Earlier this week, I spoke to a mature, faithful, conservative LDS mother about her family’s experience with the April 2015 General Conference. She said, “Sunday’s talks filled me up. But Saturday’s hurt a little.” She then told me that, after Elder Packer’s talk Saturday morning, one of her teenage daughters turned to her and asked point blank, “Why don’t they ever say how much God loves his gay and lesbian children?” By the time Elder Perry finished his talk, her other teen daughter likewise pressed her mother to explain why apostles of the Lord didn’t speak with compassion and encouragement about a group of his followers who are often maligned. I wonder the same thing.
I came into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during my teen years and am now a 53 year old grandmother. Throughout this time, I have been taught that the “best” spirits were reserved for these last days, spirits like my friend’s teenage daughters. Our youth understand innately that a language of love is inclusive. Some of what we heard on Saturday was exclusionary. Many have called it cruel.
I understand that most LDS will react to such allegations with defensiveness. We love our apostles and don’t want them disparaged. But making the observation that the LDS LGBTQ community was deeply wounded is not an allegation. It’s a reality. In fact, Conference weekend, I noticed a frightening uptick on LDS LGBTQ social media of posts in which individuals threatened suicide, specifically citing Saturday morning rhetoric. Reports are circulating of “successful” suicides and attempted suicides last weekend. Conference speakers may have meant no harm, but it’s undeniable that many experienced a great deal of pain.
I am a straight woman, married for 28 years to a straight man. We have three heterosexual children. To my knowledge, I have no relatives that are LGBTQ. I am conservative, not progressive, in my politics. My testimony of the restored gospel is the firm foundation of my life. And my love for the Savior is what has driven me to expand my love for a group of people that has been alienated. As I’ve associated with remarkable LDS LGBTQ people I’ve learned to hear through their ears. This is the message they are receiving; if you have ears, please hear:
According to the LDS church, the homosexual sex drive can never lead to something holy, but only to evil. Should a homosexual enter a monogamous, same-sex marriage as a virgin, s/he is not applauded as are heterosexuals who do this, but are excommunicated and stripped of eternal blessings. At the same time, current LDS thinking is that, in death, homosexuality will be “healed.” The result is, as one LDS mother of a believing gay teen says, our LGBTQ children are “literally dying to get into heaven.”
Words matter. Attitudes matter. Humility and inclusion matter. If this is what we know, we must know more.
“Why don’t they ever say how much God loves his gay and lesbian children?”
In 1980, President Spencer W. Kimball taught the church that “Lucifer deceives and prompts logic and rationalization” when it comes to homosexuality. He further stated that it is “blasphemy” for a homosexual to say “‘God made me that way.’” Today, however, the official church teaches on its webpage, “Mormons and Gays,” that homosexuality is, indeed, something that “individuals do not choose.” In other words, what was blasphemy in 1980 is now the official church stance.
I don’t bring this up to fault Spencer W. Kimball or to embarrass the Church or its leadership. I bring it up to remind us that we are all human and that our understanding is limited. One testament of a disciple’s devotion to Christ is a humility that allows him or her to see with grace beyond the mortal imperfections of others. Likewise, humility induces us to embrace further light and knowledge as it comes. Surely we can see that President Kimball intended to speak the mind and will of God, but, when compared to what the Church now states is the mind and will of God, he fell short even though he was speaking with the authority of his office as President of the Church. Our history has many similar disparities between what a president of the Church once proclaimed as God’s word and what we now teach. Brigham Young, for instance, made it very clear that he understood one man/one woman was not the order of Heaven.
This past General Conference weekend, the faithful heard two different tones. For me, the Sunday morning session sounded loving and inclusive. In particular, I heard the voice of the Savior as I listened to Elder Uchtdorf remind us that, if we are to be saved, it will be through the grace of God, not our obedience, and that we obey because we love God. As I listened Sunday morning, I felt reminded of two things: 1) I am to love all my brothers and sisters, leaving no one out, and 2) I must remember with patience and empathy (indeed, with forgiveness) that we are all imperfect sojourners in mortality, struggling to honor our God according to our understanding. This would include any General Conference speakers whose words seemed more in line with the limited light of a half century ago.
I do not know what the future holds. I realize many LDS people cannot fathom the possibility of a revelation that casts homosexuality and the LDS Plan of Salvation in any way other than the way the leadership currently teaches. But, truly, how much can the mortal mind fathom about the intelligence and love of our Heavenly Parents? If human beings are capable of nuanced thinking, it seems unwise to assume that our God is as black and white as we make Him out to be. A faithful Latter-day Saint must always be open to additional light, to revelation, and remain a seeker of each.
While I can’t predict what the future holds, I can compare our past to where we are today. I feel confident that more light and knowledge will come. But light and knowledge only come to those who desire it. If we become so sure we know all, we may find ourselves chanting, “A proclamation! A proclamation! We have a proclamation and there cannot be any more proclamation!” (2 Ne. 29:3). We are, after all, 200 years after the restoration of the gospel; our wealth is our knowledge. We must not become convinced that we know all we need to know, that we know all God wants us to know, that God needn’t tell us more than He has, or we will become a prideful people to whom the heavens close. Not because God turns away, but because we cease to believe anything needs to be heard. This is the warning of the Book of Mormon.
And yet, we do not need revelation to know what a couple of teenage girls in Texas know: the language of love is inclusive. Jesus did not exclude the down-trodden, the lonely, the alienated, the misunderstood, or the broken: he ministered to them, he broke bread with them, and, most importantly, he sent away those who would condemn them. “We love [God] because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). These are the things we must strive to emulate for all the hurting souls in our midst. These are the words we must speak, and the actions we must take. We must leave the ninety and nine to find the one. We don’t need more revelation to understand these things, but we do need the courage to do them.
Where humility exists, knowledge and compassion will increase. And with that increase, love and inclusion will follow. Death should never feel like the most welcoming friend any child of God knows.
To all my LGBTQ brothers and sisters who are standing on the proverbial ledge, I love you as you are. God’s grace abounds for each of us. And I, for one, believe you are a vital part of this chosen generation; you are leading us, as a people, toward a greater understanding of God’s love. Please stay close. I need you. We all do.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. (1 John 4:7)
107 thoughts on “Why Don’t They Just Say God Loves All His Children?”
Beautiful, thank you.
This makes me want to cheer & sob at the same time. Thank you, Lisa.
And why don’t they point out that God loves all the thieves, the adulters, the, murderers, ISIS, all terrorists, and the list is endless. I’ve never heard the general authorities not point out that God loves ALL his children, He does not, however, love the sin.
This mother had a perfect opportunity to teach this to her children that day. Too bad she didn’t take advantage of a learning moment.
This sounds like a problem just ‘looking’ for a fight…
I would guess she didn’t point that out because loving another person is a basic, God given, human emotion and it seems we could all empathize with the pain it must cause an LDS LGBTQ person to realize that they can not act on this emotion and be in agreement with church leaders. Comparing their situation to thieves, adulterers, murderers and terrorists in ridiculous and unkind. Did you read the post? LGBTQ youth are DYING because people like you, including some church leaders, seem to think they are better off dead than gay. Have some compassion already! Being LGBT, with or without acting on those feelings, is in no way comparable to stealing, committing adultery, or murdering people. *sigh*
I’m sorry, LGBT do NOT corner the market on the pain of wanting to be with someone you should or can not be with because of The Lord’s commandments… Been there, done that. The pain of longing is the same.
Please explain which of the Lord’s commandments prevented you from marrying someone you loved, if you aren’t gay.
Are you actually telling me that you’ve never known a married man or woman who wanted to be with someone else? It used to be called ‘an affair’. Adultery is NOT uncommon among Mormons and usually involves being in love with someone you are not married to. No love affair corners the market on pain. Gay or straight.
“you need to be equally yoked” was what quite a few of my BFs heard upon dating me; I was admonished to let go, and allow them to find n “appropriate mate”, and I would be blessed after being made “whole” at DEATH.
FORTUNATELY, more than one of the amazing men I attracted, left after realizing how manipulated we were; The one they were sure would follow the path to church leadership, now owns a fun bar, web-servicer., and I am his most precious blessing as his twin flame.
Any other questions?
Freedom, I want to do this in a way that is as kind as I am hoping you can be with your LGBT brothers and sisters. What you are describing is not at all the same. Those who are heterosexual may have desires for individuals who are off limits (married or whatever the situation might be), but the desire itself is not considered evil. Think for a moment of this: do you think it’s sinful for a gay man or woman to hold hands with someone of the same sex? To kiss them with passion? That is something that would probably never even occur to someone who is heterosexual, but this is just the kind of human connection and intimacy we are currently denying our LGBT brothers and sisters. There are kind, loving, beautiful sons and daughters of God who are hurting because they don’t see themselves that way. They can only see themselves through the lens that you’re using. Does that feel Christ-like to you? Does it feel kind? Because it doesn’t to me. I’m not trying to attack you. Just to help you see something that it took me a long time to recognize myself. One you see it, you can’t unsee it.
My heart goes out to ANYONE who faces this issue. I do not think the every General Conferennce needs to point out that God specifically loves them. The Church just came out with a press conference announcing it’s support of not discriminating against LGBT. There’s not a doubt in my mind that God loves ALL His children. We also know that Christ suffered every pain every to be endured on earth so He would know how to succor all. That would have to include what LGBT go through.
You might want to consider one thing.
