Monday, October 1, 2012

Finding Gratitude in the Face of Anti-Mormon Propaganda

I had the opportunity to attend the General Relief Society Conference with 11 other sisters from my recovery group up in Salt Lake a few days ago.  It was absolutely wonderful and we all had a great time.

We carpooled to Sandy and then boarded Trax and rode the train into the heart of Salt Lake City to avoid having to deal with parking.  The conference center seats over 21,000 people so you can imagine how busy it was!

As we exited the train and began walking toward the Conference center we happened upon a group of people on the street corner that was handing out little packages of tissue.  I thought that was really nice since I hadn't brought any with me and the chance of me shedding some tears was pretty great.  The tissues were wrapped with a beautiful bow and with encouraging smiles we were told to choose our favorite color.  Each person from my group willingly took one.  I put mine in my purse.



We made our way to the Standby line and were ushered into the Tabernacle.  We didn't end up getting into the conference center but it was still a wonderful opportunity and experience to be able to watch conference in the tabernacle.

During President Eyring's talk I began to cry as he shared the sweet story of how the Relief Society in his daughter's ward rallied around her family when she went into labor three months early.  It was a touching story that really made me feel grateful that I am a member of such a wonderful Society of women that are so good at helping one another.

In the midst of this talk I remembered the wonderful sisters on the street corner that had so kindly given me tissues.  I pulled them out and opened them.  I found that the tissue package had a slit up the side and a card had been slid in-between the tissues.  



The card had a wonderful scripture on it: "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest."  I'm very familiar with this scripture for it has offered me much hope throughout my recovery.  I thought this was really nice!  Then I noticed the websites listed on the card which seemed odd and as I flipped the card over and saw the image on the other side it all began to sink in.  

This card was an advertisement for anti-Mormon propaganda.  I immediately felt a rush of anger.  I mean, how inconsiderate of these people to encroach on something so sacred to me and try to steer me away from something I know to be true?  I don't agree with their teachings yet you don't see me showing up at their functions to dissuade them from their beliefs.  I thought it to be manipulative and conniving.  I was completely offended and I wanted to throw away the tissues and the card.

And then I recognized them; the chains of the adversary as they began to wrap around my heart in the form of hate.  I knew what was happening and I knew I didn't want it.  I immediately began to look for the gratitude in this situation to help steer my heart:
  • I am grateful that I am secure enough in my Savior to not feel the need to point fingers and hate others.
  • I am grateful for my Savior and that He teaches me to not only be tolerant of others, but to love others.
  • I am also grateful for my Savior's example and that He teaches me how to love others, because I know I wouldn't do it very well on my own.
  • I feel genuine sorrow for the sisters who gave me the tissues and I'm praying for them.  I love them and I hope one day they will find the peace and happiness I have found.

In the end I didn't let it bother me.  I kept the card long enough to take the picture of it to share on this blog post but then ripped it up.  I didn't visit the sites even though I was curious for I knew that would be like opening the door to my heart and allowing Satan to walk right in, muddy shoes and all.  I kept the tissues - they are innocent and I can use them.

I'm grateful for the opportunity that was presented to me to learn to shut off my hate and turn it over to my Savior, and in turn He replaced that hate with gratitude and love.  This experience will make the next time much easier, for there will always be a next time.


8 comments:

  1. Please see the message of love that the ladies who handed out the tissues have for you:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZ1DGGNa2nI

    Also, please be brave. Don't buy the that you have to "shut down" or insulate yourself from seeing literature of opposing viewpoints. Please, know that people are desperately praying for you, and that you would have the courage to look on the outside.

    Grace and peace in Jesus,

    Aaron

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    1. I'll add you to my prayers too:-)

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    2. Aaron, I received one of these tissues as well. I appreciated the gift. Thank you for the youtube you shared. As I listened, I learned how these sweet, kind women don't know what we believe. I invite you to review mormon.org, specifically http://mormon.org/jesus-christ, and find out from the source. Maybe you can then pass along the message to our dear concerned sisters.

