Before addressing the content of this article, I emphasize that my focus on this issue focuses on the situation of the LGBT saints of the last days who decide to stay in the church and face this enormous challenge. I do not intend to extrapolate my ideas to another situation either in this article or in the previous one.
On August 24 I published about the need to understand the reality of homosexual brothers and sisters in the church. The title was The 13th tribe of Israel and the Latter-day Saints LGTB. I spent more than a week answering the most varied questions. I will tell you a few.
- I had to continually clarify that the term «13th tribe» is a metaphor. We all know it’s 12.
- Many complained about this, although some ideas were statements from general authorities.
- It is a mistake to identify the LGBT brothers as a community within the church. They are not.
- There is a tendency to identify them with outside collectives and their demands. They are not.
- It’s an emotional issue, many people feel threatened in dealing with it. Unreasonable defensive or offensive attitudes arise.
- I received little explicit support (emoticons) and less opposition but very active and…very explicit.
- There is a lack of empathy and ignorance towards this issue.
Generally speaking, I believe that the position of quite a few members is not based on doctrine but on culture. At this time who is at the forefront of the fit in the church of our LGBT brothers, are our general authorities. I refer to President Nelson’s BYU youth devotional. In the membership it is necessary to emphasize groups like North Star, in great tune with the church. Also to recognize the Affirmation of a broader ideological spectrum and therefore less defined than North Star,
A perception in time
In conversations about the previous publication, I have observed that many saints were sympathetic to this issue in order to become immediately preventative. The result should be zero, but there remains an aftertaste of pretended and not authentic tolerance. It’s like saying, «I’m inviting the Garcias to dinner tonight, but I’m not going to let them…» Tell me, dear reader, who would be comfortable at that table? Who would feel welcome when a B speech is loaded in the bedroom?
Hospitality should have only one direction and the preventions should be presented, not by us, but by the day and its eagerness.
At this moment we must abandon the wait in Temple Square for the President of the church to go out to a balcony and solve all our doubts, offenses and polemics. Sorry, I’m using another metaphor. No, there is no such balcony in Temple Square to indoctrinate thousands of worshippers. But some of us are in a square waiting for a declaration of maximums that either banishes our LGBT brothers or finally marries them with their partner. These antagonistic positions blur reality.
You, dear reader, may not see these opinions in your neighborhood or branch. We saints are very correct in our ways, we are educated, civic and experienced. Thanks to that we can contain our differences without fracturing into contentions. However, in the nets occurs the curious phenomenon where the natural man is done with the keyboard. Its manifestation is surprising.
Latter-day Saints LGBT
The following is a reflection and proposals in three areas where this «visual» incorporation of our LGBT brothers into the community of saints affects. Where they have always been, but now they are visibly so.
I have several sensations and some of them are almost a formed idea.
The challenge for the church.
The challenge of this reality is well managed by President Nelson. Our prophet is going as far as possible as the law of the Lord allows. To ask him for more would be unjust and I fear we would deserve the disapproval of the one at the head.
In the section of his speech in BYU «Truth number 4«, he recommends «My dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to seek earnestly a confirmation from the Spirit that what I have told you is true and is from the Lord» He refers to the change of policy from 2015 to 2019 regarding the baptism of children with LGBT parents.
Most of us look at the outcome, at changing the norm as a step forward. But the question is, where do we go? We all answer: «towards what I think». But there is one detail, the change from the 2015 standard to the 2019 standard, that’s the least of this issue, the greatest is the process by which you get there.
Many of us understood the 2015 rule that prevented automatic baptism of children with LGBT parents as a restriction on children. President Nelson clarifies, «we did not want to put young children in the position of having to choose between beliefs and behavior they learned at home and what they were taught at Church. We wanted to facilitate harmony in the home and avoid pitting children and parents against each other.»(Pte. Nelson)
Let’s think with fine grain (1)
That policy, treated with the coarse grain of emotions and without reflection, appears as a marginalization or a punishment towards those people. But if you read the whole discourse, you will see that it reveals a fine-grained treatment of the question. Aspects are considered that do not come out when we apply the offended emotions, or the thought of those superior to the criteria of a group of elders.
Although important, pain is not enough to understand. To feel able to criticize or speak lightly of the communiqués of the council of the twelve would imply that we think with the degree of detail and reflection that they practice. However, I think we would learn more if we observed the method of obtaining knowledge and revelation that they use. In those details, like unnoticed whispers, is revelation.