Less than 3% of US population identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual COMBINED http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr077.pdf
And God loves them ALL whether it is addressed in a General Conference or not.
The desire to be with someone else when you are married IS wrong. You said that the “desire itself isn’t evil,” when in reality, it is. You shouldn’t be desiring to be with someone who isn’t your spouse. The same rules apply to heterosexuals! Kissing someone with passion or holding hands with someone is still wrong even if it’s a heterosexual relationship when it’s with someone else outside of their marriage. You make covenants with God. Breaking them is just as wrong as God’s commandment to stay away from homosexual relationships. We have commandments set in place by God for reasons that we may or may not always understand. The thing that is the most important to remember and do is to keep the commandments He has set with diligence and obedience. That’s all He asks us to do. Fighting and arguing about it isn’t something He would want us to do, just like He wouldn’t want us to hate and exclude His LGBT children. I admire the LGBT members who understand what God is asking them to do and they willingly accept His plan and understand that they will be blessed for it. Those are the members who face the greatest challenges and trials, but are still faithful members who love God so wholeheartedly and show it through their obedience.
I’m sure you weren’t implying that you view gay and lesbian youth in the same category as murderers and terrorists… but you can see how it may come across that way to someone who already feels like even though God loves all His children, He can’t love someone like me. I’m an abomination.
I didn’t see where the author of this post mentions how the mother of these girls responded. You drew an assumption there. Do you see how people who are already incredibly sensitive about how they are viewed by others may do the same thing if the words aren’t actually spoken clearly and without conditions? “Hey, the love is implied and was mentioned a while ago… I just hate that one part of you just like I hate murder and acts of terror.” Can you see where that could be the conclusion they draw?
I think these girls showed a great Christ-like inclination to want to comfort those that stand in need of comfort. We should never become upset at the request for more statements of love. They weren’t asking for the commandment to be changed… just for the love to be expressed more clearly.
I think the problem is that too may people on earth are hell-bent on meting out the justice of God, when they are not the God who does that. Presidenc Uchtdorf spoke about grace and its saving nature. We are supposed to be gracious towards our fellow beings. Hate the sin but love the sinner is like hating the thorn in your hand but loving the rose. Tolerance is not love. LGBT people aren’t asking you to join in some orgy, they just want love, respect, basic human rights… As a person who follows Christ, I feel it is important to leave the judgments to the appropriate deity, and just offer my love and compassion.
You are comparing homosexuality with ISIS terrorists… you should pray about that and see what God tells you. You need help!
Apparently, at some point in the thread, WordPress stops allowing you to post replies to replies, so I’ll do it here.
I have so much I want to say that I almost decided not to post again. There is so much vitriol in some of these comments, and it seems almost hopeless to continue to speak in love to those whose words are so filled with unconscious venom. But the reason I am doing so is because at one point I was you. I thought as you do, spoke as you, acted as you. Through the kindness of good friends and the gentling power of the Spirit, I softened and found a portion of the pure love of Christ that whispered to my heart of love and kindness. It wasn’t comfortable. At all. But I’m a better man for it.
I want to start by saying that I don’t believe that anyone who has posted here has done so maliciously. I also want to say that there is a lot of unrecognized hardness of heart. I’m sure some of it is mine. I know that it has been in the past.
Tashara, desire is not evil. ACTING on desires that go contrary to covenants is sin, yes. And it will lead us away from God and our brothers and sisters. I cannot stay connected to God while committing adultery. But to pretend that I never feel desire for anyone other than my wife would be a lie (also a sin, right?). The doctrine is clear on this. Desire isn’t the issue. Acting on that desire (even in our hearts) is.
Freedom, did you notice that you didn’t answer any of the questions I asked? I spoke of the human need to connect, not just on a spiritual level, but a physical one. I truly believe that if all we were asking of our gay brothers and sisters was chastity, that many of them could (and would) be able to deal with it.
But that’s not what we’re asking. We’re asking them to forgo even the hope of such interactions. No kissing. No hand holding. No cuddling. None. A life devoid of passion.
Does that feel right to you? What does your heart tell you? Can you place yourself in the position of that brother or sister and recognize that we’re not talking about adulterous desires here? These are single (many of them) men and women who are encouraged to date and marry… at least when they’re straight. For the homosexuals? Sorry. No hope for you. Maybe in the afterlife you’ll be cured of something that you feel in the depths of your soul is a part of who you are. What kind of nasty consolation prize is that?
We live in a fallen world. But we are asked to live in a higher plane. One in which we are kind and gentle, not in spite of someone’s pain or heartache or perceived sin, but because of it. Our brothers and sisters are in pain. Saying that others commit suicide too is not only disingenuous, it’s a straw man fallacy. Those others are not committing suicide based on our behavior and language. Our gay brothers and sisters are. The Savior sought out the one, leaving the 99 to do so. Why can’t we do the same?
Let’s look at Sodom and Gomorrah for a moment. Surprised I went there? Would you be more surprised to know that homosexuality was not the sin for which those cities were destroyed? They were consumed because of a lack of charity. The people of those twin cities had neglected the poor and the elderly. THAT was the sin.
The Atonement pays for all of this. We’re quibbling over a price that has already been paid while our brothers and sisters are in pain. Suffering. Crying out. Dying. Does the Spirit urge you to block that out? Because that’s what it appears that you are doing. All in an effort to be “right.”
The gospel isn’t about right and wrong. It’s about learning to be connected to God and to our fellow human beings. That’s what the commandments beg us to do. We are focusing on one fairly ambiguous topic to the exclusion of the important stuff. “Straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.” We are the Pharisees. Us. We have dire need of repentance. Far more than many of the gay men and women I’ve had the honor and privilege to know and love.
Freedom and Martha, you have both asked for an apology from the author of this blog. You found her words and tone to be poisonous. And I can see, from a couple of the phrases she used in responding to you, how you might interpret her kind (yes, kind–kind is gentle, but direct and honest) article and responses to fit that mold. And my guess is that she WILL apologize to you. From all that I can see, Lisa is an honest seeker of truth and light, and a good soul.
There’s a part of me (and this is MY confession of a hard heart) that hopes that she won’t. You deserved to be asked those questions. Because by your every word you are calling your kindness and love into question.
I couldn’t see it at first, either. But I’m telling you, if you will continue stay close to the Spirit, at some point you will. And you will look back on your words and be horrified.
I hope you can hear my words in the way they were intended. Not to hurt. Not to offend. But to offer the hope of a softer, gentler way. One less worried about the doctrine and more worried about the souls of our brothers and sisters. More worried about being like the Savior, who spent his time with the sinners and spurned the Pharisees.
If you find arrogance or condescension in my words, I hope you’ll be able to tell that isn’t about you. It’s hard for me to look back on the man I was. How unkind I was without realizing it. I haven’t completely managed to forgive myself, and your words are so similar to what mine were. It’s my own weakness and stiffness I dislike, not you.
Yes: “The Atonement pays for all of this. We’re quibbling over a price that has already been paid while our brothers and sisters are in pain. Suffering. Crying out. Dying. Does the Spirit urge you to block that out? Because that’s what it appears that you are doing. All in an effort to be “right.””
So beautifully expressed. Thank you!
Just to be clear, my comment was directed to the writer of the post, not the negative comment just prior to mine. I believe God does love all of us, and he expects us to do the same. Love God and Love One Another. That is Christ’s message to us. Your daughters are trying to do just that.
But when they say we’re all sons and daughters of God and that he loves all his children, that means EVERYONE.
For our family, we have dear friends who hurt tremendously due to the language used in many talks regarding family. We feel for them, & our hearts break for them & we long for them to find comfort. We believe that, at least for now, the current stance on gay marriage is God’s counsel to mankind. We’re not asking anyone to change policy… Just the delivery. Let’s put ourselves in our lesbian/gay brothers & sisters’ places before we speak. Let’s remind them that they are God’s children, & He made them, & they are extraordinarily loved by Him! All that He has is theirs to inherit if they will trust His will & drink the bitter cup with which they have been given. Jesus Christ endured their very heartache in Gethsemane & knows how to comfort them if they will submit to His will. (That’s the same path all mankind must ultimately choose for exaltation… We each just have different crosses to bear.) If they are to be helped through this life with such a tremendous burden, then let’s make sure that they know that they are not an abomination before God! What faithful child of God could endure such a suggestion? I know that in my darkest hours, it is my knowledge that my Heavenly Father loves me that gets me through.
“Jesus Christ endured their very heartache in Gethsemane & knows how to comfort them if they will submit to His will. (That’s the same path all mankind must ultimately choose for exaltation… We each just have different crosses to bear.) ”
– well said Polly. I feel the same way and admire your compassion for ALL of our brothers and sisters.
Well said. May more of us put it into practice. And may ALL of us hear and live the messages of love & healing, support & inclusion that ARE spoken as well. NONE of us are blessed by focusing solely on where we fall short, be it in ourselves or our rhetoric. To focus only on the negative robs us of the balm that is here now amidst the confusion & pain Of the crosses rack of us have to bear.
How we respond to this subject depends on how we see what is taught in conference. I have come to realise thatmuch of what is taught isthe political views of the speaker, and nothing to do with the Gospel. Learning this has been a gradual process.
When I came home from my mission in 1970,there were conference talksjustifying racism, talks telling missionaries to get married(their next priesthod duty), and talks about the evil attack on the family from birth control.There were also some talks about the Gospel.
