I Accepted President Nelson’s BYU Devotional Challenge and Here’s What Happened…

I was on my mission when the November 5th Policy was reversed. I still remember what it felt like, mere minutes after it had been announced online. It was already dark in Armenia due to the time difference and my companion and I were just wrapping up some computer work. When I read the headline, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing (Mormon Newsroom impersonators had fooled me before). Just like that, a policy that had been the source of so much heartache was reversed. Gone. As if nothing had happened. 1,247 days was the shelf-life.

I have been to funerals before, “celebrations of life,” as some call them. The reversal that night was for me, a funeral’s paradoxical opposite wherein I found myself simultaneously celebrating its death and mourning its life, along with all others I knew were doing the same on the other side of the world. The reversal raised far more questions than it answered. It begged them from us. Demanded that we allow our all too often simplistic takes on inspired leaders, revelation, doctrine, policy, and prophets to mature. At least, I hoped such would be the case.

Like others, I found myself asking in the aftermath, “Which policy was inspired?”, “How could they both be inspired as President Nelson claims?”, “What does this say for those who spoke out against it and those who sought to justify, defend, and silence them?”, and perhaps more uniquely, “Is there a place for me to represent the Church as a missionary on almost everything except their stance on LGBTQ issues?” So I turned to my mission president at the time, who was and is, one of the most caring, supportive, kind, and wise men I have been fortunate enough to meet. 


I wrote: “Dear President,…

…If there is anything in this past week that has occupied my mind, it was the reversal of the 2015 November 5th Policy that defined members participating in same-sex marriages as “apostates”, that denied children of LGBT couples the opportunity of baptism until age 18, and infants the opportunity to receive standard baby blessings. Likewise, while acting on homosexual feelings is still defined as a “serious transgression”, for church disciplinary purposes it will be treated no differently than violations of the Law of Chastity by heterosexual persons. So, I want to share several values and thoughts that I have considered, over the past years and week, all while praying, fasting, studying scriptures and Church History, and seeking counsel and advice through authorized channels specifically for the purpose of receiving direction from the Lord on the subject of LGBT issues. My main takeaways, albeit incredibly summarized, is that in that process of research, contemplation, and interacting and befriending dozens of LGBT persons whose lives are directly impacted by the Church, I presently cannot accept the various reasons and justifications for the inherent sinfulness of non-heterosexual relationships, for the complicated and undefined space they take part in within the Latter-day Saint Plan of Salvation, or for the current and past rhetoric, policies, and doctrinal positions espoused by the Church and its leadership whom I sustain. I struggle to accept such on moral, scientific, scriptural, and theological grounds, which is a current position I have reached by undergoing all the advised components of seeking answers to questions and revelation from God. 

For myself, this is important for several things which I have a strong testimony of, which were cultivated in me from an early age from my faith community. They are as follows: 1) All have the capacity of receiving direct revelation from God and have the individual prerogative in life to do so as they seek truth. Whether you are a 14 year old farm boy from Palmyra or an aged Armenian, God will give wisdom and direction and answers to those who faithfully and diligently seek them. Revelation is a democratic enterprise in our faith tradition. After we receive such, we are encouraged to act accordingly. Preach My Gospel gives a great list of dozens of scriptural references which qualify what the Spirit feels like and how we can recognize it. 2) Members of the Church are under no obligation to accept anything that is not true, nor are they obligated to exercise blind adherence to requests of leaders that they feel on a moral and spiritual level is not correct. We are encouraged with each leader and each revelation to seek confirmation from the Lord prior to sustaining or accepting them. Those who do so make a fuller use of their privileges and responsibilities as faithful and involved members. 3) Members of the Church, and more specifically, disciples of Christ, have a religious obligation to stand for truth, morality, righteousness, and for those who occupy the margins of society just as Christ did, often times at great disagreement with the religious, social, and secular leaders, values, and traditions of the time. For this, Christ faced great rejection but how powerful of an example was the life He lived in being an advocate and comfort for those who lack it! 4) We can know if something is true or good based off of the fruits that it produces. Things that are of God will produce good fruit that elevate humanity, increase happiness, and can be discerned by those who seek to discern it. If something is not of God, it will produce bad fruit which can likewise be observed and used to determine something’s spiritual veracity. 

