Every June, the LGBT community and its supporters engage in a month-long celebration of “Gay Pride Month”, filling social media with rainbow profile pictures, flying rainbow flags, and gay pride festivals and parades. Support for same-sex marriage is visible even with some of those who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. With its legalization in June 2015, like those in the Book of Mormon, we observed “that they had altered and trampled under their feet the laws … which the Lord commanded … and they saw that their laws had become corrupted” (Helaman 4:22) and “this was alarming to the people of the church, and also to all those who had not been drawn away after the persuasions” (Alma 2:3).
Some members of the Church have also been “drawn away after the persuasions” of the world and support same-sex marriage. However, they may not fully recognize that their support for it inadvertently supports serious sexual sin. These relationships are (and always will be) incompatible with the doctrine and standards of the gospel of Jesus Christ. To this point, we may be asking ourselves, “So why is this particular sin supported by more members of the Church than any other type of sin? Is there any other sexual sin that’s supported like this one? What is it about this one that many seem to be so comfortable with supporting and affirming, but not others?” The answer to these questions is sobering: gay marriage has become a protected class of sin.
This post is part of the General Conference Odyssey group. Each week we take a session of conference and share our thoughts and impressions about one or all of the talks given. It’s called Odyssey, because we started with 1971, and hope to continue until the present day (roughly 15 years in the future, by the time we catch up). Every Tuesday morning watch for a new General Conference Odyssey post here at Mormon Women Stand. This post covers the Sunday morning session of the October 1975 General Conference.
Elder Perry explained how, along with several national religious leaders, he was invited to assist in planning the United States of America’s Bicentennial celebration. Gathering with his committee, all being religious leaders, he was alarmed when many of them were hesitant to declare this nation under God, as to not offend the atheists. They claimed, “After all, the atheist has a right to his belief, also.” In his talk, he shared with us his feelings:
“Of course, I completely agree that all men must have their right of free agency but I argued vigorously against locking up our own firm convictions just because they could not be accepted by everyone. The more we argued, the more the opposition united against us. We were not able to get ours or any other declaration out of committee.”
“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 →
Though I’ve been sealed to him for over 38 years, I came to understand, in a heartbeat, that his heart is my heart – literally – the moment the doctor informed us that Bob was in cardiac arrest and would need to be transferred immediately to another hospital. He was in pain. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. It felt like we were in the Twilight Zone. This can’t be happening. He’s too young (61) and in excellent physical condition. He’s that guy who’s never taken a break from physical activity since his high school basketball days. Among his greatest joys in life is still being able to take on some of the local high school basketball team players at the gym and occasionally beating them at 21. Which is exactly what he had just done, when he arrived home a little after 11 pm that fateful night.
I followed the ambulance the entire way to Temecula Valley Hospital where the cardiac team was waiting to take him immediately into the Cath Lab. The moment I understood the gravity of what was happening, prior to him being transferred, I left the ER so that I could get cell phone reception. In shock, I called my oldest daughter Jennette who lives nearby to tell her what was happening, but mostly to asked her to send her husband to administer a priesthood blessing. I barely made it through that conversation. My faith was in the knowledge of God’s Plan and I knew that Bob’s life was in His Hands – above all others. Continue reading →
I did a lot of marching this past weekend, and I’ve heard many other women did, too.
It all began Saturday morning and my MARCH went like this:
I MARCHED downstairs early that morning and went straight over to my husband bent down and interrupted his DIY Network viewing with a great big toe-curling kiss. I rubbed my hands on his head as we smiled at each other. I’m thankful that our love is still growing and that he wants to hurry home each night after work to be with me.
I MARCHED out the front door, with my husband beside me, for a lovely fast-paced three-mile walk. We talked about all sorts of things and enjoyed some good exercise. I’m thankful for my body and try to do what I can to keep it healthy and strong.
