Saturday, November 14, 2015

Linda Shares Her Feelings

Today Linda shared this:

I spent 5 hours in the temple yesterday (working) and when I came home, I felt prompted to write what I was feeling, open a Wordpress account and share it on Facebook. (Really scary) You know how much I hate to write, but I think the spirit directed me and helped me to do it. 

Today I received a private message from an old friend that was directed to my site. She told me she had really been struggling and my words were an answer to her prayers. There you go, a testament that the spirit really does work through us to answer prayers. (And other people have been really nice too) 😊

It's been over a week since I heard about the new LDS church polices regarding same-sex married couples. Over the last few days I have experienced a range of emotions, shock, confusion, anger, bitterness, but most of all sadness. If you don’t love someone that is gay, you might not understand why this hurts so much.
We first learned of our son’s same-sex attraction over 10 years ago, I remember many of the same feelings, shock, confusion, fear, but mostly sadness for what my son’s life might look like. Over the last ten years I have learned a lot about my son and what this is like for him. I have also read and listened to scores of stories from other lds lgtbq individuals. My heart breaks for them. If you haven’t taken the time to learn from some of these amazing, courageous, brave, souls, you should. Over the years I have learned more about Christ like love and compassion than I ever thought possible. I also gained a greater testimony of Jesus Christ, the atonement and received very powerful confirmation that none of us are forgotten of the Lord. We are all his children.
Over the last few years I have learned to navigate this space between two truths. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ and have a deep testimony of the restoration and the Book of Mormon. I love the temple and cherish the covenants I have made there with my Heavenly Father. I also see these beloved lgtbq children of our Heavenly Father, not one of them asked for this challenge in their life. Their gender/sexual identity is innate, it is part of who they are, and trying to hide or pretend that it is not is very damaging to their mental and emotional well-being.
How do these precious children grow up safely in a church that teaches them that they are broken and their families and God will reject them if they affirm these natural attractions? I ponder this question every day. The answer to that question just became even more distant. Knowing of the pain that exists and feeling helpless is heart wrenching. How do we reach our closeted youth so that they will know they will be loved regardless? How do we tell our same-sex married families that we love them and we want them to stay with us, even if they have to do so as visitors, we have so much to be gained from them. Since the policy change, I fear we will lose even more of these families and that makes me sad, very sad. Why would a same-sex married couple bring their children to a church that tells them they will have to move out of their parents home to be baptized? I have no words for this message, why would anyone do that? These individuals need to know that they will be loved no matter what their path looks like and they are welcome and wanted with all their unique and beautiful qualities in our families and church. This needs to be a message delivered to all our lgtbq friends, especially our closeted youth that suffer alone. Our message just got incredibly difficult if not impossible to deliver.
Sadly, many leave the church because they don’t feel welcome when they can’t conform to the roles that are expected from their heterosexual peers. I am in awe of the few brave souls that continue in their faith in the gospel and desire to remain in their wards, even when they have to do so as non-member visitors after church discipline. Their testimonies strengthen mine in a deep and powerful way. We need them in our wards.
My heart hurts for all of these brave souls that already have broken hearts. Whatever the good intentions of the “policy”, it hurts to see my friends hurt. Seeing how it has played out over the last few days reminds me of the story of the Good Samaritan. The policy came out, and our lgtbq friends and allies were stung, hurt, confused. The story teaches us about the priests and Levites that saw the suffering and passed on their way. I have seen many good church members and leaders do this very thing. I saw comments on Facebook about separating the wheat and the tares. I saw comments of accusing people of not having a testimony of prophets, so they should leave. But, mostly it is the silence, people not wanting to understand how this policy hurts families right now. When we see someone suffering, as Disciples of Christ, we should reach out and let them know that we care about them and we love them and no “policy” is going to change that. Sadly, that is not what I saw this last week. And it makes my heart very heavy and sad.

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