A Gospel of Liberation.
A Gospel about liberation.
That’s what I need. That’s what I seek. That’s why Church is hard for me sometimes. It can be so individualistic in ways that feel imprisoning to me. I need a gospel that is collective… in voice and in action. I need a collectively liberating Gospel after the tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes. I need a gospel that is active in liberating people from captivity, and most importantly, allowing people to name their captors. Especially if I am one of them or complicit in their captivity.
Liberation is not comfortable when you are part of the captors.
Naming captors is a key element in naming pain, shame, and finding the freedom necessary to be. To move into and through transformative change – conversion, if you will – a chance to be whole. There are times that it feels splitting to be at Church. But, I come. And I stay. And I listen. And I continue to seek glimmers of freedom. Shimmers of liberation.
I am not liberated by holding another captive by my ill-informed judgments, believing that it is righteous for me to judge any person beyond myself or those within my stewardship. I am not liberated by having my integrity challenged. I am not liberated by siblings in the gospel who promote fear over family or family bound by conditions.
“I the Lord am bound when you do what I say…”
He has said, “Love one another…”
He has said, “Preach nothing but repentance….”
I’ve often wondered what was there to repent about in the 1830s and 40s, of American and British Culture? What was so widespread that everybody needed to be involved in repentance whenever a missionary approached? We hadn’t fully hit industrialization because our industry was still slavery. Imagine God asking for repentance during times of chattel slavery and indentured servitude? It’s never happened in my Sunday school lessons, and these days, if it isn’t correlated, it isn’t preached, it seems.
“But when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.”
No repentance, no promise.
No love, no promise.
No freedom, no promise.
What are we promised? That we are His work and His glory. That our immortality and eternal life is His sole aim. That, in the end, we are to be with Him.
We cannot be with him without becoming like Him.
We cannot become like him by keeping others from him based on our flawed interpretations of judgment. Even righteous judgment.
I believe our freedom is held captive by our blind, and eyes-wide-open, oppression of others.
It’s hard to be at Church sometimes when you don’t fit into correlation. It’s hard to watch suffering sometimes, especially when it’s built into correlation.
I have been recently reminded that my specific existence in a collective experience of global exile is a gift as much as it is a calling. As such, it is not something to be endured silently because “suffering is noble.” It is to be carried because it is only something that can reach excellence by my journey. Only I can carry this gift labeled a cursing. Only I can understand its use and its purpose.
I, similar to other celestial siblings, am given a visible marker of a divine heritage. I, similar to other siblings, am given a mark that evidences a history of freedom-seeking. I am not, like other siblings, marked “so that Satan has no hold on me,” however.
I, instead, am marked so that when I see Satan’s treatment to me from my siblings, I am reminded that this is my gift to understand the ugly in them and my responsibility to stand and grant them opportunities to be liberated if they choose to be wholly converted by our gospel.
I cannot liberate others if I am held captive to fighting and trying to prove myself to people who are not equipped or prepared or willing to understand the present and visible suffering outside of their invisible experiences. And it is painful to see their wounds demonstrate their ignorance when they figuratively stand on my back, and the backs of others, to proclaim their oppression.
We differ only in skin colors, yet, still, we differ so much. And because we differ, we suffer.
Even so, I am responsible to liberate myself, and my mind and, in turn, liberate others.
And so, I need my Gospel to liberate.
I continue to seek freedom.
I need my gifts to grow. I need to uncover and nurture my talents. I need to rise into who I am meant to be.
I am meant to liberate and to be liberated. I am meant to love and to recognize that sometimes parables are necessary – for my safety as much as for others’ learning.
I am thankful for other strong siblings in my world, who share the hue that identifies our gift before we open our mouths. I am thankful for my glaring differences, though steeped in deeply flawed men and deeply flawed ideas of doctrine, that give me the responsibility to seek, and share, liberation.
I am thankful that my gift cannot be chosen, but only divinely given and only consciously received. My gift is my liberation. I seek liberation – within this Gospel and within this life – to be the gift I share with others.
“…it is painful to see their wounds demonstrate their ignorance when they figuratively stand on my back, and the backs of others, to proclaim their oppression.”
THIS a million times over.
Thank you LaShawn, thank you!
Absolutely beautiful in its power.
“We differ only in skin colors, yet, still, we differ so much. And because we differ, we suffer.” This quote, LaShawn, this quote has been so threputic for me.
“Because we differ, we suffer.”
Some will read this and interpret your reference “we suffer”, to mean “blacks suffer”. I do not. When we shame instead of celebrate difference we suffer. Can you imagine a world where words like suspicious, criminal, crook, and convict are not synonymous with black. And, pediphille, mass murder, ponzi schemer, and bank frauder isn’t synonymous with white. Imagine if society treated unwarranted shooting of an unarmed individual as a murder. Where the shooter not the victim was on trial….? Thought provoking!
“We differ only in skin colors, yet, still, we differ so much. And because we differ, we suffer.” …. So powerful! Girl thank you for sharing your thoughts!
Thanks for this LaShawn.
Beautiful, poignant. Thank you!
LaShawn so beautifully stated what I researched for being an LDS Single (1960-1995) and then enable oneself to be liberated as having a one-on-one relationship with the Lord, directly.
Families and traditions cannot happen until and LDS Single truly finds oneself with the true knowledge of the Gospel. One can only be an example to self and others, 24/7. When you are in service of the Lord, you have found happiness. All other blessings will come to that person from the creator of all things, the Lord, Jesus Christ.
I served an LDS Mission to Brazil (1969-71) and took with me 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon and taught solely what the Resurrected Jesus taught in 3rd Nephi – Repentance, and come as a child, willing to learn from Him. One need not rely on the church to know that Jesus is Heavenly Father in the Flesh as taught by Abinadi before King Noah (read Mosiah 15:1-7); for God is a jealous God and will curse anyone who puts a “church” or godmakers before the Lord (Read the 10 Commandments, Exodus 20:3-5)
LaShawn is teaching what I did between 1996-2000 in Maricopa County, Arizona where thousands of LDS Singles found out they were closer with the Lord, than others in the area == created a massive Single ward operation, which went global – only to be closed down!
Rise and shout is the blessing for anyone to become liberated like taught by LaShawn in her posting.
“My gift is my liberation. I seek liberation – within this Gospel and within this life – to be the gift I share with others.”
Well done sis.
I know there is deep meaning here, but it is too obscure for me to grasp. What captivity are you feeling?
This makes me want to sing. Thank you, LaShawn. Thank you, sister.