I had a really interesting experience the other day... I had a commenter on one of my threads over at hubpages.com, who happened to be a member of the Mormon Church. This member also made sure that I knew that 'she' was active in the Church, as I am, but would not do what I was doing.

I bring this up, because I was somewhat surprised as to why she took the time to comment on my article. Her main issue was not really the topic at hand, but that she felt that I should not be writing about the Mormon Church online and purporting to have authority in some way to do so... which I don't.

Perhaps what took me by surprise was that after the one comment was made and then I responded to the comment, this did not seem sufficient to this person. In fact, another post was made, which I did not approve. I emailed this poster privately to let her know that I would not post her new comment and proceeded to tell her why...

Unfortunately, this angered her greatly and basically - she felt that I was squelching her comment. She felt that I was picking and choosing what I posted and most importantly only those post that would support my writings only. What upset her also was the fact that she felt I was unteachable to her strong opinions and counsel. She even let me know, that from her perspective and my responses - it was clear that I had not prayed about her counsel...

I am not sure why I am blogging about this experience, except for this one fact - and that is, that I did not like finding myself on opposite sides of thought, with another member of the Mormon Church, let alone a woman or sister in "Christ"!

Yet, it is apparent that good people who believe and claim to be one - really can have different ways of interpreting a thing - that you would assume should be clear to both. The question then arises... is one of us right? If so, then one of us is wrong! Can there be two ways to interpret a thing... and both be right? Particularly where the Gospel of Jesus Christ is concerned. This sister felt quite critical of my online writing about Mormonism. I think that she felt that I was taking it upon myself to 'preach' the gospel with no authority. Her concern was that I would more likely do harm that good. It seemed from her lengthy comments to me, that her position was don't do anything, thus no harm is done. It was her opinion that brief interaction with nonmembers was all that is appropriate for members to have with nonmembers and then we should send them on to those with authority and keys.

In other words, from what I could tell that she was saying - was that I was completely out of control in my writing about Mormonism in such an open way. In more words... how could I possibly think that I had a right to teach about the Mormon Church, while I had absolutely no authority?

I did post the link to the talk that Elder Ballard gave at the Hawaii BYU Campus a few months back, where he encouraged members to talk about the Gospel online... She was not impressed, said she was aware of the counsel, but still felt it her responsibility to let me know that I had misinterpreted the counsel.

As I have thought about this encounter with this Mormon woman, I wondered if this had anything to do, with the fact - that she herself was not comfortable with speaking and teaching about the LDS Church? Perhaps not, as she seemed like she was a very bright woman overall. She most certainly had the ability to communicate her displeasure with my actions. But, there is really no question that we simply had a difference in opinion...

My feelings brought me over to the general topic in the Church of Emma Smith. Women in the LDS Church, and good women - find themselves on opposite sides of feelings about Emma - and yet, we all have the same information. Hence, the interpretation of the information...

The problem I see with both of these situations, is that I am bothered by the fact that one member would in a sense 'attack' another member of the same group. I felt that this approach to the situation with my Mormon woman friend and women in the Church generally, in regards to how they feel about Emma Smith - must respect the heart and passion of one another. To find ourselves divided openly and that being critical of one another, was very disconcerting to me personally.

I feel, that the last thing we want to have happen within the Church, as we are all in different places with our testimonies and how we interpret different parts of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, etc... that we strive to understand one another, thus we learn and grow together versus apart.

I really hope that as the Kingdom roles forward, and we find that as members we have differences in what and how we live and understand Mormonism - that we will keep in mind that differences do not always signal that one is right and that one is wrong.

Diversity with one another should help us to understand and realize that differences can exist amongst good members of the Church. I believe that when we as members find ourselves looking at other members of the Church - and don't feel that what or how they are doing Mormonism is the most excellent way - nonetheless we remain one.

In this unity, we are united in our overall effort to move the work of the Lord in our lives and in the lives of others. If we can embrace this type of attitude with one another, not seeing the need to judge or be critical of one another - then perhaps we might find that what we are not initially comfortable with - there can be comfort. What another brother or sister has to teach, say or think on an issue - actually does have merit.

In this way.... we truly are the children of God and it is evident to all who may be observing and searching to know truth.
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