It's been a week or so, but I just wanted to mention the thoughts that struck me from Bro. Millet's lesson at FHE last week, and the ideas sparked by what he said:
1) The kingdom is for everyone. EVERYONE. If you can help people recognize the claim they have on the blessings of eternity, they will have hope in the gospel. There's something about knowing that the promises and blessings in the scriptures are actually for YOU that motivates you to become a part of it. Knowing that though you may feel like someone who does not fit in the church's mold, there is indeed a Father in Heaven who wants, with all his heart, to bring you home, no matter what, and all that's left is for you to open the door...it seems motivational to me.
2) Wayward children: There comes a time when you must recognize that your love that makes it so painful to watch someone make decisions you can only construe as damaging is but a small sample of the love felt for your own child by a Heavenly Father who has known and loved that child far longer than you. He will reclaim his sheep and send help in their path to guide them along the way should they choose to respond. At some point, you must "back off" and let them learn and have the opportunity to come back. You're not the only one watching out for them, and keeping that in mind can alleviate the anxiety. It's not about ignoring the problems or pretending everything is fine; it's about accepting that in the end, we each need the opportunity to choose for ourselves, and you can find peace in knowing that your child's fate is not just up to you and whether YOU can save them. There is one mightier to save.
3) Marriage: What of those of us who don't see marriage as a possibility? In a church that teaches marriage is essential for exaltation, what of those of us who hold little hope for it? There is hope in understanding the importance of what is in the heart, the desires of the heart. The Lord will not give you circumstances and then condemn you because of them. What's important is to hold on to the commitment and faith that "if I could, I would". The questioner asked, "But what about when it's been so long that the desire for marriage, the desire to make it work with a woman is just not there?" Bro. Millet responded with something like, "whether in this life or the next, all the blessings of exaltation will be yours, and the things which stand in your way in this life will be removed, if not in this life then in the next. You will not be condemned for that which you can't control." Now, whether or not you believe your sexual orientation will change in the life to come, I think there's comfort in the concept that you will not be condemned for that which you cannot control. I'd not heard anyone say that in this context before, and I'm glad he said it.
4) After all of this discussion, singing "Redeemer of Israel" was particularly powerful for me. Beautiful. Israel will shortly be free. I felt this notion that most of those present were not singing the hymn with a sort of distant feeling of marginalized observation (as I think is often the case among people who feel like they don't quite fit into the church) but truly feeling they WERE, in fact, "Israel" who would be redeemed and given the blessings of eternity, however that is to happen. Now maybe I was just overly hopeful or projecting my own emotions, but I was almost moved to tears thinking there might be people in the audience who were feeling, perhaps for the first time, or for the first time in a while, that they were, indeed, a part of the plan and that they would be alright in the end, come what may. I thought it was powerful.