Filed under: Gospel Principles, Practices & Precepts
Mormons practice fidelity before and during marriage. What, then, does “Gay Mormon” mean?
Within every faithful group of practicing Saints, there are those who struggle with feelings and inclinations towards those of the same gender. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) recognize that these temptations are real, and that those so challenged by them are sons and daughters of God, like everyone else.
There are Mormons–just as there are Catholics, Evangelicals, Jews, and others–contending with these issues. One struggling with this issue in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is a Mormon challenged by enticements towards those of the same gender. As long as they do not act upon those inclinations, they are free to progress in every way in the gospel and participate in every way in ordinance work.
In that sense, “Gay Mormons” may be seen as those struggling with same-gender attraction who are willing to overcome it.
Clearly, however, those who persist in a lifestyle contrary to that which is ordained by God–without desiring help to overcome the tendencies some face in this direction–lose fellowship until they are willing to engage the struggle and turn to the Lord for deliverance. There are many, however, who opt for relief through the atoning power of the Savior and who are able to overcome those feelings and live fulfilling heterosexual lives.
It’s clear that homosexuality has been identified by many as an acceptable normal way to live. Gender is often declared a cultural construct. Many have gone so far as to have their child select their gender, and it is clear that media and films are creating images and sending messages to children and teens that adrogyny and trans-sexual behaviors are normal. Huge movements in national schools to advance these doctrines under the guise of “sexual education” classes, continue to perpetuate the homosexual agendas by those who advocate them as approved and mainstreamable lifestyles.
Mormons do not accept that stance. Homosexual, transgendered, and bi-sexual associations are not divine. They are not merely a matter of social preference, a matter of taste, a matter of entitlement. They are actually violations of the divine order. Gender is eternal. The doctrines of the Church are clear on these moral issues, as reflected in a First Presidency statement:
“The Lord’s law of moral conduct is abstinence outside of lawful marriage and fidelity within marriage. Sexual relations are proper only between husband and wife, appropriately expressed within the bonds of marriage. Any other sexual conduct, including fornication, adultery, and homosexual…behavior is sinful. Those who persist in such practices or influence others to do so are subject to Church discipline.”
We reach out in compassion to anyone so struggling and invite them to come back to us, and to the Lord. President Gordon B. Hinckley (late Mormon prophet) welcomes those with same-gender attraction into the fold and said:
Nevertheless, and I emphasize this, I wish to say that our opposition to attempts to legalize same-sex marriage should never be interpreted as justification for hatred, intolerance, or abuse of those who profess homosexual tendencies, either individually or as a group. As I said from this pulpit one year ago, our hearts reach out to those who refer to themselves as [homosexual]. We love and honor them as sons and daughters of God. They are welcome in the Church. It is expected, however, that they follow the same God-given rules of conduct that apply to everyone else, whether single or married (“Why We Do Some of the Things We Do,” Ensign, Nov. 1999, 54).
In a media interview with several leaders of the “Mormon Church” (The Church of Jesus Christ), Elders Oaks and Wickman respond to a number of frequently asked questions about how we view and assist those struggling with same gender attraction.
Additional information about Mormons with GLBT tendencies.
Filed under: Discussion of General Relief Society Meetings, Self-Worth, Service
In the recent General Women’s Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed the Mormon Church), there seemed to be a specific theme that ran throughout most of the talks.
At first I thought it came to my attention simply because this particular subject is something that’s not only been on my mind a lot lately, but in my heart. It wasn’t until I began to talk with many other women that I began to realize it was a subject truly needed at this time, as it seems to have struck the hearts of them as well.
For me this particular theme was best illustrated in President Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s talk, wherein he told of one particular difference between men and women through the example of making dinner.
His wife, he tells us, puts together a grand meal. The food, something which she will often cook from one of the many countries they’ve visited, is delicious to the taste. She labors over the meal, wanting to make it a pleasant event. Everything down to the dinner presentation is remarkable to behold, enticing to the eye and nose.
Regardless of how wonderful the meal turns out to be, however, no matter how much those who had the pleasure of partaking say how much they enjoyed the meal, this sweet woman could always find a little something she should have done better.
“I really think this dish could have used a bit more curry,” she might say. Or perhaps, “I might try putting in some cinnamon next time.”
Then President Uchtdorf went on to describe how he prepares a meal. According to his wife his best dish is, “fried eggs…sunny side up.” He also told us how he prepares his own particularly favorite dish. He slices a few pieces of french bread, then browns them on both sides.
“It doesn’t matter that the eggs are a bit greasy, or if the toast is a bit burnt,” he claims. He laughingly proclaims he feels himself a hero for having cooked anything at all!
It was at this point so many things clicked for me. All throughout the talks I heard snippets of, “Nothing we do seems to be good enough.” This quickly translated to, “I don’t seem to be good enough.”