You might notice Uchtdorf does not talk about gay people, he just reafferms that the Gospel of Christ is to love and include all. Uchtdorf is not a registered Republican as many of the older Apostles are.
When you come to understand that these men are teaching their political view as Gospel, you can then value it as such.
There is a disturbing analysis of the succession for the Presiency of the chuch at Zelophehads daughters post, which indicateswe will not have a Prophet under 90 years old for the forseeable future, unless the succession system changes. (it is only tradition that the president of 12 becomes Prophet) The next one must be the best man for the future of the church, the man who can remove the conservative culture, from the church and leave us with the Gospel. Uchtdorf.
BTW, President Uchtdorf was a registered Rebublican and changed it to Independent. Likely to satisfy both sides of this political nightmare.
For those of you who may pride yourselves on saying that the The Church is ‘politically natural’? That’s right, they are. They HAVE to be or they lose their tax exempt status…
Is your screen name meant to be Orwellian or just ironic?
I’m sorry, I meant ‘politically neutral’! As ALL churches in the U.S. must be to keep their tax exempt status.
Love this, Polly.
Reading this I was overpowered by a spirit of love and light. Thank you, Lisa. Then I got to the comments. Freedom Wins: You don’t see a problem AT ALL with lumping faithful, believing Saints (many of them children) who happen to be gay in with murderers, terrorists and adulterers? That’s OK. God loves you anyway. But I’m not so sure he’d love the way you’re talking about his children.
As the mother of a lesbian daughter who came out to us in the year after her mission (the mission she hoped would “cure” her) I am grateful for Lisa’s comments here. I am also regretful that it took me more than 10 years to realize that my daughter is a gift to the world. She does not deserve to be lonely for her earthly probation and I do not think our loving Heavenly Parents want to deprive her of everything that she can be or attain in this life. Including the love of a life long partner.
This is a common fallacy. Commandments do indeed deprive people of what they may want in this life. No one deserves to be lonely but it happens. There are people that are deprived of marriage because of disfigurement or physical handicaps. Did our Heavenly Parents allow this to deprive the person of blessings? Come on. It seems this current trend of focusing on one group is a disservice to many that struggle.
ya know, I love when Mormon opposite sex attracted (OSA, not SSA) folks latch onto that Elder Oaks line comparing homosexuality to a disability. “Sorry, not everyone was meant to have love and get married, that’s your trial in life.” It’s so entitled. Because then those people who we say “sorry, everyone get married quick and defend your family immediately” in conference but continue to listen to talk after talk emphsaizing that the only real contributions one can make in life that are any good are through family and having children. We say “you are living life less than because your entire purpose here is to get married and raise a family” and then also say “but not you. you have a disability that makes you love the wrong people. You will have a less than life. Maybe God will fix you after you die.” Do people realize how truly awful this is? It fascinates me that we are willing to say “the way God made you is indeed a mistake, your entire being is your cross to bear, your gender identity, your sexual identity is -what was said in conference? oh yes, your ‘stretching opportunity’.” It used to also be preached that non-white folks were born with their cursed darker skin because they were less worthy in the pre- existence. This was also said about people with disabilities. But the church changed this. Black people are supposedly no longer inferior. No less worthy. People will mental and physical disabilities are no longer considered spiritually less than, but they were people. By the voice of the prophet. In the same breath that we utter “God doesn’t change, the church doesn’t change” we are SO very grateful that it has. Thank God black people can have the priesthood. Thank God they stopped polygamy (except in the temple). Thank God women can speak in conference. Thank God they finally made a program for 8 year old girls that while treated like dirt compared to the scouts at least acknowledges for that for fifty years the boys in the church were more valued than the girls of the same age. Little changes, big changes have happened, will happened. The restoration is not done. It is still unfolding. My faith in Jesus makes homophobia totally incompatible with my conscience.
and sorry about some weird phrasing in the beginning of that comment.
Yesterday was the Phoenix Pride Parade. There were the typical and expected haters there spewing their words of bigotry and hostility. A bright contrast to that was the group Mormon’s Building Bridges marching in the parade. I was standing to the side when the group came by. A Mormon mother encouraged her 10-12 year old white shirted son to come and give me a hug. He melted into my arms and then placed a ‘Hugged By A Mormon’ sticker on my chest and ran off back to the group. Given the barrage of hatred from so many of the Mormons and their leadership I was beyond touched by that simple act of compassion and grace. Even now tears well up in my eyes recollecting the moment. Thanks, Lisa, for sharing your perspective.
Just because we acknowledge that homosexuality is not something we choose does not mean that God makes us that way. Sexuality is developmental. We live in a fallen world where we all develop sexual and other inclinations some good, some not so good. That process of physical development is marred by the ravages of this fallen world. The test is trying to turn our inclinations to good.
VJ, we can agree that people who identify as LGBT come to that identify for many different reasons. However, what is all the fear around considering that God might have *made* some people gay? Why is that a problem? It doesn’t mean that He has to change anything about His laws, or the Plan of Happiness. Why do we feel so sure that he would never dare make anyone gay? Is it because we can’t conceive of a God that would do that? There are certainly all sorts of challenges that come to many at birth. Why are those legit and homosexuality isn’t? It just doesn’t make sense to me. It’s like saying there’s no way the Big Bang theory could be true. Well, why not? Couldn’t Christ have made the world using that process? Who knows? Anything is possible with God. As a faithful, gay Latter-Day Saint I don’t feel that it is a conflict at all to consider God “made me this way.” I’m willing accept your disagreement if it comes, however, I feel that my own sexuality has divine creation and purpose. I know this through my own seeking and confirmation by the Holy Ghost. Throughout my lifetime I can see God’s fingerprints all over it. I have no idea what God’s purposes are yet. Frankly, it’s been hard not to be really pissed off about it, however, I’m not giving up hope that all will be revealed at some point, and that my life, and especially my suffering has some purpose for good. We agree that our test is to turn all that is *natural man* over to Christ for refinement. However, becoming “perfected in Christ” and not being born *that* way are not mutually exclusive. Peace.
VJ, I was thinking along these lines as well: Saying homosexuality is not a choice is not equivalent to saying “God made me that way.”
GoWithKindness, IMO the point in bringing that up is that Lisa saying “In other words, what was blasphemy in 1980 is now the official church stance,” by virtue of claiming them to be equivalent, is a fallacy.
To reject the idea that “God made me that way” is not saying that God did not allow it to happen, nor does it reject that God will use the experience ultimately for good.
IMO what it is rejecting is the idea that God wants homosexuals to always be homosexual.
Personally, I think that if we are to be one and to love everyone, our capacity to love others intimately and deeply will know no boundaries. So, for me, as a woman, to not be able to love men every bit as much as other women would be a loss, to not be able to bond and fortify in the company and association of a man, simply because he is a man, would be a loss.
God wants us to love more, not less.
To be clear, though, heterosexuals can have a similar sexist problem: not being able to love and bond with people of the same sex because they are of the same sex. Again, that is something that would need healing, too.
I’m not sure how widely it is known, but this may be an apt example: one of my good friends has contacts with the deaf community. With the fairly recent advancements of cochlear implants, some have refused them, sticking to their deafness as their identity, the deaf community as a special place where they want to remain, unable to hear. God made them that way, God surely has used deaf individual’s experiences being deaf for good, but will they remain deaf in the eternities, unable to hear?
It seems to me that the biggest theological obstacle presented to us by homosexuality is that of being less able to love and bond with those of the opposite sex. I think the verbiage has changed over the years to define it more as a “sexual preference FOR the same sex,” but preference still implies revulsion or some kind of indifference for the opposite sex.
Maybe one of the downfalls of modern society is that the enormous emphasis on sex and finding a soulmate tends to crowd out the beauty and fulfillment in brotherhood, sisterhood, and siblinghood.
I can imagine a beautiful, divine love which can be experienced by virtue of a homosexual or lesbian understanding. I really appreciate your comments and I hope I have expressed myself adequately, too! Peace and love.
Do you understand how hurtful that can sound? “Sorry, you live in a fallen world, and it looks like you grabbed the short straw.” We can do better than that. A little compassion, please, for those who are confused and suffering.
It seems as if church leaders don’t accept homosexuality in full force, they are deemed insensitive, uncaring, unloving. Yet, leaders have clearly said God loves all.
“You serve yourself poorly when you identify yourself primarily by your sexual feelings. That isn’t your only characteristic, so don’t give it disproportionate attention. You are first and foremost a son of God, and He loves you.
“What’s more, I love you. My Brethren among the General Authorities love you. I’m reminded of a comment President Boyd K. Packer made in speaking to those with same-gender attraction. ‘We do not reject you,’ he said. ‘… We cannot reject you, for you are the sons and daughters of God. We will not reject you, because we love you.’”
When an angel asked Nephi a question about God, Nephi answered, “I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things” (1 Nephi 11:17). I too affirm that God loves all His children and acknowledge that many questions, including some related to same-gender attraction, must await a future answer, perhaps in the next life.
Elder Holland, “Helping those who struggle with same gender attraction,” Liahona/Ensign October 2007.
Amen and beautifully written.
Reblogged this on tallgurrlcentral and commented:
This really states how I felt after Saturday’s sessions.
Lisa- such thoughtfully written and carefully constructed words. Thank you for them.
