Home » Uncategorized » Gays and the LDS Church: Rethinking What I Thought

Gays and the LDS Church: Rethinking What I Thought

Let’s get a couple of things out of the way:

I’m not losing my testimony.

I’m not telling the Church what to do.

I”m not claiming a new revelation.

All that said, and knowing that my Bishop and Stake President both read this blog, I’ve been doing some thinking, and I’m not sure that I am confident that I know what I thought I knew when it comes to the LGBT community and the Church.

This is something that has been much on my mind of late, mostly because of my interactions with gay folks that have challenged my perceptions and prejudices.  I’ve written before that I regret having been unfair and often ugly when it came to my reaction to gays and lesbians.  But being tolerant is one thing.  Loving people is something different.

In the near future, I will be going to my first same-sex marriage ceremony for two young women that I think the world of.  One has been like a daughter to my wife and me, to the point that my own daughters complain that I like her better.  She would insist that I do, and might hurt me if I said otherwise.  When I was in an auto accident years ago, she was one of the first at my side in the hospital.  She cried. I cried.  And we just held hands in silence, because that was enough.  She is a bright light in my life, and I would do anything for her.

I was invited to be present when the marriage proposal was made (a much bigger production than when I proposed to my wife in the front seat of my pickup), during which I looked around and thought, “Well, Robin, you never pictured yourself here!”  Then I shrugged, hugged everyone, got my picture taken with the couple, and told them both I love them.  Because I do.

Imagining the two of them apart is just…weird.  They are loving and warm, wonderful with my family, and just good people.  There are plenty of heterosexual married couples, including many within the Church, that I am hesitant to have around my kids.  Not these two young ladies.  I wondered how, if one or both of them were to join the Church, I could ask or expect them to separate.  Pondering it made my head hurt.

The Church is visibly struggling right now in sorting out what to do with LGBT members and prospective members.  The Church’s opposition to Proposition 8 in California resulted in considerable blowback, but it did get the Church to reassess its position and message.  Church leaders have said supportive things about gay members that I never thought I would hear.  On the flip side, the policy regarding children of gay parents cut against that trend, as did the Church’s recent position on the baker who didn’t want to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.  The Church is working hard on its message, but it remains mixed.

Doctrinally, the Church has tweaked its position on homosexuality by saying that it isn’t a choice and same-sex attraction is not a sin.  Acting on it, however, by being in a same-sex relationship is considered a sin and is grounds for excommunication.  That is a line that I think just can’t hold.  I’m not sure how doctrinally or ethically sound it is (given that thinking about other sinful conduct is supposed to be a no-no, right?), and it puts us in the awkward position of saying that neither heterosexual attraction nor homosexual attraction are bad, but you can only have a relationship is you are straight.  And the definition of chastity that we are given in the temple–no sexual relations except with your lawfully married husband or wife–complicates matters further.  Married gays could, with a straight face, declare that they are living the law of chastity under that definition.

I don’t have the answers here, and I don’t want to pretend that I do.  Gobs of people professed to have all the answers about race and the priesthood, only to have their arguments swept away by revelation.  I suspect that as our leaders continue to work through this issue, such divine direction is likely to come again.  And I wouldn’t be surprised if the answer surprises us.

What I do know is this:  If you take away the things that make both heterosexual and homosexual lifestyles unseemly (sex before marriage, promiscuity, lack of commitment, reckless behavior, etc.), I don’t personally have much of a gripe left with gay relationships.  And the more that I interact with folks who are LGBT (well, LGB at least;  I don’t really know any T’s), the more I have realized that my thinking has been unsound and unfair.

Experience should soften us.  I was racist, until I spent my mission in the midst of wonderful people of other races and my prejudices were shattered on the rocks of reality.  I was judgmental until I came to know people who had done terrible things and learned more of their stories.  And I was harsh to homosexuals until they became friends and family.  I can’t be harsh any more.  I’ve invested too much love to do that.

I do not believe that the Lord has had the final say on this issue.  I believe that we still have plenty to learn, and that as we become prepared for greater light, we will receive it, and we will be able to accept whatever that light will reveal.  But even with the limited light I have now, I can see the need to love more, judge less, and not assume that what I’ve always thought on the subject necessarily is true.  I’m open to additional instruction.

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10 thoughts on “Gays and the LDS Church: Rethinking What I Thought

  1. Yes, “Experience will soften us.” You can’t convince me that this isn’t a camel’s nose in the tent movement generally made to make Christians feel guilty if they don’t accept sinners. Christ didn’t have a problem calling out sin. Why don’t we just ban the word “morality” and start marching in the gay parades to show acceptance(?). Every drop of black added to a can of white paint creates a darker shade of grey. “The field is white, ready to harvest.”

