Open Letter to Members of the Heath Ward regarding the First Presidency Letter

Painting Credit: Laurie Olsen
Painting Credit: Laurie Olsen

Dear Members of the Heath Ward, Heath, Texas Stake:

I’m sorry to miss the opportunity to participate in our ward’s slated discussion of the First Presidency letter regarding the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ doctrine on marriage, but I must be absent. Knowing the letter is intended to be used as part of a ward-level, but church-wide, discussion, I’ve been pondering its message and what I might say were I able to be with you. This letter represents a few of my thoughts.

In the interest of disclosure, I’m one of the many practicing Mormons who supports same-gender civil marriage becoming the law of the land. This causes some in the public sphere to question my dedication to God, but I know you and you know me; you have heard my testimony. As the First Presidency letter attests, civil law does not eliminate doctrinal law. I support LDS doctrine and have clearly stated that I look forward to revelation that gives us further clarity about how best to minister to all of Heavenly Father’s children. What the First Presidency letter contains is not new. That said, there are things that it does not contain that I want to be sure become part of our ward’s discussion.

I am a straight, cisgender Latter-day Saint woman in a successful, nearly 30 year temple marriage. Obviously, no one has elected me a spokesperson for a community I am not a part of. But it’s probably fair to say I’ve spent more time associating with members of the LDS LGBT community than your average straight, cisgender Latter-day Saint woman. I’ve learned much from these people that I’d like to share with you, particularly if you are also faithful, active LDS, straight, and cisgender.

First and foremost, as you listen to the letter, realize there are likely LGBT people sitting in the room with you. Statistically speaking, the likelihood that there are closeted LGBT members in our ward is higher than you might expect. These LGBT members of the Heath Ward may be single, divorced, or in mixed orientation marriages. Perhaps they are your son or daughter. Perhaps you don’t yet know this about your child. Perhaps your child is afraid to tell you, and perhaps you are afraid to hear. Regardless, chances are, every word of this discussion is being received by someone who is particularly vulnerable. People who live “in the closet” do so because they understand, in “coming out,” they risk rejection and humiliation from family, friends, and yes, by their church community. Every LGBT person experiences the fear that they will not be understood by people who matter to them. If they are not understood, they wonder, how can they be loved?

This isn’t a small question. In fact, it’s pivotal to our discussion. How can we love our LGBT members if we do not understand them? Not how can we show love. Not how can we feel love. How can we love with the fullness of God?

I found my answer in 1 John 4:19. Here John teaches that we love God because He first loved us. Over the years, I’ve reflected on this verse and pondered how I feel God’s love for me. The answer: I feel it as understanding, compassion, empathy, forgiveness, even as confidence in me. It strikes me how intimately Heavenly Father knows me—what motivates me, what experiences have made me who I am, what my fears, hopes, and desires are, etc. In other words, He loves me—loves all of us—because He understands us according to our own perspective. This understanding is God-like love. And it feels good; it feels safe. Our response, once we feel the love of God, is to return that love to Him.

Put otherwise, John is teaching us that, to love as Christ commands, we must learn to love the way God loves: we must understand one another according to the perspective of the person who is to be loved, and not the other way around. Love filtered through any perspective other than that of the person to be loved is a love that is less than God-like. That kind of love is not an easy standard for mortals to hit, but certainly must be the goal of the faithful.

Once we understand this about God-like, or complete, love, we begin to understand why, when heterosexuals profess love for our LGBT neighbors, LGBT people often say what they experience from them is not love. This is frustrating for Christian heterosexuals, but, with the insight of John, the reason becomes clear: The love we profess will not feel like love until we see LGBT people through their own lens, until we understand them through their own perspective, until the kind of love we offer is closer to the complete love God offers.

Think about this statement:  When we speak about homosexuality at church (or as a Church), we do so in a way that emphasizes how different, or out-of-sync, LGBT people are with what this First Presidency letter calls the Plan of Happiness. Even when we speak of love and compassion for LGBT people, we have a running subtext that says “We love you even though you are different than the ideal.”