Someone left this comment on a FB share of this post and expressed that she’s having trouble with WordPress so she couldn’t write it here. I am, therefore, pasting her comment with her permission.
KK writes: “”Dying to get into heaven.”
Whenever we tell church members that the highest and greatest thing they can do is to marry and have children, we forget that we’re telling this to LGBTQ people, to single people, to those who have already married and raised their families, to those who cannot have children, to those whose spouses and/or families are abusive, to those who cannot fit traditional gender roles, because there are members of all of these groups in our congregations.
We’re implying that anything less than marriage and family is second best, that those who do not or cannot follow this lifestyle might make offerings, but they’re just not quite as good as the offerings of those who follow the traditional route. When we say that their “problems”–be they infertility, singleness, being gay–will be fixed in the next life, we’re suggesting that they will be better when they’re dead, and then, finally, they’ll be good enough.
But that isn’t the message of the gospel. When we become followers of Christ, we are all brothers and sisters, regardless of our family status. All of our offerings are good enough, not necessarily on their own, but because Christ sanctifies them.
We don’t need to tear down someone else’s way of life or pedestalize our own in order to validate what we’re doing. Another way of life isn’t an attack on our choices. If we think it is, that says more about our own insecurity than their choices. We need to grow up and recognize that all offerings made in the name of the Lord are good, rather than fighting about whose is better.”
Love this, Lisa! Love the article, and love that additional comment. Wish it were here to ameliorate some of the stiff counterpoint.
I wish I was as eloquent as you! This is beautiful. Your thoughts are inspiring. You nailed it.
I’m a faithful, gay Latter-Day Saint woman. I am married to a wonderful man of ten years and have four -light of my life- children. As beautiful as my circumstances are I have come to a deep crisis of the divine fabric of my being. The conflict between my spirituality and eternal story, my love for my God, my husband and my children, and the fundamental design of my very soul has become so intractable and unbearable that I have found myself feeling that my only relief is suicide. Even though I recognize that the life-long collateral damage of that is not an option, there are days where my rationality fades away and the pain and conflict become overwhelming. I am not a child. I am a mature, well-educated woman. I am surrounded by family that loves me and that I love, yet the depth of my suffering is inexplicable. I am giving all I have and am to the effort of fitting my triangle self into the round hole of the church. Sometimes I have to say that if the majority of the church were completely honest with themselves, they would say that the world would be far better off without any gay people. That it would be better for a gay person to die than to live an alternative lifestyle. That is exactly the position that many of us find ourselves in. I find myself cycling through times of commitment and desperation, times where I feel like I can do this and times when I feel I cannot survive one. more. day! Although I am not exaggerating the depth of my struggle and suffering, I am not going to die. I’m not going to stop trusting life. I know that if I just keep walking I’ll reach the center of my own labyrinth. The center for me isn’t *this* lifestyle or *that* lifestyle, it’s my full engagement with life, to become life, to be a life-giver. Thank you for this article and its kind expression of compassion and love.
Wow. Thank you, GoWithKindness. All my love to you and yours.
I simply could not read your story and not tell you how valiant I believe you to be. Although I am not gay, your love for The Lord and trying to do the best you can is something we can all relate to. I wish we knew why we are given such conflicts. I suppose they don’t call them trials without good reason.
As a parent of six adult children I can say I would be proud to have you as my daughter. Whether it was this struggle or another. You have faced it with grace and dignity. What more could our Heavenly Father possibly expect from any of us.
Bless your heart…
You are wanted on this planet!
I’m gay and I don’t believe God made me this way. I also know I didn’t choose to be gay. I feel like some things just happen, and I spend my time best when I wonder what I’m going to do about it instead of whose fault it is.
Can you be more specific on which saterday talks and what part of the talks that you reference that made you feel the way you did. Just trying to understand your feelings
TryingToUnderstand, the two talks that the LGBTQ community have indicated were hurtful are linked in the post. Both Elder Packer’s talk and Elder Perry’s have gotten the most discussion, but particularly Elder Perry’s talk. Remember that the LGBT community is one that, until recently, was entirely rejected. Sensitivities naturally exist. I recommend you drop in now and then on the public FaceBook page Mormons Building Bridges and read what’s going on there. There you will meet faithful LDS people who are part of the LGBTQ community, their families, friends and “allies.” Another good place to increase your understanding is at the Affirmation blog, Young Stranger. http://youngstranger.blogspot.com/ You may not agree or understand everything from their perspective, but you will discover they are perceptive, kind, and gracious. Enjoy.
I fully relate to Go With Kindness’ remarks and I am not gay. Life is desperation to me. This is mortality for me. I think it is condescending and grating to hear someone talking of a scripture which mentions God’s love of His sons and the speaker says, “And of course He loves His daughters, too.” If we believe God loves ALL His children, we don’t need to be told that, by the way, He loves His Lesbian, Gay, Black, Asian, etc. children. It is a GIVEN. I am so sorry for all who suffer.
How about a simple answer such as “because God doesn’t see his children as ‘gay or lesbian'”. This is the problem. I could just as easily ask, “why don’t they say God loves left handed people, or bald people, or people that like ice cream?” Last time I checked, gay and lesbian people are still children of God, which is inclusive of his original statement. There have been countless talks and statements from many general authorities on love, charity, and kindness toward anyone that is seen as ‘different’.
This article makes it sound like it’s men that created the commandments, as if the church is some club that the doctrine can be voted on. If that’s how you feel, you’re in the wrong church. There are plenty of churches founded on that sentiment.
There was absolutely nothing said that excluded anyone from the talks given at conference.
Thank you… I didn’t feel anyone was excluded either… I am sorry there were those who did. I don’t believe for a minute it was intentional. I think these talks are prepared desperately trying to show love, compassion and offer motivation for every child of God.
Had I been one of these brethren and read here that my heartfelt words were hurtful to my brothers and sisters, I would feel that I had not only let them down, but I had not represented my Father in Heaven in my calling.
President Uchtforf says “there is room for you” and Flying Jay reminds us “hey, you can always leave.” Nice.
FlyingJay, I don’t believe anyone said that. We seek further light and knowledge based on our understanding of God’s love. How is that voting on doctrine?
As a “life coach” and with spiritual gifts that allows me to see the backstory of many of those I work with, many of those with same gender attaction have been at some point in their young lives, violated and the ramifications is that the soul percieves itself as no longer “whole or complete” as less than, this comes from the buffetings of satan.. and to shut that voice out many close off that memory in order to survive or they “hide”so others will not shame them, nd wound their soul even further.
But within them there is still a need to replace or to fill the void in their Being from that which was robbed from . It is much like a virus in a computer,shutting down files. The individual will either turn to addictions or seek after the qualities. or parts they feel they lack in another person, hoping that the person will love them and give back whathtey lack…in other words complete them…there’s more to it but for now this is a quick insight on why compassion is needed…anyway…. example a female will see that another female pocesses that which was once part of her( in terms of quailties. light, personality..and a list of other things.)… and there is a yearning to fill it. In loving that person, like the old adage or belief, “you complete me” is their hope.
The only way for them or any of us to be “complete” is through the savior’s atonement.
What the brethern try to teach in a “general” way is that in the realms of eternity it does take both male and female” energies” to create..not just chldren, but everything in the universe . It has to have a true balance. The eastern beliefs call it yin and yang. The vibrational freguencies of all creation has to have both. The reason for our distrubtive society is because we are lacking in that true male -female balance. It HAS to be in balance for harmony to reside.. So, our gay friends may love each other to the moon and back, but in order for them to be be able to create like God, which by the way is a father and mother..there has to be that blend., male and female. So it is true that many have these feelings at a young age and may think they were born that way and didn’ t choose it… but with the light and wisdom coming to earth now as we get closer to Christ’s return, he is giving them( and all of us) ways to mend the wounded soul and to be able to stand in their full light and truth as they were created…yes, heand Heavenly parents love their children dearly, and he wants us ALL to be healed and whole.
It is both factually mistaken and morally dangerous to suggest that abuse causes homosexuality.
No. I refuse. I refuse to ask a religion to change its tenets to fit my partner and I. We are gay. We were Mormon. Mormonism states pretty clearly that gays are loved by god, but their actions are not accepted. If you don’t like that, do what I did. Leave. Don’t attack prophets and apostles that you come close to with your lips but not your hearts, instead take a look at why they have to say what they say. And for the suicide, well, that is sad, but it is the wrong choice. That isn’t a response that is acceptable, and blame for the act falls on the one who committed it, because they made the choice, no one else. This is even more true in this situation than others.
Our LGBT siblings are suffering and dying. And we are failing them with what we are saying and doing, and what we are not saying and doing. NONE of whatever it is a person may think about “the issue” is as important. These are souls and lives. Beautiful article. Can’t wait to share it. Thank you.
I just read Elder Packers talk. Missed the Saturday morning session. I am mystified by posts here that are so offended by his talk. All he talked about was the wonderful marriage he has and how having a family is the Lord’s plan. You all are offended by that? He didn’t mention the word homosexual or gay or anything close to that. All he talked about was the Lord’s plan for us all, gay or straight, married or unmarried, disabled or mentally or physically handicapped. He did say this and I quote here.
“When we speak of marriage and family life, there inevitably comes to mind. What about the exceptions? Some or born with limitations and cannot beget children. Some innocents have their marriage wrecked because of the infidelity of their spouse.
Others do not marry and live in single worthiness.
