This will be a tough topic to tackle. I have so many questions, most of which don’t/can’t have definite answers right now. I’ll do my best to face the most difficult ones head-on, without judgment or anxiety.
Mindfulness is rarely a comfortable journey. THAT’s for sure.
If I could gain clarity about polygamy I would be able to look at different people who practiced it more gently.
Polygamy has never been a social concept I’ve handled well. Even imagining someone marrying a different spouse after their previous one has died gives me terrible anxiety. Movies like Sleepless in Seattle are most assuredly not my favorite in the world.
Over and over again I’ve gone over the issue in my mind, looking at it from a logical point of view and studying it out until I thought my heart would break. Intellectually, I can understand why God asked certain people to practice it. Emotionally, I fight it and outright reject it.
Even the thought of being caught in that kind of relationship is overwhelming.
The moment I can receive clarity about it is the moment I know I’ll be able to let go of prejudices I can’t seem to shake off against those who do choose it.
If I could have clarity about why I’m still single I would be able to better handle harder problems that will come in the future.
The fact I’m still single has been a burden from the time I was 18 years old. It comes with a plethora of old, scarring questions. “What is wrong with me?”, “Did I make a mistake in the past that has kept me from finding someone?”, “What is it I lack?”, “Will I end up an old maid?”, “Am I destined to be that one person in the family that never finds someone?” etc… (The list could go on, but you get the idea.)
I think the only thing that could bring clarity concerning this question is finding the right person to marry, or discovering a deeper purpose in life.
I know full well I’m not just my relationships, career, hobbies, or thoughts. However, there are times when I feel so lonely watching friends and family find happiness in marriage, pregnancies, and child-rearing.
I could talk at length about this subject, but I don’t like to dwell on it too long. It is painful to ponder, and I want to find happiness where I am now, despite not receiving answers to the longings of my heart.
When I reach a point in the future I can answer this question, I’ll be sure to write about it. I know there are more people out there like me who are lonely and wondering why love and marriage haven’t happened for them either.
If I could receive clarity concerning July 10, 2016, I would be able to put to rest the PTSD I’ve carried for five years.
I can’t go into detail about this particular topic because of its overall nature. However, there have been many times I’ve wondered if my experience was the way I thought. Sometimes I think I might have imagined something so profound could have happened at all.
For now, I choose to believe what I saw and experienced was real and I have the power to combat evil in my life.
Whatever questions I may have, or YOU may have as you read this, clarity comes as a gift to all in time. Perhaps in the near future, I can answer these issues I addressed in this post. Without fear, pain, or confusion.
Good luck to all and thank you for reading! If you like you can use this journal prompt for your own writing.
As many of you know, there are currently protests being held at BYU concerning its standing on its Honor Code, specifically for those who identity as LGBTQ. I learned about what had happened a few weeks ago when the changes to the Honor code first came about. Basically, in order to correct a misunderstanding, BYU reaffirmed its stance on Homosexual and other behaviors for its students. Elder Paul V. Johnson stated in his letter, “Same-sex romantic behavior cannot lead to eternal marriage and is therefore not compatible with the principles in the honor code.”
Later, the church issued this statement in response to rallies happening on temple square. “The teachings of the church and the policies of our universities are consistent with eternal principles, and seek to encourage and strengthen relationships that lead to eternal covenants made with God . . . The church and its leaders continue to teach that though there may be disagreement on an issue or policy, we should treat one another with love, respect and kindness.”
This has been so hard for me because I know there are many people, leaders and students combined who are suffering right now. There are so many voices pushing and pulling us in so many directions. These policies, in light of social reforms we now face seem very unfair, biased and cruel. So many ask, “Why don’t we have the right to express our feelings?” I have many friends who have petitioned for me to join with them in gaining support for their LGBTQ friends who are protesting.
I have pondered this very deeply and have come to a very concrete conclusion. We must support our leaders in their decisions and continue forward in faith. I feel very strongly the adversary is trying his absolute hardest to discredit our leaders and make us believe they are not inspired in their decisions, decisions which have come with much prayer and faith.
I talked to my father about this very issue several days ago. He told me, “Things are going to get worse before they get better, but God’s laws and commandments will not change even as society does. It is up to us individually to choose whose side we are on. There are not as many fence sitters now as there used to be.”
