Tuesday, February 5, 2008

This I Know

I got my morning chuckle when I read a snide remark today about liberals blaming AIDS on a lack of federal funding. Outside of that one snark, I didn't find the site it was on enjoyable and I won't be returning. I did, however, get a kick out of that.

I bring up the subject of liberals, because it has come to my attention that I have not sufficiently explained my position on political "correctness" on this blog. It boils down to this: I don't think anyone in this country should be so easily offended that politically "incorrect" statements give rise to the behavior which they do. (Lobbying, protesting, whining, regulating, etc....) This came up because a cherished old friend of mine (who, after some deliberation about Anne Shirley and her bosom friend Dianna, I've decided instead to call My Own Personal Dharma) recently emailed me a book recommendation- a book she enjoyed and which, based on her memory of our history together, she thought I might also enjoy. With the description of the book was a note in which she expressed that she was hesitant to send the book, afraid it might offend me. She thought this (no thanks I'm sure to my review of that other book) because some of the reviews on Amazon.com said the book was received by some readers as feminist and anti-Christian. (It is important to note that the book is set in medieval times. A time period that was, by nature, anti-Christian. It was called the "dark ages" for a reason.) As far as the feminism goes, I am not afraid of feminists nor so easily offended. Do I think the world has a very distorted view of women's strengths, abilities, and roles? YES. Am I going to curl up in a ball and cry about it? No. For the same reason I spurn political "correctness" so vehemently- that people need to get a backbone and not let the fact that someone somewhere might be saying something out loud about God, bother them- I am not. (My Own Personal Dharma is one of those, my friends who stand far to the left of me and Dr. Laura and for some reason still seem to like me anyway. And I like her.) No, rather than getting fetal and letting the tears flow, I will instead, continue to stand for what is right without shame and I will not get offended if people don't believe me. I hope they will afford me the same courtesy.

To that end, I would like to tell you what it is that I believe, so there's not all this weirdness between us. I hope that when all of you know where I stand, we can go forward as friends and without fear.

I believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. I believe that they live and that they are three separate and distinct beings. I believe that God hears and answers prayers if we have faith and are willing to hear his answers. Sometimes they are not the answers we want or expect. I believe that we are the literal and beloved spirit children of our Father in Heaven and that we lived with him before we came to this earth, and that we have both a divine nature and destiny. I believe our bodies are a sacred gift from God and that we should do all in our power to take care of them, from exercising and eating right to avoiding addictive substances. I don't drink or smoke. I believe people will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression. I believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. I believe that we are saved through the grace of Christ after all that we can do. I believe God would not have gone to all the trouble to tell the prophets and apostles so much about how people should comport themselves if He did not care about it.
I believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those in authority, to preach the gospel and administer the ordinances thereof.

I believe that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children. I believe that sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples enable family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. I believe that gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose. I believe that sexual relations should be kept within the bounds of marriage between a husband and wife who have been legally and lawfully wedded. I believe in the sanctity of life and it's importance in God's plan. I am against abortion. I believe parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. I believe that raising children in this way is the path to our greatest happiness and the most noble endeavor a couple can undertake. I also believe that husbands and wives will be held accountable before God for how they execute this greatest of responsibilities. I believe children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. I believe successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. I believe that with the sacred endowment of gender come certain responsibilities. Fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. I realize many times circumstances arise when there is only one parent. I am not saying these people cannot be successful. I am saying that the responsibility has been divinely divided in this way, and that God has given each of us inherent gifts specific to our genders, to assist us in our respective stewardships. A single parent can do a wonderful job and raise wonderful children, but as a child from a broken home, I feel that I can say- that parent will have more difficulty doing so than two parents who love each other would together. I believe that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.
I believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly. I also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. I believe there is a living prophet on the earth today and that the restoration of the priesthood and revelation foretold of in the scriptures has come. I believe we live in the last days and that Jesus Christ will come again.
I claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of my own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, worship how, when, or what they may. I believe in the freedom of speech, without which I could not be writing this blog. I also believe in being respectful to those around you and using freedom of speech in a manner that is considerate of others' rights to not hear what it is you might have to say. (As long as I'm on the respect issue- I believe that P.[ublic] D.[isplays of] A.[ffection] are rude and inconsiderate, no matter who they are between.) I believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, and in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law. I believe that any law-abiding person is welcome to come to this country and better their circumstances. I believe that a high percentage of illegal immigrants do not sustain the law. If they were law-abiding people they would not be here, they'd be waiting for their visas like everyone else. I believe that people have a sacred responsibility to vote if they live in a country where this right is afforded to them. I believe that voting for Hillary is wrong. (Ha Ha) I believe in upholding the Constitution of the United States and that, in spite of America's flaws, ours is still the best system of government in the world. I believe in our sovereignty as a nation and that we should stay away from the U.N..