For now I offer this comfort: God is our Father! All the love and generosity manifest in the ideal earthly father is magnified in him who is our Father and our God beyond the capacity of the mortal mind to comprehend. His judgements are just; his mercy without limit; his power to compensate beyond any earthly comparison.” Close quote.
For those who for WHATEVER reason do not participate in this life in the family experience as Elder Packer described the Lord will “compensate beyond any earthly comparison.” Now think about that “beyond any earthly comparison.” That’s saying an awful lot. That’s a promise to all of us from an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.
What do we have to do to earn that great promise? Stay worthy. That’s it. And it applies to everyone gay or straight.
I love all people gay or straight. More importantly the Lord loves all people. That’s all this church teaches is love for our fellow man. What is the second great commandment? Love your neighbor.
My heart goes out to all those who cannot have the perfect family as Elder Packer described. But keep the faith. Stay worthy. If you do then all the Lord has is yours. And you will someday have that wonderful family to live eternally with.
Peace to all.
Brenda (of the homosexuality and sexual abuse comment), I can only speak from my own experience, but I do feel compelled to add my voice to this issue.
I really do get the need and the desire to find an explanation and a solution to the question of homosexuality. From a gospel perspective it seems completely reasonable that this could exist, especially in context to the atonement of Christ.
While we may not agree on exactly what is and isn’t broken in regards to SSA (same sex attraction for those who don’t know), where we both do find common ground is in our confidence that the atonement is the consummate healer of all things broken, wounded, sick and lost.
I’ve been managing my SSA for the past 30 years. For those 30 years I’ve engaged every tool of healing possible through the gospel—
– regular priesthood counsel and accountability,
-priesthood blessings (oil and otherwise),
-feasting from the scriptures and the words of the prophets (not just reading, but true study and seeking),
-deep and engaging prayer,
-consistent family home evening attendance even as a single woman,
-regular and honest repenting,
-faithful church attendance and worthy partaking of the sacrament,
-paying a full tithe and a generous fast offering,
-weekly temple attendance,
-magnifying my callings,
-attentive service and private charity work,
-obtaining a successful marriage to a man and having children,
-as full submission as possible to God’s will for my life.
AND, deep and honest recovery from sexual abuse.
I’m not providing this list for any other reason than to say that if there was anyone, ever, seeking for, begging for, exercising every mustard seed of faith for healing it was me. I couldn’t know the Savior exists any more than I do now if I saw him.
I spent the last 30 years believing that I was broken, and hoping that if I could just be good enough, sincere enough, surrendering enough it would make up for my brokenness at worst, or heal me at best.
All of this sincere work has had beautiful consequences in my life. It couldn’t be otherwise.
However, what it hasn’t provided me is healing from SSA.
Three years ago I turned 40 and had my last child. Those two pivotal events provided a physical, mental and emotional opening for the Lord to give me a gift. The gift was a life crisis—deep, and raw, and cruel feeling. To my shock and horror, my SSA reared it’s ugly head in the center of it all. I couldn’t understand it. I was so angry. After all that I had given to God, why was this happening to me? What had I done to invite this? Where had I sinned? Where had I let down my vigilance? Was God revealing that he truly did hate me, that I was broken beyond repair?
My heart and my very soul were ripped open and I was driven to my knees in a way I’d never known before.
The Cliff Note version is that God revealed to me the true nature of my soul. That I was whole, beautiful, enough just as I was, and that my sexuality was divinely breathed into my creation.
The revelation was breathtaking, life changing, and transforming.
But the revelation brought the crisis I was experiencing even deeper. Suddenly I was confronted with what to do about my sexuality, which was a real as ever.
Here I was, a faithful member of the Church, a covenanted woman, eternally sealed to a dearly beloved companion, a mother of children, educated, accomplished, and mature.
And . . . I COULDN’T BEAR the pain of living a heterosexual life anymore!
God! How did this happen! What do I do now?!
This question has been my journey over the last five months. It’s my journey to walk, and I’m walking it as honestly, as truthfully, and hand in hand with God as I possibly can.
I recognize that all I’ve said can be interpreted to be prideful and haughty. I apologize for this.
All that I’ve said is simply my testimony. We do not understand all that we think we understand. We do not see, or think, or comprehend as God does.
My sexuality is real. It is the divine fabric of my being. God gave it to me as a gift of soul, and he has a purpose in mind.
Every LGBT person’s journey is different. Everyone walks their path the best they can, and although we need not agree with how each of us walks our life, each path is valid. Mine is mine alone, and it’s walked in the truth of my own soul.
The grace that we give each other is to acknowledge that the paths of others are as valid as our own, even though we may not agree. When we see “others” as important and as valid as our own selves we can truly access the Gift of Charity that is the stuff of Heaven (1 Corinthians 13).
This article is depressing! This mother lost a beautiful teaching moment with her daughters. God does love all his children, yes there is a plan and it should be followed, but if you don’t/can’t that doesn’t mean he loves you less. Come on people! He knows what you are going through and probably loves you more! if you don’t know how to answer your child’s question, then see if you can find someone to help you, not take it to social media to cause a stir. This whole article is a disgusting excuse for rating. I am tired of people trying to cause a riot, for their own benefit. I hate to judge, maybe this is a person truly wondering, but has no clue how to go about looking for an answer. But I don’t think so, look at the title of the blog, they are looking to cause a stir. You should be teaching you children that Heavenly Father LOVES them and that they need to love thy neighbor, then this would never be an issue.
Again I have to ask: Where in this article does it mention how the mother responded? Why are you upset that the children are feeling compassion for this group of people? Where in this article did it suggest that the children or mother wanted the laws changed?
If you believe Lisa posted this to create a stir on social media, I believe you have effectively managed to miss her entire point. Truly. Try going back and reading the article with an open heart, and really feel her love and pain, as well as that of her beautiful children. The “teaching moment” of which you speak is to become more, not less, Christlike. Kind, gentle, understanding.
This is a ridiculous thread. People are offended that someone didn’t specifically say that god loves gays. Okay, god loves gays, and murderers and petty shoplifters and people who love peanut butter. How about when Jesus says, If you love me keep my commandments. God created man in HIS image. But we like to create God in the image that is most convenient to our way of life. We don’t want to follow the rules. We constantly want to justify our behavior. What about my Uncle joe who likes sex with kids. ?? I guess he was born that way. That’s how god made him. Don’t tell him it’s wrong. People don’t like to be told that they’re wrong. We have to make sure everyone feels warm and fuzzy. God makes the rules. Not man. If you love god. follow his rules.
That mother blew a great opportunity to teach her own daughters eternal truths:
1. God loves all of His children
2. God does not condone homosexuality
3. If we love God we will follow the commandments
4. Homosexuality has nothing to do with the plan of salvation and will not be part of the afterlife
5. Marriage is between a man and a woman
6. To love someone does not mean that all behavior is condoned
Why this mother chose not to teach these eternal truths to her daughter is a mystery. Maybe she doesn’t know them herself? Maybe she’s bought into the worldly philosophy that homosexuality isn’t a choice and said behavior is ok?
No one knows but her. It’s sad she failed to teach her daughters correct principles.
It is clear that you, the writer of this article, is completely in support of homosexuality as normal and acceptable. It’s also clear that you are waiting for further light and knowledge that will never come to make homosexuality ok and part of the LDS gospel.
It is stunning that so many LDS folks are duped by Lucifer regarding homosexuality and the lies that the world teaches regarding the accepting and condoning of it.
Which parent is ok to eliminate with homosexual marriage? Is it ok for the children not have to have their mother or father? Please detail for us all.
It’s time for all LDS folks to learn the doctrines. Stop preaching false doctrines. Quit manufacturing issues that are not there. Your expectation that the prophet or apostles are going to come out and specifically state that God loves His homosexual behaving children is a foolish one.
Bad behavior needs correction. I hope all parents correct their children’s bad behavior, including that of homosexuality.
This mother and the post author both missed great teaching moments. That’s what’s truly sad. Learn, then teach the doctrines.
Where in this article does it mention how the mother responded? Why are you upset that the children are feeling compassion for this group of people? Where in this article did it suggest that the children or mother wanted the laws changed?
Scott, do you understand the doctrine? The most central and important parts of it? Christ told us to learn of Him. Did he ever treat the sinner in the way you have by your language? The only ones he treated that way were the hypocrites. Those who were so worried about being “right” that they wouldn’t eat with the publicans.
Of course I understand the doctrine and homosexuality has no play in it, ever. The most central and important parts are the Atonement, Resurrection and if ye love me, keep my commandments. Don’t forget loving our neighbor as ourselves.
It’s clear that you are in the crowd that complains about the messenger instead of the message. You don’t like my language? I don’t give a rip. But keep focusing on that as opposed to the actual doctrine.
Scott, you seem to be misunderstanding me. I’m not preaching homosexuality. Not in the slightest. I’m preaching exactly what you just said, which doesn’t seem to match your other words/behavior here in this comments section.
Love God. Love our neighbor. The two greatest commandments, around which every other commandment is based.
There will be those who don’t believe as we do. Many. And that’s not only okay, it’s kind of wonderful. That’s one of our articles of faith, remember? To allow all to follow the dictates of their own conscience, right? And in this case, we may find ourselves at odds with some. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be (and that we aren’t actually REQUIRED to be) kind.