I. “Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:38): When our leaders speak on matters of doctrine, God speaks
When we question the decisions our leaders make based on doctrine set by the church we essentially question God’s decisions. President Nelson said in his BYU speech from last year, “Truth is based upon the laws God has established for the dependability, protection, and nurturing of His children. Eternal laws operate in and affect each of our lives, whether we believe them or not.”
Our leaders have established these truths on Celestial Marriage out of love, not hate.
I think it is very easy to feel victimized when our opinions are put in opposition to the words of those in authority. History is ripe with examples of unrighteous dominion. The reality though in our day is this. Those who are our leaders are imperfect people trying to do the best they can. These imperfect people, make critical decisions which affect all of us. Bishops have to daily hold interviews with those who have made wrong decisions. For BYU church leaders, they must make decisions in compliance to educational policies and the Lord’s policies. For President Nelson and the Apostles they must regularly speak on God’s standards and commandments.
They do this because they love us. God himself said, “For this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39) In order for God’s plan of happiness to go forth, he appoints leaders to speak for him to establish very plainly what we as a people must do. This at times is very hard to accept and must be taken and followed by faith. President Nelson said,
In doing so, sometimes we are accused of being uncaring as we teach the Father’s requirements for exaltation in the celestial kingdom. But wouldn’t it be far more uncaring for us not to tell the truth—not to teach what God has revealed?
President Nelson, The Love and Laws of God
The real answer is they can’t. If they did make decisions contrary to the laws which God has set they would lose their position and God would call others to take their place. For it is as President Nelson said, “Thus our commission as apostles is to teach nothing but truth. That commission does not give us the authority to modify divine law.”
We all have something we struggle with and try to understand. That is why we have leaders to guide us.
2. President Nelson and other church leaders have made it very clear what God’s standard is.
Here is what President Nelson recently said not six months ago.
In recent years, many countries, including the United States, have legalized same-sex marriage. As members of the Church, we respect the laws of the land and abide by them, including civil marriage. The truth is, however, that in the beginning—in the beginning—marriage was ordained by God! And to this day it is defined by Him as being between a man and a woman. God has not changed His definition of marriage.
I don’t know everything. I don”t understand why so many struggle with different sexual attractions or other matters of identity. But I trust our church leaders and believe Christ is at the head.
3. God has set his standard out of love and to protect us from eternal consequences.
I believe there are issues and consequences hidden within these behaviors which are of eternal significance. Just because it is not readily apparent doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Now is the time to really think about WHAT we believe, especially concerning the nature of eternal families and personal salvation. It s as President Nelson said,
My dear brothers and sisters, divine laws are God’s gifts to His children. Just as our family’s rules kept our children safe as they grew to adulthood, just as divine laws governing the heart and the flight of airplanes keep you safe on an operating table or while traveling, abiding by God’s laws will keep you safe as you progress toward eventual exaltation. Let me say it as succinctly as I can: As you abide by God’s laws, you are progressing toward exaltation.
-President Russell M. Nelson, The Love and Laws of God
Perhaps we as of yet do not fully understand the true principle of eternal marriage beyond what we see. I think it becomes easier as time moves on, we grow in maturity and see for ourselves the fruits of living a righteous life.
I loved the quote from Harry Emerson Fosdick Elder cook shared in his speech entitled “The Eternal Importance of Righteous Choices.
“The tragic evils of our life are so commonly unintentional. We did not start out for that poor, cheap goal. That aim was not in our minds at all. … That is why the road to hell is always paved with good intentions, and that is why I am not celebrating high ideals, lofty aims, fine purposes, grand resolutions, but am saying instead that one of the most dangerous things in the world is to accept them and think you believe in them and then neglect the day-by-day means that lead to them. Ah, my soul, look to the road you are walking on! He who picks up one end of a stick picks up the other. He who chooses the beginning of a road chooses the place it leads to. It is the means that determines the end.”
Harry Emerson Fodsick, Living Under Tension (1941)
I hope we can all choose to continue forward in faith and not choose the more dangerous path. Sometimes harmful behavior is composed as a cry for allowing man his innate freedoms. Sometimes great evil is painted as the greater good for all mankind. But evil works lead to immediate gratification and satisfaction. Righteousness builds brick by brick the eternal and consequential.
