It is way too easy for people to believe they know what others "should" do and believe - and that "should" nearly always aligns with what the first person is doing or believing. I have a deep and abiding testimony of the Restoration, and it gives me incredible peace and joy. I really do think that the world would be a glorious place if everyone in it understood what I understand and felt the peace and joy I feel.
Having said that, what I want most for myself and my children is to be able to believe what I believe and live spiritually as I want to live - without ridicule and with acceptance of my choice even when that choice is not what others desire. I want to "follow the dictates of [my] own conscience." My understanding of the pre-existence and the second great commandment compels me to "allow (others) the same privilege."
I might have a hard time understanding someone else's decision when it is different than mine, and that difficulty is exacerbated when that decision is to walk away from what I hold so dear, but I think it is this situation precisely that tests how strongly I truly believe what I say I believe.
Jesus stressed this basic point in the Sermon on the Mount when he said, "For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?" (Matt. 5:46-47) If we understand and feel sorry only for those who never had any understanding of the Restoration, but don't have that same empathy for those who don't accept or have left the Church, we really are no different than the examples Jesus offered. I would submit that this is a lesson that everyone needs to learn - the power of full empathy and respect for the agency of all.
Star of Gold
15 hours ago