The line of demarcation between the Latter-day Saints and the world has been drawn so sharp and distinct that they find themselves (unless they become open apostates) compelled to take sides with their parents and friends; and the difference between their religion and that which is opposed to it is shown clearly to their hearts and consciences with a force never before known to them. This persecution is driving the rising generation together with surprising compactness. It is making impressions upon the youngest children of the community which the future years can never obliterate. They are learning the truth of the words of the Savior by the painful experience which our enemies are now giving them. “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” John 15: 19This is an excerpt from a letter written by President John Taylor in 1896. Because the practice of polygamy was so controversial, many of the Christians of the time were taking it out on both polygamous and monogamous Mormons. The only option for many of the brethren was to go into hiding. Such was the fate of President Taylor. The letter in its entirety can be viewed here.
That line of demarcation is just as sharp as ever in how it divides us. But I wonder... what would he have said if I asked if, instead of circling a family and dividing a family from society, it circled a single member of that family, and separated her from them permanently? What would he say? What COULD he say? What can anyone say to that?
I want to take comfort in what my patriarchal blessing has promised me; that there will be unity in my family again. I want to believe that so much... and at the same time, I can't fathom it... at the same time, I can't trust such an assertion, to the point where, right now, I DON'T want it. And it's foolish, I know, to say that I don't trust something that comes straight from Heavenly Father. But change takes time, and I'm just not ready to make that change. I can barely handle not swearing, which I screwed up again today. I'm to the point where I can count how many times I swear, and usually on one hand. So that HAS to be worth something. And if not, then I'll just have to keep working on it until I get it right.
My patriarchal blessing has been a source of comfort to me, as I knew it would be; however, it says some things that hopefully will be clarified for me soon. Like it says, I have a strong testimony of Joseph Smith, his importance to the church, and his struggles. I have a special place in my heart for him because of what he went through. I was his age when my struggle with religion began. I prayed and pleaded with Heavenly Father for answers, to know where I was supposed to be. I didn't have any answers... and then a miraculous change occurred in my life, and I suddenly had my place. I felt like I KNEW him. I knew his trials because they were mine.... but ever since I've been wandering around the Bloggernacle, I've read some things that have shaken my perceptions of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Is he who I've been told he is? Was he the man to whom I felt such a strong connection?
I tried searching all over the church website, and there is nothing, save for one web page, that acknowledges Joseph Smith's polygamy. And all it does is list the names of his wives. I need more than that. I need to know who Joseph Smith was as a person. If he did things that were questionable, I want to know what they were, and WHY he did them.
But at the same time, I'm afraid... afraid of what I'll learn. I wonder if I'm happier just not knowing.
Unfortunately, I've never been a coward.