4. It is hard not to give in to pressures to accept new social reforms, but we must stand firm with what God has told us.
I am grateful we understand LGBTQ matters better and turn more and more towards those involved with love and understanding rather than apathy and shame. But I have learned especially lately how it is hard to support individuals in their trials and not be forced to conform to their beliefs so they can feel more comfortable. Peer pressure lately to give in and let go of old ideas on marriage and love has been so strong.
I love what President Oaks said last General Conference, “This means we are commanded to love everyone, since Jesus’s parable of the good Samaritan teaches that everyone is our neighbor. But our zeal to keep this second commandment must not cause us to forget the first, to love god with all our heart, soul and mind.”
This means if God tells us his standards for Celestial Marriage we must not forget them in light of sometimes louder voices pushing us to accept the opposite. But this doesn’t mean we become hateful, rude or toxic in how we talk about other people. No matter what they choose to do.
5.. We must choose to believe and move forward with faith even if we don’t understand all aspects of God’s laws.
Sometimes people call obedience “following blindly”. In my mind, I can think of no better being to follow blindly then God and the leaders he has chosen. But it is difficult to do so when one is so directly and negatively affected by God’s standards.
I speak from experience. For the longest time I have struggled with the principle of polygamy and why the Lord established it among his people. I have read countless articles, talks and other materials on the matter. But still in my heart it is something which has bothered me since I was old enough to understand. The root of my fear lies in difficult thoughts on what it would mean for me if I were asked to live it.
Through many prayers, tears and councils with my father and leaders I have put my feelings on the matter aside. Does it mean I understand polygamy, especially as a principle of mercy and love? No. But I know God loves his children and I am okay not fully understanding everything yet.
6. Lastly, if we want to know the truth of these things, we must seek out answers for ourselves.
I want to echo what President Nelson said again. He says it so much better then I do.
My dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to seek earnestly a confirmation from the Spirit that what I have told you is true and is from the Lord. He has declared that we may seek knowledge from heaven and expect to receive it: “If thou shalt ask,” the Lord promised, “thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge.”13
Ask your Heavenly Father if we truly are the Lord’s apostles and prophets. Ask if we have received revelation on this and other matters. Ask if these five truths are, in fact, true.
I am very sorry I cannot support many of you at this time. But I have made my decision. I really hope all of us can find peace amidst all of this and feel God’s love despite the confusion and sorrow.
This post is mostly just me rambling. I find when my thoughts are this fragmented and heavy it is best to write them out. Lately I have felt like Wirt from Over the Garden Wall. He stated in a rather dramatic way,
Sometimes I feel like a boat upon a winding river twisting towards an endless black sea, further and further, drifting away from where I want to be, who I want to be.”
All day today I have had multiple experiences of late flash through my mind. Honestly, I’ve reached a moment in my life where I don’t fit into any mold for anyone my age in the workforce or social sphere. And it causes a lot of deep pondering. At 29 I feel on the brink of passing into another world, one which not many people talk about, because not many reach it. It is a world where I have a plethora of choices laid before me. Choices I have to now make because life didn’t go as I planned. At 18 I didn’t think about a career, because I figured most girls married by 21 anyway so I wouldn’t need to worry about it. Well. . . obviously that didn’t quite happen for me. Big events in my life all fell out of order. So obvious choices I could make fall to the wayside. To give you an idea, my life played out like this. At 18 I left home to go to college as a music major, an obvious choice since I loved music and performing. Within a year and a half I switched my major to history and lost my love for music. My childhood passion gone, my mind pointed in a different direction and I moved colleges and finished my degree at 23. Well, there I was with my education finished and absolutely no idea what to do. So I went home and because a music teacher of all things. But I felt lost, so unsure of my decisions and my future. Fear gripped me hard at times and pushed me further into myself. Then at 24 I left for a mission, serving with those 7 to 8 years younger then myself, returning at 26. When I returned I didn’t have a college to go back to nor a marriage waiting for me. So I came to Provo to work, wait and hopefully settle down.
