Three Sundays ago, the discussion of the "sanctity of the family" in priesthood veered off into a strange condemnation of gays in the church. I've noted that I sat ashamed of my silence and promised myself not to silence myself ever again.
Well, yesterday, a different teacher gave a very good lesson on inspiration and revelation - that when the Lord speaks directly to us, the debate ends and that communication comes with "authority" from God. Of course, the discussion veered into who has "authority" for revelation of what sphere and the "authority" of the Prophet and the importance of current revelation over previous revelation.
I was fine with all of that. The teacher wrote on the board "very nearly the truth" and stated that we need to be very careful of inspiration or proposed revelation by others that may seem to be true, may very, nearly be true, but is not. He whips out his Sunday Salt Lake Tribune and begins quoting from an editorial in the paper written by Carol Lynn Pearson pleading for love and compassion toward our gay brothers (and sisters).
He read quoting CLP: "I believe, with these historians (of the Mountain Meadows Massacre), that we LDS people are hungry for the truth and that we want to apply true religion in our lives. I believe with Anne Frank, that people are really good at heart and I know that there is no better heart than the Mormon heart, leader and member alike.... Many messengers today, of which I am one, have ridden in with reports and pleas for help regarding the ongoing self-slaughter of so many of our best and beautiful young men. For many it is too late. For others - if you and I care enough - we can change history."
He took those words and testified that such speech is dangerous - for accepting sin in the guise of compassion and tolerance and love seems "very nearly true" (using the words of Joseph Smith about those who profess revelation that may seem almost true, but not fully true, and thus not worthy to follow), but in the end nothing by sophistry - that condoning homosexuality in the spirit of love is wrong.
By this point I was boiling. As I was about to say something, he noted the time, concluded "in the name of Jesus Christ" and the closing prayer was said... no time for comment, no time for correction, just time for everyone to condone what was just concluded.
Again I was upset that I didn't say anything. I was obviously distraught through Sacrament Meeting for my wife kept asking me "what's wrong" and I just shrugged. I was really trying to work through my feelings. I was feeling that priesthood meeting is becoming more and more difficult for me. As much as I am wanting to fight the fight from "within", how am I to do so? Thoughts of leaving the building, never to return, were not in my mind as much as "what do I do? What do I say? How can I allow such comments to be unchecked?"
During the sacrament I pleaded for answers. Again my wife noticed how bothered I was by something and now she was becoming alarmed. My answer came in a Sacrament talk which quoted King Benjamin. With liberties to the Nephite King's words I quote:
And ye will not suffer your gay children that they go hungry or naked... but ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another...
Perhaps thou shalt say that this gay brother has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand and will not give unto him of my love and compassion, nor impart unto him my substance of understanding that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just -
But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent... For, behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance of love and compassion and understanding, which we have?
I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him."
-- Mosiah 4:14, 15, 17-19, 23 (with some liberties taken)
I felt that King Benjamin, were he there in Quorum meeting, would have delivered his speech to my fellow priesthood brethren in this manner.
Since when does extending love and compassion and understanding toward our gay brothers and sisters in hope that they will not be cut off from family and lose hope and see no alternative but "self-slaughter" signifies acceptance of sin or condoning sin? Since when is love considered "very nearly the truth" but wrong?
I went home and read CLP's editorial. Not once did she mention changing Church principles or standards. All she admonished was for us to recognize that we can change the history of self-destruction of gay members by extending an arm of fellowship and love to them so they don't take their own lives out of despair and lost hope. How is this sophistry? How are we to tolerate the belief that it is better for gay members to do so - for they "brought unto themselves their misery - therefore their punishments are just".
I profess that King Benjamin would be on CLP's side - which I would propose is the Lord's side on this issue as well.
The story doesn't end here... for when we got home from church, my wife wouldn't let the issue die and she wanted to understand completely what was bothering me and wouldn't tolerate my shrugging it off as "nothing"...
To be continued...