Thank you for the thoughtful feedback and insightful responses, including some meaningful push-back. A few responses:
May – chills! Thank you for the powerful words. They bring up sweet emotion and a confirmation of the Spirit.
Vickie – I admire and respect your response to your son and find it inspiring. Thank you for sharing. You are acting as Elder Christofferson’s family did in response to Tom – with love, while still holding firm to the Church. I believe that response is not only inspired – but a reflection of how Father would and does act.
Merilee – I certain have not intended to “characterize the LGBT community as a whole in a negative light” and certainly not to “disparage members who would like to find support for their LGBT status while remaining faithful to their covenants.” I agree it’s not what we want to “polarize readers into two camps- for or against LGBT individuals.” What about my article led you to this feeling?
I fully agree that we need more of this: “differentiating between being LGBT and having attractions which are different than most people experience and LGBT who are opposed to the commandments of God and church teachings and leaders.” And this: “articles on how we can negotiate the blessed opportunity of opening our minds and hearts to our LGBT brothers and sisters while staying true to the faith and also helping them be true to themselves and their faith.”
Dr. Shea – YES to stepping away from the cacophony and grinding battle. I suppose you agree we can do that, while still engaging forthrightly, lovingly, clearly, and peacefully in the conversations of the day?
CSBevans – it was precisely the disagreement, dissent or conflict that I’m calling here “confusion.”
Bravo to Maria’s insightful comment, “I believe he has flipped the first and second commandments.” I’ve been working on a piece on precisely that. Email me if you’d like to co-author ([email protected]).
And I resonated with this too, Lisa C: “how easy it is for religious people to unconsciously cede ground in these debates by adopting the framework and language of people who oppose us.” I promise to work on what you’ve challenged me to do (more examples, simpler guidance). I feel urged to try and do just that right now – thanks for the encouragement.
You articulated beautifully one thing I hope and pray for as well, Justin: “in time…people are left with the misery that strident and continued disobedience has brought, they might look to those whose lives are still bright, light and delightsome, and be willing to seek for understanding and the blessings that they see.”
I was touched by your words, Melissa – and the courage it really does take to just stay with the prophets these days. And I was reminded in a good way, SB (and Vickie), by your encouragement to find simpler, plainer ways to speak – so that a teenager might really grasp this. I’ve been thinking so much about your caution, that I want to give it a try…right here in a paragraph:
The Proclamation to the World on the Family was not super confusing or controversial when first shared. But it is now! Why? Is it just because we now have a new expanded understanding of civil rights as a society – one that “opens our eyes” to see the proclamation as a flawed, narrow document? OR (or!) is there another possibility? I think there is. And I’m suggesting here that pretty much *anyone* who comes to adopt the reigning, popular beliefs of our day about identity, sexuality, choice, change, the body and God WILL inevitably (predictably) come to see the Proclamation as deficient and even damaging. In other words, these beliefs “filter” what they see about the proclamation – even to a point of blinding them to its truth, power and goodness. The great question is this: are these popular beliefs being widely promoted about identity true – or is what the prophets are teaching about identity true? Depending on what you decide about that, your view and vision of the proclamation will be completely different. Make sense?
SB - how did I do?
Taken to the logical conclusion, our critics would have us change our doctrine to give same-sex couples all the blessings of the Celestial Kingdom. I'm just wondering how two male or two female exalted beings would be able to populate worlds without altering the laws of physics.
Wickedness never was happiness. We - even as a Church - seem to condone LGBT albeit in a lawyerly fashion.
The more it is condoned the more it becomes engrained in society and shown to your children as an accepted alternative lifestyle. My heart goes out to those with this cross to bear and I hate no one, but condonation of the lifestyle does not help those who suffer from it and will not make them happy. How different is this issue than the loss of contact with loved ones because we joined the Church? The Savior said he did not come to unite, but divide.
This is probably Satan's finest effort and I see him on the sidelines smiling at the work he has done in equating resistance to sexual aberration the same way we looked at resistance to governmentally suthorized hatred.
