I wrote a comment on Facebook today and as I pondered whether I should post it, my wife urged me to refrain from doing so. "If you are second guessing it, you probably shouldn't" she said. So being the type of guy I am, I clicked submit then quickly retracted my statement and deleted it. So do I believe what I wrote? Absolutely, but I am usually one that leaves my comments too ambiguous for people to either understand or when they do understand they get offended so I felt it should be fleshed out into blog form. This was the comment:
"Mormons should hold to the rod, rather than build bridges to large buildings…"
I live in Salt Lake City and today was the Utah Pride Parade for gay rights activists, so the comment was referring to a grassroots organization called Mormons Building Bridges that took part to show their support and outpouring of love to family members and friends that either struggle with being gay or have chosen to live such a lifestyle. While the basis of their agenda is great, as we should show love to all we come in contact with regardless of their beliefs, and many of their posters and signs were cute and witty, the underlying issue I had was WHERE and WHEN they were showing support. By supporting them at a gay event, they encourage those feelings rather than helping them overcome them. They also place themselves in a position where they are violating one or two of the temple recommend questions leaving themselves open to other temptations.
Which brings me here talking about that issue. Let it be known that I try really hard to understand why so many faithful LDS members are speaking out in support of gay marriage. Although I haven't had to deal with a personal relationship of a gay family member or LDS friend, I do have gay friends and friends with siblings that are living with same-sex attraction. So when I first thought about how wrong it COULD be to support groups that believe differently, I eventually came to one of my favorite Book of Mormon stories, the famous Tree of Life vision.
To keep it brief, the Tree of Life is the Love of God and eternal life which one receives after living the commandments as we hold to the iron rod (the scriptures) which leads to the tree. Those that fall away through temptation and sin get lost and eventually end up in a Large and Spacious Building (the world) and with prideful hearts mock and laugh at those that are holding to the rod. You can read more about the whole vision HERE and explanation HERE (1 Nephi: 8, 11-14).
So as I was struggling to understand and relate I said to myself 'Bridges don't have to be one way as they allow those that sin to come to the other side as well. So building bridges can be a good thing, right?' But knowing they are not one way also means the righteous can be led away. Then it occurred to me what Lehi did in the vision. Rather than stray from his beliefs, he seeked out his family and desired that they would also partake. Rather than let go of the rod or step away from righteousness he beckoned unto them with a loud voice to come unto him. Rather than build a bridge, he pleaded with them to correct their path. He loved his family so much that he wanted what was best for them, but he wasn't willing to sacrifice his own salvation by lowering the standards of what God had put forth.
So I'll walk with you, I'll talk with you, I'll show my love for you, but if my shepherd goes somewhere else I'll be there holding to the rod with love and inviting you to come unto Him…