I’m thinking in particular of the women of this Church. Often it has seemed to me we place so much pressure on ourselves to be more than perfect, because we have the restored gospel in place. Yet this is typical of women everywhere.
We take so much upon ourselves we’re suffocating, and still we think we should have done more. We create something beautiful and then tell everyone what’s wrong with it. We undermine ourselves when our Heavenly Father is ready and willing to tell us how extraordinary we are.
We find too many things wrong with everything we do right.
Yet this is not God’s view of us and our works. We are God’s children, the same God who created us in the first place. He gave unto us two of His greatest traits: the desire to create, and extraordinary compassion.
This desire and ability to create comes so easily to some. I am one of those, because of the gifts my Heavenly Father has blessed me with. I take to things easily, I can pick up a new hobby as easily as I pick up my babies. I tinker at the piano, I’ve crocheted many an afgan, I can bake a mean cookie, I can draw a little, and take a few pictures.
The funny thing is, the things people most seem to appreciate about me, and that I appreciate about others, can’t be handed over, eaten, or seen. To create something Godly goes far beyond what we can see and hear. It involves more than a beautiful voice or how well someone handles a paintbrush.
I know a woman who can create the sense of safety to anyone who will trust enough to let her in. I know another who can create overwhelming love, no matter who walks through her door.
I know a woman who can create motivation in those who have given up. I know another who can create a smile in every person she meets, even those who will rarely smile for anyone else.
I know so many women who have the power to create magical things, who hold within themselves Godlike traits, though they rarely understand what power they hold.
If you’re not sure what your gifts are, how your greatest creations have blessed the lives of others, pray for understanding. Then, listen for the whisperings of the Holy Spirit.
Remember, the more you trust and rely on the promptings and inspirations of the Holy Spirit, the more your capacity to create will increase. It’s when we trust too much in our weak, mortal selves that we loose sight of the extraordinary beings God has created.
Today my hope for all of you is to find the little things you create. Whether it be happy, healthy, well-loved children, a quilt you’ve been working hard on, answering a need you feel greatly inspired to follow, it doesn’t matter. Just rejoice in the opportunity to create, to be like our Heavenly Father. Never mind everything you might think is wrong with your creation, and focus on every little thing that’s right.
Rejoice in being a woman.
There is a children’s song that has lines in the chorus:
“Lead me, guide me, walk beside me, help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do to live with Him someday.” (I Am a Child of God)
Finding ways to lead and guide children is the goal of parents in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (known as the Mormons). When kids aren’t behaving in the way we’d like, sometimes we feel less like leading and guiding and more like pushing, pulling or forcing. But this is not the way shown to us by the Savior, Jesus Christ.
The example of the Savior was one of mentoring leadership, selfless service and gentle persuasion.
I read a great book recently called Nudge; a book that discusses choice. The book shows that people need to make choices, but also understands that they can be influenced and led in positive directions to choose good things. The authors understand human nature and know that people can be fallible.
“Drawing on some well-established findings in social science, we show that in many cases, individuals make pretty bad decisions – decisions they would not have made if they had paid full attention and possessed complete information, unlimited cognitive abilities, and complete self-control.” (Nudge, Thaler and Sunstein, Yale University Press, 2008)
In the book, they talk about how those in leadership positions can create an architecture of choice around those they lead. Their followers can be nudged in the right direction. As parents, we are “choice architects” for our children. We can lead, guide and nudge using these principles, which are consistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ. He respected people’s ability to choose, but still said with confidence, “Follow me.” (Matthew 4:19)
Twelfth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Spencer W. Kimball, described the leadership principles exemplified by the Savior:
Jesus knew who he was and why he was here on this planet. That meant he could lead from strength rather than from uncertainty or weakness. Jesus operated from a base of fixed principles or truths rather than making up the rules as he went along. Thus, his leadership style was not only correct, but also constant.
Jesus was a listening leader. Because he loved others with a perfect love, he listened without being condescending. A great leader listens not only to others, but also to his conscience and to the promptings of God.
The Savior’s leadership was selfless. He put himself and his own needs second and ministered to others beyond the call of duty, tirelessly, lovingly, effectively. So many of the problems in the world today spring from selfishness and self-centeredness in which too many make harsh demands of life and others in order to meet their demands.
Jesus’ leadership emphasized the importance of being discerning with regard to others, without seeking to control them.
Jesus knew how to involve his disciples in the process of life. He gave them important and specific things to do for their development. Jesus trusts his followers enough to share his work with them so that they can grow. That is one of the greatest lessons of his leadership.
