Wednesday, June 3, 2015

My two cents no one asked for...

This should come as no surprise to you reading this, seeing as it's mostly all anyone can talk about right now. I usually always refrain from commenting on controversial issues on Facebook, or posting my own thoughts, or whatever the case may be. Heck, sometimes I am even so scared to LIKE someone else's status, picture, comment so someone will see it roll their eyes at me and go off on some tirade against my opinion.

However, this is something that has been on my mind A LOT the past day or two. Something I have written and rewritten in my head. I've hit the internet to read, to "research" if you can. I've read statuses, discussion, blog posts, on either side of the spectrum. And usually that's where I leave it.

Except I can't.

Some thing I remember from the past few conferences give by my church, some of the addresses said things like:

  •  pray for the faith and strength to be more bold in opening your mouth to proclaim the restored gospel
  • are called upon to boldly defend
  •  will speak boldly, hoping to edify and not to offend.
  • This desire to share the gospel with others and the confidence to testify boldly.
Bold. Be bold. 

So this is me being bold. Like above, I do not wish to offend. I only wish to express my opinions, as I've seen so many do the past two days. I am not a writer; it will be a feeble attempt at best and I will warn you, I'm sure I will word something wrong, or something will be misunderstood or twisted to seem a certain way. Bear with me. Cut me a break. Think back to how many times you've seen me go on some tirade on your status I didn't agree on. Oh, I haven't? Please remember that.

I will start this saying I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am a Mormon, LDS, whatever you know us as. If anyone who knows me personally know this is a very HUGE part of who I am, of the decisions I make, big and small, in life. How I talk, how I act, even down to what movies I see. We are Christians, we strive to follow Christ, in the best way we know how. We try. We fail. We get up and try again.  I am not perfect, no one is. 

It should come as no shock then that with Bruce Jenner coming out as Caitlyn would be something I don't agree with. Something I can't support. [Here's where I will become weak in my words, if I've even been strong at all previously.]

In my church we believe that "gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose." (See The Family)  God created man and woman. We are his precious creations. To avoid the cliche I've seen all over the internet, God makes no mistakes.  So for Bruce/Caitlyn to look at what God gave him and decide our Heavenly Father messed up and he can fix it, just isn't right. That gender extends beyond this earthly life. It was who we were before we came and it will be who we are in the next life. 

I make no assumption at understanding what it's like AT ALL to be so uncomfortable in ones body, to feel like you are wrong and living a lie every day. I am not transgender, gay, lesbian. I have had my demons in the past and made my mistakes but I make no comparison at all between anything I've struggled with and what so many people deal with daily.  

I cannot speak for God in saying why these things happen, why He created someone a certain way, or "let" these things happen. I'm not God. I'm not all-knowing. But I believe through study and prayer I can try to understand His way and what the Truth and Right is. 

In MY opinion (I do not speak for the Church or any other members), I believe we are sent here to this life to overcome trials and obstacles. Through this process we learn, we grow and we ultimately strive to return to live with our Heavenly Father after we've proven we are worthy. Maybe you roll your eyes when I say this, but maybe Bruce/Caitlyn's trial in this life was to overcome those feelings. To embrace God and His plan for Bruce/Caitlyn's life and find happiness in the only way possible: through Christ, His Atonement and obedience. 

I know, how dare I say something so insensitive? But I believe so many people (straight, gay, trans, whatever) seek for "happiness" in this life in such worldly ways: drinking, sex, lying, money, food, whatever floats your boat. But we were sent here to be obedient to God's commandments, follow Christ's example and return to Heavenly Father someday. What if instead of paying money and altering the body and soul God gave you, you instead turned to Christ who suffered in a garden and on the cross and FELT every single thing you deal with every day, and let that healing act wash over you and help you accept the cross you've been asked to bear in this life? Why? Why do you have that cross? I don't know. Why are some born disabled, why are some born with mental disorders? I don't know. I don't think trading in happiness in the next life is worth the temporary happiness you'll feel here, however "long" this life may feel. It's tiny in the vastness of the eternity you're trading. 

I hope I am not mistaken for judging. I agree that God and Christ are the only ones capable of judging. I make no assumption at knowing what God thinks, says or will do when Bruce/Caitlyn passes through this life into the next. Honestly, I think they'll both be there with arms WIDE open, with love, compassion and caring. Just as we should be. Loving. Compassionate. Caring. But that doesn't mean there won't be consequences for his actions that he will have to face when he comes to stand before his maker. 

A friend had a perfect quote when she expressed her views (and she did it SO well, so read her blog post if you want a better articulated presentation of my feelings) when she said: The fact that most people believe giving in is the only way to true happiness in this life just goes to show how much we’ve lost the concept of faith. (Her amazing blog!)

Where is the faith that once we make it through the trial in this life, we will be rewarded in the next? That faith that God is there to reassure, to help, aid, guide? The same faith we exercise when we turn to our Savior for comfort and support in our trials? 

Just as an alcoholic must wake up everyday and look in the mirror and say No, today I will not drink. Unfortunately, you may have to wake up everyday and look in the mirror at a body that feels wrong and say God I trust you, I know you have a greater plan for me, help me get through today as the man/woman you made me to be. 

