"Mom, do you think Jesus loves me?"
My heart ached... Despite all of the uncertainty in our lives, there is one thing I know for certain - Christ loves my child. Yet, somehow, she wonders...
Cameron's question magnified my greatest concern - the rejection she is likely to experience through the traditional religious practices of a self-proclaimed Christian society that rejects gender variant people. This is illustrated by a recent letter from family back home...
I am a pretty quiet person and I hate getting in the middle of heated discussions, but when an issue is brought to my attention that affects a child this much I have to say something. Cameron is a boy. Treat him like he is the smartest boy in school, he'll be the smartest boy in school. Treat him like he is an idiot, he'll be an idiot. Treat him like a boy, he'll be a boy. Treat him like he is gay, he'll be gay. You want him gay, let him be gay. Don't take such drastic steps at 10. Let him do it when he is ready to leave for college. He'll be more mature and think through this better. He'll understand the consequences.No matter how you dress him, treat him, talk to him he will always be a BOY! LIke Obama said, "Put lipstick on a pig and its still a pig." I don't like Obama, but he speaks the truth in this instance.There are much better ways to get a girl. The Chinesse have many to spare, they are killing the extras. Adoption would be a far better use of money and you would be saving a life of a child. You would be a hero to that child. Isn't that what you want, isn't that why you gave a kidney? Be a hero and save a child from another country.
To profess to have the answers for someone else's life is dangerous. I have spent hours on my knees asking the Lord why I have been assigned this trial in my life. The answers have not come easy, but one thing I know for certain - the Lord has heard my prayers and he is guiding my path. Rather than claim to know the will of God for everyone's life, we should turn to the Lord for personal understanding and encourage others to do likewise. That is the purpose of this blog... "to encourage others to do likewise". During the Sermon on the Mount, the Savior taught...
"By their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wondeful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
As with intersex conditions, transgender individuals suffer developmental complications as a result of physiological abnormalities that occur during fetal development. These abnormalities manifest through variant cellular gender identity markers in the brain.
Because I have embraced what I know to be true about my child, I face the possibility of losing the support of my religious community... support that I need, especially at this time in my life. I have taught Cameron to turn to the guidance of the Savior...
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compell thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. FOR IF YE LOVE THEM WHICH LOVE YOU, WHAT REWARD HAVE YE? AND IF YE SALUTE YOUR BRETHEREN ONLY. WHAT DO YE MORE THAN OTHERS? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
When faced with adversity, I turn to the Lord, to the scriptures, and to my faith for strength and invevitably I find peace. On numerous occasions, I have spoken the words, "Look with you're eyes... 'see' with your heart." This has become a fundamental moral principle in our home... I have taught my children that the eyes are the greatest deceptors of the soul. I have been challenged to practice this principle.
In the fifteenth chapter of Matthew, before visiting the coast of Tyre, Scribes and Pharisees from Jerusalem inquired of the Savior, "Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they wash not their hands when they eat bread." Hand washing was a customary Jewish practice of the time. The Scribes and Pharisees were offended at the observation that the apostles did not practice this custom. Christ responded by teaching a profound principle...
"Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines, the commandments of men."
Then, Christ gathers the multitude and begins to teach an extremely important moral principle.
He says, "Hear and understand; Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man."
When the Savior had finished, the apostles approached him with concern, "Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?" The savior responded, "Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch."
Then Peter asks the Lord for clarification saying, "Declare unto us this parable."
At this point, Christ responds by saying, "Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the drought? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man."
When faced with obstacles in life, there is one thing that has always brought me peace... turning to the Lord for guidance. I have chosen not to follow the example of the Pharisees by blindly practicing traditions for the sake of tradition. Instead, I have chosen to listen to the whispering of my child's heart and the testimony that I have gained through the tender mercy of the Savior, and the guidance of the Holy Ghost as I have studied in search for truth. I have been blessed with the knowledge to clearly see and understand my child. "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."
When I look at Cameron with my eyes... I see my son. When I look at Cameron with my heart, I see a beautiful daughter of God. Christ taught that the body is merely a "vehicle" for the spirit. Our "appearance" is insignificant in the eyes of the Savior. How many times have we heard, or recited the adage, "It's not what's on the outside that counts" - yet we seldom practice this principle in our lives. A letter from back home has guided me to the words of a loving Savior, "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me." Our bodies are a temporary means to an eternal end. These "vehicles" demonstrate their temporary nature as they age, suffer disease and deformity, and are susceptible to illness.
The things of paramount importance in this life will accompany us to our eternal home... knowledge, experience, works, relationships, and - most importantly - our testimony of Christ. It matters little, what we "drive" through this mortal existence, what we look like, or what we wear - as taught by the Savior in the Sermon on the mount, "I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on." Our focus in life should be to cultivate, refine, and perfect the spirit. Now, let's revisit Cameron's question...
"Mom... do you think Jesus loves me?"
I embraced the opportunity to help her understand...
"Jesus performed miracles and taught eternal truths - even when it was unpopular. He was beaten, spat on, ridiculed, and rejected. Those who couldn't understand and refused to believe that he was the son of God- hammered nails through his wrists and feet, then crucified him.
You see, Cameron... nobody understands you more than the Savior. He knows what it's like to feel alone... to be misunderstood, tormented, and rejected. There is one thing that I know to be true... Jesus loves you very much."
Cameron sat for a moment and thought - then she said, "Mom... Jesus didn't lie about who he was, and he wouldn't want me to either."