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  2. I am glad that you were able to "shut off your hate". That is what the Savior asks us to do. As one of the ones that passed out the tissues, may I just share that I did so out of a deep love for mormons whom I consider to be "my people" just as Paul spoke of his "people" in the New Testament. He does not shy away from pointing them to Christ. That was all I wanted to do. Not to offend. The websites on the back show people how to come to Christ alone to relieve their burdens. I am not sure how this could be considered to be "anti-mormon" to members of the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day Saints. Shouldn't we all be wanting people to come to Christ to take their burdens?
    In Love,
    Paige

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    1. Hi Paige,

      I'm one of the many who also received tissues. I want to explain where many of my friends also found hurt in your project. We had traveled and looked forward to a beloved, cherished annual meeting that is revolved around the soul purpose of helping us unite together as daughters of God, easing our burdens through coming unto Christ and relying on Him that our burdens may be light, and learning how to enhance our imperfect lives through His divine power, grace, and teachings. This meeting was one of the most incredible and touching I've been to personally. I witnessed many solemn tears as we received comfort and love in this year's meeting. You and your friends came to tell us that something we love and draw strength from was wrong and not good enough. You say we're your people and you love us, and I don't have any reason not to believe you. I wonder though, if any of you took time to understand what we cherish before telling us it's wrong?

      This year's addesses are not yet up online, though they will soon, but last year's are. I invite you to read my favorite from last year that meant very much to me, entitled "Forget Me Not": http://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/general-relief-society-meeting/2011/09/forget-me-not?lang=eng

      Thank you though, for your time.

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    2. Hi Paige and all others,

      You ask how you are "anti" - in the dictionary ‘anti’ is defined as someone who is opposed to a particular practice, party, policy or action. It simply means you are opposed to my beliefs. I believe you fit that category. You may argue now that you don't oppose my beliefs yet in the video that was posted by Aaron, which I did watch, Becky specifically states that the Priesthood is not needed to return home. I believe it is. You don’t. That equals opposition or a disagreement of beliefs.

      You mentioned that the websites on the back of the card simply show people how to come unto Christ "alone" or ‘your way.’ Yet some of those sites have full or shortened versions of the word "Mormon" in them. This to me is deceptive – leading faithful Latter-day Saints to believe that those sites are LDS Church affiliated.

      You also mentioned that these websites show people how to lift their burdens. If you would take the time to read this very website, my blog, my personal recovery story located at the top under the tab “My Story” you will see a perfect example of how my Savior, Jesus Christ, personally lifted and continues to lift my burden. My entire blog is about Him - about how I lean on Him every day and strive to love Him and become like Him. My blog is named "By the Light of Grace" because Christ is Grace and only by Him will I return home. I give all glory to Him.

      Don’t get me wrong. I am all for missionary work. If you truly believe that you have something meaningful to offer and teach people, by all means, please spread the word. I'm sure you can offer much hope and peace to many lives. But please don't step on my beliefs by handing out opposing literature at a personal church function that is sacred to me and tell me the way I worship my Savior is wrong. I don't see you outside Jewish synagogues offering the same tissues and inviting them to come unto Christ. I don't see websites that have Jewish affiliated words on them to entice them to visit your sites on your cards. If you truly are doing this out of love - proselyte like the rest of us - knock on doors, do good deeds - spread hope. But don't hand out cards with my beautiful Temple on them and a person leaning away from it and red pills on the card and websites with my Church’s name on them on the other side and then call it “we love you and don’t oppose you.” It’s offensive to me that you would think I’m so naïve to believe that. I didn’t come by my testimony lightly. It wasn’t just handed to me. I had to work hard for the knowledge I have. Many prayers and faith building experiences have gone into it and in return my Heavenly Father and Savior have blessed me with a sweet testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

      Regardless of what your beliefs are and what my beliefs are I don’t foresee a meeting of the minds. I would ask that those of you who were involved in handing out the tissues no longer post on my blog. My soul purpose in creating this blog is to help LDS (Mormon) women recover from sexual addiction by sharing my story and my journey of how my Savior rescued me. My blog post that started this thread was simply my way of sharing my experience of turning something that potentially could have sparked anger in me into gratitude for what I have. My goal was to teach others through this experience that it's possible to see the gratitude in everything.

      This discussion has steered away from the purpose of my blog and I'd like it to stop. I am agree'ing to disagree. I ask that you do the same.

      Thank you for your concern and your prayers - I can sure use them.
      Much love,

      Sidreis

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Thank you for sharing a moment with me:-)

Ezekiel 34:11-12,16

"For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick"