Wow. My life as an R.M. has taken an unexpected turn. I feel like my standards and principles have remained largely unchanged since I left, except maybe being a little more solidified and centered on the love of God and Jesus Christ and the changing, enabling power of the Atonement, since that has been the focus of my life for the last 24 months. Imagine my surprise, then, when those who I had considered my friends and allies, those who I was so grateful thought like I did on these important and relevant issues, suddenly turned on me! I am totally used to being harassed and called names by the "other side" (who, ironically, exhibit prime examples of the same unsavory adjectives of which they accuse me), but to be turned on like this by people who wrote me and supported me, literally, for years, people who have read my story and know better than most why I feel the way I do is a huge surprise. I am fine with people differing in opinions, though naturally I wish people would think more the way I do on certain key issues (who doesn't?), but there are some I just thought, after all they've told me and shown me, were a little more solid than they now appear to be. I guess times change, and so do people, but some of this is so bizarre. It would be unrealistic to say I'm not just a little bit hurt, but I'm more just sad that they have been taken in by the lies that society continues to feed us. It becomes increasingly difficult to be IN the world, as we are instructed, but not OF the world. Life is so hard and confusing, the only thing to really rely on is Jesus Christ and His Gospel, which I strive to do. It's easy to label my beliefs and behavior as "intolerant" and "bigoted" (oh, how cliche!), but so it is for the entire Christian mindset, if you really want to. There are those who think frowning on any kind of sinful or harmful behavior is "narrow-minded" and "unchristian." (Since, some argue, it is forcing beliefs on people and taking away agency...) So, what is it? What do we do? Do we stand for truth and righteousness or not? Do we argue for the weakness, or do we argue for the strength of the Atonement? (...Referring, of course, to the power of the Priesthood, repenting and changing through the proper channels, process and so on, and not just "saved by faith", which camp I have been accused of subscribing to) Christ may have dined with the publicans and the sinners, but he commanded people to forsake their sinful behavior! He was the perfect example of loving the sinner and hating the sin. He commanded us to judge righteously! He said He would save us FROM, not IN our sins (Helaman 5:10)! As of now, not even a month back into the game and I've already been the target of many hateful attacks and name-calling! And not only from people I barely remember from my past, but good friends as well! I'm only trying to protect the innocent and educate those who just are unaware of the dangers that are out there, based on the things I have learned from the hard times I've been through. And how is this received? With hatred and intolerance! Amazing! It's times like this that verses such as Matthew 5:10-12 mean a lot more to me.
Since when is it weak to argue in favor of the Atonement?
Anyway, just a minor rant for the moment. Of course I forgive these people. Perhaps things like this happen in the heat of the moment? It would be stupid of me to choose to take offense. I'm still just bewildered at this startling turn of events! There are those who turn tail at the first sign of conflict, but just like David (continuing with the earlier analogy, to which I will stick), we who believe in this have to stand firm. Be loving, but unrelenting. Be innocent, but not naive.
Like the Alexander Pope verse says:
"Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
we first endure, then pity, then embrace."
I would venture to add "then endorse" at the end. All that is required for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.
... And, for those who are truly interested in why I am so invested in this issue, I might as well tell. Click here for a glimpse at my story.