Same Dreams, New Resolve

I do not know what to do with my life. That much is clear to me.


I have a full-time job with great benefits. I need to get a surgery while I can to fix my tonsils/get them out. I need to be able to sing again. Because, well, accidentally I have discovered that singing is honestly my life. I’ve tried to be practical and etc, but I don’t think I can.


I love children in foster care and I really want to care for them, but I LOVE Music.

I feel like I need to choose between the two and I hate it. I hate this feeling.

I’ve always dreamed of traveling and working for the church. Going on a never-ending mission. There is this person I want to be that does all of these things. But music seems like such a solitary career. I hate solitary things.


But I need all of them.

to be a foster mom

to serve God

family history

and MUSIC

teaching and serving and learning and growing

but feeling free and creative and safe to be myself

I feel like I can’t do that with my current job or situation.

I feel trapped

but I know if I get in to music and I HAVE to practice or write or create

I will feel the same way


the only conclusion that I have is

I am my own worst enemy


I want to be like Melanie

to have a flexible job so I feel like I can drop it at any moment

to love and serve someone

I don’t want to have to choose

and if I do I know what my choice will be

and I don’t want to feel bad for it I want to be free
I want to be free to love and serve

people I love

the community

the world

everyone

and I don’t want to feel trapped

I don’t want to put my righteous desires on the back burner ever

I hate it

and if I have to be broke to do this

fine

cool

I’ll do it I just want to do it


God, fostering, music, family history

loving and serving

advocating

these are my priorities
and my mind cannot be changed

it can’t

I looked at the majors for school again. I’ve decided on doing communications with a minor in music. Possibly double major with french. I feel really good about studying french. It works both with music and speaking. I love that it bridges across my interests. I definitely think learning french is inspired because I really want to work in 3rd world countries, and french is definitely present.


I don’t know. The advocating/politics is super appealing as well. This job for sure entails travel, which I am not upset about at all. I have always loved arguing for the things that I believe in. But, civilly. I love that. I am really excited to do the things that I am made to do. I really hope that I can pull this off. I don’t want to quit my job until I know that this is the course I want to take, and also once I have had the surgeries that I need.


I feel a lot more like I have direction in my life now. At last, I finally feel like I am in control of what I am doing and that I am taking the right paths. When I was at BYUI I constantly felt I wasn’t following the right path. I love music, but it just didn’t feel like I was in the right environment for myself. And now, feeling the success of financial stability, holding down a good job, knowing that I can care for myself medically instead of wondering what was going on with me.


I just honestly feel like God is truly here taking me somewhere beautiful. Things are going in a direction that I really love and I am genuinely excited about. Living is 1000 percent bettering than surviving.


So the hope right now is to keep my job, work on getting surgeries, try ritalin or adderall or both so I can actually succeed!, start taking classes at MCC and work hard so I can transfer back to a Uni again, and keep my options open for better/more flexible jobs for school. If I can swing doing school part time and working full-time, I might try my hand at doing full-time for both in the Fall, but I don’t know if that’s something that I can do. I’m a pretty distracted person, and being social is so important to me. I highly doubt that that is something I would be good at, but if there is a possibility and God wants me to do just that, I might as well give it a shot.

I’m mildly reading a book (as much as a completely distracted person can do. One random chapter at a time. Thankfully, the book is designed for someone like me haha) about ADHD.

The biggest take away? Stop trying to be what you are not. Be what you are, but get better at it.

that has been so valuable to me. I’ve spent so much time trying to do and be what I am not. I have been impatient, downright mean and spiteful toward myself for not being able to work the way I think that I need or should. I’m late

all

the

time.

