You no doubt have heard the latest temporal-world-shaking announcement from the church: Don’t call yourself Mormon anymore. Don’t proselytize to children of homosexual parents anymore. Don’t call it hometeaching anymore. Don’t go to High Priests Group anymore. The newsworthy announcements seem to flow much more frequently these days (or at least we’re paying attention more). And with them comes the inevitable reaction: “What were they thinking?”
…sometimes followed by something like…
“Really?! This seems so dumb/so unfair/so out of touch/so (name your favorite Laman quote) . Surely I know better than them…and I think everyone should know it.” (Have you heard something like this from a friend or family member? Have you maybe heard something like this from yourself before? It happens…all too often.)
The irony is that the question “What were they thinking?” SHOULD indeed be asked, BUT instead, followed by something like…
“I know this is the Savior’s church and he leads it through his ordained prophets. What would the Savior want me to learn from this? He loves me infinitely and only wants me to experience joy, so what is the blessing he’s extending to me or others through this? And how can I help him do it? How can I be obedient? How can I change myself to be more in line with His will?”
Fortunately, some do this very thing and feel the love and peace that comes with it. Unfortunately, some choose a different path.
A major rift erupted through the church when it was “leaked” (i.e., published as all other Handbook policies but then read by people who wanted to find something to take issue with) that the church would no longer baptize children of same sex parents. Immediately it was assumed by far too many that the church hates gays, that the leaders of the church wanted to punish these deviants, and that hitting them where it hurts most (their kids) was the underhanded way the apostles and the prophet were choosing to scorn and persecute these lascivious sinners. (Cuz that sounds remotely like what apostles and prophets would do.)
Imagine what would have happened though, if they had stopped and listened to the spirit of God rather than the spirit of contention. Imagine if they had considered that maybe the policy was out of respect for the sanctity of the family. Imagine if they considered that this was in fact out of an increase in love and empathy toward same-sex families. Imagine if they simply chose to have the same faith of Adam, who if lived in modern times would have said, “I know not why the policy was established, save the Lord commanded it. And by the way, this thing you call running water is amazing!”
The questions we ask lead to the answers we receive. If we ask in contention, our not-so-dear brother Lucifer is going to be more than happy to answer it for us, with his version. If we ask in faith (I.e., faith in the Lord Jesus Christ) our Savior will answer it in truth and peace.
Even something obviously centered in goodness, such as ministering has been met with both sides of the questioning divide. “Why is that the name – that’s kind of long and clunky? How is this any different than hometeaching? It’s about time they got rid of hometeaching!” contrasted by “How can I make my service more holy? What more can I do to serve my assigned families? This is such an inspired revelation that we need at this time!”
Does the question asked change the reality of the thing being questioned? No. Does the question asked affect our own immediate happiness and relationship with the Savior? Yea verily.
As a man thinketh so is he (same goes for you sisters too). It was true thousands of years ago when it was written in Proverbs, and it’s true now. We are what we think. We reap what we sew. We receive the reward only after obedience to the law upon which it is predicated. In other words, it’s our agency to follow His will or follow someone else’s.
The prophets know the way to salvation. We just need to decide if we want to follow it. And it all starts with how we ask for directions.