Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Just Pray

I was recently privy to a conversation that took place in which a number of people were discussing the proper way to pray. I heard many a 'thee' 'thus' and 'thou' in the conversation, as well as instruction that we should not speak to Heavenly Father as we speak to our peers because He is royalty.

I don't quite agree...

Yes, I believe that there is a time and a place for proper prayer etiquette; family prayer, sacrament prayer, and really any public prayer in which we are not only praying on behalf of ourselves, but others as well. However, I truly believe that such level of propriety is not required in our personal prayer.

Here is what I know about my God...

He wants to hear me.
That's it.
He simply wants to hear me.

I don't pray as if He is on a giant throne and I am bowing in front of Him, ten steps below.
No, I pray as if He is sitting right next to me.
His big burly loving arm around me.
My head resting on His shoulder.
My tears falling on His robe.

I don't worry about propriety or etiquette.
I don't worry about sounding or looking pretty.

I just pray; raw and vulnerable, much like this song by Kelly Clarkson:


Whether we confidently pray to Him out loud, whisper silent prayers to Him deep within our hearts, or write Him letters and read them out loud to Him... It is no matter.

He cherishes all of it, for He loves us, and simply wants to hear us.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Same Sex Attraction is Not 'Wrong'

I had an experience today that really offended me, and I'm struggling to release the resulting anger.

It happened in the second hour of my church block; Sunday School. We were discussing the beatitudes, as well as the new laws the Savior delivered to replace the law of Moses, when we came to the following verse:

Matthew 5:28:
But I say unto you, That whosever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. 
Knowing that so many struggle with the concept of lust, and what it really means, I raised my hand andreferring to the text of the scripturestated (and I quote); "Being triggered or tempted by a woman is not a sin, and does not lust make. It is what we do with that trigger or temptation that can lead to lust."

At the end of my comment I heard a man (who I will henceforth refer to as 'The Man') on the other side of the room half whisper under his breath; "Wow Sister Agla, are you into women?"

And then came the laughter.

Even though it was only a handful of people, who were also within hearing distance of his comment, it was deafening to me.

I flushed a deep hot red as my countenance darkened.
I wanted to run.

My struggle.
My shame.
I thought I was over it.
I thought I'd let it all go.

But his one little comment, followed by the laughter of the crowd, struck incredibly deep.

I wasn't sure if my husband had heard, even though he was sitting right next to me, so as to not call attention to myself I reached inside my purse and quickly sent him a text asking such. He confirmed that he'd heard it and mouthed the words, "I'm sorry."

It felt good to be validated.

When the meeting ended, I rushed out to avoid facing The Man. He'd repeated "I was just kidding" a few times after his comment, in what I assume was an effort to minimize what he'd said, and I wasn't about to satiate his desire to get me to agree with, or even applaud that effort.

Obviously, I was in a very rough, sensitive and vulnerable place.

After church, my husband let me know that he felt he needed to talk to The Man, so he stopped him in the hall after church. He didn't get mad or blame, but simply desired to shed some light on my perspective. He said; "there is no way you could know this, but my wife works with many women who struggle with same sex attraction, so she is very sensitive to the topic." The Man responded positively at first, stating; "Oh I didn't know that. I didn't mean anything by it," but then quickly rationalized by saying; "but it is wrong."

My husband's efforts were valiant, and I thank him. Not only did he defend me, but he also kept my confidentiality, for I don't just work with people who struggle with same sex attraction, but I myself struggle with it as well. I wrote about it once before, here.

The fact is, same sex attraction is not wrong.
How we respond to it can lead to wrong doing, but the innate temptation is not wrong.

I am not wrong.
I am not wrong.
I, am not wrong.

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"