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Olive Branch

There are a lot of unpleasant feelings in the world--hate, anger, fear, misunderstanding, frustration, disappointment, etc.  I admit that many of the things I have said in the recent past have cause some of these emotions in some people.  I take this opportunity to address that concern.

It seems that at times people easily interpret an expression of someone else's opinion or belief as a demand that others believe the same as them.  That is, when I assert my own views sometimes other people can interpret that as the statement that I feel other people should agree with me and that those who do not are stupid or ignorant.  I suppose the idea of tolerance is often confused with the idea of unity in thought.

I assert that I have not only the right but the obligation to disclose my feelings, thoughts, and perceptions--the right because I am a human and the obligation because there are those who will be able to relate to me who may need guidance in making their own decisions in life.  This is why I have been so forward with all of the things I have presented, and I make no apology save when I have spoken rashly, hurting another's feelings (even if unintentionally so) or when I have misspoken.

Just as forcefully (if not more so), I assert the right of each and every individual to do the same.  During these last few months the importance of being authentic has become palpable to me and I would never deny another person that sublime experience.  As my verbology in stating my beliefs has been rather forceful, I feel that there are those who are afraid to disagree with me--those who feel as thought they need to hide their own feelings so as to avoid hurting mine.  For example, since I have declared beliefs against those of the LDS church, I foresee that some of my LDS friends/family may feel like they need to not be as Mormony around me.  I hope that this is not the case.  While I no longer believe the doctrine, I can appreciate the fact that it is a very important part of other people's lives and if it something that makes them happy, then I can be happy for them.

Empathy.  The ability to feel what someone else is feeling.  I may not enjoy a football game (in fact, I guarantee that I won't) but I can be happy for someone else who enjoys football.  If they want to tell me about an amazing play that their favorite player did in last night's game, I can appreciate the fact that it is important to them and rejoice with them in their revelry, even though I have no personal emotional connection with the game or the player.  Just so with other things in life.  While I no longer wish to be a part of the LDS church, I can congratulate someone who was just baptized into it, since I know that it has made them happy, and I can rejoice with a couple newly married in the temple, filled with bliss at starting their celestial marriage.  Even though I am homosexual, I can (and do) rejoice with straight couples when they marry.

This is the olive branch that I extend.  Give me a chance to love you.  Give me a chance to enjoy your life with you.  Let me in.  Let me be your friend.  Share with me your frustrations, your rejoicings, and everything you feel to share.  Be authentically you and don't be afraid that I disagree with any of your particular opinions or beliefs.  If I feel a need to do so, I may offer my own opinion that may differ with yours.  If it is unwanted, let me know and I will not do so.

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