This will be another toughy for me to write and I have a sneaking suspicion I will loose some followers over it and I am ok with that. I promised myself when I started blogging I would be nothing less than my true authentic self. I never wanted to build up a facade of something I am not. With that honesty in mind I have felt compelled to write this blog for weeks now.
The blogosphere has been buzzing with beautiful posts such as SDL I am a Christian, unless you're gay, To the old man at the store by The Path Less Taken, a few recent episodes of Glee and of course the powerful YouTube video by Jonah.Mowry
Just today I read Teaching Acceptance on BlogHer and it gave me the final drops of courage to write this. I am not as fantastic as the writers who inspired me but I will do my best.
I am a Mormon and I embrace those who are gay!
Yes, I said it, I accept them for who they are, do not look down on them and shun the idea that they are sinners because of it.
Ok, are you still there? I feel many rolling their eyes and closing the screen right now.
I have always been accepting of gay people, I have not always been a Mormon. Those things clashed for awhile and I sort of had this internal war within myself. To say that The Mormon Church and those who are gay often clash would be an understatement (hello prop 8!) While I believed with all my heart and soul that the church was true I had (and still have) difficulty with their stance on gay people.
Honestly it was something I had struggled with since I began my journey towards knowing my savior Jesus Christ. It was not exclusive to the Mormon church but a theme that kept appearing in every church I attended I could never understand why churches would preach acceptance and tolerance and then add a "But" at the end to exclude people.
Is this what Christ taught? Are we all reading the same book here? When I read about Christ I read about a man who accepted and loved everyone, there was no contingency at the end of that. In fact, if Jesus were to come back to Earth today the people He likely would hang out with are those who are gay, and anyone else persecuted or looked down upon. That's what He did the first time He was here. Jesus was very unpopular in His day for hanging out with the "unlovable" the "sinners" everyone else shunned.
NO! Jesus would not be down with all the hating we have in our world., I believe this in my heart to be true.
Now, once I was baptized I just tried to avoid all talk on this subject until one day I discussed it with a friend in the church (who I will keep anonymous to protect her brother) who informed me about her brothers feelings that he may be gay. I do not even remember how we got onto the subject but the longer we talked the more I realized I was not alone in my feelings. Here was another person, also a Mormon, telling me she did not agree with many in the church and felt it was not our place to judge others.
She and I both agreed on a few things:
1- That Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father are perfect, mankind is not. Meaning men can (and DO) make mistakes, especially when tasked with the job of interpreting the Word of God. I believe that the Bible was given to us by God, I also believe that men throughout history may have made mistakes translating it, some may have even purposely distorted it for their own gain.
Many in the Mormon church use this as an explanation for the plural marriage scandal of the churches early years. I have been told by more than 1 member that they personally-this is in NO WAY the churches official view-feel it was a misinterpretation of a message from the Lord and was meant more as a way to take care of so many women being left widowed with no way to care for themselves. Mormons were mercilessly persecuted in the first 30 + years after the church was formed. Because of this many men (and women and children) were killed, leaving behind wives with small children unable to make a living since back then very few women worked any sort of job that earned an actual wage.
I have seen it proposed in many places that the one Bible verse so many love to quote to show that being gay is a sin was actually mistranslated and instead of reading " A man shall not lay with a man" it should in fact read "A man shall not lay with a boy/child" because in Hebrew the word used for "man" and "boy" are very similar.
Now, I am not a scholarly person when it comes to The Scriptures, I do not know a lot of Theology and do not wish to argue with anyone on this subject. Heavenly Father gave us all free will and with that comes the right to believe and do whatever you like. All I am trying to say is perhaps PERHAPS those tasked with the difficult job of translation got it wrong.
2- Once again, as I previously stated, Christ loved EVERYONE without exception and He ordered all those who claim to follow Him to do the same.
3-Heavenly Father created each and every one of us and He does not make mistakes (see above). Now this requires the belief that being gay is something you are born as and not a choice but seriously if it was a "choice' who would actually choose a life filled with so much pain because so many feel it's ok to look down upon/bully them. No, I don't believe for a second it is a choice. Therefore I must conclude that Heavenly Father knew what He was doing.
Now, through this admission I am sure I will (sadly) loose some real life friends as well, although I sincerely hope it does not come to that. I just cannot remain silent about it anymore. While I have yet to encounter anyone in my ward (local church for those not Mormon) who openly say hateful things about gay people I know it is implied.
I speak out for all of those who also consider themselves Mormons that do not feel that gay people are second class citizens living in sin who should be looked down upon or pitied.
I am not God, I do not speak with God therefore I do not presume to say how God feels on this or any matter. I do feel like I have a personal relationship with Jesus and through him with God. This relationship has been fostered through reading the Scriptures and personal prayer. The God I know and love does not appear, to me, to share the feelings of so many who claim to follow him do. The God I know and love sent His only son to die for us ALL. The God I know and love commanded us to love one another as we love Him. I don't know about you but I would never say hurtful or insulting things to God, therefore I refuse to say these things to any of His children. It's hard to wrap my mind around at times for sure because yes once again that includes EVERYONE, even those who find joy in harming others. This is one hurdle I am not sure I will ever get over, but I try.
I prayed long and hard and contemplated on this blog for weeks. In the end I felt it was important to let it be known that not all Mormon's feel being gay is somehow "wrong".
So, assuming I am still allowed to stay in the church after this admission I will say it again:
I am a Mormon and I embrace those who are gay!
And I know I am not alone in this. I know there are others in not only the Mormon church but all other Christian/Religious faiths who feel the same way. We need to stand up and let everyone know that religion does not equal discrimination or oppression.
Also, I doubt they would seriously kick me out of the church for admitting this, but you know what, I have honestly not been a member of the church that long........
Now, I just hope my bloggy skin is thick enough to endure the hateful comments I am sure will pour in from this. I reserve the right to delete any comment that is just too hateful and I will exercise it.
this proud Mormon mama who accepts everyone,
P.S. I must admit I have always been too much of a coward to look into the churches official stance on gay people other than what I already knew about the issue of marriage. I just didn't want to know the official view I guess because that would make it worse for me if it was negative. Upon reading this blog a fiend posted the following links for me:
Gay Mormon named to key local LDS leadership post in San Francisco
Mormon church issues statement in support of gay-rights ordinances
Still not 100% sure how I feel about this but it's a start right. At least I know I am not alone in how I feel when it comes to loving and accepting those who are gay.