We should not only be demanders of solutions but, within our broad field, reapers of them.
Let us affirm the efficacy of piety (2)
In understanding this matter, the saints of the last days perhaps overestimate the power of justice and underestimate the field of application of mercy. That is why we turn a question of fraternity such as this one, into another of legality, as it is what is posed by external collectives. So when we deal with this situation of our brothers and sisters, I ask myself from where do we do it inside or outside of the Gospel?
In the first vision Heavenly Father says to Joseph Smith
«…they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”
If, as a member, we only speak in terms of rights, laws and norms, where is piety and its effectiveness? The Church’s policy for the care of LGBT members can be summarized in one page. However, to live together is not to legislate, it is much more extensive and complicated than that and it is not possible to decree each one of its aspects.
To deny the power of piety, or mercy, is to limit our thinking to the narrow path of law by which we would all be lost. That path places us in Temple Square waiting indefinitely for the laws to fall from a balcony to make up for our lack of trust in piety.
Courageous with those of circumcision (3)
The apostle Paul, after his vision in Damascus, went to Egypt for three years, where he matured in the gospel «For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.» (Gal 1:12). Later he returns to Jerusalem. In Christ’s own church Paul finds two ways of reasoning «…they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;» (Gal. 2:7). He finds a fearful Peter «For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.» (12)
The same Peter who received the revelation that the Old Law had passed and were set free by the mercy of Christ, was still struggling to abandon the old ways of thinking. This is not to speak against Peter but to recognize the difficulty of being «completely» born again.
To be born again in this also (4)»
Answering and clarifying the previous article to this one, talking with brothers from various countries and cultures has provided me with a valuable opportunity to understand something about our situation as a church. Speaking as one more member, I believe I find the same juncture as in Galatians.
There is a reflex way, in acting before the reality of our brothers, the saints of the last days LGTB . It is a way not to think but to react. In the same way that the Mosaic law formed in the soul of the Jews almost automatic responses to the new teachings of Christ. Those old wineskins were of no use for the new wine. It was not a question of reforming thought, but of being born again.
We have the challenge and the need to be born again in this matter. We cannot as saints of the last days approach the lace of our LGBT brothers from the «Mosaic Law» where some are. Nor from the cruel tradition from which we all depart. Tradition integrated in our culture as church, because it is part of our childhood, youth and environment.
We limit our knowledge if we take as our only reference the communiqués of the first presidency. Those issued in 2015, 2019 or those to come. Because we have been liberated by Christ and the law is a tutor.
«Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.» (Gal. 3:24-25).
Applying the knowledge of piety (5)
I’m not saying not to follow church law. But as private persons, it is not for us to apply justice or demand it. The demands have already been satisfied by the Savior. It is rather a matter of applying the knowledge that mercy gives, that method of thinking used by President Nelson. We should not be so much guided by the result as by the method employed. That means for us to «serve, study, pray and worship God» (Neal A. Maxwell).
The result of this would change reality in an unknown way, just as ecosystems do.
This is an opportunity for all of us to emulate the savior, throwing away the ancient stones and taking the fine grain used for the revelation of the Lord.
The challenge for families
Let’s not look for expensive clothes (6)
I see a resistance to accept the reality of our LGBT brothers and sisters. There is an old debate as to whether we are born or made for such and such a disposition of the soul. Genetics, environment, influences… I will not go into it, I start from reality and I do not mean to accept a judgment on reality. I mean to accept the very fact that you have before you a son, a daughter, a brother or a friend who manifest their homosexual condition and suffer for it.
And there is no time to find out why!
In church we have a high standard of success. Happy family, successful children and if possible sportsmen. Active, go on a mission, return, study, good jobs or businesses, get married, bring grandchildren to grandparents and form happy families.
Much of this, exposed in facebook, family activities, declarations of love between spouses, praise to children who get challenges. Sometimes a permanent exhibition of happiness and success. Entering this new dynamic of public exposure of the family, brings the risk of losing intimacy and therefore protection. The revision of the like is building a virtual community of praise exchanges. And it brings something else, it creates the false expectation of an idyllic life, the false sensation that, if it is not published, it does not exist. Maintaining this is emotionally costly.
