The 13th tribe is the only one who, once found, was not welcomed into the tent of Israel. It is still outside the camp. Not finding their lineage in the salvation account, that tribe has been a bubble in their society, but not in the plan. Since this plan is not always one of understanding, the place of the 13th tribe and its trajectory has been invisible since ancient times, until little by little the light is made. Today in teancum we will talk about them, the Latter-day Saints LGTB, our brothers and sisters.
But especially in this first article, we will discuss our approach to this issue. Later in a second article we will see the concrete and novel account of the findings and movements in the LGBT saints.
To avoid repetition I will use the abbreviations LGTB (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) and SSA (same-sex attraction).
However, I am reluctant to identify them as LGTB collectives. Lucifer’s plan did consider us as collectives, it summarized us all into a group of diminished humans, lacking in agency. Lucifer used us as an alibi for a purpose other than that declared, is the advantage of massification.
In contrast, the plan of salvation was not designed for collectives but for people. Salvation is individual and not regional, national or collective.
Our LGBT brothers are distinct individuals with unique gifts, talents and stories and formidable battles. To consider them a collective within the church is to treat them as a mass. That is incompatible with the gospel but of great use to the adversary.
LGTB collectives fight the feeling of loneliness and seek defense against grievances. However, in the church of Jesus Christ, they should not represent them. They are our brothers, friends, cousins, children, grandchildren; they belong to the community of saints. We minister to them from their infancy with the ordinances of salvation to each of them. And each of them served in missions, in appeals, because they have never ceased to be ours, our brothers, friends, children, grandchildren LGBT.
If we have shown rejection or incomprehension, it is because we have either failed in our natural affections or because, rejected because of false traditions, we have involuntarily directed them to collectives outside of Israel. In this way, mixing with the language and values of these collectives, they become foreigners to our eyes in the same house of Israel.
My wife, Nati, faced with something inevitable, always says «you have to accept reality». This wise phrase may seem like submission, but sometimes we have to start from it even if we don’t like it or if it hurts us, if we want to build a place «where they can live».
The existence of LGBT brothers and sisters in the church is perceived as a blot on the scheme of the plan of salvation. Everything is perfect…until they arrive. It’s like that Friday night dinner, we have a special meal, two good chairs, a very interesting movie…and ice cream. A good plan. So when we start, the doorbell rings. He’s our brother-in-law, he comes to visit at 21:00 without warning… and he doesn’t like movies.
We can do two things, ignore him… but he keeps ringing the doorbell. Or admit reality: he’s there and he knows we are too. It is better to open and accept that families can be eternal…at least until the early hours of the morning.
For too long they have been there in silence, frightened of their own identity. They were there, but we have simply ignored reality.
I often hear «they have made a decision» a conclusive phrase, leave no loose ends and close the door because who’s going to oppose someone annoying stops knocking? Then there is agency, a helpful word for releasing ballast.
I wonder: Does anyone still believe that sexual condition is an option? sincerely, does anyone believe that our young brother or sister one day decides to choose that life with the painful and traumatic sequence that corresponds to it?
Some of them in the past have received electroshock treatments, chemical therapy, hypnosis, reconversion programs… it was the solution in its time. Many of us, not just in church, thought there was something wrong with them. They did not fit into our social plan of salvation. But surprise! We don’t know if anything is wrong with them. Maybe we need a reconversion to the gospel.
These brothers and sisters live the gospel in «extra-planetary» conditions. In solitary and wild landscapes, in an inclement atmosphere of incomprehension. Wouldn’t it be important to ask them about their experience? These shipwrecks of Zion, some thrown overboard or not, have survived like sparrows thanks to divine providence, some without human ministration.
They have gone down to 4000, where none but the Savior ventured. What wounds shall we show them? Our pierced side, should we learn from them. Of the price they pay to follow Christ, isn’t that more important than their SSA?
And as for the remote ones in a faraway province, many fathers wait in the hills. Will the rest of us have any reproach to throw?
The way we have approached the situation of our LGBT brothers and sisters is similar to the way they do it in the big building. To point a finger, not of scorn but of educated exclusion, to a small surface of their souls.
In any case, to focus on one aspect of their condition, their SSA (attraction for people of the same sex), is a reduction, it is to highlight what they do not have. So, our prejudices, concentrated in the narrow beam of attention of a finger, cover only the perimeter of the wound we cause, but that does not give us knowledge. Because deep down, perhaps what matters most to us is not the person, but the cause that does not fit into our scheme of salvation. And if one thing is clear to me, it is that a plan of salvation, where they are not, is only a partial scheme.