Ingest that. “We love you even though you are Mormon.”  “We love you even though you are white.” “We love you even though you are a Republican.” “We love you even though you are fat.”

“We love you even though you are gay.”

No matter how good the intent of this First Presidency letter, its public release once again reminded our LDS LGBT community that the heterosexual normative is the ideal and that they do not measure up to that. Immediately I heard cries of “Here they go again, marginalizing us, telling us we are different, not enough and not good enough, below par. Why can’t we be people to them instead of an orientation?”

Again, it doesn’t matter what you think an LGBT person should understand as the letter’s intent. What matters is their perspective, the perspective of our LGBT members–our youth–who are hearing us. Right now. During this discussion and in discussions in wards throughout the United States. What matters is what the vulnerable, LGBT teenager who may be in our midst hears from us today. I say without exaggeration that what we say may be the difference between his or her living a full, productive life and suicide.

For this reason, I’m happy this letter was designed to introduce a discussion and not simply administered as edict from the pulpit. That decision was, I’m convinced, divinely inspired. Here, now, we are blessed with the opportunity to show our willingness to learn to love without caveat, to commit to beginning to understand and to love LGBT people in the way God loves them, through their own perspectives.

Some will say, “All of this may be correct, but doctrine is doctrine. Of course, doctrine is often hard! We all have struggles!” The ironic thing is, LGBT people don’t really speak in terms of struggling with doctrine per se, or even with homosexuality. I hear them speaking of their struggle with the alienation, even rejection, they feel by their church, its members, and, too often, their families. I have no interest in arguing whether one doctrine is harder than another, or whether or not different people wrestle equally with various doctrines. Instead, I remind you that your perspective, applied to our LGBT brothers and sisters, does not feel like love to them. When we apply our own perspective to another human being, the consequence is always a judgement. However, if we apply their perspective in order to meet them on their map of the world, we discover true, God-like love.

During my conversion period, the inclusiveness of Mormon heaven deeply moved me. In Mormon ideology, all will have the opportunity, in this life or the next, to hear the gospel of Christ explained in a way that will make sense to them, and all will be judged according to the knowledge, understanding, opportunity, and desire to do good they possessed in mortality. Somehow, regarding LGBT people, we seem to forget this. Or rather, we tend to first see LGBT members as a class of problem people before we see them as individuals destined for a great salvation because of Christ. We treat them as a sin-about-to-happen and warn and warn and warn them to be like us. But they cannot be like us, the heterosexuals who fit so snugly into the LDS Plan of Salvation. Their journey is different. It does not have the clarity our journey has. If you think it does, then you are living on an island of your own perspective.

It is imperative we understand, by acquiring their perspective, how isolated from the LDS Plan of Salvation LDS LGBT people often feel. Nothing I say will instill in you this understanding, but I hope to inspire the desire to learn to love them in God’s complete way. Doing so will require effort and reflection on your part; meditation, exposure to LDS LGBT people, prayer, and humility. This wonderful article, written by an LGBT BYU student, points LDS heterosexuals to places they can encounter a wide cross-section of LDS LGBT voices. Start with it to gain the proper perspective—their perspective—in order to love them as God loves them. Don’t expect to hit the mark after a casual reading of a few articles. Love always takes work.

In closing, I repeat how much I wish I could sit in with you on our ward’s discussion of the First Presidency letter. I know you all to be compassionate, grace-filled people. If I were there, I know I’d hear you express ideas similar to those I’ve said here. Perhaps they’d be stated differently, but I know the heart of this ward is determined to do good. I love you and look forward to continuing opportunities to explore the gospel of Christ while in your presence.

Love, Sister Downing

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear … We love him, because he first loved us…. And this commandment we have from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also. 1 John 4:18. 19, 21

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31 thoughts on “Open Letter to Members of the Heath Ward regarding the First Presidency Letter

  1. Stacy

    Thank you for your beautiful words. I am a mother of a wonderful gay son and this is the support and love so desperately wanted and needed. Thank you again!

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    1. Welcome back, Freedom Wins. 3% means 3 in 100. You say less than 3%. Okay. So 2 or 3 per 100. How many people attend your Sacrament meetings?