But over two years have passed me by and now the future lays ahead like tumbled weeds, jumbled, messy and looking altogether useless. When I talk to others about my desires for marriage not being in sight I receive now typical answers which could explain the why or the will be. I’ve had some tell me, “Perhaps you are meant to marry someone who is still married to someone else. You just need to wait until life puts him into a single position again.” You know, the standard Sleepless in Seattle scenario. Another person told me, “Many women don’t marry in this life but still find ways to be mothers and companions for others.” Goodness knows I have heard all sorts of things, partially because I think people feel just a little sorry for me. I don’t fit into the mold. I don’t have a prestigious career and don’t have my own family. I am adrift looking forward into a future which is truly unknown. I think it is easy to lay back and wait for any number of futures people tell me to come true. People tick off names of people I could become like, who were successful or who married famous people way later in life. It is easy to think, “Now that I am older I should start preparing myself for different goals and dreams because my previous ones no longer apply.” It is also easy to become lost, adrift wanting and waiting for life to finally come. Waiting for something miraculous to just happen.
Because that is what happens to people in these types of stories. I could be like Eowyn from Lord of the Rings who could only see in her future death by the sword, a means she devised as an escape from a caged life. I could also become like Charlotte from Pride and Prejudice who settled into a loveless relationship because she feared she was on the road to spinsterhood and shame. Then again, I could be like Fanny from Mansfield Park who felt such pressure to accept marriage from a man she did not altogether trust. I could be Sheri Dew, Wendy Nelson, or any number of successful women in this world who found happiness elsewhere outside traditional molds and stories. I really could. But here is the thing. I am not any of these people. When people tell me what I should now expect because of my age, sometimes I just want to look them in the eye and say, “How could you possibly know what is in my future or what will happen to me?” Other times I want to scream how those lives people envision coming for me are not what I want. Here is the kicker though. Do I even know what I want? If my future and life truly doesn’t fit into a workbook I can easily memorize and fill out where do I go to find out? Now, my life is a blank canvas and I have all the freedom in the world to make it what I want. But what picture do I want to paint?
The easiest thing would be to copy someone else’s life. Make myself one of countless people. But you know what, NO ONE FITS INTO THESE SO CALLED MOLDS. All of our lives are set centered on our agency. I have the power to choose the destination and particulars of my journey. But I do get sidetracked. I fail to envision the possibilities before me because I see others passing by me with particular styles, accomplishments and talents. And in so doing, I never really understand myself. I don’t think we are able to grow beyond our visions of ourselves. Therefore, I must change my perspective. I need to learn to BE ME. If I don’t know what I want to do, perhaps it is about time I figured it out.
The greatest truth I can leave anyone who reads this is, don’t let anyone steer you from creating your own life and finding your own answers. Be yourself, trust God and look forward. For “yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.”
This post is what you would call the monster. Meaning, this aspect of my life lies at the forefront of my many fears and expectations for myself. But it is an important part of my journey. So, probably with a few tears on my end, I will be honest with my experience concerning this question.
Anything I write here is for myself. But, it is also a part of me I really am ashamed of. As I have grown up I have realized feelings are precious things, and so are experiences: no matter how painful they are, even when compared to other people’s own experiences. But this is one of those cases I have to fight to let myself accept my emotions.
Please don’t think less of me for writing this. Believe me, if I could move forward without writing it I would. But I can’t.
I could talk about how much pressure is out there to be married before or after a certain age. But I won’t. I could also talk about whether or not it is necessary to even be married or if women should pursue careers first. But I won’t.
No, this is about me and my deep, overwhelming desire from a young age to be married in the temple and have a family. And not just to anyone. It must be to someone I feel I can trust my whole self to. I have a firm belief this desire has followed me from before I was born. It isn’t something I can rightly explain.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I have had ample opportunity to date and actually have been proposed to. (I forgot about that until recently when I talked to my mom. Moms remember these things.) But it isn’t really about getting married. At least, not at the deepest part.
It is about finding someone who is willing to commit themselves to me in all aspects of life. Spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. It is about taking on life’s struggles with my best friend, as cheesy as it sounds. Perhaps I am an idealist. Regardless, this dream has served as the center of my life a very long time.
But, despite everything I am not yet married.