A broad understanding of the scene requires a change in the observer. One like Enoch, who to behold «all» the descendants of Noah and his salvation, before » stretched forth his arms, and his heartswelled wide as eternity;» (Moses 7:41). Thus we shall see, if not the cause, then the reality of those who live it. By emulating Enoch, we will no longer regard the LGBT brothers as a threat to our beliefs and values. They will be an unparalleled opportunity to broaden our knowledge of the gospel and its inhabitants. It is necessary to receive a testimony of what I say or to believe in the testimony of others in order to reach this knowledge.
The much used, Paul’s statement in Romans 1, is part of a description. But his dispensation was not called to describe details but to extend to all nations, ours to gather their inhabitants. The restoration sums up all previous dispensations and works in a larger vineyard and does so with a high degree of detail. This is why our dispensation is different from Paul’s dispensation.
In ancient times the greatest challenge was space, to go to all nations. The urgency to embrace the limits of the world. In restoration, space is defeated and so is time. Now we go into details that the previous labors did not do. Our dispensation distinguishes a juncture of two parts: the appearance and the authentic condition of the soul. That articulation, previously rigid, calcified in our task, is unfolding thanks to the knowledge that as the dew falls from heaven and we must be attentive to include it in our gestures in the emulation of Christ. The restoration gathers all men into its nets and provides words of salvation for each one.
A branch president
I seem to remember that I was 32 years old when I was president of the Branch of Almeria, Spain. One afternoon I received a visit from Edmundo, he was coming to say goodbye, he was leaving the Church. He surprised me, he was a young man of great testimony. In the course of the conversation, in a very subtle way I bring up the subject of homosexuality. I wonder what he thought about it. I didn’t suspect anything at the time. Then I explained to him my catalogue of reasons why it was necessary to keep a distance and caution with these people. My tone was somewhat ironic. He left and I didn’t see him anymore. I always remember this scene as a missed opportunity…for me.
I was totally disoriented in this matter, but I didn’t know it. Edmundo was homosexual and came to a point where he felt an incongruity between the gospel and him. I didn’t detect it and if I had, I wouldn’t have had an answer. He only had the old superstitions that still exist between us. That hardened crust prevents us from understanding. Before we love or empathize in this matter, we must understand it and it is not easy.
Why are they here?
I often wonder why they are here? It is an almost cruel question, but necessary. As saints, we have taken too long to formulate it. We did not have the necessary approach to grant them a clear entity, we perceived them as disturbed, incomplete subjects. Therefore oblivious to questions like this.
Following the advice of Nati; Let’s start with reality, «they are with us and have their form.» And if they are, there is a purpose in their lives and that purpose must be included in the plan of salvation. What is it? That is the question and the missing story.
If we approach the matter, as I see it done, asking why are they not like others? how can they change and be normal? or worse still, before considering them subjects of right in Zion, ask what are they entitled to? As I say, with that approach we question their identity and create the answer. We are telling them that you are not you. You are a disturbance of your authentic nature. You have to be someone else.
From there, we enter into an orbit of disintegration. What we do is throw them on a trajectory of impact against themselves and against the social atmosphere of the saints.
That approach hasn’t changed in centuries. And now it causes too much pain, suicides, depression and anxiety. How many more are to die?
Too often we see them sizzling in the sky when they disappear in solitude and prematurely from the world, leaving a trail of pain.
It is not a matter of yielding, losing, or abandoning our doctrine. Rather, it is about listening to, discovering, and understanding the mysteries of the kingdom, of which they are a part.
The course of the church in this matter.
We face a greater challenge than crossing a continent with a wagon. We have not yet explored the scope of the atonement, let alone the love of Christ. We have not covered even a tenth of that journey and yet we limit our affections to what we are able to accept, which is less than we can comprehend.
For years, we have observed an evolution in the politics of the church toward these brethren. The last changes of April 4, 2019 announce that the children of LGBT parents can be blessed and baptized. It is also contemplated that marriage between people of the same sex is not a cause of apostasy for the discipline of the church. Brothers and sisters are accepted for mission, even if they declare their LGBT status, as long as they meet the requirement of dignity common to all aspirants. These brethren have church callings and temple recommendations.