Just a quick note on the whole homosexuality thing. I’m not saying it’s not important. But is it possible that it’s not SO important? The Book of Mormon was written for our day. That’s what the book itself tells us, as well as our prophets. Any guesses on how many times homosexuality was mentioned? Just a little thought exercise. We can also go to Christ’s words as well. If this was to be THE sin of our day, it seems like it might have gotten a bit more weight in the BoM and the 4 Gospels.
Have you read Genesis 1 & 2? Who did God organize and what did He command them to do? The OT is pretty explicit that homosexuality is a sin. Christ said a man and woman are to leave their parents and become one. The apostles also followed suit and condemned homosexuality. Our prophets and apostles have condemned homosexuality.
I didn’t realize there was a certain number of times a sin has to be mentioned for it to be considered worthy of following. How many times in the scriptures is the 1st of the 10 commandments repeated? If that was really important, maybe it would have received more attention in the scriptures.
See how silly your argument is?
Go ahead, embrace it, condone it, support it since it hasn’t been mentioned enough for your in the Book of Mormon. You seem to be like many LDS folks who support homosexuality in thinking that one can’t love someone who sins while condemning the sin. Go and sin no more….famous words.
One last try, Scott. You misunderstand me. You misunderstand Lisa. It’s beginning to feel like you’re doing so on purpose.
At what point did I say anything about wanting doctrine to change? I’ve stated several things that were intended only to help engender understanding and compassion. Not a change of doctrine.
You’re engaging in a classic logical fallacy, called the Straw Man Fallacy. In this fallacy, you take an argument from your opponent, change it, and then easily shut down the argument that your opponent wasn’t actually making. That’s what you’ve done here. Multiple times.
First, I’m not your opponent. I’m your brother. A faithful and temple recommend holding member of the church who is doing the best he can to be a disciple of Christ. One who fails more often than he succeeds, but continues to try, regardless. I’m truly sorry if anything I said here has hurt you, frightened you, or caused you to feel shame. I mean that from the most sincere depths of my heart.
I would ask you a question. If I’m wrong in what I’ve said, isn’t it your job to love me? To kindly take my hand and show me the light? To counsel as we’re encouraged in the scriptures, “by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned…” Does that feel like what you’re doing right now?
You, by your own statements, say that you’re a man of doctrine. So if you’re behaving in a way that runs counter to the scriptures, is it possible that something else is going on? This was a tough one for me to get through, so please stay with me. Endure for a moment what must feel like condescension, but is only intended to be caring.
I have found, that when I’m not behaving like the man I want to be, the man I see in my heart of hearts, it’s because I’m not willing to see something. A part of my behavior sits in a blind spot of my own making. And the only way to bring it into the light is to see what I don’t want to see.
Your commentary seems angry. Hard. Filled with judgment. If this is not the case, please forgive me.
Anger isn’t a primary emotion. It’s what we use to cover over our pain, our fear and our shame. When I’m in pain and don’t acknowledge it, or afraid and won’t confront it, or ashamed and don’t want to look at it… anger is the result.
Is it possible that you’re hurt? That I (or someone else) has hurt your feelings? Or that I (or someone else) has caused you to feel afraid? Or ashamed?
If I have done those things, again, I am so sorry. That was never my intent.
I don’t know you. But I do know that if I did, I would see a wonderful person, a hard-working member of the church who’s doing the best he can to be a good man. A brother.
So I’m speaking to you as a brother. I’m not asking for anything more than understanding and compassion. Not doctrine change, not revolution, not a vote on church policy. I’m asking that we be more Christlike.
Can you in good conscience deny me that request?
Lisa Torcasso Downing- As I scroll down through the comments here, repeatedly restraining myself from firing-back snide retorts at vacuous people leaving vapid comments, I find myself wondering about the value of a comment section such as this.
I felt such a strong spirit of peace and love as I read your post, only to have that wonderful feeling jettisoned for a spirit of contention as I read some of these more nasty, dim-witted responses. I know that me and my triggers are largely to blame for my unpleasant reaction, but it really is a shame to have your beautiful insights and three-dimensional reasoning marred by a follow-up chorus of rigid and self-righteous one-dimensional responses. Often, it seems from their comments, they haven’t even finished reading your entire post before commenting.
Although they handily illustrate the ignorance and lack of empathy you’re trying to illuminate as a problem, I’d suggest that they also detract from your inspired words … which I imagine is their goal in the first place.
My question is, and I’m being serious, is there a reason to preserve a forum like this? I know that it’s just the way things are done on blogs, but I’m seeking further light and knowledge on this topic. Is there a reason that it is beneficial to you? Is it just web traffic? Can’t they, just as easily, angrily repost your wonderful piece on their Facebook page and make despicable comments about you to their inner-circle of despicable friends? Why play host to hatred or fear-fueled imbeciles on your own site? Just curious because I might have gone to bed quite inspired by your post, had I not then been exposed to some of these more repulsive responses which have left me with a migraine and a sour stomach.
icarusarts, this is exactly what I’m struggling with as these comments continue to come in negatively. In fact, I said this precise thing last night to a friend. Am I allowing harm to come to people who are already beaten up? As a general policy, I allow people to hang themselves. “Go ahead, show you true colors in a comment.” This post is about how the insensitive words of a couple apostles on Saturday morning lead to suicide. To be specific, four suicides in Utah over General Conference weekend. Folks will jump on me for that number, but its a number I’ve seen repeated by reputable people positioned to know, but confidentiality restricts them, rightfully so. I worry even giving the number here may cause pain. I KNOW many of the comments here will be a horrific stab to the people who love these suicide victims. I’ve become accustomed to harsh comments by people who don’t want to leave their comfort zone, but the reactions to this post are particularly painful, to me, sure, but more importantly, to the people who were hurt Saturday. Worst, these negative comments are frightening, considering many in the LGBT community took comfort in this post. I can’t explain human behavior, but they are proving that some LDS are not loving, no matter how they protest. Because four suicides! Why all they can see is the title is beyond me. The title stinks. It was the least click-bait of the options I came up with. I spent a weekend fretting the right title, but on Monday, I slapped one down because this needed to be published in a timely manner.
I am tempted to delete every hurtful comment from the people who are increasing the pain. But I figure there must be people who are reading comments and seeing these attitudes for what they are, who will feel the difference between the spirit of the post and the spirit of some of the comments. I only hope the contrast is enough to change some hearts. People, however, tend to want to be right more than they want to do right. People love themselves more than they love others.
I truly don’t know which path is the better path, to approve or not approve. But I do think a lot of repetition of the same mantra isn’t necessary.
Thank you for not giving into temptation to delete the posts you may think are hurtful. I’m assuming you keep this blog active to hear BOTH sides of the issue. It’s known as ‘free-speech’. We protect it here in the U.S. for everyone. Not just those with minority voices…
I don’t bellieve there is anyone here who is not willing to help, love, and reach out to those who have self-worth issues for any reason that lead to depression/suicide regardless of the circumstance.
“This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 15:8).
If a person’s words are triggers for suicide, especially for those who seek to obey God, that person is demonstrating that they are not willing to help, love, and reach out. Pay attention. Four suicides. Stop defending God. He doesn’t need it. Start being your brother’s keeper. In protecting your brother, you will honor (and defend) God.
Four suicides. Where there is responsibility (as in freedom of speech), there is also culpability.
I hope you take some time to rethink your post. There are MANY reasons people take their life. If I had taken my life every time church leaders hurt my own self-worth and value deeply I would dead a thousand times over.
No one here is intentionally trying to be hurtful.
Amazing…blaming the apostles for the suicides. Talk about arrogance and ignorance at the same time. You are hooked into the worldly thinking that no one is supposed to say that homosexuality is wrong and someone isn’t showing love if they do.
Your thinking is juvenile and shallow and wrong. Will be an interesting day when you meet the Savior and condemn His apostles for suicides. Will love to see how that conversation goes.
If you are LDS, how does homosexuality fit into the plan of salvation? Name any scripture that says it’s ok!
I’m so tired of LDS folks making excuses for homosexuality and then blaming anyone who condemns the behavior as not showing love. Learn the doctrines!
Thank you, Elder Perry, for reinforcing the importance of marriage and family Saturday morning. My young adult children desperately need to be reinforced and strengthened in this world that tears marriage apart, tells them it means little, tries to convince them that all arrangements are equal and should be respected. Thank you for speaking plainly about the danger ahead, about the importance of strengthening marriage, so that God’s children can have a chance to be born at all, and then be raised by two parents, a mother and father. Thank you, Elder Perry. I love and support you.
Yes, I, too, thank you Elder Perry for reinforcing the importance of marriage in a world that devalues marriage. Martha, can you find “gay marriage” anywhere in this post? This post is about insensitive rhetoric that lead to the deaths of young adults, like yours. Its not about changing the message, but the tone. (Although if God changed the message, I’d accept that. And so would you. But put that aside.) I ask you to take a good long look at your children tonight. If one told you tomorrow that he or she is same-sex attracted, would you still value their lives? Would you want to bury your child because some ill-chosen rhetoric triggered deep-seeded self-loathing, brought on by what they are taught at Church? I’m appalled that so many–especially mothers because I’m sexist like that–who have read this post are miscasting it as an attack on traditional marriage and procreation and not seeing it as a plea to preserve the sanctity of human life. This isn’t about you, Martha. And it isn’t about Elder Perry. The problem is that so many think that the only way to stop hurting homosexuals is to change the doctrine. Nowhere do I ask for a doctrinal change. I ask for more light and knowledge. Maybe that’ll be doctrinal clarification someday; maybe it’ll be instruction to the Saints on how better to assimilate LGBT people. (Though it seems to me we have that revelation throughout the scriptures.) Shame on any Mormon who rejects the idea of more light and knowledge as a beneficial way to increase our ability to not only retain LGBT members, but to save and value their lives. I pray your children are not homosexual, for their sakes. Guess what, the church teaches they don’t choose their sexuality. And you don’t get to choose it for them.