I blurt and laugh and interrupt

I have crazy thoughts and ideas and nonsense is constantly swimming through my head

I’m crazy

and I love it

and I don’t have to feel bad about it or apologize for loving it

I love that I am me

and I know that God made me this way, and he loves my personality and the uniqueness of my brain

and from here on out

I am going to love everything about myself without any shame or fear or hesitation

Because God and this crazy girl

we’re going to change the world

Dancing in the Rain

There were a few things that finally pushed me over the edge. The edge between completely lost and confused, and finding the footing that I’d been looking for in life. Let me tell you, the words hot mess and I are old, and well acquainted friends. We know each other better than anyone. I’m guaranteed to say or do something stupid at any given moment in time. I 100% laugh too loud, smile too much, and probably have embarrassed basically everyone I know. I talk incessantly. I joke defensively. Everyone is my friend. And I like those things about me.

I took a break, again, from the writing that I love love love to do, because I was not in a good place. I moved so many times, I dealt with a lot of not good things and situations, I meet some of the best people of my life, and, most important above all else, I learned so so much about myself and the world and how I want those things to work together.

First off, HOLY BANANAS I LOVE MY FRIENDS. I have no idea how the heck I could’ve survived such a rollercoaster of a ride without so many good and sweet and incredible people by my side. This wild ride isn’t over yet, but I can finally breathe enough to not be in survival mode. I never knew life could be this good. I had no idea, honestly. I had fantasies about exactly how great life could be in the future when I was no longer being thrown about, but I was SO off. Life is amazing.

The funny thing about it all is I still have all of the problems I had before, except that now I feel fully in charge. Not because I can guarantee the outcomes of things, but because I can guarantee the outcome of me. I am happy. I was always good at doing that–being happy–but I am fighting a fight to feel a deeper happiness than I have before. And it’s working. Spiritually I’m struggling a little bit, but I know that God knows where I’m at and what we need to work on. And we’ll get there, one day at a time.

I’m overwhelmed. I can’t exactly express the journey that I’ve been on, but I know it was a 180 trip. I went from feeling like the absolute end of the world was here, to feeling on top of the world. And I can’t take credit for a minute of that success. God had his hand in everything. He gifted me so much love through so many wonderful people. I am humbled. I am grateful. I am hopeful. Hopeful that this isn’t the end of my story, or even just the middle, but the very beginning of the life I wanted but couldn’t have as a child. A life of peace. Joy. Love. Unbridled happiness. Potential. Potential for even more. And knowledge. So much knowledge that what I can’t learn today, I can learn tomorrow, and that my small accomplishes are not for nothing.

My favorite lesson as of right now, is that I can be big and loud and so me, and I will still be loved.

There really and truly is happiness. Somehow in every bit of life, I’ve been able to find it. But sometimes, you get aa big break, and it just rains right on you. And you soak it all in because, finally, you don’t feel like you have to watch the sky and pray with all your might for just one drop to fall on you. It’s raining, and I love dancing in the rain.

~Annie

Important isn’t Always Important

It’s been a good long while since I last wrote out my thoughts and what is going on in my mind. Maybe that’s because life got wilder than I intended it to. Things have twisted and turned so far out of my own personal imagination that I still haven’t wrapped my head around it. It’s almost like a dream is playing out before my eyes, a dream I don’t quite understand.

There’s a saying that things get better, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and that happiness wins in the end. I’m not sure I had enough imagination when it came to my future. I guess I figured I’d always just be barely surviving. I learned to be happy like that, somehow, and I finally became comfortable. Then, God asked me to make a change. I listened, and suddenly the comfort was gone. I was lost and confused and unsure of what was going on. How on earth could I get through such an unfamiliar path as this? And then, I did. And the journey started all over again.

Life never ends up the way we imagine it, no matter how negative, positive, or passive we are. We, as humans, have a perfect track record of never getting it right. And that’s more than okay. Because we get so many wonderful, beautiful, and mind blowing surprises along the way. We learn to laugh, and let go, and truly be ourselves. We live for the moment, we rejoice in the future, and we honor the lessons of the past.

What is “important” to us changes, but what is important never changes. Some days, all I want is to be noticed, other days all I want is to be noticed by the right people, and other days I just want to be able to love myself. No matter what at this exact moment is our goal, our core- our spirit- remains the same. We know there is a part of ourselves where our deepest fears and desires reside, and our true selves -the very essentials that make us exactly who we are- are really what we are living for. We cannot afford to get distracted by our ephemeral needs and wants and sacrifice who we are at our core.

