Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Responsibility and Respect Part 2

My parents hated bullies and couldn't stand it when others were intolerant to our beliefs or others beliefs. They would stand and support causes that they believed in, but would never tell someone that they are evil for believing what they believe. They always pushed us to get our own opinions about things while giving us their views about topics. I grew up in this household. I was never forced to believe what they believed. I learned respect from my parents. I never belittle anyone, never look at them like they are lesser citizens for believing something. People have different opinions, lifestyles, ethics, moral centers then myself and I'm fine with that. I have never, and I'll never, push my beliefs onto other people.

So why is it that when I give an opinion on social media (cough, cough, Facebook) people suddenly feel it's totally fine to attack, belittle, argue (not debate) what I've said. I have two friends that have very different opinions of things then myself. One have been a best friend of my for a very long time, friend #1. The other is someone I became close to about two years ago friend #2. Friend #1 and I have a great relationship and he will always be counted as a brother in my heart. But we also debate and discuss things all the time because we have such drastically different views. He is a feminist, and I honestly am more of a traditionalist. We disagree on government, sometimes religion doctrine, and many other topics. But we are still the best of friends because at the end of the day we respect each other. There is never any mudslinging or dirty talk, just opinions shared.

However, with friend #2, it's a totally different matter. She and I come from very different backgrounds. I'm highly religious, she isn't at all. I have very conservative views, she is extremely liberal. While I might not agree with everything she say's, I always try to remain respectful of her opinions and ideas. But when it comes to her respecting me and my opinions, she has no ability to share and move on. She has to be right and refuses to let me have my opinion. A recent conversation with her (via facebook, that evil center where people feel they can say whatever they want), I realized that no matter how respectful I am, she will never be. First she must always voice her opinion if she doesn't agree with something that I say or post. While she knows my views and that I will not be changing them, she insists on pushing her own views onto me. On posts about my religion (Mormon), she always posts how she doesn't agree and that I am being either ignorant or stupid because I believe it. Now she would never say that she does that, even when pointed out to her by others. She believes that she has the right to attack my views, while I should just sit back and take it.

Through these two drastically different people, I have learned what it means to debate vs argue. I have learned that there are those that will never respect my opinions, regardless of how respectful I am to them. I have learned that I will not put up with being attacked because I believe something different.

And sadly, I have learned that there are some people in life that will always live in a place of defense and anger.

Has respect disappeared in our society? After recent events, I have decided that YES. It has.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

My Testimony of God

Every journal that I start, the first entry is my testimony of God and his son Jesus Christ. It became a tradition after I realized that I hadn't written down my testimony for years and that thought didn't sit well with me. So now every time I get a new journal, I write my testimony at length for my posterity. It's interesting to go back and read what my testimony was as a teenager, and what is it now. My life experiences have shaped and changed my testimony, strengthening it. So I feel it only appropriate to share my testimony of God the Father, his son Jesus Christ and the truth that is the gospel. 

I testify that Church of Jesus Christ is true. I testify that Joseph Smith did restore the fullness of the gospel upon this earth, and that it will never be taken away again. I testify that I know that Jesus Christ died for the sins of this world. I know that it is only through Christ, through his atonement, we can join our families forever in heaven. I know that through his atonement I can be forgiven for my sins, receive the Holy Ghost as my constant companion and am not held by the chains of death. 

On a more specific note, I testify of the reality of the battle between good and evil; the righteous and the wicked, fought daily in our lives. I testify that the righteous of the world are under siege by Lucifer and his followers. This is not a battle being fought in a faraway land, where the effects do not touch us. This is real, every day and in every aspect of our lives. Is it not theoretical, it is literal. The devil wishes to destroy us, to bring us misery and to pull our souls into damnation. I have had experiences that have proven this to me. His desire to kill our spirits, to deaden the communications from heaven to earth, is very real and he will fight in any way to reach his goal. 

I also have a testimony of the help and strength we are given through the gospel, and through the atonement of Jesus Christ. While we are at war for our spiritual selves, we are not alone. God and Christ will never leave us to fight these battles alone. We have angels to lift us up (those seen and unseen in our lives), families to give support and love, and the very real companionship of the Holy Ghost. Never before has it been so important to do the 'Sunday School' answers; read our scriptures so we know of God and Christ, pray to our Father in Heaven so that we have open lines of communication, and attend our church meetings with open hearts and minds to learn of His teachings. 

The Lord know us personally, knows our struggles and our personal battles. Rely on Him, and call on His help, as I know he will give it. 

I say these things, in the sacred name of my Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.