Today I wrestle with the recent commentary of Elder Bednar on Homosexuality. I am sorry if I am too harsh or if my criticisms are unfair. I welcome anyone in Church authority to sit down with me and others and work through the data and questions that are out there that no one in leadership is addressing. These are begging to be asked. The Church’s answers and commentary are insufficient on this issue and it feels that the real questions begging to be asked are being ignored or changed.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
I don’t think I’ve ever listened to one of these podcasts before, but this one was fantastic. I loved every word. I really appreciate your speaking out and supporting our LGBT members.
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ I was given the gift of the Holy Ghost to help me discern right from wrong and good from evil. I strive to live my life as Jesus Christ would have me live and thus I am blessed to enjoy the spirit of discernment. It is of great comfort and helps me to enjoy peace and not be confused about the multitude of voices out there.
Bill, thank you.
A couple of things from your heart-felt discourse reminded me of this from Ezra T. Benson’s April 1975 Conf. talk:
“God has assured us that the Church will never again be taken from the earth because of apostasy. He has said that he is pleased with the Church, speaking collectively and not individually. (See D&C 1:30.) This means that certain individuals within the Church may go astray and even fall away. This may happen even to a person in the Church who is in a position of some influence and authority. It has happened in the past. It will happen in the future. If our faith is in Jesus Christ and not in the arm of flesh, then we will know that we are members of the church of Jesus Christ and not the church of men.
If you see some individuals in the Church doing things that disturb you, or you feel the Church is not doing things the way you think they could or should be done, the following principles might be helpful:
God has to work through mortals of varying degrees of spiritual progress. Sometimes he temporarily grants to men their unwise requests in order that they might learn from their own sad experiences. Some refer to this as the “Samuel principle.” The children of Israel wanted a king like all the other nations. The prophet Samuel was displeased and prayed to the Lord about it. The Lord responded by saying, Samuel, “they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” The Lord told Samuel to warn the people of the consequences if they had a king. Samuel gave them the warning. But they still insisted on their king. So God gave them a king and let them suffer. They learned the hard way. God wanted it to be otherwise, but within certain bounds he grants unto men according to their desires.”
My 89-yr. old faithful, orthodox Mormon mother referred to the new handbook instructions regarding the LGBTQ issue as “horrible”. Perhaps the Lord is using the harsh, marginalizing words of the brethren to soften the hearts of the members. Just a thought.
Also, all 15 didn’t universally support the Priesthood restriction up until it was lifted in 1978. It wasn’t some kind of instantaneous revelation from God whereupon their hearts were changed. Recorded evidence suggests it began with Pres. McKay in the early 1950s as a result of high interest in the church among people in Africa (among other things), referring to it as a policy and not a doctrine, and thinking about the process necessary to reverse it. His counselor, Hugh B. Brown, was completely in favor of a reversal, but Harold B. Lee, pres. of the Quorum of the 12, was dead set against it. All others sided with one or the other or found their opinion within the broad spectrum in between. It was quite a long process before all 15 had opened their hearts and eliminated whatever cognitive dissonance they had experienced before they could all receive the “revelation” more than 2 decades later.
I tend to think that is exactly where our top 15 find themselves today over the LGBTQ issue, but until all can come to a new way of thinking about it based on current knowledge, science, and re-interpretation of scripture, they all have to maintain a united front in support of the status quo. Elder Bednar, however, doesn’t seem to me to be one who is wavering. Maybe we should pray for him.
Beautiful testimony Bill. This is the most difficult topic for me to deal with as far as staying active and engaged in the Church. I have a gay brother who tried to make it work. He went on a mission but came home early. He got to the point where he did harm to his body. He then gave up and left the church and his home to live his life. For twenty years I prayed that he would be “healed” and return. Over the past couple years I have experienced a faith transition and no longer hold the same views I once had. I experienced one of the most spiritual experiences of my life when I called him and told him I love him and accept him completely as he is and that I was sorry for the pain he must have experienced.
Thank you so much for standing up and speaking out. I can’t begin to explain the words in my heart. Hearing you speak lightens my soul and speaks to my spirit. Thank you, thank you, thank you.