I have been distracted many times by those kinds of needs. They feel so urgent, so loud, and so utterly in control of our future happiness that they scream for center stage. I think life is all about benching those loudmouths. We need to decide which important things we will let direct our lives. It’s certainly not an easy task, but it is the one that we’ve been given.

I’m grateful that life isn’t going “my way”, and I’m grateful that God knows full well what is really important to me. He reads my heart so often, and blesses me with tender mercies more often than I even notice. He is an amazing Father, support, and cheerleader, and it fills me with joy knowing that all of my brothers and sisters around the world have the privilege of feeling this same love in their own lives.

Annie

True Beauty

This might not be the most amazing picture you ever see in your feed, but to me, it is a miracle! Today, for the first time in my whole life, I feel beautiful.

Yesterday was one of the hardest days of my life. I had my first full-blown panic attack in months, in the middle of church no less. I was embarrassed, and ashamed. I was at my lowest, and the darkness seemed to swallow me up. I didn’t know if I could ever be happy again, and I didn’t know if I could ever find my place in the world.

It was so difficult to relapse like that. I’ve been working so hard for so many years to overcome everything, and it felt like I’d just been pushed back to square one. It was devastating.

But all of those feelings of hurt and pain –as intense as they were– were fleeting and brief. At My Darkest Hour, I was not alone. As my soul was weighted with all the pain that I’ve ever felt in my life that I had yet to overcome, I cried out to God. Kneeling in the bathroom stall, I leaned against the wall and repeated over and over “God please hear me, please help me. I can’t heal myself, but I know you can.” It was the longest hour of my life. But I know God heard me. This was what he had wanted, all along. He had been waiting so patiently for me to let him in my heart, in a way I have not been able to in years. And now, his love engulfs me.

God hears us. I know he’s been with me from the beginning, my trusted friend and confidant. How it must have absolutely broken his heart to listen to my cry every night and not be able to take away my pain because I wouldn’t let him, how my Savior must have agonized over the sacrifices he’d made for me that I wouldn’t accept.

The Savior’s atonement is not just for sinners. He can help us carry any burden, and I know without a doubt he has lifted mine. He has placed people into my life to help me, and I’ve struggled very much to let them in. And through it all, they still loved me. I will forever be grateful to my Savior, and I am ELATED to feel beautiful

~Annie

Joy

God is SO in charge of our lives. If he told me when I was younger that I would be where I am, I don’t know that I would’ve believed such a dream. Not a single part of my life is how I had imagined. The trials I face wear me down in ways I never thought possible, but the way I rise above them and pick myself up is astonishing. The friends I’ve gained, the things I’ve learned, the way my goals and dreams have shifted and changed, it all leaves me amazed.

Every night before I fall asleep, I have to remind myself that everything is real. It really is this hard and confusing and glorious. I really am surrounded by marvelous children of God whom I love and adore, and who love me back. This really is the life I get to live. What a gift I’ve been given!

I’ve fallen in love with so many aspects of life, I’ve learned so much about embracing the crazy and rolling with it. My path is not straight on, but a winding road of unexpected twists and turns that both surprise and delight me. What an absolute joy to have such amazing experiences, to learn beyond what I once knew.

Each new chapter, each new place, each new person- leaves me breathless. I can never predict or pinpoint the amount of joy and pain each will bring to me, or how I will stretch beyond my comprehension. But if I must live in this crazy, upsidedown world, I have concluded, then I must live!

Love, Annie

More Than Our Trials

Today was definitely interesting. Last night when I thought all was well, I got hit with a bill I never expected and that’s way out of my ability to pay. I ended a great day crying and I kind of wanted to give up. I couldn’t attend my classes this morning because of fainting issues, and I ended up being late to a very important rehearsal. I’m struggling a lot in my classes with being able to sing with confidence on my own and it’s stressing me out. High notes make me crazy shy and I tend to hold them in and make everything sound awful. It’s so frustrating because it’s a really bad habit and impulse that I don’t really know how to control. It’s self-sabotage that I just can’t seem to turn off. It really sucks, especially because I’m in a trio and they’re counting on me to deliver.