I understand that my views on LGBT matters do not align with the Church’s, but for myself, this is not a conscious effort to participate in unrighteous criticism or opposition of the Church or its leadership. I have a strong testimony that President Russell M. Nelson is a prophet of God and that this is Christ’s Restored Church. If my views on these subjects differ from the Church’s, it is due to the sincere, faithful, and open-minded study and search for clarity on the matter through both rational and spiritual means in the which I have found confirmation from God in ways that are as sacred, powerful, and meaningful to me as any experience I have had with the Book of Mormon or the Atonement.

If this letter was longer than typical, it was because I felt the need to express in more concrete terms where my thoughts and feelings are at. Both the original policy change and its reversal have been framed as bona fide revelations from God. The original policy had a lifespan of 1,247 days, in the which likely tenfold as many resignations of membership occurred, a number of suicides occurred by LGBT members, many more became inactive or had their testimonies seriously upset, and many struggled with depression, suicidal ideation, mistreatment, or feelings of exclusion by their faith community. Personally, I can’t see how such consequences could be considered anything other than “bad fruit” so to speak, and given the policy’s short existence, I am seriously challenged in attributing any kind of inspired origin to it. If one, taking the view that both are equally inspired, were to ask whether or not God Himself sees members in same-sex marriages as “apostates” in His own eyes, the answer would be different whether one asked it on April 3rd or April 4th. Given the spiritual implication of the term “apostate” this has rather weighty consequences. 

In all of this I ask, is my struggle and inability to accept the above valid? Should I defer my own spiritual, moral, and rational conclusions and feelings for the sake of deferring to authority, even when that runs counter to my deep seated moral and spiritual intuitions? Should I place more weight on the prevailing view that Church leaders cannot be incorrect on matters of doctrine, policy, and revelation even when it comes at the cost of my own experiences with the Spirit?

I can’t say that I am expecting or demanding answers from you, nor am I trying to place you in the position of needing to argue or defend the Church’s stances. More than anything, this is just me trying to express the sincere and real struggles that I currently experience in my discipleship and in the things that weigh on my mind. As I have expressed to you before, this places me in an uncomfortable position as a member, a missionary, and one with a strong testimony of the Restored Gospel. Any mistakes or flaws in this endeavor, I take responsibility for. As a leader and a fellow follower in Christ, I look to and trust you as I share such with you. 

Thank you for your counsel, support, and spirit,

Elder Washburn”

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I sent that email on April 9th, 2019. 38 days later, I stepped on a plane going from Yerevan to Paris, to arrive home to Arizona the next day. In the interim, I had struggled with heightened depression, anxiety, existential dread, and occasional suicidal ideation, which served as the breaking point for my choice to return. I felt torn then, too, as I considered how I could serve as an official representative of the Church when I deeply struggled with some of its most public doctrinal positions. Though Armenia was different comparatively speaking to Western cultural attitudes to homosexuality, I had already experienced sitting down with a man who identified as gay, expressed interest in learning about my faith, and who asked me (before the policy reversal), in no unclear terms, “What is your Church’s stance on homosexuality?”

That may have been one of the longest moments of my life. How could I answer that? 

I proceeded to bear my sincere testimony of God’s deep love for all of His Children, only to very objectively state what the Church’s position was. You see, that was part of the disconnect for me; part of what caused me to be in a state of dissonance with my surrounding religious environment. For a missionary, it was expected and seen as proper to say “God says” rather than “the Church says”. I was once chided for doing so by a well-meaning branch president at the MTC. I shouldn’t let those seeking to learn more about my faith, find out that my faith wasn’t fully reflective of what the Church taught. Missions don’t provide room for views like that, nine times out of ten.

So here I was, on the other side of the planet, having an existential crisis, one that soon transformed into what I later learned was termed “existential depression,” and one that was environmentally caused by a variety of factors. Despite my life-changing spiritual experiences, the touching acts of service I engaged in for others, the time and energy I put into learning a challenging new language, and the deepened commitment I felt toward following my Savior, Jesus Christ, serving a mission became harmful for me, and it eventually reached a critical point where I needed to step away from it altogether for my own health. 