      But you may be on to something. Chances are, those 3 in 100 of your ward members who are LGBT probably don’t self-identify as LGBT, seeing as coming out in Mormon wards could be seen as rather risky. If we can’t count them, they don’t exist. (Yes, that’s sarcasm.)

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      1. CT

        And not just the lgbt person themself may be in your ward. Their parent , sibling, in law, best friend, etc will be there. Those people will bring up the percentage significantly.

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      2. Trey Lathe

        The actual percentage, if you consider all the data from CDC, pew polls, etc, is closer to 4-6% of men are gay, or same sec attracted if one insists with a much smaller % bi. It’s 2-3% women are lesbian and higher bi.

        So, in a ward of 100 adults, 2 or 3 are probably gay, 1-2 lesbian and another 1-2 bi so, yeah, it’s probable.

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  2. Janine

    So why exactly must you be absent? I have seen alot of these types of posts running around facebook and my response is “your view is exactly the reason that you need to be present and take part in the discussion….to remind others to stay civil in their discussion and show love.”

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    1. Agreed. I’m out of town and attending another ward throughout July. Because I have this forum established, I used it to talk to my ward members. I posted my words on my personal FB page and tagged many ward members and leaders (the bishop included) in the hope that, at least, my voice is heard. The thing is, I have a wonderful ward and am certain other voices will rise with ideas similar to those I express here. Thanks, Janine.

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    2. Janine, I attended a very small ward in East Texas today, where I am an unknown and where the evangelical Christian influence is very strong. Rather than address this letter during 2nd or 3rd hour, the bishop shut down the testimony meeting early and dismissed the Primary. He stood in the front row, explained he had to read the letter sent by the First Presidency but would not go over what I call the “talking points” that were attached. He said he did not want discussion, that he was simply going to read the letter. My husband felt this was because the bishop hoped to eliminate hurtful sentiments. To me, his words felt a little “edict-y,” and I worried, but, as the meeting continued, I saw my husband was correct in his assessment.

      So the bishop read the letter. Although he had said there’d be no discussion, when he finished, he asked if there were questions, which, of course, opened discussion. The first remark was a woman expressing how pleased she was to learn that other churches in the area were reading similar letters. Someone made a comment that left me with the impression a local protestant church had taken its flag down after the SCOTUS ruling, but had put it back up today. In other words, it didn’t start out sounding loving, but hardline. An us against the sinners sort of thing.

      Then the bishop spoke of receiving people with kindness. There were questions about the level of participation married homosexuals could expect at church, if they were allowed baptism, etc. He fielded these questions with the expected answers. The “discussion” period was very limited and everyone was released for their next meeting.

      Before dismissal, I did raise my hand to make sure people were aware of the mormonsandgays.org OFFICIAL church site. That was the gist of it and the extend of what was appropriate (in my judgement) to say in the given situation. In all, it lasted five, maybe 7 minutes. I left immediately after the bishop dismissed people for Sunday School because I had to retrieve my very aged father from the steps of the Catholic church, where he attend when we are all out of town.

      There. I have returned and reported. Still waiting to hear if the letter was read today in Heath Ward or not.

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  3. Melissa

    Thank you for this! I read your blog because it gives me an opportunity to reason these things out in my mind and in my heart and I have strengthened my testimony because of it. I also want to apologize if I have not come across in some of my comments from a place of respect and love. I am a work in progress. I shared this with a friend who is a Bishop and he was very grateful for your words and said that he is going to change his approach when he reads this. I do however have to disagree with some things. When we start teaching that nothing is “wrong” that is when we turn away from the Savior. Everyone has something “ wrong” with them. We have this because it will turn us to the Savior. We are all “ wrong” and he is the only one who can fix us. Satan wants us to believe that nothing is wrong so we have no need for a Savior. I apologize for using the word “wrong” but it is used a lot within discussions about this topic. Weakness is probably a kinder word. Just because I validate a weakness in someone or talk about it doesn’t mean I don’t love them. It actually means I DO love them because I am trying to point them to the Savior. The Plan of Salvation has no holes in it, it includes everyone. However, if you believe that it is not a weakness to have SSA then it will have holes. The LGBT community absolutely fits into the Plan of Salvation if they keep the commandments of God and work on their weaknesses like the rest of us. It’s not surprising that the LGBT community would be suspicious of professions of love. They live in a society where they feel very isolated. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t teach truth. We just need to bend over backwards to reassure by our actions that we actually mean it when we say we love them. You say that you are waiting for the church to receive more revelation on this. Of course, the church will receive more revelation and it will fit into the plan we already have. Your statement sounds like: “I’m waiting until the church figures out it’s been wrong on this whole issue and begins to see it more like I do.”
    The real question all members of the LDS church should be asking themselves is, do you believe having homosexual sex a sin? If they can answer NO to this question then they have some weaknesses they need to take to the Savior.