SB, I love you man. When I read the King James with my kids, and I explain something, and they say, "why didn't he just say that," I tell them instead of continuing to dumb down our beautiful language, let's bring our minds up. Having said that, I didn't have a problem with the wording, but the point was sometimes elusive, until I was able to contemplate the article as a whole.
I’m not sure how many people have become convinced that the LGBTQ cause is a righteous one. I suppose it depends on one’s notion of righteousness. For some of us, especially those raised in relatively insular societal enclaves, the reality that there is no agreement on this subject may come as a surprise. Two thousand years ago, didn’t that paragon of social justice, Pontius Pilate, show how clearly he recognized the issue when he asked of Jesus the question, “What is truth?”. In fact, the problem is now as it was then, but the cacophony of conflicting LOUD voices and irreconcilable controversies has become so intolerable that many just don’t care anymore. What characterizes much of our “enlightened” culture is nothing more than battle fatigue. The cure? For me it’s simple: leave the battle. Yep, just walk out and close the door. Problem solved.
I wish we were better at differentiating between being LGBT and having attractions which are different than most people experience and LGBT who are opposed to the commandments of God and church teachings and leaders. There is a need to separate these two realities in our rhetoric. People who are LGTB need to feel accepted and welcomed in our church community. When articles such as these characterize the LGBT community as a whole in a negative light, it can disparage members who would like to find support for their LGBT status while remaining faithful to their covenants. Additionally, it can polarize readers into two camps- for or against LGBT individuals. I would like to see more articles on how we can negotiate the blessed opportunity of opening our minds and hearts to our LGBT brothers and sisters while staying true to the faith and also helping them be true to themselves and their faith.
The Proclamation was given BEFORE what is happening today was an issue! We also have The Articles of Faith to clarify our beliefs and the 11th Article seems to cover the "Confusion": "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow ALL men the same privilege, let them "worship how, where, or what they may." God loves all His children - we should too, without compromising His TRUTH!!
Brother Hess, Thank you so very much for your thorough and articulate treatment of this delicate, yet relevant, subject. As one of those "beating hearts" for whom this subject is tender and close, It is obvious that you are not only passionate and curious but congruently careful and considerate. Thank you for the reminder that "WE" the people numbered among those who wish to follow and emulate the life of The Master are every bit, if not more, accountable to The One whose name we represent to stand boldly, courageously and lovingly for the beautiful truths our Prophets and Apostles so clearly articulate. It is my hope personally to do all I can to remain motivated by love, which I believe to be the catalyst for not only The Family Proclamation but the many other efforts The Church, as an organization, undertakes to do good in this world. As President Nelson said, "Because we feel the depth of God's love for His children, we care deeply about every child of God, regardless of age, gender, personal circumstances, sexual orientation or other unique challenges." May we too, as disciples of Jesus Christ, approach public discourse on these important matters with the civility, respect and love so beautifully exemplified by apostles and prophet and may WE indeed "Become the change We wish to see in the world!"
also I agree with SB...I had a hard time understanding what the point is. maybe its better to state the point and then write about it. some of us are not so educated as you are but want to read what you have to write. thank you
I HAVE A SON WHO IS GAY. HE IS 34YRS OLD AND CAME OUT TO ME LAST YEAR. he emailed a letter to me letting me know how he felt years before when he was growing up and realized he was different. he kind of knew something was different he said when he was 11yrs old. his siblings noticed it before that. he was the youngest in our family of 5 kids. one girl the oldest and then 3 brothers. he was the baby and the cutie pie. he said he hurt inside and was angry. he went on a mission and wanted to go and was young and hadn't done anything and I think hadn't recognized that this was who he was. when he came out to me I cried for 2days. I told my husband and he got quiet and then looked at me and said, he is my son and I love him very much. I then realized that he was right...we both love him no matter what his situation. whether he was wrong or right we loved him as Christ loves us. I also realize that we are all different via language, skin color, culture, religion and we need to do what Christ says....TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER....my son is getting married to his partner. I don't believe in gay marriage but at the same time if it means him being with one partner the rest of his life then I can look at this as a safety issue and health issue of which I prefer. I know that spiritually its not probably recognized and legally in some states probably not recognized....my son was unhappy for a very long time esp knowning his parents were not approving of the gay lifestyle. now its not if I approve of any lifestyle because I raised him and he was a good son and now he is an adult and he makes his own choices. my choice is to love my son.
