It's been a rough week for Mormons. Some Mormons are hurt; some are happy; some are indignant, and some are just wondering what the hell is happening.
I'm sad. I'm worried about my friends, and I am worried about my church.
I want to believe that this mess is going to get better, that the church leadership will come to a new understanding--a compassionate understanding of inclusion. I want to believe that my fellow members of the church on all sides of this division will lower their proverbial pitchforks.
But it probably won't.
Yesterday an Elder's Quorum instructor shared a scripture that resonated with me. We weren't discussing the current controversy, but I learned something that applies anyway.
D&C 101: 32-36 reads:
Yea, verily I say unto you, in that day when the Lord shall come, he shall reveal all things--Things which have passed, and hidden things which no man knew, things of the earth, by which it was made, and the purpose and the end thereof--Things most precious, things that are above, and things that are beneath, things that are in the earth, and upon the earth, and in heaven. And all they who suffer persecution for my name and endure in faith, though they are called to lay down their lives for my sake yet shall they partake of all this glory, Wherefore, fear not even unto death; for in this world your joy is not full, but in me your joy is full. (emphasis mine)
"They who suffer persecution for my name" caught my attention, and I reread the passage several times. When we think of those that suffered persecution, we think of Joseph Smith and the early church members who were killed, beaten, and chased from town to town. We think of modern missionaries who are taunted as they share the news of the gospel. We tend to think that only God's servants suffer. But what happens when God's servants are not the persecuted but the persecutors?
I saw a different image each time I read the scripture. I saw those that are persecuted by members of the church. I saw families hurting by those acting in the name of God. I saw suffering.
I'm not as kind as I aspire, and I certainly don't have the authority to change church policy, but I can help those who hurt. I can speak out against the persecution. I can open my arms to those who need a friend. Most importantly, I will witness, and I will comfort.