Wednesday, February 3, 2016
The Policy™ is our Opportunity
Recently, The LDS Church, made official the policy that excludes children of gay parents from fully participating in Mormonism. In fact, Elder Nelson, current President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, in an address to students, asserted that the leaked handbook policy came by way of revelation to President Thomas S. Monson. This means The Church's official position is that this policy came from our Creator, our Father in Heaven, our God.
For more about the policy, or Elder Nelson's talk, follow these links:
Now, I believe in prophets, and in revelation. ( See my post on my definition of prophets: http://unchurchedmormon.blogspot.com/2015/02/prophets.html ). I believe the church's general authorities spend a lot of time, thinking about important issues, issues of moral relevance. I believe they do their best in their callings as prophets, seers, and revelators. I believe they take their callings seriously, and I believe they have a great love for people, specifically for members of the church. I don't know what experiences each of them have had with the LGBT community. I can't say with any certainty what they were thinking when they apparently sought this revelation. There have been times where general authorities have admitted mistakes, and that leaders have gotten things wrong. ( https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/10/come-join-with-us?lang=eng ) I believe it's very easy to let personal bias or opinion cloud the channels of inspiration. And I believe this policy/revelation is NOT from God; I believe they got this one wrong.
I believe the basis for, and the overwhelming message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is love. In the scriptures, Jesus spent a lot of time with people. He obviously loved those precious souls. He showed that every soul is precious to God. When asked what was the greatest of all the commandments of God, Jesus replied that we are to love God with all our heart, mind and soul, and that we're to love our neighbor (everyone/everything with whom we share this world) as ourself. We should love others as we'd have them love us. We are to love as God loves, looking not at the outer form, but at the inner Being. My personal belief is that this policy focuses far too much on the outer form (one's sexuality in this case) and pays very little attention to who these souls really, truly are.
Now, regardless of whether the Brethren had the best of intentions, and regardless of how much they prayed over this issue, and regardless of how much they love people, real souls are being harmed by this policy, and by such a laser focus on the LGBT community and any supposed sin. Real families are being pushed and pulled and divided. Loving parents are being criminalized as apostates based on who they love. Children are being otherized by this policy and the accusatory attitudes it engenders among members. Those same children are being told, essentially, your parents, who love you, are an abomination. They are then being told, if you want to be exalted, you must disavow your same-sex parents' loving relationship. I can only imagine what that must feel like.
I do not agree with those who suggest this policy is "causing people to take their own lives." I don't blame those suicides on the church, nor on the policy by itself. I know that there are so many variables and factors to why people want to end their lives. HOWEVER, I do believe, per the Mormon culture, and stigma surrounding homosexuality, the church and this policy are pushing at-risk kids toward, and sometimes over the cliff's edge, rather than pulling them to safe, kind, loving, empathetic arms.
The church has a real opportunity to exercise God-like love here, and I worry they're missing it. This is our opportunity, as fellow saints, to change our own behavior, rather than pontificating/rameumpting on why we think someone else needs to change theirs. How much beauty, and how many souls are we overlooking? How many of God's precious children are we forgetting? For these too-often marginalized souls, this policy is less likely to make them feel loved and wanted, and more likely to make them feel more hopeless, and more likely to contemplate or attempt suicide. On the other hand, if we can offer a GOOD support system, offer them hope, and show them we believe in them and want them here, they are more likely to succeed in leading productive lives and in having a beautiful existence.
Right now is our opportunity. For those people in their social circles, their families, their workplace, their wards--will those beautiful souls see our outstretched arms, waiting to embrace them, or will we turn our backs to them? Never mind "loving the sinner, hating the sin." We need to drop that from our gospel vocabulary. God-like love doesn't offer one hand of support, while the other hand waits to slap with piety, condescension, condemnation and judgment. We must offer both hands, both arms, our whole hearts in a loving, caring, welcoming embrace. We must discontinue to see people as their outer forms, and begin to see them for the beautiful inner-Beings which reflect our own, and which reflect God.
If this policy, or an unkind attitude has touched you, and affected you in a negative way, I want you to know that I stand up for you. I see you. I am listening to you. I love you. I want you to be a part of this journey we call life. You are enough. You are perfect. I want you to be a part of my own journey, and I hope you want me to be a part of yours.