Lisa, your words are hostile, your tone is poisonous. You assume some very wrong things. Unlike your tone, Elder Perry’s and President Packer’s talks were loving. And truthful. And hopeful. And hard to hear, for those who are offended by the actuality of marriage—a union that is protected by the state and honored by God BECAUSE of possible children, who are helpless. This is the basis of marriage in law. As for integrating homosexuals into the church, we do that already. A chaste person has all the blessings of any other chaste person. A person who struggles with commandments is welcome to come to church any time. I’d like an apology for your last sentence. Really, way out of line.
I agree Martha. I’d like one, too!
I stand by everything I said in the post (which, apparently, you don’t understand) and everything I replied to you. There is a difference between hostility and boldness. Pres. Hinckley told us to stand for something. What I will continue to stand for is caution in our rhetoric so that we don’t add to the pain. Some people here have been so busy justifying doctrine (doctrine that is not challenged in this post I’d add) that they have been inflicting the very pain I warn against on many of my readers who turned to this post for comfort, on people who need comfort precisely because so many in our church refuse to respectfully learn about the unique difficulty of living as a faithful, LGBTQ Mormon. I will stand strongly and loudly and bravely against voices that are hurting people through this kind of thoughtlessness. I have zero fear of a reproach from the Savior or from my Father in Heaven for what I have written in this post. Zero. So I assure you I have no fear of your reproach.
I know this post to be inspired. I know the Spirit is here. I have felt it testify in the deepest fibers of my soul that what I have written here is blessed, in spite of any imperfection it may have. I’m not here to bring you comfort. I’m here to give voice to the Spirit that moves me and to give comfort to those of my brothers and sisters who need it. You came here to pontificate and I allowed it. But I will no longer allow any of you to speak in ways that are thoughtless in their “righteousness.” Can I be more clear?
In other words, I will apologize for nothing. Nor will l not ask for your apology, though you have sorely and wrongly judged me. And I won’t ask you to apologize to my readers who have been hurt by your insensitivity. In fact, I ask nothing of you. Instead, I’m telling you that I have given you plenty of time to speak. Any further comments that I deem harmful to the LDS LGBTQ community will be deleted. And Freedom Wins, that is no more a breach of freedom of speech than turning off inappropriate programming in your home. I’m turning off any more inappropriate comments so that those who come here for nourishment and safety may find it.
Your posts aren’t inspired by the Spirit, in fact, they are false doctrine prompted by Lucifer himself. You are a homosexual sympathizer and condemn the Lord’s apostles for speaking the truth.
You’ll be outta the church within 10 years, if that long. You’re already disgruntled and preaching false doctrine. You’ll become even more hardened in your heart as the line gets drawn sharper and sharper against homosexuality and the perversion to try to call it marriage.
You are blinded by the mists of darkness and don’t even realize it. What a shame. But we know that even the very elect will be deceived. You’ll go the way of Kate Kelly and John Dehlin…..
Careful, Scott. That sounded awfully judgmental. Is it possible that you’re the one who’s mistaken? I acknowledge that I might be. Can you?
Heavenly Father continues to ask us to open our minds and our hearts. To love more, to include more of our brothers and sisters under the umbrella of the gospel. He did so with the Jews, asking them to open their hearts to the Gentiles. He did it with us, asking us to open our hearts to our African American brothers and sisters.
What if what He wants from us is the same behavior toward our gay brothers and sisters as well? I think He does. I think it pains His heart every time a well-meaning member of the church lashes out at one of His children.
I would rather err on the side of kindness and love, because THAT’S what his doctrine teaches me. Not to hate. Not to rail. But to turn the other cheek. To walk the extra mile. To give the extra cloak. To be kinder than we “need” to be. To love more. To return goodness for evil, kindness for harshness, love for hatred.
That’s what Lisa is doing, Scott. And that’s what you’re castigating her for.
Does that sound like the example the Savior would have set for us to follow? And isn’t that what we’re meant to do in all things?
Your post was well-worded, even-handed and caring. Like you, I am not LGBTQ and neither is anyone in my family, but I can’t stand the suffering of marginalized people. Thank you for your inclusive voice!
I didn’t get the idea that anyone in this article was suggesting that the brethren have never expressed God’s love for all His children. And I don’t think anyone is suggesting that they were intentionally hurtful. I also didn’t read anywhere that there is a demand to change the commandments. There is no mention of how this mother responded or what lessons came of their questions.
What I read is that it can’t hurt to remind our brothers and sisters that they are greatly loved and of tremendous worth every time we have to remind the world of God’s commands on this issue. This love cannot be over-stated. I don’t see why that is upsetting to so many people on this thread of comments. People are reading more into this than is actually there. This post was about love. Nothing more.
Wonderful words, Mormon Girl. There is a real lack of kindness in this comment thread.
I’ve written too much. I’ve probably hurt people’s feelings. If that’s the case, I sincerely apologize. That was not my intent.
I would like to end on this idea: Brigham Young’s statement about offense. In a nutshell, he said that if we get offended when someone’s not trying to offend us, we’re fools. But if we get offended when someone’s trying to offend us, we’re bigger fools.
I believe we ALL (and I totally include myself in this) need to be kinder, softer, gentler. I would rather err on the side of being kind and connected than on the side of being “right.” We’ve seen too many instances where we THINK we understand the gospel, just to realize that we were getting a lot of stuff wrong.
After all, don’t we all hope for further light and knowledge to come down from the heavens? Isn’t that why we stay in a place where we can hear from apostles and prophets?
I know it’s why I do.
I have never publicly posted on this topic and I’m not sure why I am pressed to do so now but I do know I’ve pondered this for years and will continue for many years to come simply because I realize I will never have a complete understanding of everything.
The very first thing that everyone of us absolutely needs to recognize is that no one to have ever walked the earth save Jesus Christ has ever had a Full and complete understanding of God and his eternal gospel plan, including prophets. So siting who said what and when just fuels the fire more than helps to explain it.
Let’s look at what we all know with out really any doubt.
God loves everyone……everyone.
God has set laws for his children to obey.
God sent his only begotten as the ultimate sacrifice to suffer for all of mans enevatable sins through the atonement. (Lest we forget the level of personal sacrifice this was for God himself)
God expects us to be obedient but knowing we cannot be perfect blesses us with forgiveness through the power of said atonement.
God expects all of us to show sacrifice in our own lives and blesses us with the opportunity to do so through trials specific to each of us.
We know we have the Ten Commandments, and no there is no specific one siting marriage to be only between a man and woman…(most likely because at that time the people would have thought..”why would God say a man should only marry a woman??” That would have seriously confused the people of Moses as it was the farthest thing from their mind and culture at the time) nor is there a commandment siting marriage is to be only one man and one women but we need to remember the commandments came from the God of Abraham who himself had more than one wife so we can assume that God could have plural marriage as part of his eternal plan and indeed showed this part of heaven to Joseph Smith. As a side note remember that marriage was originally a religious covenant long before any government made it a civil contract. We can all see that mixing the two has caused much conflict and grief for society in these latter days.
We all want to be “Christ like” but None of us have the right to claim we ARE all the time so using that statement on another is hypocritical simply because not one of us are perfect hence the lesson from Christ of “casting the first stone” lest we forget to second lesson from the same scripture, Jesus forgave the woman BUT looked into her eyes and commanded her to “sin no more”. Don’t confuse an all loving God with an “all accepting God” I think we can all agree God has made it clear he will not accept sin bit will forgive it.
Regarding the need for man/woman to receive passion from another human. We cannot compare or group together passion and Sex, Albeit you can feel passion through having sex but not exclusive to it. I’ve never had a leader in the church ask me if I live with a man, have kissed a man, held hands with a man or cuddled with a man. God blessed us with sex so that we can multiply and replenish the earth.
We as humans also use sex for recreation….realize this for a moment, we are basically the only species on earth that do so, the rest of all gods creatures use sex for procreation propelled by the basic instinct to continue their own species and not recreation.
God has not given us all his knowledge and foresight and as we as a society try to fill in the blanks and mix all of this together just because we can’t accept that we don’t know everything we can only blame ourselves for the conflict that it causes.
I love my niece, who is gay. I love her more since finding out that she is because though I struggle with accepting the lifestyle I know she has felt great pain over the years induced by both society and an incomplete understanding of Gods plan for her personally. I feel for any one who feels pain for any reason especially a family member.
I’m sure there are a lot of people around the world that think or hope that they’re personal situation is mentioned in specific terms by a prophet/apostle of God during conference, my heart goes out to anyone that feels pain from the lack thereof. No one has the right to put the blood of one soul upon the words or lack of words from another, so please don’t blame the very unfortunate situation of suicide on these men and women who speak in conference who are imperfect like the rest of us. I worry every day that I’ll receive a phone call that my nephew has taken his life due to post traumatic stress syndrome but I will not blame anyone if that day comes, we are simply doing all we can to love and support him.
