We are facing one of the most complex challenges of our generation: How do we stay firm and grounded in the doctrine and standards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while simultaneously loving family members who are living lifestyles that include serious sexual sin? How do we lead with love and compassion while being loyal to the commandments, warning against sin and not condoning actions? How do we teach children and youth who are finding it increasingly difficult to discern sin and sinful behavior when their peers and the media say it is acceptable and in fact, very good? And, using Elder Holland’s words, “How do we distinguish between the sin and the sinner?” These concerns and questions are in the hearts and minds of many members of the Church right now. They are ones that prophets and apostles have answered time and again, but are so often misunderstood that they are in need of frequent repetition. Continue reading
A couple weeks after the Christmas break, a friend asked me if I had heard about a policy that was being reviewed for our school district with regards to Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression. It was an addition to our Welcoming, Caring, Respectful and Safe Learning Environments Policy. She also asked if I had seen or read a new document that had also come out from the province (i.e. state) that would affect this Policy, upcoming curriculum changes, my children’s rights and ultimately parental rights within the schools. I had heard murmurings but hadn’t read anything.
“Shannon, I have something I need to tell you.” Terror. He was getting married. Not to me. So I thought, “Okay, what is it?” Heart beating, eyes clenched shut, preparing to sound chipper when I offered false words of congratulations. “I struggle with same-gender attraction.” My body instantly relaxed as what only can be described as sweet relief washed over me.
When my friend “came out” to me, my first reaction was all about me. I was so grateful to know why we had never been able to move from friendship to romance. He was the most handsome, clever, confident, kind man I had met. People speak in hyperbole of their knees becoming weak. but my knees literally buckled every time he spoke. After a year of intimate friendship and some wonderful adventures, I had started to believe I wasn’t attractive enough for him and fearfully fretted away the days, knowing that he was going to be snapped up by someone “prettier.” Continue reading
Whenever same-sex attraction and/or same-sex marriage is discussed, the focus tends to be on those who are already seeking/living in a same-gender relationship (a.k.a. gay and lesbian). But there is a forgotten group that experience homosexuality and who feel like they don’t fit into either side: that is members of the Church who experience same-sex attraction (SSA) and fight their temptations every day. They work so hard to obey their parents, church leaders, and God. They are on a roller coaster of emotions as they strive to live the commandments and discover their place in the Church and within God’s plan. Some days they are doing great; they have hit a milestone in their journey and are feeling on top of the world. Other days, they might feel low, hated, or feel like they can never improve, never be loved or accepted. And in all of those moments, we, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), as children of God (literal brothers and sisters), need to offer our unconditional love, support and friendship no matter what.
I cannot speak from personal experience about what it means to have SSA as a member of the Church, but I do observe as a very close bystander. I speak from my experience watching a very dear family member come out and try to find his place both in the world and at Church. I have always loved him. I have tried so hard to perfectly understand him, at all times, but there are so many times where I feel like I have failed him miserably. He is a beautiful son of God. I know that God loves him. As I have watched and been a part of his journey, I have learned a few things:
Social Media is being inundated with some members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) declaring their objection to the recent policy updates in the Church. Some have even gone as far as saying that they intend to walk away from their faith. This makes me wonder if they realize that these policy updates have come directly from The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. These prophets, seers and revelators are doing exactly what they have been commissioned by the Savior to do: prophesy, see and reveal. Theirs is a unique calling; they are Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, chosen and commissioned by Him. When something this collective is done on such serious issues, don’t believe for one second that they acted rashly, are misguided or decided this without careful consideration, prayer and fasting. Yet without much pause, some are already announcing their intentions to walk away from their faith, their beliefs, and their covenants — and with very public criticism of the Church via social media. In a twist, members are being asked to “mourn with those that mourn”, with perhaps the expectation or inference that we will also “murmur with those who murmur.”
When we know that what is right is being buffeted, scorned, ridiculed, and torn apart to shreds, we cannot as the hymn says, “shrink and shun the fight.” There just simply is no time for that. In fact, in that same hymn, “True to the Faith” (Hymn #254), it declares, “True to the faith that our parents have cherished. True to the truth for which martyrs have perished. To God’s command, Soul, heart, and hand, Faithful and true we will ever stand.” We all have to press forward in faith, and declare our witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ until the very end.
The fact is the Lord has been preparing us for these assaults on morality for many years. He has been communicating His mind and will through His latter-day prophets, seers, and revelators regarding these tough societal issues of which we will have to face and make decision. In Rome, back in the fall of last year, a delegation consisting of two of the apostles, President Henry B. Eyring, Elder L. Tom Perry, and the Presiding Bishop of the Church, Elder Gerald Causse’, was invited to the Vatican by Pope Francis. Elder Eyring spoke before an international, interreligious colloquium testifying about the values of traditional marriage, and “the complementarity between man and woman.” Continue reading
The hot topic of the day is whether or not to legalize same sex marriage. The problem with hot topics is that emotions often get in the way of thinking things through in a logical and rational manner. The following article by discussingmarriage.org, “Why Should We Support Traditional Marriage?” clears away all the fog and takes us through many of the relevant issues in a logical, rational fashion. Contention can’t solve anything; logical thinking can. The article shows that civil disagreement is possible.