I was seriously going to just go cry about my failure in a dark corner somewhere on campus when I felt like I really needed to get lunch in the MC, which has started to become a regular feeling. Randomly, I ran into three people that used to be in the same ward as me. I had no idea that any of them were here, and it was super exciting. I guess it was a reminder to me that Heavenly Father knows what he’s doing, that I have the people in my life that I do for a reason, and wallowing in misery never changes anything for the better.

Positive thinking can be a really irritating concept, honestly. How in the heck am I supposed to deal with life and be positive?? And yet, somehow we’re figuring it out. I feel so lacking when it comes to a lot of things, and Heavenly Father constantly proves me wrong, whether I admit it or not. I’m grateful that he has enough confidence in me to push me so much, but I sure wish he’d calm down a little more with the whole trusting thing.

My struggle with singing hasn’t yet ended, but on a good note, Monday I performed the best I ever have in my life. Now I suppose everyone will be expecting that level of performance always (ugh, why me? 😣), but I don’t think my success was really for anyone else but me. Heavenly Father loves and encourages us, and I have never felt so encouraged before. For the first time in about a decade, I could actually picture an opera career for real. More often than not, it feels like a vain yet impossible hope, and that my talents are all in my head. So many people have so much faith in me, though, and I pray I won’t let them down.

What in the world is this jumble of trials and joys supposed to mean to you? God has a plan, and it’s happening whether we choose to be aware of it or not. We can work with or against the Lord, but we cannot stop, slow, or change his plan. I hope one day to be like Nephi when he said,

“I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” (1 Nephi 3:7)

I’m grateful for the many beautiful blessings, but even today in the midst of everything, I am grateful for my trials. I’m grateful for the knowledge that I have of my Father in Heaven and my Savior Jesus Christ’s love for me, and I’m grateful for the opportunity I have in this life to learn and grow, and to know that I am more than my mistakes.

Where Am I Going?

Look look loooookkkk! I finally made my own quote pictures after years of stealing others’ work!! I’m so proud of it, and it only took procrastinating an exam I should be taking now to make it haha.

This is my thought for the week, and something I ponder more than a few times each day. As a society, we are a little obsessed with this concept. We ask “will this endeavor be successful? Will I gain fame and praise from it? Will it be worth my efforts, and what can I get out of it?” Rarely I think do we stop looking at what we’ll receive and take any time to think about what or who we’re giving to. Giving kind of isn’t in the equation at all. But I believe it is in by examining our giving habits that we will find out where we are going. Who are we giving the majority of our time to? Who are we thinking about when we do things? Is it mostly just ourselves, the world, or those we love? And what do we expect in return from that giving? Are we giving in a sense as a business contract, or are we doing it out of kindness and love?

So often I have to stop what I’m doing and check myself. With the business of college life, I often have to consider the balance I’m giving to my classes. Did I practice today? Did I even bother to look at a piano in the past 48 hours? Am I spending any time at all with my roommates? Do I remind them often enough that I love them for them to know that? I have to quickly go through my long checklist, carefully avoiding missing my scripture reading or prayers while still walking out of my apartment with all of my materials.

That’s a lot of crazy details, but what I’m saying is, life is hard. It’s not as simple as fixing a spelling error or erasing a minor mistake to alter the way we think and act. We’ve been doing many things for years and years. Certainly no one flip flops from being unconscious to completely conscious of their actions in one day. I know I never could.

But, I would like to throw out the words of President Hinckley, “Try a little harder to do a little better” for as the scriptures say, “But behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.” Alma 37:6 I don’t know about you, but bite sized pieces are a walk in the park compared to giant goals that I frequently make and never actually complete.

So, as I ponder this question “Where are your footsteps taking you?” this week, I hope to remind myself what I am here on this earth to achieve. I hope your answer, as well as mine, is to come closer to my Savior and learn to be as he is. What greater or grander goal could I ever make? And perhaps through little changes here and there in the many wonderful things we already do, we will one day see that goal fulfilled.