I think this diagnosis of how religious ideas get framed in social discourse is spot on. I also was thinking how easy it is for religious people to unconsciously cede ground in these debates by adopting the framework and language of people who oppose us. But to not do that requires a really clear understanding of what assumptions are being made in a conversation and how to point that out and introduce new assumptions.
I wonder if the author would give a little more clear evidence showing specifically how this happens in modern conversations and particularly some examples of how to reframe a conversation. Thanks
I wonder at which point we have to come to a point where people who have been taught proper standards will never change and just strive to live good and loving lives, and in time, as passions cool and the pendulum stops swinging, and they are left with the misery that strident and continued disobedience has brought, they might look to those whose lives are still bright, light and delightsome, and be willing to seek for understanding and the blessings that they see.
We are taught in the scriptures that contention is of the devil. It's common for people to define the terms of the conversation to suit their needs. We don't need to play along.
Truth is truth.
Thank you so much for expressing this so plainly.
I love this so much. I'm going to share it with many. We know Satan is a beguiler. He twists things just a little so it seems good. I believe he has flipped the first and second commandments saying we are supposed to love our neighbor first and if God's commandments don't match with this first commandment we are hateful. And love for gays trumps love for anyone else. Even if I tell people that I have friends who are gay, I'm still considered bigoted because I believe in the proclamation..
This is a very thought-provoking article but I’m a little confused by use of the word “confusion.” I know there is disagreement, dissent or conflict among those who don’t see the “Family Proclamation” as a prophetic declaration but I haven’t not been party to any confusion. I remember, however, when the proclamation was “introduced” my first thoughts were, “of course.” Years later I’m now even more convinced of its divine necessity (not that I needed convincing!).
A really enjoyed this article and especially the part about how Christ asks all of us to become new creatures in Him.
It doesn't matter how we identify, or who we love, in the end we ALL must come unto Christ and become like Him (in thought word and deed). We all have to give up "our natural man /woman" and become new.
Oh how I appreciated your succinct and compassionate approach! Your thoughts are spot on and have bouyed my spirits knowing I am not alone. I work in a corporation where "tolerance and acceptance" are paramount...but only for for those that lie within the new protected social minority (LGBTQ and their sympathizers). Those like me who hold to traditional beliefs are censored and ostracized. I have hoped to find some help/advice that would provide some guidance and reassurance. I loved that talk from our prophet and I will continiue to stand behind him and our apostles! They speak truth and "truth is truth"!
Thanks for your interesting article and insight! My only suggestion would be to write in "easier to understand" language for the benefit of many readers, including teens, who may struggle with some of your advanced wording, such as in this sentence: "While certainly an expanded societal pluralism has fostered greater mutual appreciation, an ideology of ongoing liberation from structural oppression has now become the de facto, virtually unquestioned starting point for most public discussions about sexuality today." Surely that, and many of you other sentences, can be more simply stated and made understandable for the "average" person? A person who is not quite as educated as you will probably stop reading your article at the second or third paragraph. All should be able to read and understand and appreciate your important message - if you make it so they can.. Thanks!
Mr. Hess makes valuable points. He notes that the social media discourse can very quickly become toxic. It’s tragic that people seem willing to unleash intense hostility against views (and people) who disagree with themselves - both in an out of the Church. I appreciate both the tone and the content expressed, and hope that our Pride-focused brothers and sisters will pause just long enough to consider the truths expressed.
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