Sooooo... I'm about to get political and Utah-specific.
I'm still trying to wrap my head around what my Church has done/allowed to happen in regards to a Proposition that is going on the ballot to be voted on by Utahns in November. Proposition 2 is a long fought, and in my opinion, relatively conservative Act to legalize Medical Cannabis for Patients in Utah. What my church has done is incredibly confusing and demoralizing to me on so many fronts, I'm almost at a loss as to how to write a blog post about it.
But here goes.
My Church has sent out an email specifically "urging" all members to vote NO on the Proposition.
I find myself in the interesting position of the fact that my husband and I give cashy-money to Libertas Institute, the think tank lobbying group that helped Prop2 become what it is. We donate to them every month. I agree with darn near everything that has come out of the institute, and most of the things that Connor Boyack (head of Libertas) has done or taught. I have, in fact, paid tuition for three of my kids to take a class he taught last fall at a homeschool co-op. A class on Systems of Government.
Connor has, along with a few State legislators, tried to get a medical cannabis bill passed for over four years. Efforts which have been stymied for years by a combination of elected representatives refusing to move on it, and the interference by the lobbying arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. My church.
The refusal of the Legislative body to move is extremely frustrating, especially since polls indicate that a substantial majority of Utahns support legalizing medical cannabis. Not just legalizing pot for recreational use, but only legalizing it for doctors (and only the doctors who also essentially have the right to also prescribe opioids) can have the ability to prescribe ("recommend"is the term because Cannabis is still illegal at the Federal level) cannabis as a therapeutic drug. To be clear... this is not smoking pot. Smoking it is STILL illegal.
Look, I believe in personal liberty.
I come at this from the angle of a person who is a self-described drug addict/alcoholic in recovery. Coming up on 21 years clean and sober this October 7th, thankyouverymuch! I come at this as a person who has personal experience with the chemicals in question who now adheres to her Church's code of health and eschews use of any and all mind-altering substances, plus coffee, tea, and tobacco.
I believe that keeping my faith's health code, the Word of Wisdom, is a great idea. But I also believe that making drugs, and I mean pretty much any and all drugs, illegal, makes the abusers of the drugs into criminals, and once criminal, they become our American Untouchables. It is hard to help someone who has to conceal their disease for fear of imprisonment. I see the USA's "War on Drugs" as a hellish travesty, one continuous, vile, overreaching "unintended consequence."
I come at this as a person who has seen first hand the disaster that Opioid addiction (prescription primarily) has had on people in this valley as a Facilitator for the Substance Abuse Recovery Program of The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints. I have seen the trainwreck it is for faithful members.
I've seen this first hand through the struggles of my late Brother in Law. Every single struggle that man faced was exacerbated, not helped by his "criminal" status.
Two years ago I lost my nephew to Heroin overdose. Honestly, this is a tender point for me. Please know that I'm fully aware of the costs of addiction. FULLY aware, and yet I fail to see how my nephew being a criminal in his drug use helped him one tiny iota.
I come from a medical history of rampant ignorance and harm done to me via medical doctors prescribing FDA "safe"medications and procedures to me that have trashed and permanently maimed my body. I've had surgeries that were complete cluster-cusses that ended up with medical doctors giving me the equivalent of "erm, I dunno." I started far too late in trusting myself. I gave far too much trust to medical "science."
On Friday of last week the church that I belong to sent out an email via their official church emailing lists, on official church email letterhead, so to speak. When I got the email I went into a tailspin. I desire to be obedient, and I desire to follow the word of my God as revealed through His ordained Prophet....
For me this is important. Of utmost importance.
In the Book of Mormon, there is a story about a people who were bloodthirsty and violent. They thought almost nothing of murdering people, and they didn't believe in Christ, or that He (this was in approx 90 BC) would come. They were the enemy of the Nephite peoples, who believed in Christ. The Lord sent missionaries to the Lamanites, and whole kingdoms of Lamanites were converted to Christ during some amazing and faith-filled events. These people, in turning to the Savior and repenting, had a sore and difficult time of repenting of their many murders. So much so, that they literally buried their weapons of war.