I do not wish to judge. I do NOT wish to bully. My heart goes out to anyone who has to deal with this daily. I can't even imagine how hard it is to get out of bed each morning feeling alien in your own body. 

And lastly, I found this beautiful testimony of a transgender person who instead of changing his body God gave him, sought help through Christ and was able to live a full life, married, with a child, and have happiness. His testimony is what really struck me and I hope you've made it this far and will go just a little further and read his words. 

"I also suffer from GID [gender identity disorder].  As I child who did not grow up in the Church, I remember praying to God wishing that He would transform me so that I could stop feeling wrong and live my life the way I felt it was supposed to be. He did transform me, but not in the way that I expected. At the age of 17, I was baptized as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This put me on a difficult path but on a path that was more than worth it. After graduating high school, I moved out West and attended BYU-Idaho before going on a mission. My mission was very hard for me; it was not what I expected it would be. However, my experiences, though difficult, helped change my life. After my mission, I married a wonderful young woman (who is taller than me and knows about my problems) and we just had our first baby boy. Throughout my whole life and up to this point, I have suffered from GID, but I have not let that change my life or who I am. I am a son of God, sealed to an amazing woman, father of an angelic child, and He has a plan for me. I know that because I have tried to live the commandments of the Lord, our Heavenly Father has blessed me with strength that is not my own. My internal problems have not vanished; nor do they feel bottled up deep inside. I feel that I have become at peace with my feelings. I imagine that my feelings are locked up in a cage deep inside me; she, not at peace, might rattle a cup against the bars from time to time or even scream bloody murder (which makes it harder to ignore), but that does not mean I need to open the cage and let those feelings out. Many of us with these feelings tend to believe that no one else knows what it is like to suffer this way. That is a mistake. While our problem may not come from our own personal actions or the problems of others may not be as life-changing, I believe it is insulting to degrade the inner feelings of others by saying that ours is a harder lot. I have seen good people struggle on problems that would seem infantile to others, yet I know that what they are feeling is just as real and just as painful. We cannot let our temptations lead us down the easy path away from our Heavenly Father. Although the path is hard and I cannot live the way that I would wish, I know that the path that Heavenly Father has chosen for me is a better one. Already I have experienced and grown a hundred times more than if I had chosen to follow those feelings. Every day for the rest of my life I will have to wake up and look at the small, effeminate body I was given in the mirror and prepare for the fight of that day. I cannot wait to wake up in the morning and take on that challenge. We, as a people, have so much to gain from taking the hard path. Our lot is a hard one, but that just means that when we overcome it, we will be that much stronger. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that there are many General and Auxiliary Authorities who suffer from our temptations; it would have to take a challenge of that magnitude to produce such strong men and women of faith. Finally, I would hope members would not make excuses for us. Yes, we need all of the love and support you can offer us; that is not the problem I speak of. There are other members who are praised by the world for their “open-minded-ness.” I have been given excuses from this people my whole life. “You’re just a new convert,” they would say, “You don’t have to serve a mission, that does not apply to you. That would be too hard.” If I had listened to that, I would have never grown, met my wife, had my child; I would have had none of that. We cannot listen to the easy words of members who tell us that we can live our lives the way we want that that everything will be okay. That will just rob us of the blessings that our Father is waiting to bestow upon us. Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us, but He also has a Plan for the whole human race. I applaud members of the Church who suffer from GID or same sex attraction who still enter the Temple and are sealed for eternity with their spouses, have children and who choose the plan God has for them and not follow the temptations or selfish thoughts that plague them and us each day. We need to have them as our examples so that we may follow the hard path and know that it might not get easier, but it sure as hell will get better. Not just better, but the best our lives could ever be. 
~ Nate"

I hope I have made an appropriate stance. I have to be bold. I have to declare what I know is true. In this world of corroding morals and values, I can't expect to teach my children right and wrong if I'm afraid to open my mouth on these issues. I love ALL of you. All shapes, sizes, sexual orientations, religions, beliefs etc etc. This truly comes from a place of love. Please ask questions, ask to clarify. Please be respectful. Please be 
patient with my shortcomings. 

In the end, I'm Haley. And I'm a Mormon.

Want more information on my beliefs, church, or anything else?


  1. Even though I have a different opinion, I thought it was interesting to read yours. You were not cruel or nasty (as so many comments/posts I've seen). I can understand why you felt the need to express yourself, because I feel that way about many things, and I end up biting my tongue and not saying anything until it starts driving me crazy. Not everyone has to agree on everything and it's frustrating that we have to be SO PC about EVERY SINGLE THING. If anyone disagrees with the "popular" thought (be it politics, celebrities, news) names immediately get called. We should be allowed to state our opinions (in a respectful way, of course) without fear of verbal, or other, retaliation. Your post was well-written, and explained why you feel the way you do. Unlike so many posts I've seen just calling Bruce/Caitlyn a "freak" or other mean things.

    1. (it's Erin, btw- for some reason it only posts with my Word Press blog name)

  2. Very well written Haley. I didn't feel like you were being mean or attacking anyone. Sometimes it's hard to sit back and let things go, when we are taught to speak up and voice our concerns and feelings; especially about the church. I feel the same way you do, yes we don't agree or think it's freaky or whatever; but he/she is a child of god everyone that has some problem and sometimes even being LDS we forget that and let the world say what we are feeling. Great job!


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