I was reading The Work and the Glory today, specifically the 7th book.
One family I would like to focus on is Will and Alice.
Some background, for those of you who haven't read the books (and possible spoilers if you're not to book 7!)
Will is the adopted son of Joshua Steed. Joshua is not a member of the church. Will, after much soul-searching and arguing with his father, is a member.
Alice is the daughter of Joshua's business partner, Walter Samuelson. Samuelson isn't exactly a fan of the Mormons. So when his daughter decides to be baptized, there's problems. Samuelson is glad Alice and Will are engaged (he and Joshua tried matchmaking a couple years prior), but that doesn't make it okay for her to get baptized. Eventually a compromise is reached, involving when and where Alice shall be baptized and married, and Will is to work for Samuelson for 6 months or so. He thinks he can convince Will to stay in St. Louis instead of going West in the spring.
But then Will is called to go to New York, and Alice with him, and accepting the call means Alice's parents will likely never ever speak to her again. Especially because going to New York means getting on a boat and sailing to California. Because they have to leave right now and there isn't time for Will to work for Samuelson for six months.
Can you say #convertproblems? Oh my goodness.
Will and Alice have a choice to make. Do they follow the will of Heavenly Father? Or do they follow the will of Alice's parents?
Consider the consequences. If they go to New York, there exists an immediate, painful consequence: Alice loses her family. But if they don't go to New York, there exists some less-immediate and mostly vague consequence, eternally.
The question is, which is worse? Well, as an outsider viewing the situation, going against God is worse. But what if it were your family? That would be exceedingly difficult.
For as many posts that I tag "#convertproblems," I have it easy compared to many. As weird as it will be to tell my sisters that I'm getting baptized, as much as my parents think maybe I'll forget about it and it won't happen, as much as I freak out about my extended family finding out... no one is going to disown me because I want to join the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Things might get a little tense, but they'll work out in time.
I know I'm straying from my topic a little bit, but I think I can find a way to bring it back. Bear with me :)
Not every convert can make the transition easily. I've read many difficult conversion stories, and one of my best friends is struggling through one right now. I can't imagine what that must be like.
I admire them. Very muchly.
To be able to make that choice, between family and faith.... I don't know if I could do that. It's an almost unimaginable sacrifice. But we are all called to make difficult choices. Everyone has their own trials. They may be different trials than yours. But they're still difficult.
D'you know what? We all still need to make those choices. Making those choices, enduring those trials... That's how we grow. That's how we mature. That's why we're here on Earth.
Every choice you make, you're accountable for it. You have free will, agency, but there's a catch: consequences. That's why they call it "Choice and Accountability." Because you can choose to do whatever you want, but you're accountable for those choices. And now that I'm repeating myself, I will leave you with a single question.
If you were in Will and Alice's situation, what would your choice be?