Sunday, November 09, 2008

Cousin Ruth's Album

A few weeks ago a long time dream of mine came true in more ways than one.

I was in Chicago for a conference. While there, I took an extra day and went exploring Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin where my ancestors lived for generations. One of my Dad's cousins, Ruth, lives in the area so I arranged to visit her and asked her to share any information she had about the family.

When I arrived Ruth produced this old, tattered, photo album that was her parents. Because my Grandpa had moved away from Illinois his primary communication with the family was through the mail. This meant he sent lots of pictures. What do you do with pictures? Put them in a photo album. It seemed that most of the pictures in the album were of my Grandparents.

It was incredibly meaningful to see these pictures for several reasons. First, my Grandparents were divorced and each remarried long before I was around. Second, my Grandfather was in a tragic accident which left him paralyzed making it extremely hard for him to get around or speak. This also happened before my parents were married and thus long before I came around. Finally, because of my grandfather's debilitating condition I didn't know him well until the last few years of his life. My father and my brothers and I took turns for a year or two helping get grandpa cleaned up and dressed in the morning. It was while I was shaving his face, changing his sheets or bed pad, and doing a number of personal tasks for him that I came to know and love my grandfather.

Since my grandfather passed away about 8 years ago, I've often dreamed of the day when I would see him again as a resurrected being in his full stature and be able to embrace him and talk with him freely without the challenges of his injuries. These pictures are so beautiful to me because my grandparents are happy together and my grandfather is in the prime of his life - in his full stature.

This one wasn't in the album but I love it so much I had to include it...

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I don’t hate anyone

There has been a lot of backlash to proposition 8. For some reason, much of it seems to be directed at the LDS Church. The LDS Church is accused of promoting feelings of hate toward homosexual individuals. This seems so ironic to me. There is nothing in the Church’s doctrine or action that suggests anything but love and tolerance. On the other hand, those that seem to be speaking out the loudest against the Church seem to be filled with feelings of animosity.
As a member of the LDS Church, here is what I believe and feel:
  • I believe every human being is literally a son or daughter of God. He is the Father of our spirits. We lived with Him before coming to this earth.
  • I believe God loves all of His children and there is nothing any of us can do that would cause him to stop loving us.
  • I feel a deep love for all of God’s children regardless of their actions or beliefs. This is not to say I’m perfect in this, just that it is a guiding principle and something I truly feel.
  • Because I love someone doesn’t mean I agree with them or condone their actions (just ask my kids).
  • Because I don’t agree with someone or condone their actions doesn’t mean I don’t love them (just ask my kids).
  • God is the source of truth.
  • God has revealed truth and continues to reveal truth to His children through prophets. This pattern is evident from the time of Adam to this day.

Some may wonder why, if the Church professes love and tolerance, it doesn’t change its doctrine. Doctrine is revealed to prophets from God (God’s revealed truth about marriage and family are best explained here). Doctrine from any other source than from God is a fabrication of men. Because the Church is unwilling to act against the will of God, doesn’t mean that the Church holds any animosity toward any person. It does not mean that God holds any animosity toward any person. God loves all of His children.