hearts?

Can we remember that God loves them dearly. As much as he loves you and me. Can we remember for a second that they are children of God?

I had multiple friends post their disappointment and disdain for the church's decision to take action against Dehlin and Kelly. Here is the letter to John Dehlin informing him of his impending disciplinary council: Dehlin letter. I didn't find that terribly cold or evil. In fact, I thought it was great. Kate Kelly's wasn't as loving, but it is still quite reasonable: Kelly letter. (This is assuming those letters are genuine.) Dehlin even posted on Mormon Stories that "The decisions [he's] made have certainly led to this week's events" (see post here). Kelly's response was less accepting of the issue, but still an understandable reaction (see post here).

It seems the church is responding as it normally would. Dehlin made some pretty intense claims about his church beliefs and his desire to disassociate from the church. Kelly has been leading a social movement challenging the church's authority despite having been given multiple answers (I am sorry, but I will not accept the claim that she was "just raising awareness" or "just asking a question", because the issue was received and if the answer was not obvious before this last conference, Elder Oaks made it quite clear what the church's answer is.)

For those who respond with animosity towards Kelly and Dehlin. Please stop. I've had my own concerns and fears about the Gospel. So far, the one thing that has kept me in the church is when my mother told me that she loved me despite my fears and doubts and that she wanted me to stay near to her and the family. The love for my family is stronger than any concerns. When people pressured me to stay or leave the church, all it did was confuse and trouble me. My mother's love was what calmed the tide and let me think clearly. Likewise, I think this is how Christ feels. He loves us and wants us to be close to Him. Can we act in a similar manner akin to how Christ loves?

For those who are reacting negatively towards the Church. First, their reaction should not come as a surprise. It is unfortunate that Kelly and Dehlin hold a prominent place in Mormon society making this a public issue. (However, I don't know if this necessarily needed to be publicized?) Second, I think it is important to remember that disciplinary councils are meant to provide a choice to the person in their standing in the Church. Membership is not a right, but a responsibility. The Church has very obvious guidelines (granted, various congregations and leaders may hold a different standard), but on the whole, Kelly and Dehlin's words/actions crossed boundaries. I don't believe the Church is a hodgepodge of grumpy old men trying to hold on to a tithing stipend. Instead, I honestly believe that they are trying to work for the salvation of man. Even if I'm not 100% sure that what they teach is true, I do believe that are doing it in good heart. So, let's stop hating them. Let's sop claiming they are greedy bigots who hate homosexuals and women. I don't think many people could sit and talk with President Monson and then go away thinking evil things about that man.

And if they are astray, God help us. But, God loves them just as much as He loves Dehlin, Kelly, and you and I.

So, let's remember love. Can we go back to that? Can we remember that Dehlin has helped thousands get through rough patches. Can we remember that Kelly helped a lot of women feel important and viable to the church? Can we love them for that?

Can we remember that the Church helps millions of impoverished people and communities worldwide every year? Can we remember that they teach people about Christ and His love? Can we remember that they support the family, which is a very dear part to many of our lives?

Yes, both sides have done things that I don't (and obviously many of my friends don't) agree with. But they also do fantastic, wonderful things. Let's love them for that. Let's love them even just because they are human. They are children of God. Can we please?