Everything is very different if we compare it with past times. The changes in the church are discussed in the article The Zion ship and its voyage of July 2019 Journey.
However, these last novelties are far from clarifying things and answering all the questions. It is not a story that connects the incongruity of his condition with our partial scheme of salvation. There is a demand for light regarding this matter that we do not find in the official channels.
And this may seem to the reader to be an incorrect statement, at bottom it is an emerging blessing.
The strange ways of the Lord
Jared and his brother received a maritime salvation plan that included building ships to cross the sea. But that plan was incomplete. «And behold, O Lord, there is no light in them; where shall we go? And we shall perish also, for in them we shall not be able to breathe but the air which they contain…» (Ether 2:19). On the ships there were two problems: lack of light for the crossing and lack of locks for ventilation. Everything else was fine. Jared’s brother had the courage to recognize that two things were missing from the Lord’s plan.
Today we would say «it is not possible that things are missing» But he asked and received a solution to the second but not to the first. He had to devise a resource for the inner light and present it before the veil.
It is evident that our scheme of the plan of salvation does not detail the course or place of our LGBT brothers. Even though «… [we have made the ships as he has direct us.]» (18). Recently, in 2019, we have opened a window through which we can breathe, not only them but us as well. But I remember again that until a few years ago there was no window. They simply did not belong to the plan because they were not considered complete persons but incomplete, as an anomaly of the plan between pre-existence and puberty.
Now, at last, we are seeing a situation that is increasingly limited by reality and not limited by prejudices or superstitions. Now recognized the reality of their belonging to Israel and to our affections, we must present a solution. But it no longer depends only on our leaders, but on the inspiration of the saints.
In my opinion, our general authorities cannot twist doctrine or commandments. They do not belong to them. They are responding as best they can to this situation where there is much suffering for our faithful LGBT brothers and their families.
The burden of the pending story is also on our shoulders. But laziness, confused with a parasitic obedience, makes us look only in the direction of the twelve and not toward heaven.
Knowledge from the sky
«How long can rolling waters remain impure? What power shall stay the heavens? As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course, or to turn it up stream, as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints.» (D&C 121:33)
As Moses sighed when he said, «Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!» (Num 11:29).
The time has come for knowledge to be poured out from heaven upon Israel concerning this matter, for I fear very much that this matter is a touchstone. Just as by scratching on this stone the gold is identified as pure, so will our status as citizens of Zion be proved in this matter. And we can no longer ignore it.
We must seek as a people knowledge from heaven because in this challenge, there is a social contribution pending, from the same membership that demands a response from the Church. I believe that the Lord is taking us to Shelem but we still do not dare to recognize the real problems.
We are asked, not so much to understand everything, as to begin to love everyone even when we don’t understand. Just as their sun rises over the just and the unjust.
A productive attitude
Jared’s brother was an enterprising man of faith, he was not subsidized, so in the face of the problem of light he «…went forth unto the mount, which they called the mount Shelem, because of its exceeding height, and did molten out of a rock sixteen small stones; and they were white and clear, even as transparent glass; and he did carry them in his hands upon the top of the mount, and cried again unto the Lord, …» (Ether 3:1) This productive attitude achieves the miracle which we all know.
The Latter-day Saints are accustomed to place in our apostles and prophets every problem, to seek guidance and it is well. But in their extreme, negligently, we almost see them as «professionals» of revelation. And in that way we are relieved of the effort to receive it. But now we have a challenge that is within our soul, whether we are on one side or the other. The challenge is not in U.S. law against plural marriage. Nor is it in extending the priesthood to those who have already had their civil rights extended.
It is at the core of our most intimate conception of identity, of our premortal provenance, of the plan of salvation. That which gives us consistency as the people of Zion. That touch of potential farmers of creation.
It is therefore understandable that the tensions and contractures that accompany the understanding and acceptance of the reality of our LGBT brothers and sisters, their belonging to our membership, have no point of comparison to how other groups can cope with this reality.
Therefore the pain before the burning in our chest should not surprise us.
Every member of the church should look up to heaven and ask for light and knowledge, for the way in which this matter is dealt with will greatly determine our spirituality. I insist, this matter is a touchstone. The schemes and language of past centuries and dispensations are not enough. We must seek more light and knowledge.