The Answer to Every Difficulty

The months have just flown by. Nothing in my life at this point is as I had ever imagined it. I wake up every morning wondering where in the world things are going, and how I’ll get there. It seems as though I’m not at the helm in my life, but rather a passenger, watching silently as events unfold. I used to think I could captain my ship anyway I pleased and there would be no stopping me, but the longer I live my life, the more I find the concept of control to be completely illogical. I’ve learned that I don’t really want to be the captain, anyway. It’s an overrated job, in my opinion. Enjoying the ride, seeing the beauty of the world around me, and letting myself be free from obsessive worries is a far cry better than anything I had anticipated. And, in any case, Christ knows exactly where we’re headed. Whether or not I’m aware of that destination makes no difference. He knows me, and he knows exactly how to get me there without causing me to radically change myself.

And, on that note, I’ve also come to a brilliant conclusion. Perfection is actually a lot closer to us than we think. No, it’s not in eradicating every ounce of us that we find distasteful. It’s by fully embracing who we are, acknowledging our divine nature, and allowing God to help us forsake our sins. Not by changing our desires or needs, but by redirecting them. Every sin we commit is a counterfeit for something good we instinctively know we are missing. Because we don’t know how to obtain that good thing, we accept whatever way will remove the pain and discomfort as quickly as possible. Sin is rooted in ignorance. It stems from a good and righteous desire, and comes when we don’t know what source to look to. In the Book of Mormon it says,

“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” 2nd Nephi 25:26

This morning while pondering, it hit me square in the nose. That’s the whole point of the gospel! It’s not to change who we are, but how we are. When we start with the how and change our actions, the who inevitably will follow. It’s my own personal discovery that I’ve been looking in the wrong places for the right things. No one wakes up in the morning and thinks “I want to do ___ and ___ wrong, I think that will make me happy.” No, because if we know it’s wrong, we know it won’t truly make us happy. We’re all looking for what’s right to help lead and guide us, but not all of us know where to look. That’s where the gospel comes in. It’s the sweet, simple answer to all of life’s problems. We need to look to Christ. He is and will always be the one and only right answer to all of our needs. As in the popular Christmas song “O Holy Night”, “He knows our needs, to our weakness is no stranger”.

I’m a little reluctant to say after a whole lifetime of church and hearing that song and reading that scripture, it’s taken me this long for that light bulb to go off in my head and in my heart. I’ve felt so lost, and yet the answer was right in front of me. What joy this brings my heart and soul to know that I’ve known the truth all along! What a beautiful message to understand at this time in my life when so much is so difficult. My soul is filled with peace, knowing that even though I don’t know everything, I know enough. I know enough to lean on my Savior, to live life happily, and to share that happiness with all around me. Life is complicated, messy, and sometimes way too over my head, but I know in my heart that there is beauty all around. Oh, what joy this sentence gives: I know that my Redeemer lives!

Deciding to be Me

It’s cold and rainy outside, and that always puts me in a thoughtful mood. I’ve been thinking for the past few months about how I can be more aware of myself and my needs. Certain situations can make you feel the need to protect yourself from that happening again, and I can feel how I’ve been impacted by my hesitancy to be vulnerable with people again. I’m afraid that I’m going to be hurt and ridiculed for my opinions, and yes, I feel like I’m kind of in a bit of a battle right now. What’s most confusing of all, is I don’t really know what I’m battling. The long hard fight is over, and I know it’s time for healing.

I totally was way too overwhelmed to be an amazing travel documenter, getting over things that had happened and trying to deal with current and future concerns. But I did learn things. I learned that I was right all along, that my obsession with charity was the right way to go. Yeah, I can tell myself all I want to after many of the things that I have faced that it isn’t worth it to be vulnerable with people, because the wrong kind of people always seem to take absolute advantage of you. It’s happened to me every. single. time. And this last time was so hard and damaging to me that 90% of me wants to throw in the towel and give up. It’s not worth it.

