One of my biggest concerns with the LDS Church has been their view on same-sex marriage. It’s difficult for me because while I’m not part of the LGBTQ community, it’s hard for me to agree with the opposition as I have family and close friends who are in same-sex relationships (many of whom are now married). I understand both sides of the spectrum, I truly do. This might be an ignorant way to approach the subject, but it is the one that I’ve accepted in regards to this issue at hand.
Through thorough research of both sides, I’ve come to accept the Church’s stance on the issue because it simply doesn’t affect me directly. I know many will argue that then I become the issue and I don’t disagree. However, I have found peace with my decision to accept it. My mother argued with me over it asking me what I would do if I had a child who was gay. I told her that’s where the controversy sparks because people don’t understand the underlying reason for the Church’s stance on the issue, which is that this policy (or change to the existing policy) was not made to project a hatred to the LGBTQ community (in fact, it was made for the exact opposite); also, not only is homosexuality fundamentally rejected in a majority of major religions, the LDS Church has never accepted it (which is also a point my boyfriend made, stating that the LGBTQ community who is or was part of the LDS Church act like this policy never existed, that with the Church further enforcing and elaborating on same-sex relationships they are maliciously breaking the family dynamic with a new concept that homosexuality should be accepted).
One thing I think people need to understand (and the controversy thereof) about the Church is that the foundation of their faith is in family. Ultimately, their belief is that homosexuality breaks that foundation as a same-sex couple cannot offer the fundamentals a family needs to survive (for example, a woman-woman couple would lack a father figure, breaking the dynamic of a mother-father dynamic).
To explain plainly to others who have formulated opposition towards the Church or don’t understand:
“The new policy says that once natural or adopted children living in a same-sex household reach 18, they may disavow the practice of same-sex cohabitation or marriage and stop living within the household. If the individual follows those two rules, they may request approval to be baptized, confirmed, ordained to the church priesthood and recommended for missionary service with the permission of the faith’s highest leaders, the First Presidency.”
One member’s response was: “As Mormons, we are pro-family and I find it hard to see how this lives up to that value. It just raises a big question for me as to would I want to continue to engage with an organization that outright denies certain essential ordinances, such as baptism to my children.”
“This is about family; this is about love and especially the love of the Savior and how He wants people to be helped and fed and lifted, and that’s the whole motivation that underlies our effort,” said Elder Christofferson. “We recognize that same-sex marriages are now legal in the United States and some other countries and that people have the right, if they choose, to enter into those, and we understand that. But that is not a right that exists in the Church. That’s the clarification. It’s a matter of being clear; it’s a matter of understanding right and wrong; it’s a matter of a firm policy that doesn’t allow for question or doubt. We think it’s possible and mandatory, incumbent upon us as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, to yield no ground in the matter of love and sympathy and help and brotherhood and serving in doing all we can for anybody; at the same time maintaining the standards He maintained. That was the Savior’s pattern. He always was firm in what was right and wrong. He never excused or winked at sin. He never redefined it. He never changed His mind. It was what it was and is what it is and that’s where we are, but His compassion, of course, was unexcelled and His desire and willingness and proactive efforts to minister, to heal, to bless, to lift, and to bring people toward the path that leads to happiness never ceased. There’s no kindness in misdirecting people and leading them into any misunderstanding about what is true, what is right, what is wrong, what leads to Christ and what leads away from Christ.”
With all of this being said, what I gathered from all of what I learned was that the Church is doing this purely out of love and concern for the children of the Church. Children typically learn through example, so it would cause confusion (ultimately argued to lead them away from Christ) if they were taught that homosexuality is not accepted in the LDS Church, but then go home and witness their same-sex parents engage in behavior not accepted by Christ. I have found that people oftentimes misconstrue all of this as same-sex couples are no longer welcome within the Church and that’s simply not true. While they don’t recognize same-sex marriages or accept same-sex relationships, they don’t project any hatred towards the LGBTQ community.
I discussed this concern with missionaries and I explained how it was hard for me to accept this as I had family and friends who were either married or involved in same-sex relationships. They assured me that members of the Church still love and accept them as children of God, that this policy was founded on that love, to protect the children. I suppose I’m not great at explaining this either. I guess it’s just a matter of agreeing to disagree type of situation. You can either see the other side and just accept it. Or not see the other side and simply walk the other way.
I’m not saying I’m right or that everything I’ve said or read is correct. I’m more than happy to hear other perspectives. I think this is one of the most slippery slopes surrounding the LDS Church and I think it’s imperative to have open (and respectful!) communication from both sides to find ways to work through the differences. I previously touched on this in my former post, but again, here is a link regarding the new Mormon and Gay…which also opens a new perspective…that also reignites that controversy…