I Am A Child Of God…No, Really.

Hi Cliff,

I have a question for you related to this post. If you don’t want to respond here publicly, you can email me the response (or not if you don’t want to at all).

You mention that you reached a point where you felt like God, knowing your situation, would accept whatever decision you made and keep on loving you. From what I’ve learned by reading other people’s experiences regarding this issue, this is a somewhat common feeling amongst those faced with this choice. Even those who choose a different path claim that God stays with them as they are true to their best selves and I believe them.

What is your interpretation as to why there is such a difference between what the Church says will happen and what happens in reality? Do you think this is a situation in which the Church simply feels its doing what’s in the best interest of the group and leaves it up to individuals to receive personal revelation concerning their own lives? What are your personal beliefs of what will happen in the future with this issue?

That said, I do not ask these questions to get you to question your personal choice. I kind of take the C.L. Pearson approach, which is everyone makes their choice according to personal feelings and we wish them the best. I’m just curious as to your thoughts.


I had a bishop one time that was talking about one of his kids who was faced with the large decision of where they should attend college.  The daughter went to her father, the bishop, and asked him what she should do.  He gave her some pros and cons of the schools on her list, but she pressed him further asking specifically what school she should attend.  The father flatly refused.  He said that it was her decision, not his, and he wasn’t going to be blamed if she went to a school and hated it.  It was her decision.

I feel that the place that I came to with the Lord was similar.  I believe that He knew that whatever decision I made needed to be truly mine if it was going to stick at all.  He let me know the pros and the cons, but in the end the decision was mine and He wasn’t going to let me blame Him for my choices.  The decision was made and I truly felt that it was mine and was the right thing for me to do.

But what if my decision had been different?  What if I had decided to leave the Church behind and pursue romantic homosexual relationships?  Would God have still loved me?  Would He have still been with me?  I believe that, yes, He would have loved me and still been with me. Why?

Because He is my Father.

My earthly parents have never abandoned me or shunned me because of my decisions.  Even faced with the potential of me leaving the Church, they let me know that I was always welcome in their home, but there would be “ground rules” if I brought home a boyfriend.  God would have likely done the same thing.  I was still His son and was always welcome, but there would be some things that I would have to forfeit (most of which was Church-worthiness related).  He would “accept” my decision in the context that He would respect it as being my decision, but I also believe Him to strive to encourage me to live the best life I could framed in the decisions that I had made.  I don’t know that for a fact because my decision was the one thing and not the other.  All I know for sure, I guess, was that the Lord wanted me to make the decision for myself and whatever I chose He would love me as His son.  I don’t believe God to be the great abandoner that we sometimes make Him out to be.

As for the “what is your interpretation as to why there is such a difference between what the Church says will happen and what happens in reality?” question, I don’t think this is usually the case.  Often we try to make the doctrine as black and white as we can.  It makes sense.  An “if-you-do-this-then-this-would-happen” approach is a lot easier because it requires relatively little faith, just action.  What happens, though, when bad things happen to good people?  When “ask and ye shall receive” doesn’t seem to work?  When every time you read the scriptures, you feel bad instead of good?

Does it mean that the prophet/Church/scriptures are wrong?

Maybe.  But if the Church is actually true, if the prophet is really the Lord’s mouthpiece, and the scriptures are inspired, then maybe it just means that the world isn’t as black and white as we want it to be.  Maybe the Lord fully intended to teach correct principles and to have us govern ourselves.  Maybe he wanted us to be responsible for our own actions and act for ourselves even if we don’t get a push-button-feel-good response.  Such a world is scary.  It’s a world where making correct decisions can make our life harder/sadder/lonelier.  Where everything can be taken away and there is no guarantee of it being given back in this life.  How do we know if we are making the right decisions if we can’t always look at the consequences for proof?  That is a question that we have to answer for ourselves.  The only promise that we have is that at some point it will all be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that everything that sucks about this life/bodies/world will be fixed.  But it might not be until after this life.  God said that it would happen.  And I believe Him.

Almost all of the time.

7 thoughts on “I Am A Child Of God…No, Really.

  1. JT

    This post really got me thinking. I think this touches on the real core of what makes this issue so difficult, although I think it still kind of misses some of the really difficult questions. Probably because the answers are unknown. You say that God would still be with you if you had made a different choice. I think that is absolutely true. But what do you mean by that, specifically? In Mormon terms, would the gift of the Holy Ghost stay with you? Would you still feel his influence in your life regularly?

    I keep writing additional questions and thoughts, but there’s a bit too much of it to be coherent in a single comment. Let me just also say that I think a much harder question than “Why do bad things happen to good people?” is “Why don’t bad things happen to bad people?” I personally find it a much greater challenge to my beliefs to see someone rejoicing in sin daily and seeming to be happier than the many faithful members, than seeing a righteous person experience tragedy. Anywho… just some thoughts.

  2. Cliff Post author

    To be honest, I don’t know the answer to a lot of the questions you raised in your comment. I don’t know if the Holy Ghost would have left me (or left me completely). I’ve read stories of people leaving the Church who felt that the Holy Ghost didn’t leave them once they came out. All I know is I felt that Heavenly Father wouldn’t leave me. The details, I’ll probably never really know.

    “Why don’t bad things happen to bad people” can be a difficult one for sure. Even “why don’t people seem to face negative consequences for breaking the commandments?” or even “why are some people happier when they leave the church?” can be rough. In the end there is a lot of stuff I don’t know.

    Like, a lot.

  3. M

    I have no conclusive answers on any of those questions either, which is why I suppose I posed the questions I did in the first place.

    I think ultimately God demands our best and what exactly that is is between us and him.

    I do think that we need to be somewhat careful in drawing conclusions from our experiences too quickly. There may be long-term consequences to things we might think seem inconsequential at the time. We don’t want to be like Cain, who after murdering his brother, felt a burden lifted, and then declared, “I am free.”

    Important choices in our lives should not always be made to escape hard things.

    Rather they should be based on our personal consultations with God and the spiritual information that we derive from them.

    But at the same time, we should not assume that God will not invite us to take risks that go against the grain and perhaps all of our preconceptions. Sometimes God has ways of making good things come out of weird situations.

    Anyway, still nothing conclusive, but simply some thoughts that came to mind while reading your “comments.”

  4. M

    Someone else in the bloggernacle was asking the same question recently. You can read the discussion around the post here:

  5. Cliff Post author

    I had read that post. I generally agree with it. I think one possible response is that guidance is only part of the role of the Holy Ghost. A major function that is often overlooked is the Holy Ghost as Purifier and Sanctifier. There are also the Gifts of the Spirit. There is a lot of elements involved when we talk about “The Gift of the Holy Ghost” and some of them might have higher standards of worthiness than others.

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