And it terrifies me sometimes. It is irrational, perhaps a little selfish but it is real.
I remember being 16 or so during a young women’s conference and hearing a talk by someone in the presidency. She was not married and proceeded to tell us how, no matter if we marry or not, no blessings would be denied us in our lives. I am sure it was a beautiful talk. But hearing her words my heart broke a little.
The reason I felt so anxious, no matter how gently or caringly she gave the message, was because I realized my dream could very well not happen. So, ever since, there has been a small knot of grief locked in my heart especially as the years have passed by.
This little knot has grown throughout my life. Once was when I was 21. I fell for and confessed to a young man who I had dated for about eight months. Once I told him how I felt, he looked at me, told me I was a great girl and. . . just left. Literally. He stepped into his car and drove away. I never saw him again.
I remember being at my sister Jessica brother in law’s wedding reception. I tried hard to stay busy the whole time but afterwards I broke down, because it was painful for me to sit alone as everyone else danced with their partners.
I remember talking to my father when I was 24. I felt deeply impressed I should go on a mission for my church. But I didn’t want to. I looked at my father and told him it was because I was afraid I would be too old to get married when I got home.
Then on my mission I turned 26 and told my mission president what I told my father. But at that time things were a little different. I was in love with one of the missionaries I was serving with.
I remember the fateful moment I returned home and called him and felt perhaps things could work out. It was only a few days later I learned he had a girlfriend. Six months later he was married.
This last summer I attended two weddings for my younger siblings, two for my cousins and one for one of my dearest friends. I am sorry to say it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I was happy for them, but lonely for myself. I hated the way I felt as I watched them be with their significant other. It was a feeling of being left behind.
Since then I have pictured what the future will be like, watching my siblings have children. While I stay where I am.
That is what it feels like to see your life pass before you, as your dream remains unfulfilled.
Oh gosh this is hard.
So here comes the question, “Aubrey, why are you not married?” The answer is I don’t know. At least not completely.
But I will say this. Despite not knowing, I can now see more clearly who I am and where I stand then I ever have before. I have had many wonderful life experiences in college, Europe, on a mission and through continued work and education.
I have had to fight myself many times concerning this, because I often think if I move forward with my life I will lose everything I ever wanted or that I am giving up. But this is one of the lies which prohibits growth. We can’t sit and wait until our dreams happen before we can move forward.
That is the thing about dreams; we don’t have to wait for its fulfillment to be fulfilled as a person. But I can only see these truths now that I have gone through many experiences.
So, at 29 I look forward on a path which I can’t see the end of and I have a choice. I can stop and refuse to step forward into the unknown. Or I can believe; believe there is something better waiting for me, that I can be happy now, and my dream will come true.
I just need to wait and be happy living in the now. That may be the hardest trial of faith any of us encounter in this life.
But for me, I think I am learning a little more each day how precious the time I have is. Why waste it limiting my attentions to blessings I don’t have yet?
I hope to look back at this post years from now and see how lucky I was to have waited as long as I did.
I also hope I will be grateful for taking the time to face my fears.
McLintock: Becky! Come here. Somethin’ I ought to tell you. Guess now’s as good a time as any. You’re going to have every young buck west of the Missouri around here tryin’ to marry you – mostly because you’re a handsome filly, but partly because I own everything in this country from here to there. They’ll think you’re going to inherit it.
Well, you’re not. I’m going to leave most of it to, well, to the nation really, for a park where no lumbermen’ll cut down all the trees for houses with leaky roofs. Nobody’ll kill all the beaver for hats for dudes nor murder .
What I’m going to give you is a 500 cow spread on the Upper Green River. Now that may not seem like much, but it’s more than we had, your mother and I. Some folks are gonna say I’m doin’ all this so I can sit up in the hereafter and look down on a park named after me, or that I was disappointed in you – didn’t want you to get all that money.
But the real reason, Becky, is because I love you, and I want you and some young man to have what I had, because all the gold in the United States Treasury and all the harp music in heaven can’t equal what happens between a man and a woman with all that growin’ together. I can’t explain it any better than that.
My mother often tells me that true love comes through growing and laboring together. I believe we come to understand love in many stages of our lives. It truly is something we must all experience.