  2. Rob, appreciate this blog. It was…interesting. I think that there are many answers we don’t yet have, but God has clearly spoken against acting on anything other than heterosexual attractions (within marriage of course). Why? It’s not because there aren’t good LGBT couples. It’s because to “become like God,” we must become like Him. That’s the whole purpose of the plan. It’s not just to get back in a relative vicinity of God. It’s to do what He does! He instituted marriage between a man and a woman not because heterosexual marriages would always be the most successful. But, because that is the kind of successful marriage we have to shoot for in order to “become like Him.” That’s what He has and that is what is required to be worthy of, to inherit, and to wield godly power–especially the godly power to conceive/organize spirit children. His power is not absolute. It is bound by covenant, which is why if God deviates He will cease to be God (no room to quote scriptures here). These two women who I’m sure are awesome (because I know and associate with several myself) can be together if they want…in this life. But whether in this life (if they join the church) or the next, if they choose not to become like God, then they will be parted. However, the only not-together they have to lose is the sexual relations. And, I’m not saying that’s not hard. But it’s no more difficult than being a single heterosexual person who never has the chance to get married in this life. Abstinence is not the most horrific trial to endure. God gives us such commandments and conditions because He’s knows best. If He doesn’t know best, and we can’t trust Him to give us commandments that will help us achieve His glory, then all religion falls apart–especially ours. Either He knows what He’s asking and it’s worth it, or it is not. I admit it can be difficult to sort out such struggles. But, plenty of LGBT couples who are marrying are not ideal couples either, nor are they great examples. Some are. It’s no different for heterosexual couples. Some are ideal. Some are not. This one experience for you is close to home. I get that. Makes it harder to process. But, I hope you will be careful in ignoring or softening the doctrine of “becoming like God” (since so many people are influenced by you). There are reasons why God asks what He does ask us to do to achieve “eternal life” or “life like God.” All other ends still have glory attached, just not the same glory. So, it’s safe to say people can be wonderful and amazing, but if they choose not to become like God, and that’s what they really want, then that’s okay. We can let them choose that without attaching stigma to it, or treating them like condemned or evil individuals. We can love them and integrate them into our lives and bless them, and they will bless us with their goodness. But accepting their choice to not become like God simply because they are still wonderful good people is not grounds to question why God, and His church, are still so adamant about certain commandments. We’re talking about seeking for godhood here. Not just to tickle harps for eternity. That kind of power must be bound by covenant as well as the spiritual and biological ability to procreate and exalt spirit children (Moses 1:39). Anyway, I’m not sure if you even read your comments. So, I’ll quit rambling. BT http://www.thedoctrinelady.blog

    • Thanks for the comments. I do read them. And if the comments aren’t too hateful, I even reply!
      I appreciate your perspective. I understand where the doctrinal lines are being drawn right now, and I’m willing to accept that. But it’s the Church itself that has softened on the issue. In years past, just saying you were gay would get you excommunicated. That’s not true anymore. Even same-sex conduct doesn’t automatically get you excommunicated (that “automatic” list, if there is one, keeps getting smaller). The fact that we have moved on that issue without any announced revelation suggests to me that the doctrinal foundation against gay relationships might be built on sandstone rather than granite. **Might** If it isn’t a choice to be gay, and gays can’t be married, then that suggests that gays simply can never be like our Father in Heaven, by no choice of their own. (I suppose you could argue that they could just enter a traditional marriage anyway, but that seems an unfair demand on them or the prospective spouse).
      I could be wrong on this. I’ve given one example that has affected my perspective, but there are several. A former teacher who was excommunicated with whom I have been in touch; family members; clients…You learn from every interaction. At this point, I’ve just moved the topic into the “Got some questions here” pile. It’s a pretty big pile, but I can live with that.
      (BTW…once upon a time you asked me about writing something for your blog. I was sick when you asked, but alive and kicking now. If you are still interested…and I’m not too heretical…let me know).

      • Rob, I’m grateful for your reply, and that you’re feeling better these days. I have always enjoyed your blog (and will continue too, I’m sure). As a matter of interest, here is the blog that I felt prompted to write based on yours. thedoctrinelady.blog/2017/09/28/together-forever-what-does-it-really-mean/ If you do not find it unkind (I tend to be rather blunt and passionate about doctrine), and are not offended that your comments prompted it, I would be happy for you to write a guest blog on my site. Please email me directly via my site. Thanks!

  3. I was just thinking about this exact same thing the other day! My thoughts were along the same line. Time will tell what the Lord has in store for us!

  4. There is a well written article in LDS Living about a man who did all the right things growing up in a strong LDS family. When he returned from his mission he finally got the courage to tell his family he was gay. His mother, in her wisdom, taught her family that they were family and they would go forward in love and respect for each family member. He asked to be excommunicated and entered into a long relationship with his partner. Many years later, he parted from his companion and re-entered the waters of baptism. The man? The brother of Elder D. Todd Christopherson. There is much we don’t know but here’s what we do know…God loves ALL His children. We can do nothing less! I loved your article, Rob. As always, thoughtful and heartfelt…
    Much love, Sister Z

  5. I always appreciate your blog. You really seem to think things through carefully rather than reacting to strong emotions about issues, and I always appreciate your insights.
    Something you said in your reply to a comment here was interesting to me. Your wrote: “If it isn’t a choice to be gay, and gays can’t be married, then that suggests that gays simply can never be like our Father in Heaven, by no choice of their own” My understanding, as an LGBT Mormon, is that being gay is an earthly experience, our actual spirits will not experience same-gender attraction in the next life (one of the GA said this in a Q&A or devotional I saw a few years back, but I don’t have the reference on me), and we’ll be free to marry other-gender people then, so we will still have that chance to become like our Father in Heaven.
    Anyway, thanks again for your blog and sharing your thoughts with all of us.

  6. Hi Rob,

    Thank you so much for the insightful and inspiring post. As a gay Mormon, I am so happy to hear members out there thoughtfully and respectfully wrestling with these issues. We have been wrestling with them ourselves for a while, and it’s so nice to find those who are mourning with those that mourn.

    • Real nice – your “continue reading” link brings up a virus detected scam install “warning”. Poor folks that will install it.

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