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    1. You write: “Your statement sound like: ‘I’m waiting until the church figures out it’s been wrong on this whole issue and begins to see it more like I do.'”

      Let me be perfectly clear: I’m waiting for the Lord to reveal more truth and that, because the truth is revealed by the Lord, it will not contradict His design nor the church’s doctrine.

      Anticipating an “Added To” doctrine is not the same and advocating a “Different Than” change in doctrine. I don’t know what that will look like, but as far as I see, its a sign of my faith in the restoration and priesthood that I see such a thing as a possibility. People then say, “What if it that never comes?” Well, life for me is the same. And life for others continues to be confusing.

      I’m glad you are here, Melissa. And thank you for reading and chatting.

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      1. Melissa

        I am going to have to disagree here. There is absolutely nothing that needs to be added to eternal families through eternal marriage. The only thing I can think of that might change, which would be brought back and not “added to” would be plural marriage. Same sex marriage will never be added to THE fundamental doctrine of eternal families. They are eternal because they can create. A relationship that has no power of creation will not be eternal. There is no reason for it to be. It is all about creation!

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        1. Tom Merrill

          “A relationship that has no power of creation will not be eternal. There is no reason for it to be.”

          Yikes. So glad 1) I won’t be living in you’re “heaven” and 2) I’m not infertile.

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          1. Melissa

            Actually Tom the Heaven I believe in accepts everyone. Everyone that has ever come to this earth gets salvation through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Which I think is pretty amazing! However, the LDS church believes that to gain eternal exaltation (to be able to continue to create) you have to be a traditional married coupled who has made certain convents with God, even those who can’t have children on this earth. So yes it includes people who are infertile. Everyone gets the opportunity to work for exaltation. Salvation comes free!

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        2. You are still making the same assumptions about what I believe and what I am saying. When Joseph Smith received the revelation that marriage could be eternal, that man could become like God, that revelation didn’t change the fundamental Christian doctrine of ministering angels in Heaven. (Not saying LGBT people become ministering angels.)

          I’ve no issue with anyone who disagrees that clarification via revelation may someday supplant the human assumptions we are making about homosexuality and the plan of salvation. To me, that seems oddly out of sync with the idea of modern revelation. I believe all things are possible.

          Regardless, this isn’t about who is right and who is wrong. I see faith expressing itself differently in our two attitudes. I’ve lived long enough to anticipate that, when we do meet God in the next life, He’ll pat us on our heads and tell us how cute we are about trying to understand heavenly things. Regardless, won’t it be nice to have all the answers some day? Heaven must be … divine. 🙂

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          1. Melissa

            I am sorry if you think I am making assumptions, I will try to be more direct in my communication. Do you have any specific clarifications that you feel will be made regarding homosexuals to the Plan of Salvation? When you talk of human assumptions do you include current revelation from Prophets in this? Meaning, that they are human and make assumptions about the Plan of Salvation instead of having prophetic revelation? Do you feel that adding homosexual marriage to the Plan of Salvation (letting homosexual couples get sealed in the temple) would be changing doctrine or is just a clarification of doctrine? Do you feel that there is such a thing as “absolute truth—unassailable, unchangeable truth?” as Elder Uchtdorf puts it. If so, what is something in the current LDS doctrine that meets this criteria? When we meet God in the next life it will be at our judgement and I doubt that there will be any patting of heads in that moment. I would hope my judgement would be the most profound and sacred thing of my existence. I definitely don’t want God to define my mortal existence with a pat on the head. I am working for eternal life here and a pat on the head, and being told I am cute certainly won’t do that justice.

