Since the update in LDS Church policy regarding same-sex marriages and children of same-sex couples last year, many have chosen to view the church, its leaders, and many official church statements as discriminatory, hateful, and bigoted. The question that comes to my mind is: “What do I know about the leaders of the LDS church?” My experience teaches me that they’re inclusive, loving, kind, and inspired, and I choose first to rely on that. This type of logic reminds me of a story:
Do you remember when Lucy first found Narnia (in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe)? How excited she was to share it with her siblings? And on the other hand, how devastated she was when Edmund called her a liar? Peter and Susan went to talk to professor Diggory Kirke for advice and…
…he sat listening to them with the tips of his fingers pressed together and never interrupting, till they had finished the whole story. After that he said nothing for quite a long time. Then he cleared his throat and said the last thing either of them expected:
“How do you know,” he asked, “that your sister’s story is not true?”
“Oh, but -” began Susan, and then stopped. Anyone could see from the old man’s face that he was perfectly serious. Then Susan pulled herself together and said, “But Edmund said they had only been pretending.”
“That is a point,” said the Professor, “which certainly deserves consideration; very careful consideration. For instance – if you will excuse me for asking the question – does your experience lead you to regard your brother or your sister as the more reliable? I mean, which is the more truthful?”
“That’s just the funny thing about it, sir,” said Peter. “Up till now, I’d have said Lucy every time.”
“And what do you think, my dear?” said the Professor, turning to Susan.
“Well,” said Susan, “in general, I’d say the same as Peter, but this couldn’t be true – all this about the wood and the Faun.”
“That is more than I know,” said the Professor, “and a charge of lying against someone whom you have always found truthful is a very serious thing; a very serious thing indeed.”
“We were afraid it mightn’t even be lying,” said Susan; “we thought there might be something wrong with Lucy.”
“Madness, you mean?” said the Professor quite coolly. “Oh, you can make your minds easy about that. One has only to look at her and talk to her to see that she is not mad.”
“But then,” said Susan, and stopped. She had never dreamed that a grown-up would talk like the Professor and didn’t know what to think.
“Logic!” said the Professor half to himself. “Why don’t they teach logic at these schools? There are only three possibilities. Either your sister is telling lies, or she is mad, or she is telling the truth. You know she doesn’t tell lies and it is obvious that she is not mad. For the moment then and unless any further evidence turns up, we must assume that she is telling the truth.“
Knowing the whole story (that Lucy did in fact go to Narnia), it’s easy to side with the professor. From Peter and Susan’s perspective, however, it would be more difficult… In fact, I think I would have reacted similarly (and regrettably, I have reacted similarly in such situations in the past). Paul wrote about this principle in his second epistle to Timothy. Incidentally, Paul was talking here about the “last days” (a.k.a. now) when “perilous times shall come.”
“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.” (2 Timothy 3:14)
Relating that principle and story to the topic of this post, the Apostles and Prophets are Lucy; Narnia and the faun are the policy change; Edmund is the critics; and you and I are Peter and Susan. And I ask myself, “Who does my experience lead me to regard as more reliable?” I’d say the apostles and prophets :) In fact, my experience teaches me that the they are called of God and that they receive revelation from Him. And that they’re interested in my eternal welfare.
My experience with most critics, on the other hand, teaches me that they want to destroy my faith. So, when some try to discredit the Lord’s servants, such as in the case of this policy change, saying they are closed-minded and exclusionary, I choose first to rely on what years of experience has taught me — that they in fact are loving and honest, and they speak for God.
Along these lines, two current prophets and apostles taught:
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters—my dear friends—please, first doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.” (Come, Join with us, Pres. Uchtdorf)
“In moments of fear or doubt or troubling times, hold the ground you have already won, even if that ground is limited… When those moments come and issues surface, the resolution of which is not immediately forthcoming, hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes.” (Lord, I Believe, Elder Holland)
And once I make my first decision when a question arises — to rely on previous experience, to doubt my doubts before my faith — I don’t have to stop there. After referring to this recent policy change, President Nelson taught:
“You may not always understand every declaration of a living prophet. But when you know a prophet is a prophet, you can approach the Lord in humility and faith and ask for your own witness about whatever His prophet has proclaimed.” (Becoming True Millennials)
On top of my experiences of the past, I can have new experiences and find new evidences to increase my faith and broaden my understanding!
I choose to rely on my experience, and seek for personal revelation in regards to this policy change. And I believe that it, and the prophets who revealed it, are inspired by our Heavenly Father.