I love General Conference Weekend.
When I originally started this post, it was going to be about our fun Conference traditions. I was going to post pictures of cinnamon rolls and the cute craft I made because it's impossible for me to sit still for that long, and maybe a few cute handwritten quotes from my favorite talks.
But then I realized how much I needed Conference this time around.
I always need Conference. It seems to come at the perfect times. Spring and Fall are already the best seasons (don't even try to argue with me on that one) and there is just nothing like spending the weekend at home with your family listening to the words of the prophets, to counsel that you needed, and to inspiration you've been searching for. Sometimes I need Conference because I've been trying to make a big decision, or because I've been struggling with something. And other times I need Conference because, I don't know, there was a really depressing Presidential debate a few days before.
Regardless, it seems like in the days and weeks leading up to General Conference, everything starts to rain on me. I am full of anger and frustrations and disappointments. And then the music starts playing, and that familiar announcer guy's voice comes on, and I can just feel my soul breathe a sigh of relief.
Let's face it. The internet is wonderful. We are so incredibly lucky and spoiled to have all this knowledge and power literally at our fingertips at all times. And I don't think the internet, or Facebook, or any social media is bad. But boy, do we use it for bad sometimes.
Scrolling through social media has become a lot less about keeping up with our friends and families lives, or sharing moments with each other, and a lot more about voicing opinions, arguing points, and refusing to concede to another's point. I think I've mentioned this here before, but you can't scroll through the comments on ANYTHING anymore without seeing a nasty comment from some troll.
Everyone is just so angry and unhappy. Or at least, their online-selves are. The world has become so insanely black and white, and you have to choose a side. You can't sit on the fence. You have to pick an argument and fight it to the death. You have to form a camaraderie with anyone who agrees with you, while declaring war on anyone who doesn't.
You have to hate.
And I have to admit, I am doing it pretty well.
Because I am angry. I am angry at so many things and the people who stand for them. I am angry that they can't see my point, because I feel so strongly about it. I am angry that the world doesn't fit with everything I think and believe, and no one has lived my life, so almost no one sees things exactly the way I do.
And there doesn't seem to be an escape. Even minutes into General Conference, something I have always considered to be a wonderful refuge from the world, you hear those votes of dissent and suddenly I am angry again. Not just angry, my blood is boiling. I don't understand it. I don't understand how anyone can hate so much what I hold so sacred.
And frankly, I am tired of being held to a higher standard because of my faith. I'm tired of non-members using my imperfections against me. If the church was true, I would be perfect. If I go to church, I must believe I'm perfect.
I'm living in a world that doesn't want to believe what I believe, and doesn't want me believing it either.
And you know what? It's completely exhausting.
But I finally realized: they are right. I do need to be better because of my beliefs. Isn't that the point? I don't think I'm perfect- in fact, I know better than anyone that I'm not- but I am trying day after day to live a life closer to what I believe will bring happiness and joy for me and my family.
I know, I truly believe, that if I am going to be a Christian, I need to be Christlike. And Christ would love them.
Would he accept everything everyone is doing?
Absolutely not.
But that doesn't mean I am in any place to judge. It just means I am expected to love them anyways.
I am finally understanding the scripture about turning the other cheek.
So, I'm dropping my end of the rope.
I refuse to hate.
That doesn't mean I change my beliefs about things that are sacred and important to me.
That doesn't mean I condone that behavior, or that I won't teach my children what I believe.
It just means, I'm not going to argue. I'm not going to fuel the flames. I'm not even going to read the silly comments that are only there to make me upset.
Friends, I want to hear about your lives. I want to see cute pictures of your kid or your puppy, even if you've posted a thousand before. I want to know when you've had a success after a failure, and I want to know when you're struggling so I can try to help.
But I can't read any more of the hate, or the negativity.
We've got 6 months until the next General Conference. I want to see your happiness, and your joy. I want to live peaceably not just with those who agree with me, but those who don't.
I just want us to love one another. Whether you are LDS or not, whether or not you even believe in God, I think we can all agree on one thing: kindness feels a whole lot better than hate.

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