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          2. Melissa, you put words in my mouth and continue to assume I’m saying things perhaps you have heard others say. (You are being respectful, though, so it’s fine.)So this is the last time I’ll address this here.

            Eternal marriage between a man and a woman is “absolute truth–unassailable, unchangeable, truth.” Satisfied?

            When I say I don’t now how homosexuality will be addressed by Heavenly Father in terms of the plan of salvation, I mean exactly that. I don’t offer options. I only say I hope we get more knowledge to help comfort those who need that light. Please stop trying to invent a disharmony with doctrine that does not exist.

            But its also true that LDS prophets and apostles have told us that other things were God’s word and would never change. Since the change on race and priesthood, folks love to say Brigham Young prophesied of the day blacks would have the priesthood. But that full prophecy said that it would ONLY happen after every white man had the priesthood. That prophecy was incorrect. Same with interracial marriage. These things were called doctrine at the time. The fact that I’m aware of these historic facts is not a lack of faith. Its part of the study I’m supposed to put in in order to learn. So its entirely conceivable to me that Heavenly Father has more to say, and its entirely conceivable to me that some of what our leaders say has limited light and knowledge (Cue Bruce McConkie.) This is not a lack of faith or distrust of God or church leaders. In fact, it demonstrates faith in God and confidence in Church leaders. I don’t need them to be infallible. I sustain them.

            Thank you for chatting with me. That’s all I have to say.

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          3. Melissa

            I was not trying to put words in your mouth or invent disharmony with doctrine. I was honestly trying to figure out where you are coming from. I have no ulterior motives. I could very easily make the same claims towards you. Thanks for at least answering a few of my questions and adding in blacks and the priesthood :)! I was pretty sure that would come up.

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  4. Aaron

    Sister Downing, I applaud your faith, and I agree wholeheartedly that many members of the Church — myself included — do not fully understand the perspective of the LGBT community and that we must make a concerted effort to gain that perspective. I also agree that we must seek divine help in acquiring the love of God not only for our LGBT brothers and sisters but also for everyone, whether they agree with us or not.

    It breaks my heart to think that some LGBT members would feel marginalized, labeled, or diminished in any sense by the letter’s reaffirmation of the Church’s doctrine on the issue of same-sex marriage.

    Personally, I see same-gender attraction or homosexuality as the heaviest and most unfair of burdens.

    And I recognize that some will cry foul at my calling it a burden. Some will think that offensive. “It is not a burden. It is simply who I am and how I was created. To call it a burden is to label me as flawed, broken, or inadequate. The fact that you call it a burden is evidence of your misunderstanding of my perspective regarding my own self-worth.”

    And that’s fair.

    But this is why this issue is so difficult for members of the Church to process. Homosexuality is an obstacle to one’s ability to fulfill the divine plan Christ and the Father prepared for us. If that’s not a burden, then I don’t know what to call it.

    But I digress. My point is, I agree with you in the sense that we must seek to demonstrate greater love and understanding. What concerns me is all of the criticism that many faithful members of the Church have voiced at the Brethren’s action to release the letter and the content of the letter itself.

    It’s fair to say that the letter could have brought more attention to the fact that there are LGBT members among us and that we must be especially sensitive to their needs and employ whatever resources we can to bear one another’s burdens.

    I wish the letter had voiced that. That would have helped us all and the LGBT audience.

    But I would hope that members who are especially sensitive to the LGBT perspective are not dismissive of the letter outright or critical of its contents because it lacks what we feel it should have stated. Let’s also applaud what it DOES state: that we must be kind and civil and treat everyone respectively, that the Church is not deaf to the needs of the LGBT community and is trying to understand and help how it can, that we have a right to express and exercise our faith, and that God’s plan is one that brings eternal blessings.