Now, I think it would be inaccurate for me to claim that it was this event exclusively that led to my singular reason for leaving, but it was a point of stress for me which contributed to the overall feelings of depression, anxiety, and out-of-placeness that I wrestled with. My mission should be defined by a lot more than just that wrestle alone. I should also note that I am straight and I can’t imagine the immense weight that so many queer members of the Church carry. I had the ability to leave my mission to escape the pain stemming from many different places. I can’t imagine when the only escape for some queer members is seen in leaving the Church altogether…or worse.

Fast forward to September 17th, 2019, as President Nelson spoke to not just the student body at BYU, but to the global Church upon invitation. In his widely-circulated address, President Nelson listed and elaborated upon five claimed “truths”, which were as follows:

1. You are sons and daughters of God.

2. Truth is truth.

3. God loves every one of us with perfect love.

4. The Lord Jesus Christ, whose Church this is, appoints prophets and Apostles to communicate His love and teach His laws.

5. You may know for yourself what is true and what is not by learning to discern the whisperings of the Spirit.

Following these points, President Nelson issued an invitation to those listening to seek a spiritual witness from God to know if what he had just shared was true saying, “Ask your Heavenly Father if we truly are the Lord’s Apostles and prophets. Ask if we have received revelation on this and other matters. Ask if these five truths are—in fact—true.”

I watched the screen intently as he spoke these words, because I was watching the broadcast an hour or so after it was given, social media was already blasting off in response from every angle. I studied his face, his tone, his expressions as he spoke, intently seeking to discern sincerity on his part. I guess one of my biggest questions at this time was whether or not it was truly love that had motivated his past actions, whether it was really motivating his current words.


I tried to understand what I was feeling:

Was it discomfort over the words spoken that ran counter to my own lived experience?

Was it relief that I felt a greater capacity to attribute sincere rather than sinister motives to the Brethren?


Did motives even matter when the result was additional hurt and trauma, even when done unintentionally?

Was it the outpouring of charity I felt towards all those who had immediately begun to share their often strong and bold takes on the event just adding to the war of words and opinions that social media consists of?

I am not sure, but what I needed at that moment was a sense of clarity and peace, because I felt torn. I felt torn between the voices who testified that those words had hurt them deeply and between those who found the talk to be a balm and a major step forward for our faith community. I felt torn between those who shouted that if I care about my LGBTQ friends and family that my only moral option would be to cease affiliation with the very institution which causes them harm and my own lived experiences with God that have continually led me to feel compelled to continue membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Maybe my feelings were just a microcosm of how my big Mormon family, composed of all kinds of people representing diverse experiences and perspectives, felt: torn.

When it finally ended, I came away with a newfound feeling and a distinct impression. The feeling was that I believed Nelson when he spoke of his love for God’s LGBTQ children. I believed he sincerely acted and spoke from a place of love and empathy for them, insomuch that he could presently understand and experience.

The distinct impression that I felt at this time was….well…to listen to the prophet. I strongly felt the Spirit impress upon me that this was an important opportunity to turn to God in prayer and to ask for specific revelation on the subject President Nelson implored me to inquire on.

So I prayed. I prayed and asked God if these were prophets and apostles called by Heavenly Parents. I prayed and asked if the heavens were imparting revelation to them on these and other matters. I prayed to know if the five truths President Nelson shared were true.

The answer that I received from the promptings of the Holy Spirit was yes.


Yes to every single question I asked.

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At this point you may be thinking that this ends up reflecting a revelatory 180° on my part. Allow me to continue:

I believe and have a testimony that these are the Lord’s prophets and apostles called to lead the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They have helped me grow closer to the Savior by their special witness of Christ.

I believe and am confident that they have received revelation that has caused the Body of Christ to become more inclusive, accepting, loving, and safer relative to times past. My mind goes back to the thirteenth Article of Faith which declares, “We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” The testimony against the November Policy by voices in suffering, combined with the Spirit bearing witness that such was not the way, is evidence to me that the Brethren are receiving revelations on these matters within the constraints of their humanity. This includes the extent to which they are actually seeking communication and fellowship with and listening to queer voices. I think back to just how much went into getting Peter to accept the inclusion of the Gentiles in the Church.

