Sunday, April 29, 2012

LGBTQ and LDS - A Guest Post from the Archives

This is a guest post by David. We originally posted it last year, but with recent movies like the "It Gets Better at BYU" video, it seemed like a good time to review David's perspective.

President Uchtdorf's CES Fireside entitled "The Reflection in the Water" focused on how we often feel that we don't fit in. And that "too many go about their lives thinking they are of little worth when, in reality, they are elegant and eternal creatures of infinite value with potential beyond imagination." He used the story of the Ugly Duckling to express that "There will always be voices telling you that you are foolish to believe that you are swans, insisting you are but ugly ducklings and that you can’t expect to become anything else. But you know better. ... You are glorious and eternal. ... It is my prayer and blessing that when you look at your reflection, you will be able to see beyond imperfections and self-doubts and recognize who you truly are: glorious sons and daughters of the Almighty God. 

I draw strength from this talk because as an active, temple recommend holding member who is unashamedly and openly gay I all too often look around at church feel very much unlike the swans around me. like the ugly duckling, I don't fit, but unlike the story of the ugly duckling I am given a chance of acceptance if I make severe changes to who I am. The current advice of the Brethren is for LGBT members to be celibate. (see "God Loveth His Children"). Please take a moment to suspend your current views on homosexuality and ask yourself, doesn't this seem counter to everything we were taught growing up?

First off, this life is preparatory for the next, it is here that we learn the basics of relationships, of being parents, of raising a family, etc. David O. McKay famously stated that "No other success can compensate for failure in the home" so what earthly successes can compensate for the failure of even having a home? How is remaining celibate a success at all when, by nature it is destroying any earthly possibility for having a home? Second, how many times have the words of Lincoln been repeated in our youth? "Whatever you are, be a good one." Or the story of the ugly duckling telling us to realize our full potential and then reach for it? In my family it was Emerson's "Hitch your wagon to the stars" that provided the inspiration to reach beyond our mortal potential.

If God made me gay who am I to change his design? If he doesn't desire me to be gay then He will, in his infinite atonement change me to be straight per his original design. Are we not instructed to look at our weaknesses, humble ourselves and let God turn them into strengths? Asking LGBT members to change themselves is just as ridiculous as asking the deaf to spend time trying again and again to hear. Like the deaf who find ways to live brilliant non-hearing lives, shouldn't we encourage LGBT members to do the same?

There are LGBT members of the Church who are border-line suicidal because each week, each day, each hour, they hear that they are an abomination either from others or they repeat the words inside their heads. I know I once tried to take my own life. As such I have seen how staggering the death-toll is, but even for those who survive, our actions are leaving these LGBT members handicapped just as if they were left-handed and we forced them to write only with their right-hand. To put this into sharper relief, Da Vinci was left-handed. Imagine how much we would have lost if he had been forced to go against his natural tendency to use his left hand. Would we have the art and science that fueled the renaissance? Without the renaissance we would likely be 200 years behind in the pursuit of religious freedom and the fulness of the gospel would most likely still be withheld.

Do we doubt God's power to perform miracles? Is our faith insufficient that we feel the need to do it all ourselves? I would hope not, and yet we persist in trying to force a singular view of sexuality onto all people when, if it be God's will He will change it. In the meantime wouldn't my life be a waste to wander in the cold alone like the Ugly Duckling barely surviving instead? Should I not embrace my sexuality as a healthy part of who I am looking at myself and acting well my part?

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