Freedom begins with me living true to the principle of freedom and this begins with me learning to trust my own inner voice in any given matter. This is not something that is easily done or allowed. Following the commandments of God gives us confidence in ourselves to be able to trust that we will do the right and be true to who we truly are. Justifying of our mistakes and those of others creates a shadow and cloak behind which true freedom does not exist.
We desire unity in the church, but this unity should not come at the annihilation of the individual and their thought processes. Others should not be considered outcasts if they express a differing opinion or perspective. We are united under Christ, he is our center, our foundation, our unity, and from there each may have a voice according to his own conscience. Even in getting along with others; to put on the face of “we get along” when we do not, according to the impressions of either party is, to me, not honoring freedom. I do not mind saying “you do not like me” or “you do not agree with me”. That is okay, we can still be part of the same church before God and we can still recognize Christ as our Master. To have you give me a hug when I know full well you think me beneath you is not something I can accept. Jealousy is another sign of denial of freedom, your own or others. To be forced to say something different is contrary to freedom, in my opinion and I do not believe that this is what Christ teaches. To love one another does not necessarily mean that we like one another and I can accept that and allow myself and others to grow at their own pace as guided by the Holy Ghost.
This would apply in a family as well. Not everyone needs to like the other, but we do need to be able to interact civilly. This is a concept that I did not understand so well with a daughter of mine and when I saw the animosity and hate that she had hidden I let her have her way and let her have her own life. (She was 15 and had previously decided to live with dad and not me without any discussion. I had convinced her to return for her sake and so she could have the church. But between her desire to control my home and her animosity toward which she no longer hid, I could not support the hypocrisy.) I had the church and the government tell me that she had the power to control my home and to dictate to me what was going to happen in it. No, I still cannot condone that. As a parent I had the right to guide the goings on of that home according to my conscience and that is a freedom that I need to preserve as well.
It was interesting to me because in public she wanted to claim that she was pals with me and I could not respect that lie. If she wanted to be me an enemy, that is okay, I could live with that, but the hypocrisy I could not. (I had a roommate in college later in life who did the same thing. I could not support that either, but of course, I was looked at as the odd one who did not return her glowing smile of friendship when we met publicly.)
I gave my daughter the freedom she demanded. At 16 she could choose for herself. The courts condoned it and a Bishop and Relief Society President sat beside her in a court of law as she was given that right. Herein they used their position in the church to interfere in my home. As a single parent who grew up in a dysfunctional home they “knew for certain” that I could not make correct choices for her. It was very lucrative for her (trips, gifts, even a sports car were hers for the asking) and she received many entitlements because of this action. And for some in the “cult”ure of the church that is what it is all about. They took my freedom as a parent and also hers. This is not according to the doctrine of Jesus Christ or the teachings of the General Authorities but people make mistakes. I have maintained my relationship and standing in the church because I know the Holy Ghost bore witness to me that it is the true church of Jesus Christ.
I would not give my daughter my compliance to rule over me. I have paid a dear price for that freedom in loss of her association and in that of my grand children. It has ripped the heart out of the rest of my children as well and gaping wounds still exist today. But I would do it again. If we cannot be free to be true to who we are, then what is there? And do not let anyone tell you that there is not a price to pay for freedom. Basic freedom to believe what we choose and to live by that belief is essential to human dignity. To have beliefs and try to control another by societal conforming behaviors is manipulating and forcing another to live a lie. I cannot condone that. I see it done in church yet today, but herein is the long-suffering and meekness that Christ taught at the Sermon on the Mount. I do not mean to that we say it is alright but to just leave the church is not as the Lord has taught. Today I am in a branch where I will stand fast but I will also do what I can to testify of the principles of freedom under the head of Jesus Christ. My freedom in this case included not allowing them to chase me out of the church.
On another matter, I have lived in marriages where the man simply could not stand me, but we were together because he gained something from me, even though he did not like me at the core. What kind of freedom or decency or dignity does this allow? It creates a mockery of the very institution of mankind, organized and ordained by God to fulfill his work and glory. I tried to “fit in” to understand mankind’s ways but they are contrary to the laws of God and I will not support the hypocrisy. I do believe, with all my heart and being, in marriage, families, and in the gathering of the household of faith.
We need to determine what we believe and what binds us together. I firmly believe that it should be Christ. Christ is the only thing that gives me life and hope here and in the hereafter. I can value and serve all mankind, including my enemies with an open heart and great energy if I am true to myself and what I believe.
Dignity for human life could be a binding factor but do we have this truly when we can kill a child who could survive outside of the womb or when we do not even allow our own personal existence and acknowledgement in this life? We are not free to say “I have pain”. We simply medicate or silence the voices…suicide is rampant…PTSD not honored. Addiction is fostered by nearly all society outside the individual in the name of profit and “uhum”, freedom. Again freedom for the one must support freedom for all. So to claim “business” as a reason for unethical behavior is contrary to the principles of freedom. In the name of Art has been tooted as an excuse for immoral license and execution of that which destroys others freedoms as well and this again cannot be freedom if it overwhelms others including impressionable youth.
My age, my meditation, and, you might say, my losses, have brought me to a place where I value freedom above all in relation to my interactions with others. No position, role, certification, or calling supersedes this. It is fundamental in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I bow before him because I choose to, because I have a witness of his obedience to the mind and will of God in all things and that he chose to place God’s will above his own and won my ability to have freedom and growth into the eternities by so doing. I will give my all to him and his kingdom and glory. I will not bow to any man, woman, or child however. I will honor my own voice and protect it, and that of others by not keeping my voice hushed and conforming to political and local norms that allow control and manipulation of others behind closed doors. There are all levels of evil performed in this manner by forcing compliance to a code of conduct all the way to any evil or indignity the human mind can devise.
If one is not free then no one is free. So the fight for freedom will be with us for some time, because in mortality we do not understand it in its fullness nor do we allow ourselves to partake of it. Even as innocent children held in a place where freedoms are taken they will put themselves in a cage and slam the door on their feelings and the promptings of the Holy Ghost to conform and protect their physical and psychological existence. It takes a miracle…and these happen all the time…to be able to “see” that they are free to “be”. It can demand great courage to look at oneself and see if I may have trapped myself in this manner and it will take time and patience to prove to yourself that you are trustworthy in allowing yourself the freedom to “be”. It is worth the battle and the energy and whatever the cost. In Christ we have the ultimate victory.
May we fight for this daily because it means life to so many, beginning with ourselves. Any sacrifice is worth it to accomplish our objective and any one of us may not be able to set all of mankind free…I believe only Christ can do this…but we can set ourselves free and learn how to live and serve amiably among those we get along with and agree with and those that we do not.
God bless, till we meet again.