Sunday, January 12

There Is A Point To All This

I was thinking very seriously last night about why I write this blog. Why do I? It can't be just because I enjoy writing. The time it takes to think of decent topics and take specific photos for those topics and actually write a post requires more effort than I would care to put into something just for the sake of doing it.

So I had to ask myself, is it just because I'm crazy passionate about what I believe in? That could play a role. In fact, it definitely does because I can't help but want to share the happiness the gospel of Jesus Christ brings me with others. As I've learned recently, not all of my readers believe in the same things I do. Why this was a revelation to me, you'll soon know. It seems like every time I post something even mildly controversial (and sometimes when I don't even intend for it to be controversial) I receive critical comments from readers who obviously disagree with me and feel the need to explain why I am wrong. Usually the first time I read these comments, it bugs me. As a human, I can't help but feel a tiny bit bothered that someone things I'm a hateful, ignorant, intolerant person because I think differently than they do. (This, by the way, is the very definition of intolerance--"unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one's own.")

Thankfully, in the last few years, I've trained myself to not let these comments bother me. It's not at all that I don't care about what these people have to say, because I do. But I no longer allow their negativity, frustration, anger, etc. ruin my day or my life. I just can't afford to let that happen. It is my choice to take offense. It is my choice to be miserable. It is also my choice to be happy.

Once I made the mistake of commenting on some boy's status from my high school. He was bringing up the subject of gay marriage and I (stupidly, for I knew his political views) decided to give my two cents and wrote that I felt God intended marriage to be between a man and a woman, and made a suggestion that same-sex relationships be labeled civil unions instead so as not to alter the sacred nature and definition of marriage. The backlash I received for that simple comment was ridiculous. Everyone immediately attacked my views, calling me a "bigot" and a hater and some words I won't even say. NO one stood by me or even made an effort to understand my views. The comments that were made were plain cruel and completely out of line and basically the attacks got so bad that I had to delete the boy as a "friend." For some reason, I especially took offense to being called a bigot. A bigot?! I wanted to say. Every single person from my high school who knew ANYTHING about me, including that boy, knew I was about as far from a bigot as a person can be. In fact, many times I was told by classmates (who were not close to me at all) that I was the nicest person they'd ever met. People just liked me because I tried to be kind to everyone. I was not what I'd call "popular" because I didn't participate in many of the things that those particular classmates did, but I think that everyone liked me. When I finally realized how ridiculous that label was, (though it took me like a week to stop thinking about it, it bothered me so much) I made a conscious decision to not let people's words affect me. It wasn't like I was unaware that not everyone has the same beliefs as I do. But if they had a right to share their views, then so did I.

I may be a minority in the way I think, particularly as a Mormon. But in my mind, that makes my need even greater to share what I believe and stand firm in my values. So few people in modern day have the courage to share their convictions with others. I do not intend to be one of those people. I know in my heart what is right and I have to stand for it. In some ways, I have a responsibility to do so. This quote, for whatever reason, really resonates with me:

“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.” ~JFK referencing Dante's Inferno

It is more important than ever that people courageously stand for goodness. And I have to admit--even if someone is at the complete opposite end of the political spectrum than I am, if they truly believe in a cause and stand for it, that is preferable in my mind to bearing no opinion whatsoever for the sake of neutrality.

So again, why do I write? It is not just to promote my political views, my morals, my values, my religion. As already stated, I feel that is important. But I also write to be a tiny positive light in this dark world. I write to record my joys and encourage others to triumph. I write to help others become their best self. I write to make ordinary things in life worthy of notice and appreciation. Like the writer William Wordsworth (though I do not consider myself to be like him in most respects), I write to "refresh [man's] sense of the everyday, the commonplace, the trivial." In other words, I am trying to help my readers appreciate the little things. I want to motivate people to find joy in their personal journey. I want others to be happy. That's why I share what I believe and why I'm so enthusiastic about it. I am happy, and I want to spread the joy I feel from merely existing in this world with everyone. The gospel of Jesus Christ makes me happy. Because of it, I know that families are eternal. I know death is not the end. We are here for a purpose and we can obtain even greater happiness if we do not waste this life. I know these things.

Many people today do not believe in God's existence. I feel responsible for showing these people that He does. This video is kind of cute:
There is still goodness in this world. This video shows it.

If you ever have a question about something I believe in, please don't hesitate to ask me. I am happy to have a discussion with you. I promise I won't belittle your opinion.

Thank you for reading my blog, too. It means that I'm accomplishing my goal in a small way.

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