But, as I traveled Europe this summer, I couldn’t help it. I fell in love. I fell in love with the people, with the places, with people in history that maybe I had heard their story a little bit differently in the past. Being calloused is hard, especially when it’s so easy to see the beauty in people.

I thought that to protect myself I needed to start being distant (or at least that’s my body’s natural response), but I know it isn’t. I love being overly kind, I love giving everything I can to others. I love that even though I don’t have much to give, I try to give it all. Yes, maybe it makes me seem annoying and like a kiss up, but it’s who I am. When I act like I don’t care, when I’m not constantly thinking about being charitable and how to improve someone else’s day, I am not happy. No, that’s not how I think everyone needs to be, but I’m learning that that is who I am and that’s what I need to do personally to be happy.

I’ve tried being smart, practical, careful and very much catering to other people. I’ve tried to be good with money, frugal with my time, and very organized and clinical in my approach to a lot of things. But it’s not working. It only makes me cry more. I’m trying to fit my very big, very creative and crazy personality into a mold I CANNOT fit into. I somehow think that by being as “normal” as possible, it will hide the pain of my past from people so I won’t get pity. That’s not really working either.

I might not have shared a lot of things about my trip or how it’s changed me, but I don’t think I’ve fully processed or finished what I’m working on inside me. What I do know, is that I’ve been trying to live my life for other people, and it’s drowned me in a world of unhappiness and anxiety. I know I can never please everyone, so I might as well please myself and my Heavenly Father.

❤ Annie

My Take on Missionary Stranded at Bryce Canyon

While browsing Facebook this week, I couldn’t help but notice the story about a missionary who was left stranded in Bryce Canyon. Originally shared and posted by LDS Living, it has sparked extreme controversy. That article was taken down within a few days of being public. Today they posted a sort of apology in light of the arguments that stemmed from it (You can read that article here).

Doing a quick google search of “Bryce Canyon missionary”, I found three articles on the topic, one of which has since been removed. One is an LDS website (though not run or sponsored directly by the church), and one is not. I’m actually delighted with this diversity, because we can address many issues and viewpoints.

I read the first article the day it came out. I actually really appreciated the format in which it was shared, considering the source. I loved that there was a positive focus on how the son overcame the trial and how the grandparents took the higher road and were loving and understanding. I felt that they weren’t necessarily brushing aside the fact that he was abandoned by his mother, but that they were more focusing on how it was overcome.

I also think that we must be careful about condemning others in a public setting. If you’ve read any other posts on my blog (particularly Why I Left) you’d understand that I came from a situation of parental abuse and knee-jerk reactions, where one was expected to keep up appearances at the expense of personal well-being and true happiness. So, I want you to know that in nowise do I agree with the mother’s behavior. I am and always will be quick to condemn detrimental behavior. However, in times like these, where our words can do nothing to solve the situation because we are not of immediate access, we should apply a very wise words of the Savior “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” John 8:7

Looking back at the apology from LDS Living, you can easily see that this principle of refraining from judgement and condemnation was not practiced at all. It is one thing to bring to light the darkness in other people’s actions, and lovingly desire to help them return to the light through healing and love, and it is another to publicly crucify, humiliate, and utterly condemn someone for their actions, especially when you 1) aren’t the victim 2) you are not in a situation to lay down the law 3) You are not treating this woman as a daughter of God, and that is one of the most important commandments that we are given.

I completely and totally advocate against this mother’s behavior. Not because I think she is an absolute monster for what she did, but because I personally believe that this was not the most loving thing to do. Crises of faith should not be treated as a disease or something to be completely shocked or horrified by. There is such a stigma surrounding doubts. They are natural; they happen all the time, to all of us. Rather than having a knee-jerk reaction and abandoning the “problem”, I believe you should face it head on. You shouldn’t treat your child, spouse, family member, or friend like a leper simply because they aren’t on the same level of assurance as you are on now. In fact, most members who have had doubts leave simply because of the negativity everyone gave them for having natural human fallacies. They feel condemned, and their is some kind of ultimatum placed on them. Essentially, if they don’t come around to seeing things as we do now, they will forever be beneath us. No one likes feeling that we, and we need to stop making this church such a difficult environment for those who are struggling. Certainly, we should encourage them to not abandon their faith and to hold on to what they have known and not let “something you don’t fully understand unravel everything you do know.” (Quote taken from a talk given by Kevin W. Pearson Of the First Quorum of the Seventy, April 2015 General Conference.

