How important and essential is the family? According to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often mistakenly called the “Mormon Church”), the family is divinely ordained of God. Family plays a central role in God’s plan of happiness. In the world we live in today, there continues to be attacks on the family and the impacts are being felt in ways that can often create confusion, frustration, and unhappiness. One of the fundamental areas that is gaining more and more attention is the defining of marriage. It is in its strict adherence to the traditional definition of marriage that the LDS Church has received quite a bit of attention, since within this discussion is a conversation about homosexuality. This also leads to a discussion about gay Mormons.
The family is so important to Heavenly Father’s plan that He revealed to the First Presidency in 1995 “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” which begins with the following statement, “WE, THE FIRST PRESIDENCY and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” This initial statement can bring hope, peace, love, and understanding to those who have accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ. At the same time, this initial statement can bring a sense of loss, sadness, frustration, and even anger for those that believe that having such a strict definition of marriage is exclusive rather than inclusive. While it can be very easy to draw a line in the sand, the truth of the matter is that God loves every one of His children and wants each of us to return to live with Him and Jesus again. God loves gay Mormons just as much as heterosexual Mormons, and He loves people of all faiths just as much as He loves Mormons.
It is necessary for there to be patience, understanding, and love for every child of God. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are taught to love one another. They are taught that families can be together forever if they will live a life that is pleasing to God, keeping His commandments. Members are taught to reach out to those that may live differently than they do. This includes those that may identify themselves as gay or homosexual, even gay Mormons. It is one thing to not believe or accept the actions of someone, but it is entirely different to love and support the person himself. It is unfortunate that many have made it their mission to try and confuse, frustrate, and cloud the realities of this very important topic. Although the LDS Church teaches doctrine that comes directly from the scriptures, often time’s messages can be distorted and a complete understanding of what the Church teaches can be overlooked.
Jesus Christ, who was perfect, taught us to love one another; He taught us to love our neighbors; He taught us to serve others. Jesus never taught to hate or to discriminate. He never taught anyone to be judgmental or uncaring. Although the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is perfect, its members are not. It is important to be able to distinguish between the two. Members of the “Mormon Church” may at times make decisions about one’s sexual preference that cause harm, sadness, and loneliness to others, such as gay Mormons. There are times where the LDS Church is put into a position where it must ensure its doctrine is being presented correctly, and it is often when this happens that many feel the LDS Church is anti-gay. The Church is pro-family, as taught in the scriptures, and as the doctrine of families has been revealed to modern-day prophets. There is a big difference between being anti-gay and simply being opposed to the practice of homosexuality. The LDS Church is making efforts to educate the world more and more about the love its members have for all people, no matter what those people believe. At the same time, Church leaders are also trying to ensure that the doctrine of the Church is not being distorted or misrepresented. While they disagree with the practice of homosexuality, they recognize the right of every individual to live as he or she chooses, but they also believe in the sanctity of the family and are striving to protect it.
The truth of the matter is that each individual has the freedom to choose how they will react towards others. The LDS Church continues to teach its members to love everyone, no matter what individuals outside of their faith might believe or practice. Mormon doctrine also teaches that within that love it is important to distinguish between loving and supporting the person rather than the actions one might take. This can be a difficult balance for those on both sides. Some will make the case that if you claim to love the person and not the actions then you really don’t love the person. At the same time, you will have some people on the other side saying that they cannot love the person based on their actions and thus must distance themselves from that person. If one truly strives to live as Christ taught us, then there is the ability to love the person no matter what their actions may be. As there becomes more visibility and dialogue surrounding the topic of gay Mormons and homosexuality in general, many will see that the LDS Church is very inclusive and strives very hard to teach its members to love every person.
Again, from “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” we read, “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.” What a wonderful blessing it is to know that if we strive hard to keep our lives and our families focused on the teachings of Jesus Christ we can achieve one of the most important purposes of this life: eternal happiness. As members of the LDS Church strive to love one another no matter what their sexual preferences might be and live worthy of Holy Ghost, they will receive blessings that cannot be numbered. This goes for those who are Mormon, gay, or gay Mormons. God does not discriminate. Whoever lives His commandments is entitled to His blessings.
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