At the Women’s Conference session on October 6, 2019, President Oaks gave a talk that gives an unusual and chilling interpretation of Jesus’s teachings. Referring to Jesus’s discourse that the first and greatest commandment is to love God, and the second is to love your neighbor, Oaks equates loving God with obedience to God’s laws. He also states that the second commandment to love one another does not supercede the first commandment to love God, which Oaks presumably uses to justify judging, condemning, and hating others who he thinks are not obeying God’s law. This is his argument for justifying bigotry which is based in hating others and not loving your neighbor.
As an active member of the Church, I believe in personal revelation and depend on it in my life. It was personal revelation, received while in the temple, that led me to the decision to marry my now husband. I also understand that when the Brethren teach the principle of personal revelation (as President Nelson did in his “Five Truths” speech at BYU on September 24, 2019, see Truth #5), they have a different context than which we might all be thinking.
When pertaining to LGBT members seeking to know whether they should date and find love compatible with how God made them, personal revelation becomes very problematic for the Brethren. In response to President Nelson’s Five Truths, below are Five Rules that I think are implicit in all of the Brethren’s teachings on personal revelation. In effect, what they are saying is:
Rule #1: We are prophets and apostles. We are better than you, and we are more spiritual than you. We know what is best for you, better than you do. Continue reading
It is interesting how everyone seems to refer to the Exclusion Policy in the past tense. Media headlines have proclaimed the “reversal” of the policy, or report that the policy was “rescinded”. The truth is, the Exclusion Policy is neither reversed or rescinded. The wording of the policy in the Handbook has been slightly modified, but the hateful, bigoted policy is still there. Continue reading
Maybe it’s all the years I dedicated as a missionary, as a bishop, as a seminary teacher, etc., but I still feel very connected to the Church and hope and pray for its success in fulfilling its mission to build Zion. This is why I am so concerned about current trends of so many people leaving the Church, especially the younger generation. Continue reading
I am quite amazed at the number of people who are leaving the LDS Church over historical, doctrinal, and social issues (especially the Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage), but I am even more surprised by the major shift that is taking place in the attitudes of active members who remain in the Church. It is estimated that over half of the members in the US no longer agree with the Church’s prohibition of homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage. These numbers come from a study released in May 2018 by the Public Religion Research Institute. Continue reading
The following are actual quotes from LDS leaders and official publications, with one minor change in each. Each of the original quotes were made on the subject of gay members — these quotes have been changed to instead be about left-handed members. Continue reading
If you believe in the restored gospel and want to apply it in your life as a gay member, then you probably value the law of chastity (especially if you are an endowed member who loves the temple, and you want to do your best to live up to those covenants). So how does a gay LDS member, who wants to be in a relationship with another person of the same sex, keep their covenants and stay in the Church? Is it even possible? Continue reading
In his nicely-written blog post “I Have Not Chosen to Be Celibate“, Ben Schilaty outlines the three possible paths that many think are the only options available to gay Mormons:
- Find an opposite-sex partner and stay in the Church.
- Leave the Church and find a same-sex partner.
- Stay in the Church and be celibate.
However, there is a fourth path for gay members, depending on how you define “staying in the Church”. If you can consider “staying in the Church” to include participating in Church meetings and striving to live the gospel of Jesus Christ, even under Church discipline, then you can consider a fourth option of being in a same-sex relationship or marriage. There is a growing number of gay members who want to be married to someone of the same sex AND stay connected to the Church and live the gospel of Jesus Christ to the fullest extent possible (just like anyone else in the Church). Continue reading
In Gospel Doctrine class last Sunday, we were talking about obedience. The teacher wrote a quote by President Faust on the board, “Obedience leads to true freedom. The more we obey revealed truth, the more we become liberated.” The Church leadership seems obsessed with obedience. I believe President Faust’s comment is true, but I also believe that unquestioning obedience to Church leaders is unhealthy and spiritually damaging, and only fosters unrighteous dominion at all levels of the Church. Continue reading
My bishop has been a great supporter of me being an authentically gay man who is also active in the Church and our ward. He asked me to write a letter to him explaining my feelings and experiences, and what I have learned that has helped me on my journey to authentically accept who I am as a gay man and find my mission and purpose as a Mormon. Here is what I wrote to him…