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(Image can be found here)

We as a community, as an LDS family need to be there for one another through thick and thin, rain or shine. We need to “mourn with those that mourn” and stop telling them that we can’t be around them because they bring doubt into our own hearts. We need to have testimonies strong enough withstand that so that we can lift others in their time of need. We also need to learn to have the humility required to be the one in need. At some point in our lives, we will all have doubts and be tested. We can’t sit far away in the distance and condemn others as if we are some kind of immune God- we are just as human as everyone else, and we need to foster compassion continually. “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” Matthew 7:2 (basically this whole chapter is golden on the subject).

I hope she understands the error in her actions, but more than that, I really hope that she learns from this. I also hope that all of these people leaving nasty, unforgettable, cutting comments don’t diminish her self-worth to the point of being unable to see her innate divine nature. She is more than one mistake, but if we keep telling her that that is all she is and all she will ever be, we will rob of her of the desire to be more. We will limit and ultimately condemn her. Yes, she absolutely could’ve reacted in a much better way, and yes, someone should be telling her that. But not with pitchforks and torches- with love and concern, with the voice of a friend, with understanding and love. Just because we seek justice for the son does not mean we have a right to treat a fellow child of God as the dust beneath our feet. I don’t know about you, but when I make any kind of mistake, I like to be loved anyway, and even encouraged. If I can’t extended that same compassion and forgiveness to a woman who hasn’t really wronged me personally in any way, how can I expect the same from those I personally may wrong or affect by my actions?

Patheos.com cited a quote from Jason F. Wright (whose post has since been taken down) saying, “I asked Alabbas what was going through his mind that night. “I’ve just been left at Bryce Canyon,” he laughed. “By my own family!”” Hemant Mehta, who wrote the post titled “This “Inspirational” Story About a Doubting Mormon is Horrific”, expressed dismay at the flippant attitudes. I’m a little bit embarrassed reading the comments, which are primarily from atheists. These really aren’t the kinds of attitudes I’d like people to have about a church I fully believe in. I know it hurts God to hear them say these things. I also know we aren’t perfect, but I wish there was some way I could clean the slate. That being said, I do also think these people are being extremely hard on her and the church as a whole. I guess this is another example of why we need to “be examples of the believers at all times” Timothy 4:12

In his article on This Week in Mormons, Joseph Peterson stated, “…my feelings are that this young man was abandoned, at least emotionally abandoned, a long time ago…”. This is absolutely how I feel. I’ve noticed that a lot of parents might be caring for their children physically and maybe even spiritually, but as a culture we have become increasingly unable to provide for the emotional needs each other. Citing a perfect example from my own life, I had expressed my feelings about my situation during my childhood to many adults, all of whom gave little heed to my concerns and even went so far as to tell me I was overreacting. This is NOT what Christ would have done or said. Now, I’m not condemning anyone for not hearing me out and this isn’t pity party for myself, but I would like to use this as warning sign. Can you see the decay in our ability to listen to others?

Peterson’s last point is titled “All Is Well And Zion Weeps”. I 100% feel this in my heart. We are so desperate to be perfectly righteous, to shun all that opposes our ideal, and we continue to tell ourselves that “all is well in Zion”. Things will never be well in Zion until we can face head on ours and the trials of others with the love, compassion, and understanding that the Savior had. Our need for sinless perfection is polluting our ability to practice true discipleship, and I know that this grieves our Father in Heaven. Progression cannot be obtained where fear and secrecy reside. Until we can be open and honest about our shortcomings and allow those around us to do the same, we will continue to suffer alone, and that is NOT Zion.

Annie