People might object to this, but as a soon-to-be convert, I like to seek out the people who both oppose and who left the LDS church. I don’t do it to create my own doubt or to convince myself of reasons to not convert, but rather to understand the changes (for those who left the church) and the long-standing debates (for those who oppose the church). It helps me gain more faith in our Heavenly Father, as well as understand a perspective I either didn’t understand before or never thought of/questioned before. As someone who craves understanding and knowledge, a self-identifying lifelong learner, I seek to understand what I don’t know or comprehend.
I was watching the most recent season of The Real World: Go Big or Go Home. One of the cast members was an ex-Mormon and another was a [what I’d refer to her as] “reformed Mormon.” The ex-Mormon’s name was Chris. He decided to leave the church for two reasons: one was that he identifies as “pansexual” and secondly, he alleges sexual abuse with members of authority. The current LDS member was seemingly uncommitted to the commandments of the church, such that she had sex outside of marriage, sported a non-conservative wardrobe, drank alcohol and was incredibly racist and homophobic. While it can be argued that the LDS Church is “homophobic,” their intentions are rather pure and based solely around the core of their faith, which is that “families are forever.” Ultimately, based on several studies conducted, the church believes that homosexuality breaks the family structure. While I don’t necessarily agree with the entirety of the decisions the church has made, I understand and respect their decisions [and it might be ignorant to admit, but the issue also doesn’t directly effect me].
There was a scene in the show where the ex-Mormon (whom obviously practiced the faith) is calling the current LDS member out on being “un-Mormon like,” and she simply responds:
“I have a relationship with God and I believe The Book of Mormon is true. That’s enough for me.”
My immediate response – though I admit is rather hypocritical, but true nonetheless – was:
“There’s a difference between believing and practicing.”
In any case, it was interesting to watch because though Chris didn’t support the Church anymore, he still defended the faith from someone clearly transgressing and using faith as a shield for her ignorance.
If you’re interested, here is Chris’s speech he gave at his excommunication from the church. And here is an article written by Chris about his experience on The Real World and his decision in leaving the LDS Church.
I oftentimes receive the issue of the LDS Church’s stance on same-sex marriages. I think people misconstrue their intentions of the new policy changes they released (“restricting children of same-sex couples from baptism until they are 18… and no longer lives with a parent who has lived or is living in a same-gender relationship and the child accepts and is committed to live the teachings and doctrine of the Church, and specifically disavows the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage.”), but even members of the Church have reacted. I can understand all angles including the argument that though this policy change was made out of love and concern for the wellbeing of the child at hand, but it seemingly overlooks the fact that the Church is founded on the belief of building and maintaining a healthy family structure (which is believed that the same-sex relationship breaks that foundation/structure leading to broken families).
“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. 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.” –Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
It’s hard to remain neutral and to stand behind the faith that Heavenly Father loves each and every one of His children and that the commandments He provides are made for us to follow so that we can live a fulfilling, blessed life. Ironically, there has been a new development in the realm of being Mormon and Gay.