Monday, July 6, 2015

You're not Angry with Gays; You're Frustrated with God

America recently suffered a terrible tragedy in Charleston when nine African-American people were gunned down in their church during Bible study. I expected the uproar from the general public to be much more than what it was, and my hope that fellow Latter-day Saints would speak up against this was tempered by reality. Asking around, I learned that this tragedy was rarely mentioned in our meetinghouses the following Sunday.

In contrast, lately it seems that every lesson we have connects back to gay marriage and the recent Supreme Court ruling that upholds this practice. This topic seems to be at the forefront of LDS minds, so much so that I'm starting to feel like this is the Church of the Heterosexual Family of Latter-day Saints. Because when it comes to participating in civil discourse, this one topic alone seems to motivate Church members to participate.

There are obvious factors that make marriage-equality front and center in Mormon conversations. Our Church's doctrine rests on the divine powers of each gender working together. We have The Proclamation hanging in our homes. Our Prophet had even urged us to vote for propositions limiting the definition of marriage as heterosexual in nature. But the trigger, the agitator causing this explosion of commentary, I suspect it's rooted in something else.

I believe most of us are afraid to wrestle with God. Scared to acknowledge that His one true church preaches a plan of happiness that fits the privileged (i.e. heterosexual, married, fertile), but is devastating to its outliers, at least in this lifetime. And it is with that fear and those unsettled feelings that so many Church members react, projecting their insecurities onto homosexuals and their sympathizers.

Because the truth hurts. And here it is:

Klinefelters Syndrome

Gender (XX = female; XY = male) is central to God's plan for His children. And yet He co-creates humans who are XXY, XYY, and XO.

He also brings children into this world who are homosexual from the start. In order to be part of the Church, most* of them must forsake romantic love altogether and choose celibacy. That doesn't sound like happiness to most people. Some will say that gays are treated no different than single heterosexuals who are waiting for marriage, but in that case there is always hope. For gays, the one and only "hope" is that this significant part of who they are will be "fixed" in the eternities.

So, if you're a member of the Church and you're heterosexual with fertility intact, congratulations! You truly are a winner in the game o' life. But if by no fault of your own you don't fall into the zone of glory, then you're in a painful predicament. And that's not something the rest of us like to think about. It makes God look... well, not so kind. Members of the Church in general do not want to grapple with those implications and wish to avoid the reminders. - Which is becoming easier to do as relatively few LGBT members feel welcomed in our pews anymore. So instead they focus on the gospel of the family, defend The Proclamation (whatever that means), and tell their children that temple marriage should be their highest goal.

But when you focus on the gospel of Jesus Christ, that whole bit about mourning with those who mourn gets more difficult to avoid. Ponder it long enough and your heart will begin to hurt for gays, for African Americans in this country, and so on. While making temple covenants is admirable, it's likely your focus will shift to the foundation of those covenants which is charity. Likewise, it will have you asking some tough questions of God the Father and that's a distressing place to be. And yet, I think it's where we all need to go. I much prefer supplication to Him whose ways seems mysterious, than leaning onto our own understandings which, so far, has done little to change social policies, but has done a lot of damage to solidarity among the children of men.

Update: I'm sharing this personal statement by a gay member of the Church because it carries the most weight and it too speaks to other possibilities that will only come through prayer.

*Before you go referencing Josh Weed and mixed-orientation marriages, ask yourself if you could do the same. 

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