I hate starting a post with the end in mind, but that's what I'm going to do today.
The end is this.. I am an active and believing member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
I am not stupid, brainwashed, asexual, naive, or afraid.
If you have decided that you no longer want to be a part of the LDS Church--I do not believe you are stupid, brainwashed, sexually promiscuous, naive, or afraid.
That is the end.
This is the beginning.
Alma 40:8--All is as one day with God.
Lael Woodbury said in an address to BYU students in 1974... a lot of stuff... that can be found here.
He said that God sees time in the same way that we see space.
Look out the window and think about all you can take in with your eye in a single moment.
Now imagine describing everything you just saw to a blind man.
We are like the blind trying to comprehend space. God sees all the events of time--past, present, and future--laid out in front of him. We experience time moment to moment, experiencing each event individually. But all events contribute to this grand vista of time.
When you tell me of ugly events and choices made by men and women of the past and present day church, I do not dismiss them. But I take it as a part of a larger vista. The tumbleweed cannot undo the beauty of the tall pine tree. They're all a part of the same vista.
Christ is the perfect bridegroom. And the church is the imperfect bride chosen by him, to marry with him and enter with Him into a state of eternal exaltation.
This whole earthly experience is littered with imperfections. This is why a Savior is necessary. Did you only think things outside of the church were allowed to be imperfect? Did you think that everyone and everything associated with the church were perfect?
Even Christ, called to his perfection as a part of his role as Savior, said to his apostles in Jerusalem: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)
But after his resurrection, he said to the Nephites, "Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I or your Father who is in heaven is perfect." 3 Ne 12:48
If the man called to save the world through his perfect life, originally credited only the Father with perfection, then I will embrace my own imperfections and the imperfections of my faith, my leaders, my friends, my loved ones, and even my enemies as a part of this vista of time and space.
I have yet to run across one factoid powerful enough to undo the mountains of experiences that shape my vista of faith. (That's not a challenge.) But my vista is constantly shaped by the actions of my present moment. Just as time is as one day with God--Is there really anything more than this present moment?
And I believe we're back to the end.
I am an active and believing member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Whether you believe or not--you are a beautiful part of my world. You bring my life magic, contemplative moments, miracles, Art, Joy, Love. Divinity.
Today I am grateful for Faith, Hope, and Love.
(And capitalization to highlight my reverence for Art, Joy, and Love.)