Jesus knew how to involve his disciples in the process of life. He gave them important and specific things to do for their development. Jesus trusts his followers enough to share his work with them so that they can grow. That is one of the greatest lessons of his leadership.” (Spencer W. Kimball, “Jesus: The Perfect Leader,” Tambuli, Aug 1983, 7)
Jesus Christ is the leader we should follow as we work to lead our children back to our Father in Heaven. We can follow His great example of a willingness to serve (Matthew 20:28 and Matthew 23:11). We can know that we have a great stewardship to teach our children, but still be humble in our teaching. (Matthew 23:12)
Like the song says, we can lead, guide and walk beside our children as we show them by our example the way of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Filed under: Life Lessons, Living the Gospel, Peer Pressure
It was a defining moment in our recent Sunday School class. We had been talking about the need and value of repentance, of the happiness it can bring to those who come back to the light and love of Christ, of the need to let go of the things of this world, when a woman raised her hand.
I began to wonder precisely where this conversation was going, and could feel the intensity of this woman’s need to be given a firm answer.
“She has more money than I could ever dream of. She’s traveled all over, she has had opportunities opened up for her left and right. I can’t see that she’s not happy.”
This woman paused for a moment, gathering herself. “My husband and I barely get by. We sometimes wonder where money will come from to pay the bills. I hardly see him for all the hours he works, and so much of the time I’m miserable.”
Before I go to the answer our teacher gave, I want you to take a moment to think of your own life. Which of these two women do you relate to more? Do you spend much of your time doing everything, obtaining objects, living life to it’s fullest?
Or do you find yourself spending much of your time watching others have everything, others who do not live up to your same standards, while you stand miserably to the side barely scraping by?
Is there really a way to have less in this life and still be happy?
Our teacher helped bring a very special point home.
“The things of this world are in your face,” she said. “They’re too loud, they’re too bright and shiny, they’re too showy, they’re simply too much.”
Why is this concept important? Because of the second part of the answer.
“Things that bring us true and everlasting happiness, otherwise known as things of the Spirit, those are found in the quiet times of our lives.”
We are taught the voice of the Lord, or the influence of the Holy Spirit, comes to us as a whisper. When we’ve put much of our focus on the things of the world we’ve innundated ourselves with television, with video games, with flashy clothes and jewelry. We’re more concerned with having the best car rather than finding peace.
If you feel unsatisfied in life, if you’ve been growing bitter over not having everything your friends have, search for the quiet moments in your life. Listen for the quiet whisperings of the Holy Spirit. As you do this, you will find peace instead of jealousy, love instead of misery.
Filed under: For the Strength of the Youth, Life Lessons, Living the Gospel
“But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance” (1 Nephi 1:20).
I’ve been thinking about tender mercies a lot lately. They’ve been thrust up in my face lately. In a good way, that is.
We all have trials. It’s simply a way of life, and one of the most effective ways for us to learn and grow spiritually. Sometimes we bring these trials on ourselves through our own choices. Other times the harsh lessons of life are learned through the choices of others, and the effects of those choices on us.
Closely connected to both of these are the lessons we learn through experiences our Heavenly Father asks us to endure.
Recently someone known by my family lost a son-in-law in a plane crash. This son-in-law and his wife had recently had a baby. The crash was tragic, heart-rending, and world shattering for those who loved him. It took the couple’s bishop (lay clergyman) to help this young widow and the extended family search for the tender mercies of the Lord. He told them if they looked they could find little ways in which they were being prepared for this awful event. The bishop encouraged each family member to write these things down, so they might be strengthened in their struggles.
“Through personal study, observation, pondering, and prayer, I believe I have come to better understand that the Lord’s tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ. Truly, the Lord suits ‘his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men’ (D&C 46:15)” (David A. Bednar, “The Tender Mercies of the Lord,” Ensign, May 2005, 99).
As teens in this world today, you are asked to endure, to fight against, to protect yourself from things your parents can barely begin to imagine, just as their parents could not comprehend what being a teen was like all those years ago. You have been saved for this time, because your spirits are vastly strong. If you choose to follow the Lord’s way, Satan will be hard pressed to sway you otherwise. Unfortunately, this will not stop him from trying.
They key word in that paragraph is choose. We always have a choice. If we continually strive to choose the Lord’s way, He will prepare us and strengthen us through His tender mercies, “to make [us] mighty even unto the power of deliverance.” In fact, I know that even when we haven’t been following His path, He will often send us strength through reminders to come back to Him.
My challenge to you is the same of the bishop who counseled the grieving family. If you have been, are now, or will one day face trials that seem unbearable, take time out to actively look for the tender mercies of the Lord. Look for ways you were prepared beforehand. Search for things that are helping you now. Be ready to recognize the little blessings that are to come. It may take time for some of us to find the good things, but with much prayer and practice, looking for tender mercies can become second nature.
Then, perhaps, we can say with firm testimony, “Each of us can have eyes to see clearly and ears to hear distinctly the tender mercies of the Lord as they strengthen and assist us in these latter days. May our hearts always be filled with gratitude for His abundant and tender mercies” (David A. Bednar, “The Tender Mercies of the Lord,” Ensign, May 2005, 99).