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
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:
Not long ago, a friend of mine shared with me an experience her husband had on Facebook. He was casually scrolling through the news feed when he saw that one of his LDS friends had “liked” and posted a very supportive comment about same sex marriage on a photo of gay couple on a cruise. My friend’s husband was surprised. This man on Facebook was a faithful, strong and active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who somehow didn’t realize that giving supportive comments and liking the photo were actually encouraging a practice that is in direct opposition to the teachings of our Church. He then said the following:
If this good, faithful man doesn’t understand why this is troubling, how many other good members of the Church also do not understand? How many others do this, in spite of the fact that the Brethren have clarified this issue to the point that no one can misunderstand the Church’s position? Do Church members realize when they “like” and leave comments of approval on Facebook, they are condoning behaviors that the Lord has clearly defined as wrong and sinful? What kind of a message are they sending to others? To their children? To the youth they teach? Or to those they lead in the Church? By doing this, they are telling the world (through social media) that they don’t support or agree with the prophet or basic LDS doctrine. How are these good, faithful members missing this crucial point?
Many reading this may have had the same thoughts, being disappointed, concerned or surprised when they see LDS friends and family sharing and commenting positively on things in opposition to God’s commandments and doctrine. Others reading this will be angry and immediately cast this man as being judgmental and intolerant. Yet knowing what we know about LDS doctrine and standards, why would some still choose to support practices that have been so clearly defined as right and wrong? Where do we stand when we see things contrary to Church standards and doctrine being advocated on social media?
There has been a lot of talk lately from members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who say they sustain the prophet and apostles but actively promote opposition to the Church’s stance on same-sex marriage and homosexual relationships and try to persuade others to dissent. Can one be true to the faith if they are doing this? Is there a such thing as “loyal opposition” in God’s kingdom?
With this particular issue, we’re not talking about minor disagreements. We’re talking about being opposed to fundamental, core doctrines of the gospel; namely that marriage is only between a man and a woman and the law of chastity. Put these two things together and one can see how it creates an impasse; and sadly, a wall between them and the prophet.
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.”
Marriage is being redefined in a few countries across the world. In fact on Tuesday, April 28, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States of America will hear arguments on whether or not the states of that nation have the constitutional right to define marriage solely as a union between one man and one woman. Many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints find themselves asking or answering some tough questions about redefining marriage and polygamy.
I have heard many people complain that the Church has no right to defend the definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman simply because in the early days of the Church some prophets, apostles, and common Church members practiced polygamy. They suffered great persecutions because of it. Shouldn’t the LDS Church be more sympathetic to other types of unions? Continue reading