    We must keep in mind what the purpose of this letter was. It was a response to a change in federal law that contradicts the practices of the Church. It was a reaffirmation of doctrine and instruction to ecclesiastical leaders on how to respond to requests to officiate at same-sex marriages. It was a call for civil discourse and a reminder of what our true purpose is as children of a loving God.

    Yes, we must seek to understand the LGBT perspective. But we cannot abandon the perspective of truth. As the letter states, “. . . we encourage all to consider these teachings in the context of the Plan of Salvation and our Heavenly Father’s purposes in creating the earth and providing for our mortal birth and experience here as His children.”

    Somehow, with divine help, we must maintain both perspectives: revealed truth and understanding for those who struggle. To ignore either perspective is to distance ourself from Christ and the person he expects us to become.

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    1. Last week, in anticipation of the letter being read, many people were afraid that it would allow members to say hurtful things during discussion. I had that worry.

      Personally, I think the letter is turning out to be a very good thing. I’ve heard in various forums some hurtful stories, but the majority of what I’m hearing back from people is very positive. Because this letter is being read and discussion is allowed afterward, ward members are being given the chance to show love and compassion. And they are showing a great deal of compassion. I’ve read many stories of wards expressing great love to LGBT members and their families. That wouldn’t have happened without this letter being read. So I do see it as an inspired move. Particularly the discussion side.

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  5. Libby

    Wow! Until reading your open letter to your ward members, I was unaware that the letter read in Relief Society and Priesthood by our Relief Society President and Bishop was supposed to be a discussion. It seemed to be a stern edict and to me personally, it felt like a club, to beat us all back in line.
    Admittedly, I come from a very different place than many LDS people, as I have 3 family members who strongly identify as LBGTQ and although it has taken me many years to drop my prejudices and exclusivist attitudes and accept and love them just as they are, I now appreciate them and their partners for helping and strengthening each other as they find personal fulfillment, happiness, love and acceptance in their lives. I don’t feel it my place to exclude them from the amazing fulfillment I have within my own heterosexual relationship anymore than I think Christ felt it was His place when he refused to exclude a Eunich from membership in the early church.
    The first and new commandment Christ gave the early Saints was to love God and the second to love their neighbors and upon these two commandments he said, hang all the laws and the scriptures. He also asked us to judge not, that we be not judged. So several years ago I felt a deep need to adjust all of my paradigms and my interpretation of the scriptures to reflect my obedience to these two laws and this commandment to not judge which has led me to regard many stories cited in the Old Testament and other scriptures and even in the LDS church and culture to be wrong-headed, exclusivist, abusive and hateful. These commandments guide my thoughts and feelings. As I have learned to accept, understand and love my neighbor without judgment, I feel it completely inappropriate for me to judge or even think about other peoples’ sexual preferences and habits.
    Usually when ward members start to get all up in arms regarding marriage and LBGTQ issues, I walk out because I don’t even wish to judge these members’ closed-minded hurtful attitudes, the kind of non-loving attitudes that have been prominent for many years in our LDS culture and have led to so much pain and so many suicidal thoughts and actions and therefore I find it hard to even imagine being invited and then choosing to actually publicly discuss my thoughts in my ward.
    I try to love and accept all of my family members without reserve or judgment. I have two practicing LBGTQ family members and one claiming not to, but living with their partner stating it would be wrong to abandon this life partner of almost 20 years. I would have to say, it breaks my heart to see this family member who has chosen not to find fulfillment within this longterm relationship deny this very integral part of who they are because of their strict religion’s interpretation of the scriptures. I love, encourage, accept and am so very proud of every one of my family members and want them each to be the best they can be and I work hard to not exclude those who identify as LBGTQ or their partners from that acceptance, praise, love and encouragement.
    My own personal anecdotal evidence: for the statistics cited of only 3 out of 100 being LBGTQ in the population, within my own family, at least 3 out of 16 publicly identify as LBGTQ and there may well be others within my extended family who privately also identify as LBGTQ and therefore this blows those 3 out of 100 statistics out of the water. And besides, Christ told us to leave the 99 sheep and find and love the 1 sheep who was lost, making me intensely aware that there are probably many people in my ward, silently suffering even more so than I. We often feel we can’t discuss openly our thoughts and feelings for fear of rejection and possible expulsion or excommunication if accused of trying to convert people to our way of thinking.
    So therefore, I have finally, although nervously have decided to speak up… sorry so long, after 10 years of not talking, I had a lot to say!

