After posting my explanation regarding the issues involved in the new LDS Church same-sex policy, my cousin asked me what I would have done.
On a purely hypothetical basis, if I somehow ended up in a room with decision-makers on the same sex policy, this would be my advice:
First, I would ask if the issue of same sex marriage the hill you want to die on? How vital is this really in the big scheme of things? I would ask for a one page response type written without names in the same font and size.
Second, I would advise them to have a Ramadan like fast over the issue of same-sex marriage. I would advise them to read the 9th article of faith, which says “we believe the He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God” every morning.
At sundown, I would ask them to read 2 Nephi 28. In this amazing chapter, it warns that people in our day “shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance.” vs 4. I would ask them to consider the reality “that humble followers of Christ…are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.” vs 14.
I would advise them to remember that even though prior church leaders stated the church must continue with certain policies, changes were made to those policies due to new “light and knowledge” that had erased previously “limited understanding.” The basis for continuing those policies has since been rejected. See third to last paragraph of article.
I would advise them to consider the unbelievably high suicide rate of LBGTQ mormons and the harm caused to innocent people with the policy.
I would advise them that they are acting like Child Protective Services removing LBGTQ children from the family tree of traditionally married parents.
I would advise decision makers to speak with people who don’t need a temple recommend to keep their job.
I would advise them to be open to apologizing.
Third, I would ask them to sit down again and write another one-page paper in the same font and size. This time the title would be read After. Then I would ask them to prayerfully read each others responses.
If after all of that they decided to move forward down this path, I’d ask them to hire a new attorney. I am not their guy.
I didn’t do the whole Ramadan thing, but I should have.
Even though you have never met my son, from a very young age I was under the impression that he might be gay. I can’t explain it. Even if I did, I would probably wouldn’t make sense. When people come over and spend time with him, inevitably they lean over and whisper, “you know he’s gay right?”
And as you know, if Grandma JaNeanne knew she was right, her mind was difficult to change. I have an entire life of examples.
Until my son was born, my mom was a firm believer that sexual orientation was a choice because that was her experience and it was reinforced by her religious and cultural background.
After spending time with my son, she changed her view of sexual orientation. This is just how this sweet little boy came. He is only eight so we don’t talk about it but we encourage him to be himself; to love himself; that he is good.
If the church wants to take a position that this is his test in life – I understand. But that is not a position I am willing to take as a father. In my line of work, I come across too many sad stories about people who are not true to themselves and the wake of pain that shivers up and down their family tree. If my son ends up gay, I am not uprooting him out of my family tree and I would hope the church would not uproot him either.
This policy is going to be devastating to someone like my son. He is soft hearted and easily influenced if he thinks he is doing something wrong. He gets scared a lot.
He doesn’t know it yet, but more than likely he is being told that he will be removed from his church and what the church calls his eternal family. This will hurt him someday. It hurts me now. It will continue to hurt as I watch him struggle to find his way.
In the end, I am not going to tell him to suffer through his one shot in life living in-authentically while misleading a spouse as to his true nature. I am not going to make a policy that would encourage anyone to live that way.
Brad Kramer once said the church needs to be good enough for his daughters. I thought a lot about this statement. As for my son, the church needs to be good enough for him. If the time comes, I will not leave him in a place that leads to a feeling that somehow suicide is the best option. In turn, I am not willing to put that kind of pressure on any other parent.