Similar to the tones in Pres Uchtdorf's talks about not judging others, and including everyone at church even if there are differences, my family has been talking to me about how it feels people at church are less hung up on if a person wears garments all the time (for example), whereas it used to be something people pointed out (awkwardly). It seems families with divorce or singles in the ward are included in Mother's Day talks and openly addressed as being sensitive to different situations we all face in life, and that the youth who grow up in different homes do not need to feel bad about it.
I wonder if it is our neck of the woods, or if others are sensing a more tolerant tone at church, even while we continue to teach church standards...it feels like we are trying as a church to not do it with a "holier than thou" tone.
The thing that was very touching to me last week was a message I received from my sister. Her husband is not a member. He is a great man, a great husband and father, and a great brother to me. When I went through trials, he was one of the first to be by my side and support me. I love him and see the wonderful person he is...and so it doesn't worry me my sister is married to him because being a non-member just isn't a factor in how I see him. His life story is an interesting one...parents fled Iran, as a youth he feared his life and was even jailed in Iran. He was able to get out and lives in California now and is a great contributing member of society...honest and hard-working and values the freedoms we have in the U.S. He is muslim. He has struggled with how President Trump makes him feel unsafe, with travel ban talks that were very insensitive to muslims in America. It has upset me because it has impacted him and his family.
He is a great guy. And my sister said the ward there has reached out to him, inviting him to come to church and making him feel they see him as a friend...not a muslim, not a non-member.
This past Sunday, he received a calling. My sister was in tears as she shared with me and my family the news that they asked him to help out in the teacher's quorum in their ward, to attend on Sundays and help with activities during the week, and activities like High Adventure and campouts and the like. He was really excited and humbled they asked him, and how they asked him was loving.
He told the bishopric counselor extending the calling to him ...
"you know I'm not a member, right?"
And the counselor said..
This is one of many experiences recently I've had that help me be grateful to God that I have stayed LDS and had faith that good people will do good things. There are good people in leadership positions.."Well, we'd love for that to change, haha. But...that's not a problem that you are not a member. These young men are at a critical age and the bishop feels you could really have a positive impact and be a good influence for them."
Now...there are mistakes that people also make...but I see hope in the church...hope that whatever things I don't like or feel the church may be doing wrong...can be worked out either by me learning there is more to it than I thought and I should stay humble...or actually...there are some good shifts in the way the church tries to be Christ-like and loving and stay true to their mission. Perhaps some backlash in society helps the church see they need to stay true to the gospel principles above all else.
More people are aware of essays and controversial topics. More people are aware of real challenges families face and have family members fall away from church, but are still good people they love and respect. More people talk about complex situations rather than simplistic black and white answers.
The ship turns slowly...but there is hope. I don't sense we are headed towards the iceberg as a church.
Do any of you also see examples of this at church? Do you hear lessons or hear comments by people that show people are trying to live the gospel and follow the savior's example of love and growth? I'd like others' perspective on the signs we are seeing at church.