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  6. Geoff - Aus

    Lisa, Love the post. That whole chapter 4 of 1 John is wonderful.

    Melisa, I was married in 1970. In 1969 the church put out a statement confirming that it was Gods will that Negroes not have the priesthood or temple ordinances. There are a lot of similarities with the present letter on gay marriage. http://www.blacklds.org/1969-first-presidency-statement

    Within 8 years we had Declaration 2 including those people as equals.

    We now have the statement on LDS.org which says the denial was the culture of the leaders, not of God, no revelation, and this condemnation of the belief

    Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects unrighteous actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.24

    So yes I believe that within 10 years or so, depending on whether Elder Oaks is Prophet, we will completely include gay people, and gay marriages will be sealed in the temple.

    Chapter 4 of 1 John does not seem to allow for people we only partly love,,to me, the sooner the better for the straight members ability to love.

    Of course this is only what I expect based on past performance

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    1. Melissa

      Why would homosexual couples ever need to be sealed? The sealing of a man and a woman allows them to make it to the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom so that their ability to create can continue for eternity, thus becoming Gods. Homosexual couples will have no need to be sealed as they cannot create. God is both male and female. Without one or the other there is no God and no ability to ever become God.

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      1. Libby

        There is nothing more beautiful than to be sealed for eternity to your soul mate, why would you want anyone not to have that?

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        1. Melissa

          As I stated above, you are being sealed so that your power of creation can be eternal. If there is no power of creation why would they need to be sealed? It is all about creating. A homosexual couple does not create life in any way here on earth. How are they going to create life in the eternities? It is not about me not wanting them to have that there will be no need.

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          1. You know, I’ve always wondered why people assume that physical copulation is the only analog for spiritual creation. Is it stated somewhere that it’s through perfected bodies having heterosexual sex that eternal increase comes about? I don’t mean this facetiously.

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  7. Geoff - Aus

    Melissa,

    Are you assuming that spirits are created the same way bodies are? Is there any evidence for this? You may not have to be pregnant for eternities in order to create spiritual bodies, and gay couples may be equally able to create spiritual bodies.

    I have read a discussion on this some where but can’t remember where. They are created from intelligence, but how?

    If the method is different are you then willing to welcome all Gods children into the fold? Might it be good for us to do the loving and including, and let God sort out the science?

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  8. Melissa

    I do not know how spirits are created, that would be awesome to know. I do believe the that a spirit will need a spiritual mother and a spiritual father. I believe that I come from a spiritual mother and father and LDS doctrine supports this. I believe that everything on Earth follows a divine pattern of truth. It takes man and woman to create life here on earth so if this is true here why wouldn’t it be true in the eternities? LDS doctrine also supports this. As I stated earlier the LDS view of heaven is a very loving inclusive heaven that gives salvation to ALL (regardless of sexual orientation) or as you would put it “welcomes all God’s children into the fold”. The LDS Church currently welcomes all God’s children into the fold regardless of sexual orientation. Eternal exaltation however accompanies the sacred power of procreation and that is what I am aiming for. I also believe that I was put here to fill the measure of my creation by actually creating! The powers of procreation are sacred and therefore marriage between and man and a woman is sacred. I believe this quote, “The relationship between a man and a woman has a potential that is completely unique. It has attributes that cannot be emulated by any other human relationship.”

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  9. Day Cay

    Melissa scares me. I read her writing and am reminded that some people honestly believe that SSA is a sin. How pathetically sad for that narrow view.
    Our actions, our choices, our daily walk, that is where the sin comes in. What we can not control (our attractions, our dna) is simply who we are. I HOPE God loves me, in spite of those things I can not control!

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