I believe that we should all be honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and that we should be doing good to all men in whatever ways we can. I believe and try to follow the admonition of Paul- I believe all things, I hope all things, my people have endured many things and we hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report of praiseworthy, I strive to seek after these things.

I believe in love. I believe in chocolate and femininity and keeping a journal. I believe that the beauties of this earth are a testament of the Creator
and a gift from Him to help us remember just how much we are loved. I believe that God has given man the charge to take care of the earth and that wastefulness of any thing is always abhorrant, but also that the earth's resources are here for us to use. I love the seasons and bad weather and the opportunities they are to be reminded that storms pass and that the sun always shines again. (Some places more than others.)

I believe that every single person on this earth has something positive to offer it (and I try to remember that when I am dealing with them. : ) ) I believe that it's never too late to start over, that the adage "an old dog can't learn new tricks" is a lie, and that every single day is a gift which we can use to stand a little taller and do a little more. I believe we should all try to do so.

I realized as I was just reading over what I wrote up there, that I misspoke. I said these are the things I believe. I should have said these are the things I know, because I do know them. I realize there are going to be people- maybe lots of people- who don't agree with me. Some may even become angry at my conviction. They will accuse me of hating people who are different from me (which I do not), of being narrow-minded (which I am not) and of not thinking for myself (which is not now nor has it ever been the case- since I was eight months old). I do not pass judgement on people who disagree with me. I believe most of those people have not gained their own testimony of these things. I think most people in this world are just trying to do their best and be good people. That is what I would like to believe, anyway- that people do the best they can with the knowledge and emotional scars they have.

I love My Own Personal Dharma- I always have- and many others who stand with her, a little further to the left than I. This is who I am. I am not afraid of other opinions- I am not so easily offended. I hope none of you are either. I had a teacher once who said, "I've found that with people who are easily offended, it is almost always because they have too much pride." I don't know if this is universally true, but I do tend to believe it in the case of political "correctness".

Oh- one more thing. I believe that anyone can know the truthfulness of these things if they exercise enough faith to ask God, believing that they will receive an answer. I know the words of the prophets are true which said: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." (James 1:5)

"...and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, having real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." (Mor. 10:4-5)


Kelly said...

AMEN my sweet dear sister! Thank you for sharing your beautiful testimony! It brought tears to my eyes and a giggle to my lips..(on some parts). I LOVE YOU AMY! I love how you are true to who you are and you don't offend me! Now...if you forget to take a shower for a week...maybe...LOL...

WyniaFamily said...

Wow, can I copy that and hand it out as my own words? I want to. Very well spoken.

Not quite the Bradys said...

Be my guest. I can't take credit for all of it either- but I mean every word.

The Allen Family said...

Beautifully put! It makes me like you even more! I appreciate you honesty and especially your conviction! Thank you!

Cassadie said...

How flattered I am to be mentioned on your blog!! I just want to drink some blackberry cordial now in your honor... You know, a person might be surprised to discover that you and I actually share so many of the same core values (despite being of different political persuasion), but I bet you're not...

Sharon/mom said...

Dear sweet Amy, that was beautiful and I am glad you brought it to my attention. I have a hard time keeping up with my childrens blogs. I love how clear and direct you are. You certainly can write a book someday if that is your wish. I admire you very much! You are as the scriptures say an "elect lady". I love you very much!