Look to the scriptures for answers but realize you will receive only the answers that God will have you receive and in His due time not yours, look to prayer for comfort from the spirit of God and I know you can receive it, follow the two greatest commandments set forth by Jesus Christ the first being Love thy God, and the second Love thy neighbor.
Peace be with you.
I’m glad you chose to speak here, DRW. I see you have much sensitivity because of your lesbian niece. I would suggest only one thing: try to feel her pain instead of feeling sorry that she doesn’t understand God’s plan. Hear me out. Chances are, she longs to be understood by someone in the family, deeply understood. I think if a person doesn’t feel understood, they don’t feel love. The atonement will take care of other things.
Much of the discussion here is revolving around whether or not God loves homosexuals and whether or not they need a talk specific to that. I understand why people read the post that way, but it feels a little like some brains got stuck on the title (which again, is imperfect) and the initial anecdote and did not pick up on the reason the anecdote is there. The teenage girls I spoke of are young and innocent and absolutely beautiful people inside and out. Perhaps it was their innocence that allowed them to hear the undercurrent of a couple talks when so many in the LDS audience missed it. But they heard it, these sweet, pure girls. The undercurrent is there and the LGBTQ community felt it, discussed it privately and are working toward healing one another of shattered hope that the leadership was moving toward more compassion for their particularly unique struggle. What any of the rest of us think about how the LGBTQ community reacted (that it is justified or not) is of no consequence. This is what happened and is happening. No matter how much we want to defend doctrine, some of the tone on Saturday morning left these girls wondering why homosexuality was, in their eyes, caged only as something to further Satan’s plan. Perhaps the rest of us–including aged apostles–need to follow the example of these sweet girls and keep in mind that tender and good hearts can be crushed unwittingly.
“No matter how much we want to defend doctrine, some of the tone on Saturday morning left these girls wondering why homosexuality was, in their eyes, caged only as something to further Satan’s plan. Perhaps the rest of us–including aged apostles–need to follow the example of these sweet girls and keep in mind that tender and good hearts can be crushed unwittingly.”
It’s clear that any comments condemning homosexuality would be the wrong tone for you. Again, counseling the Lord’s anointed instead of taking counsel from them. How arrogant! How ignorant! How wrong!
It’s YOU that is out of line, not them. Go by a mirror and take a good look cuz you are clearly on the path out of the Lord’s church. Sad.
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One last time, just so everyone is clear. The chase to prove the title in error is not necessary. It’s context is as a guide to refer readers to the anecdote with the teenage girls, who had the sensitivity to understand that the LGBT community likely feels singled out and hammered, but, in their experience, is not singled out and honored for their faith in a difficult situation. So no more comments about the title, which I’ve admitted is flawed.
I’m new to this post and have not read all comments, but here are my own thoughts for what they’re worth: The doctrines and teachings of Christ are personal and should be applied to us as individuals. They are not meant to be a measuring device to judge others’ behaviors or how they choose to live their lives. Our charge from the Savior is to love and accept all of our brothers and sisters. We are commanded to not make those judgments. Am I missing something here? How often do we hear a poignant doctrinal sermon and think, “Oh wow, I sure hope so-and-so is listening to this!” Our only concern should be, how are WE personally living that doctrine. I am 66 years old, raised 6 children, each of whom have had great personal challenges, physical, mental, spiritual, social, you name it! I have a son who is gay. He is precious to me beyond words (as are all my children), and I would not want to change him in any way! I love him just the way he is. My plea to the Lord is not how I can help him or change him or even understand him, but how can I let him know that my love is never changing and always constant. I am soooooo grateful for the things I have learned through the hardships my children have endured. And because of their hardship, I will not preach to them or try to fix them, or change them in any way, but will cling ever closer to them and just love them with all my heart!
This has become a very lengthy conversation, so I admit I haven’t read every word of the responses. However, I’d like to send love to Go With Kindness. In “managing” your SSA you have done every thing and more than could possibly be imagined. Yet it is still there. My husband and I were married 30 years, 4 children, before he came out. It has been 2 and 1/2 of the most wrenching years of my life. To just say to our LGBT brothers and sisters “stay chaste” does not take normal emotional need into account in any way. My gay husband stayed chaste and created a marriage of lies and pain. To say LGBT people they will be “cured” in the next life he finds insulting. To say to me, “There will no blessing with held in the next life, etc., just means you are going to get divorced but will have to wait longer to be happy again.
“To say LGBT people they will be “cured” in the next life he finds insulting. To say to me, “There will no blessing with held in the next life, etc., just means you are going to get divorced but will have to wait longer to be happy again.”
Unfortunately, EVERY one of us is told this exact thing by The Lord when it comes to ANY earthly trial we face. Moroni walked the earth for TWENTY years ALONE. No human contact whatsoever. So, offended or not, lonely or not, God’s laws are what they are. We either choose to have faith and endure to the end well, or, we get the alternative by default…
Let me start off by saying that we as members absolutely need to show more love to the LGBT community. We as members need to show more love to EVERYONE, not just the LGBT community. It is absolutely not true when you say that the leaders of this church have not done so. They have done so repeatedly. You sound more like you want the leaders to coddle the LGBT community. I don’t think they have nor will ever coddle anyone. They will however point one to truth, always, and if you don’t like that truth, that will be between you and the Lord at some point.
You claim you saw an “alarming uptick” of suicidal comments on blogs. How could you ever know this without using sophisticated date harvesting programs and logarithms? That would indicate a level of attention to the data coming from multiple diverse blogs. You either made this up, turned one or two comments into you “data”, or (most likely) believed what someone else said about this.
You have completely misrepresented a Prophet of God to suit your agenda, by changing the order and wording in President Kimballs’ talk. President Kimball talked about the rationalization “God made me that way” that leads someone to excuse acting on that belief. He never said that those feelings are evil. You are imposing your view of past bias on his talk. I went and re-read it and it’s not there. He never says that someone could not be “made that way.” He says that using that belief to rationalize homosexual behavior is sinful. In fact, your misrepresentation is purposeful. The sentence “It is blasphemy” follows immediately after the sentence, “I can’t help it,” not after the sentence, “God made me that way.” You misrepresent Brigham Young’s teachings in similar ways. I’m not saying we can’t receive additional truth, but you are misrepresenting previous teachings to make your points.
The spirit of truth is not the only thing that can motivate your friend’s daughters. We are all powerfully impacted by our own culture. Her daughters have not only been raised in an environment that calls for more love. They have been raised in an environment that is unwilling to label sin or unhealthy behaviors, an environment that dislikes taking a stand for anything but that which is currently politically correct.
You talk about how members of the church will probably feel defensive about your comments. Your entire post took a strongly defensive, accusatory response to the teaching of truth that did not meet your criteria. You say we need to be open to additional light and knowledge. You are absolutely right. And we need to be humble, kind, and charitable. But you assume that you know the truth but that the apostles are motivated by fear or close-mindedness. There is a delicate balance for a parent who wants her children to feel loved, a balance between speaking compassion for their trials and weaknesses, but still teaching truth that can heal and lead away from harmful behaviors. You are standing as a judge on everyone’s hearts (including the apostles’), and assuming that you have an inside track on future revelation. You claim that your testimony is the firm foundation of your life. What is your testimony of Prophets? According to you they have little compassion, are exclusionary, cruel, aren’t humble, have bad attitudes, and are blasphemous. I would say that you have disparaged them. One day you will have to pick between what the world is saying and what the Prophets are saying. They are the ones who have an inside track on future revelation, not you.
Do the general authorities need to name every sin that a person can commit to make hem feel loved? They teach to love the sinner and hate the sin. By specifying that God loves the gays and lesbians that would come across to people that it is accepted in the LDS church. God loves all his children and everyone of us, we don’t need a reminder of all the sins that are out there, we need to be lifted up and support our leaders and not criticize their messages that are inspired by our Heavenly Father.
I can not tell you how grateful I am for this post. I felt a warm, comforting spirit as I read this. It brought tears to my eyes and every word resonated with me. Thank you thank you!!
Now I haven’t read all the comments on here, but hears a way to explain it more easily of what myself and hundreds of others go through, but it will take a bit of imagination and willingNess to do so. So here we go.
No imagine that the church believed that only same-sex marriages where aloud. (I know this can be a bit hard to wrap your heard around, but stay with me hear.) So a man finds himself in love with a woman. Except that the president says that for them to be together is a sin. So for a long time they get to know each and they confess they love one another know they can never go to the temple to get married. One day as their walking around town a a member of the congregation spots them holding hands, but let’s it go think they were just seeing things. Latter on that day that same person sees them again through a restaurant wind and their holding hands while sharing a meal. (Oh no!) That person from the congregation is the woman’s dear friend, even though they are close that person tells everyone. For year they were told that it was evil to love the opposite sex and a few times they both where tempted to kill them selfs even though they know God loves them and wants theme to be happy. They go to church that Sunday and they can’t figure out why everode is stirring at them as if they were the worst people in the world, only to find out that they are kicked out of the faith they have grown up knowing and trying to fallow to the best of their abilities. They weren’t kicked out for, stealing, molesting a child or even for even walking past a person in need. No they were out casted by people who where more then willing to keep and back up the pexpletive who had stolen, molested children and walked past a person in need. Their only sin was loving someone they could never be with.
Thank you all for your kind words in defences of the LBGT community. I feel like there is hope for us in youregards faith.