They buried those weapons so far down, in the depths of the earth and in their Christian hearts, that they didn't pick them up to defend themselves or their families when an army of unbelieving Lamanites fell upon them. These believers allowed themselves to be slain by the sword as they knelt in a field. Over a thousand lost their lives that day, but an even larger number of the unbelieving enemy threw down their swords and joined them. These people who refused to pick up weapons, even in their own defense became known as the Anti-Nephi-Lehis.
There are even more incredible stories about what happened to these people in the writings of Alma in the Book of Mormon, but my point here is that in some ways I consider myself an Anti-Nephi-Lehite. I have buried my weapons of war, and like them, I fear if I ever take them up again, I will never survive the repentance. I dare not return to my weapons of war. My disobedience. My self will. My favorite drugs. My favorite sins.
So here I am....
You should know also, that in recent years I have had a serious struggle, and I wrestle with certain points of doctrine that frankly, hurt my heart and confuse me. I have been wrestling for over three years and have found no rest, nor understanding past the answers that I have received to my prayers. The answers have been essentially "it is as it is, sorry you don't understand, and sorry you don't like it."
I am used to answers like this.
When I got the email, I was sure that this was another case of the above. As I wept bitterly, I hit my knees and prayed for guidance because everything in my mind and my heart says YESYESYES to Prop 2. I hit my knees, willing to be wrong. Willing to vote NO if that was the Lords will. Heck, the Church and the Gospel does all sorts of thing that I cannot wrap my head around, that hurt my heart even. I am okay with obedience. I WANT to be obedient. In many ways I must be obedient.
I asked with a broken heart and received a personal revelation that I must vote YES on Prop2. The answer was unmistakeable and unequivocal that I MUST.
I know that the Holy Ghost requires me to vote what I know to be true, and I know it the same way that I know President Nelson is the Prophet of God on the earth, and the same way that I also know the the Church is for reals the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. His Church.
I figured that this was enough. This was my answer, and only MY answer. I sat in discomfort for several days before I finally asked if I was expected to say out loud and publicly what I have had revealed to me.
After all, I'm not a prophet. I certainly DON'T receive revelation for anyone but myself and those I have stewardship over.... basically my family. Plus I really don't want to make a target of myself. But I am seeing people all over the internet essentially saying that the email that was sent basically means that it is prophetic revelation from President Russel M. Nelson himself.
I don't believe that.
Why would I have received the answer that I did if it was? I can hear people now, trying to convince me that I am wrong, or that I was mistaken in my answer.
No. I know what I know, and I know the means by which I know it.
It became clear, to my great discomfort, that I was required to speak.
But take my word for it? Please don't. I claim nothing past my stewardship, and I have zero stewardship over you.... but I do plead for you to do your homework.
Here is the legal "analysis" that the Church has based it's stance upon.
Here is the rebuttal.
plus more information.
This whole cluster-cuss is made even more complex by the fact that now the church apparently supports Medical Cannabis, but only if certain impossible standards are met. What exactly does this mean for faithful LDS members in one of the other 30 States that have legalized (and far more liberally, I might add) medical Cannabis, and are taking doctor recommended medication that contains marijuana? Does this mean they should stop?
So as far as I can tell, my church has been the victim of some very poor information. Hey, back in the day they thought that Hitler was doing some pretty great stuff.... before the truth was discovered. Wayyyy back in the day, Joseph Smith practically bankrupted the Church and many members through his uninspired, non-prophetic and crappy money management. Not everything is Revelation. I'm sorry that they moved in the way that they have.
I'm positive that this (email and stance of the Church) was not prophetic, yet if the Prophet does, in fact, come forward with an actual statement I will revisit the whole thing.
There. I have done what I was asked to do... If you choose to comment, please keep it above the waist. You should also know that I am COMPLETELY uninterested in anything that smacks of bashing my faith, my Church or my Prophet. I don't ask you to believe me, or agree with me, or vote any particular way. But if you are a member of the Restored Church, I would hope at least, that you'd take some time to educate yourself and ask the Lord your God. People are on the line here. Suffering and sick people who can be helped.
Full disclosure.... I don't have a dog in this race. I have NO medical issues that Cannabis can help, neither do I have any family members who will be helped by having access to medical cannabis.