The LGTB narrative in the church
This lost narrative is composed of the verbalization of his identity. To make it a word so that it is real. The words of his lineage in the plan of salvation are coming to light, as in a new season of our history. We are in the time of his social redemption with the saints. They, as such, must take their place in the church and I am not referring only to tolerance or compassion for membership, but to right. A very high sacrifice is required of them, and their inheritance in Zion, their place, is to be given to them.
Agents of his narrative
Being representatives of the totality of themselves and not of incomplete versions, they are agents of their own narrative. Not patients waiting for solutions. They are not diminished people, but masters of their destiny. But that identity of complete person is not recognized, but they have been waiting for a solution for «their own». That’s what we’ve been doing for centuries.
If we remove or retain someone’s identity, we dispossess them of course in their life.
My stake president in Granada, President Lopez, in a board meeting taught us that the question What direction should our stake take from now on? is not as important as the question Who are we? because knowledge of our identity is what sets the course.
In this incipient movement, our LGBT brothers are not subject only to receive the action of the church, they do not demand a change of doctrine. They are subjects of action that achieve the unfolding of the doctrine towards new and revealing spaces.
In that political project built by Mosiah-Benjamin-MosihaII, in three generations, they achieved the transition from a vassal people from a king to a people of free and equal citizens. They became agents of their wealth, their laws and their prosperity. They ceased to receive the action of a king, to be their own agents, «and became exceedingly anxious that every man should have an equal chance throughout all the land; yea, and every man expressed a willingness to answer for his own sins.» (Mosiah 29:38).
These brothers need recognition of their identity and citizenship in Israel, not refugee status. Being actors by right, they themselves «[will help those who need their help; they will impart their goods to the needy]» (Mosiah 4:16).
They’ll be a very powerful asset if we let them bloom.
Sometimes our concentration on the family should not cause us to lose sight of the truth that surrounds it.
A light from the North
For years, I have moved from a natural and careless enmity to a closer understanding of my LGBT brothers and sisters. On that path I have felt a growing affection for them and in concrete cases a robust and grounded love. Not an imposed solidarity, but the affection that is born from a close understanding of the facts.
On this journey I have looked for a story, an explanation of why. However, only the fact of placing myself in that search, in the recognition that I did not know, has enriched me enormously. Because ignorance of something is the shadow of his knowledge and recognizing the shadow brings us closer to intuiting the form of truth.
There is nothing more difficult than to recognize that we do not know in this subject, that the terms of the question escape us. We are left with the path of the heart, the path of the weak of the world.
They bring bright stones
Listen to a speech by Bennett Borden, president of North Star. A faithful member of the church, Bennett has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, a Master’s degree in Business Analysis, a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University School of Law, and is homosexual. His speech was part of North Star International’s 2018 conference «In our fathers hands,» the title indicates that we are in the hands of our Heavenly Father.
At the beginning of his words he spoke of known things. I was tempted to turn it off and come out.
But in the middle of his presentation I realized that I was hearing the description of a new vision, arising from someone who was underneath everything. From someone who, by faith, had achieved the fit of his homosexual condition into the plan of salvation. I heard what could be the foundational story of a brother endowed with great finesse of thought. For the first time I saw before me some pieces missing from the plan of salvation that I had taught as a missionary in Alcobendas, Madrid.
I find in the North Star group of people and their narrative the most consistent and brilliant contribution to understand and help our LGBT brothers and therefore ourselves.
They’re coming from Shelem.
Something is happening in Israel, and we should all be a part of it. Some come from Shelem with shining stones, some of them are inspired by Jehovah as well. Some of us are amazed that the answer comes from them, the discarded. They have descended into deep darkness, where the most absolute solitude reigns, places known only to their Savior. They have overcome the temptation to let themselves go crackling in the night sky. They have struggled with the incomprehension that has accompanied them for centuries. They bring in their hands the stars of the north.
Once one of them, trying to overcome the incredible battle of remaining in the gospel in spite of loneliness and incomprehension, told me more or less something like this
«…my last birthday I thought… Well…life is not so long, I have less left to die. You just have to put up with it.
Those who were excluded from Israel and from our affections have returned full of knowledge. I heard Liv, Deb, Will, Dean, Ben, Kim & Lance, Chad & Jenny, Jeff, Kyle & Amy, Randy, Justin…our friends, our children, our siblings, nephews and grandchildren…they gave up leaving only the wake of their lives, now they come with an innovative, amazing narrative, full of love and knowledge. They ask for a place in Israel, because they have gone and now they come back from Shelem with stars in their hands.