This morning as I was catching up on my emails and studying my scriptures I was affected by two similar issues; the current protests of Prop. 8 in California against the LDS Temples and members and the past issue of the last days of battle in the Book of Mormon, specificially that in Mormon 1 & 2.
I felt such sadness for those in California who have had to deal directly with the persecutions for their beliefs against homosexual marriage and the thought arose 'if the church didn't take a public stand on their position on Prop.8 then none of these protests would have had to happen.' I also then quickly realized that while the protests may not have happened, neither would have come forth the opportunity for the sifting process between the weak, mediocre, and strong believers in Christ. I believe this situation really leads us to all ponder on where we stand. Sure, we can all put on our pretty clothes and go to church every Sunday, but what do we do when our homes, families, and careers are attacked because of our beliefs? Do we shrink away in humiliation for fear of what will happen to us temporally, or do we stand strong in our beliefs and firm in our faith and the gospel of Jesus Christ knowing that it really only matters what he and our Heavenly Father think of us. As noble as it sounds to stand firm in your faith, the huge amount of pain, similar to that experienced by the Pioneers years ago, is a reality and nothing to be excited about.
In Mormon 2:25-26, I was struck by the firm foundation the Nephites appeared to have when the Lamanites ran from them in fear, but when the Lamanites actually encountered the Nephites in battle, the Lamanites found the Nephites were not as strong as they had previously appeared, but rather were weak like unto their brethern because they did not possess the strength of the Lord. Therefore, my thoughts lead me to wonder; is my appearance of strength enough in preparation for the future battles of my life? Would I stand firm in my faith even when my family was under persecution? Would I be willing to fight for my beliefs, or just profess them comfortably among my friends and family who share the same beliefs? How strong is my testimony, really?
Finally, I realized, as the kids and I read our short scripture story this morning during breakfast about Christ raising Lazerus from the Dead; days after he had passed, that while Christ may save us from our trials and our afflications, it may not happen until days after the fact. That, of course, is not what I wanted to hear, but the important thing I learned from that short story and these other thoughts is that there really is a very important reason FAITH is the first principle of the Gospel. Where do my loyalties lie when I am tried, publicly or privately? Where do I allow my thoughts, fears, and attitudes to rest during these crucial times?
I've learned a lot these last few years, and while a break from learning due to intense life changing trials is extremely enticing, without these trials I never would have been prepped for the last day, and nor could I even have had a chance at being "lifted up at the last day" if it weren't for such discomfort in my life. What a blessing the gospel of Jesus Christ is to me in peace and in peril!