Establishing contact with reality (7)
Referring to the parents in the church. In every group, including the church, a social hierarchy of success is invisibly formed, where each one takes his place. This is neither bad nor good, it is simply part of our nature. Let me give you an example.
When I was young, in my family there were four of us, my parents, my sister, and myself. All active and strong. In our branch, in Seville, there were several families with inactive children and (in my opinion) with some inner disorder.
I had a feeling but no words to describe it. Now in my maturity I can better understand that impression of my youth. I thought they were not members of the club of perfect members, but I didn’t say it or even pronounce it in my mind. I respected them, but when I looked at them…I didn’t consider them of the same condition, I felt a kind of condescension towards them. I thought they must be failing at something, when they had those poor results. I am ashamed to say this, but to give another example I offer mine.
When my mother became inactive, when my sister left the church, when my parents divorced. Then I realized that life is complex. I stopped belonging to that club that doesn’t exist, but we sense it.
Accept the Reality God Gives Us (8)
When a family in the church knows that one of their sons or daughters or grandson is homosexual, it is a huge, lethal sledgehammer. It is a knock on all his prestige to all his influence, to his dreams. Normally it is his exit of the social career in the church, his entrance to boxes. His disqualification as an example, as a model. And this is not so because of the gospel, this is so because we live even in the ancient rudiments, prior to the restoration. We still carry in our behavior traces of the «uncircumcised of heart» of the old laws that Peter feared to face.
When those parents face that, they face their past, their children’s childhood, their efforts, the use of their time, their faults, their mistakes. They observe the joy and success of others on their computer monitors and notice how everyone passes them by on the left. And they are out of all hope. For some the frustration is so great that they leave the church or break up their marriage. Meanwhile, they observe that, around them, life goes on.
Stripped of the colorful vestments of the past, they remain mute in life and in the nets, the deformed mirror. Then they have two paths, to take refuge in self-pity and bitterness or to follow the path of knowledge in the authentic gospel of the Savior. There you will find him with «wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;» (D&C 89:19).
That’s what happens.
Therefore, that culture of educated, silent rejection, as I did in my youth, has a long chain of transmission. Since we are a very cohesive community, this matter is not a question of expressing opinions but of following the model of revelation that Father Nelson proposes to us. That is to say, to pass from a foamy spirituality to one based on serving, studying, praying and adoring God. Something that does not have likes nor photos nor post.
Let us support our own in their challenge (9)
The saints of the last LGBT days face a formidable challenge. To build a life of faith and meaning by facing loneliness. Your fingers almost hurt when you write it down, do it on a piece of paper or say it, your lips hurt.
That’s why you start from a church that emphasizes marriage and family. Socially, there is no defined space for them. To declare that they can go on mission, go to the temple, or have calls is a change in the norm. But as I said before, the norm does not make a life complete. Its social space, its normalization must be earned by eating land from the sea. They have to colonize new spaces between us, because we are reluctant to the unknown. They will be the new pioneers who bring the light of Christ to the nation of the discarded, to the homeless of restoration.
That is a feat that can only be done by extraordinary people. People endowed with unique talents, unshakable faith, iron will. And above all love to leave us the cloak we point out, to turn the cheek to our incomprehension and to walk many miles in our sight.
If their family fails them, they have the church. If we fail you have only Christ left, He will not.
Right now some of our brethren are making remarkable efforts to
- Assume your identity as a gift and a responsibility
- Affirming faith with its own identity
- To integrate themselves in a fuller and more loving way into the community of the Church.
- Live life according to the Gospel while managing their sexual condition.
- Edify the way of being a saint of the last days LGBT
- Build a story that supports them emotionally and provides them with protection.
The spiritual level needed to do this is much higher than the rest. But they start from a situation of arid landscapes and hostile environments. I hope that as saints of the last days, all of us are at the level of the Church of Jesus Christ.
Years ago (as everything after 55) worked in Telebase SL a company that we founded between five partners for Internet-related services. I was an accountant but I started to study design and programming. I often asked questions. One day the programmer, my friend, said to me a little tired of attending me «Look at this you don’t teach, you learn this». I got angry and considered him unkind.
Then I began to study with eagerness and determination (I didn’t have any other) then I realized that this was a different world. The expense of time to explain anything to someone was prohibitive. Then I understood.
Dear teancum friends, there are things you can’t explain that you can only learn.