Next, I MARCHED outside to do some yard work. The rain we had during the week had stopped and the wind had dried things pretty well. We trimmed our roses together and talked some more. I love making our home a beautiful place inside and out. I think it shows the Lord, and my husband, that I’m grateful for the things they have both provided for me.
After that, I MARCHED into the kitchen to make us a delicious fajita lunch. I love cooking. I especially love cooking for my husband and family. I find joy by serving them that way. I’m lucky he’s not a fussy eater
I cleaned up and I MARCHED off to the movies with my boyfriend – who also happens to be my husband – where we sat hand in hand watching the show. We are very protective of our relationship. Date nights, or afternoons, have been a must for us.
Home again I MARCHED into the game room where we played several rounds of our family’s favorite card game Nertz with our youngest daughter. Her beautiful family of five are temporarily living with us before they move. They’ve been with us for a couple of months now. It’s wild, and crazy, and loud, but I’m happy we have the extra time with them and the ability to help. I’m even more glad they felt comfortable enough to ask us.
Sister Oscarson’s talk in the General Women’s meeting, “Rise Up in Strength, Sisters in Zion” sparked a lot of dialogue within the women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The entire talk was full of powerful council, warnings and doctrine; yet the quote that seemed to garner the most amount of attention was this one:
Sister Oscarson is exactly right. I agree with her that motherhood is of utmost importance, despite the fact that I experience infertility. Yet, sadly, there are some who murmur whenever leaders proclaim the importance of the doctrine of motherhood and eternal marriage because they feel it causes too much pain, injustice and “otherness” for those who are single, divorced, widowed, or experience infertility or same-sex attraction. While I can deeply empathize and mourn with those that mourn as they suffer through the grief of infertility, I’m unable to murmur with those that murmur against our Church leaders for teaching Christ’s doctrine of motherhood and the family. Here are two reasons why:
First, I truly understand what it is like to not have the “ideal” in the Church because I have never been able to have children. I’m not going to pretend it hasn’t been painful to be childless in these contexts (it has). However, I’ve discovered a better, more empowering way forward (more on that later). Second (and possibly ironic to some), I have a deep testimony of the doctrine of motherhood, the doctrine of the family and how the Atonement can heal and take away the pain in our hearts. The Atonement really works and the Savior’s power to heal is incredible. Continue reading →
Families are under attack like never before. But we can learn how to fortify our families, in the Lord’s way with help from the doctrine of the Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). Did you know:
“1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.” [Link]
“Males exposed to domestic violence as children are more likely to engage in domestic violence as adults, and females are more likely to be victims as adults.”[Link]
“Couples who report feeling high levels of financial strain are three and a half times more likely to be involved in domestic violence compared to couples who report feeling low levels of financial strain.” [Link]
We are not left to figure life out on our own. Understanding church doctrine will help us to fortify our families in the Lord’s way, starting all the way back with Adam and Eve.
The door slammed shut as if it were shouting, “Goodbye old house!” I locked the door behind him and then stood in the kitchen with my hands shaking and my heart pounding. “Did I do the right thing?” I heard a noise behind me and turned to see my 5-year-old son looking at me with wide eyes. “Are you okay, buddy? I am so sorry. That was scary, wasn’t it?” He nodded as he climbed into my arms. Within a few minutes I felt a sense of calm and peace wash over me. This was the right choice for our situation, but it came at great cost to me and my little family. This was one of the most difficult days of my life – and my children’s. Our divorce was final several months later.
A few years later I arrived home after driving hundreds of miles across the desert so the kids could stay with their dad for most of the summer. As I walked through the door I immediately saw a note on the whiteboard in the hallway. It was in my son’s handwriting and read, “Goodbye old house…and mom.” It was one of many sweet notes that my kids have secretly left behind over the ensuing eight years since my marriage ended. These treasures are written in child’s scrawl and say things from “love you” to “miss you” to “be home soon” and have been found tacked to walls, left on tables, or written in steam on the bathroom mirror. Continue reading →
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, coredoctrines 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.