15 August 2008

Standing... for Everything

Beck's recent post and my comment moved me to put this up here. People are becoming increasingly torn up about Prop 8 and the damage it seems to be causing.

That said, it's also ripping my own family apart now, for which I have no answers... my uncle is one of the grassroot leaders in Southern California. Against me. How do you combat that? What do you say? How does any of this STRENGTHEN my family? So for all it's done is shred us. What can we do? How can we be heard? How can we, as Beck put it, circle our wagons?

I wrote this maybe two years ago... it's in bad need of editing, but I don't have time right now to do so. The basic message gets across though, so just take it for what it's worth:

In 1973, homosexuality was taken off the list of mental illnesses by the American Psychological Association. Since that time, there has been increasingly more acceptance, but prejudice has not ended. Is this not a goal we can achieve together?

There are among us individuals who would identify on neither side of the Mormon vs. homosexual debate, categorizing themselves as both Mormon and homosexual. They have been attacked for refusing to be openly gay, for refusing to be “authentic to themselves” by living the way they were made. Yet, on the same token, they have been attacked for not changing who they are, for not becoming straight and “normal.” Are not these individuals worthy of our love as much as any of God’s children? Standing on the underpinnings of Mormonism and homosexuality reflects a conscious decision: to understand who they are on all levels and to use that as a catalyst for living by belief anyway.

Have we sought to provide a place of peace for them on this road of difficulty? A house of healing? A haven where they can work out their suffering and reconciliation in the context of support? How can we call ourselves God-fearing Christians—those who lift up the weary hand and aid the sick and afflicted—when we are pushing our own away solely because they struggle differently? Where are the tender mercies of the Lord? Mormon homosexuals are lying abandoned at the roadside, beaten and dying, and we as priest and Levite are passing by without offering even a second glance. Where is the Good Samaritan to succor them, to show them the love of God no matter their circumstance? Their place is not easy, but that does not make it wrong.

It is time to begin working diligently to create the environment of understanding and acceptance they long for. Their unique position of dedication despite difficulty must be given a voice. They fight daily in the trenches of this struggle with no one to back them, no one to give them cover. Why have we not reinforced these soldiers on the frontlines of duty, integrity, and stalwart devotion to the gospel? How long will we continue to label as tendencies—to be shunned and divorced from within them—those very things they are struggling to find happiness with as part of who they are? What if they like who they are? What if they embrace their sexuality without acting upon it? Can we not aid them in this process? Must we define them as the sinners we love while shunning their sin? May we plead to know what sin? When they have done nothing but try the best they know how with what they’ve been given?

Identifying this way does not constitute an abandonment of principles and morals to become a sexual act. It does not imply a spurning of God, family, and culture. Neither does it mean denying a portion of who they are. How can we say they go about things the wrong way when they are human and need to be loved just like everyone else does? How can we work to unnerve their system of belief if it incorporates what we say is wrong? Why do they get placed with abominations before the eyes of God when they have done nothing but fight to figure out who they are? Since when has feeling and attraction become a justification for hatred and oppression of otherwise righteous individuals?

The general gay community strives to acknowledge everyone as a son or daughter of God loved by Him; we can do likewise. Mormons believe stolidly in being “willing to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light; Yea, and [being] willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18: 8-9). Why has initiative not been taken by Mormons to apply this principle to those who struggle with homosexuality?

Let us amend the errors of our ways and begin now to live this doctrine. It is time to stop fighting and to stand with our brothers and sisters who need our support. How many are even now suffering in silence without anyone to aid them? These are our brothers and sisters! Were not even the lepers taken in by Jesus? Did he not sit at table with publican and sinner and regard them in their plight? How can we ever attest like the Primary song that we are “Trying to be like Jesus” if we will not even stop to acknowledge those crying in the corners of the wilderness for a friend? For someone who will listen and at least try to understand their predicament? Even when their attractions do not harmonize with ours on all accounts, let us embrace them. If we do not begin to take the actions needed to remedy the neglect and prejudices incurred thus far, Mormon homosexuals will continue to be lost. They will leave the Mormon Church in search of other happiness, or in the extreme, commit suicide. To reconcile beliefs with feelings is difficult enough; we should not be compounding the issue of homosexuality by our lack of understanding. We need to back these individuals in carving out their unique path—a path that pairs them with the Atonement and their Savior—as they walk, crawl, and scrape their way back to
their God.


1 comment:

Beck said...

Thank you for this post. I posted another one of a similar nature in remembering the words of King Benjamin (Mosiah 4) and how they apply to our gay brothers and sisters.

We as a people are great at talking the talk and often great love is shown and openly demonstrated. So, why is it so hard to do when homosexuality is involved?

I agree that the key is to stand for something and fight the fight - and the only way to do it is to do so from within.

But as I struggle with this, how is this to be done? As a closet dweller, how affective can my timid voice be?

We need more voices. Thanks for adding yours.