I haven't blogged for a bit... and I don't know if this is considered blogging, but I shall share some thoughts that I've had recently.
I have been thinking about this a fair amount, but also I had an experience that solidified and backed up my frustration. I was with a couple of friends, and we were just having an everyday discussion. I don't know how this came up, but they said something along the lines of when they had first met me they didn't think I was a Mormon....
Now lets pause here and I'll say what was going through my mind. All growing up you are taught that people should know from your countenance that you are a "true believer". There is a light of Christ that shine from those who believe. So based off this thought I started thinking what am I doing wrong that makes them say such a "hurtful" thing??
I asked them what made them think I wasn't Mormon. They said I was 'too cool' or 'too accepting' to be a good Mormon. Now I'm not going to define a "good mormon" but I can say I try my best, I attend my meetings, fulfill my calling, pray and read scriptures, and other things that many would classify me as a 'good Mormon'.
So I ask this question, should not only tolerating people, but also loving them be classified as a quality among 'good Mormons'? The commandment to love one another isn't a conditional statement. There are no contingency clauses in the commandment saying love one another if and only if they share your beliefs, values, morals, opinions, lifestyle, and behaviors.
I'm not saying you have to conform to their ideal image of a person either. No one should be conforming or changing for anyone else. Either way it goes. What I'm saying is the members of the church can get accused for treating certain people certain ways (again this goes both ways). Jesus Christ came from his father to teach and touch the hearts of everyone who would listen, and performed the atonement for everyone. If we want to truly emulate the Savior our arms should be reaching, our hands should be healing, our words should be teaching, and our love should be extending to everyone. Jesus Christ paid much too high a price for us to be selective in how we treat people.
I know this experience has made me think a lot, and like Gordon B. Hinckley taught I am not only going to try and stand a little taller, but I hope we can also let our arms embrace further.