And regarding the five truths that were shared, I have a testimony that everyone in the human family are Children of Heavenly Parents and are alike unto God. I firmly believe that Truth is Truth (logic will tell you as much) and that there exist laws of an eternal nature that do not change (though not necessarily all those that President Nelson listed.) I have a testimony that God loves all of us with a perfect love so deep and so pure that it exists as the most disarming force in existence. I believe that those who have been called of God to serve as leaders in Christ’s Church have helped me and others understand this love and these eternal laws.

Most importantly of all, and the keystone upon which my relationship, understanding, and experience with God rests, is that I have a testimony that I can seek out guidance for myself to know right and wrong by listening to the whispers of the Spirit in my life.

And in this case for some time now, the Spirit, in these moments of sincere prayer in the name of Christ, have confirmed to me that faithful, loving relationships, in this life and in the hereafter, should not be restricted to heterosexual unions alone. With the same witness that the Book of Mormon is inspired of God, the Spirit has confirmed to me the reality of unjustified suffering inflicted on the LGBTQ community by members of the Church, the massive potential we have to grow in our knowledge, understanding, and acceptance of all of God’s Children within the Plan of Happiness, and the responsibility we have to be as Christ, offer relief and comfort to the marginalized, and minister to the wounded members of His Body.



When one part of the Body of Christ suffers, we all suffer.

I am grateful to President Nelson for his invitation. With him, I testify that every member of this church has the potential and obligation to receive revelation on what are among the most important social matters of our time. We can all receive revelation from God to know what is right and what is wrong in God’s eyes, what reduces suffering and what creates it, what invites others to Christ and what places unnecessary stumbling blocks in their way.

Like President Nelson, I strongly believe that “good inspiration is based upon good information.” (April 2018 General Conference, Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives) The Lord as well commands us, “I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.” (Doctrine and Covenants 9:8)

After studying the life of Christ and the scriptures, the scientific research of the past several decades, and the impact that comes through having close friendships with members of the LGBTQ community, I have felt an undeniable increase in light, compassion, and empathy on the matter.

I echo the words of President Nelson when he said:

“…what will your seeking open for you? What wisdom do you lack? What do you feel an urgent need to know or understand? Follow the example of the Prophet Joseph. Find a quiet place where you can regularly go. Humble yourself before God. Pour out your heart to your Heavenly Father. Turn to Him for answers and for comfort.

Pray in the name of Jesus Christ about your concerns, your fears, your weaknesses—yes, the very longings of your heart. And then listen! Write the thoughts that come to your mind. Record your feelings and follow through with actions that you are prompted to take. As you repeat this process day after day, month after month, year after year, you will “grow into the principle of revelation.”

Does God really want to speak to you? Yes! “As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course … as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints.”

You don’t have to wonder about what is true. You do not have to wonder whom you can safely trust….Regardless of what others may say or do, no one can ever take away a witness borne to your heart and mind about what is true.

I urge you to stretch beyond your current spiritual ability to receive personal revelation, for the Lord has promised that “if thou shalt [seek], thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.”

Oh, there is so much more that your Father in Heaven wants you to know…”

(Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,
emphasis mine)

wonderful, counselor
J. Kirk Richards, “Wonderful, Counselor”, 2015


Let me repeat:

You don’t have to wonder about what is true.

You don’t have to wonder whom you can safely trust.

No one can take away a witness borne to your heart and mind, regardless of what they say or do.

There is so much more that God wants us to know.

I love President Nelson for his repeated emphasis on the obligation that we have as members of the Church to seek personal revelation for ourselves. I love that I have had the blessing, regarding anything claimed by the leaders I look to as prophets and apostles, to seek after a confirmation for myself from the Spirit to know if what they say is true. Like President Nelson, I worry that this privilege is far too underutilized by members of the Church, believing that “in coming days, it will not be possible [for us, the Body of Christ] to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.”


These teachings for me far outweigh any potential disagreement, any hesitation, any uncertainty that I could have in my commitment as a seeker of truth, a member of the Church, and a disciple of Christ. Through them, I know that the Church is where I am meant to be, and that our Heavenly Parents’ standards for Their LGBTQ Children are truly no different than for Their cisgender straight ones. I will continue to sustain my Church leaders, I will continue to keep my covenants, and I will continue to reach out to those who mourn, suffer, and seek to be included.


By following the Prophet in these regards, I have found the ability to disagree with the Prophet by seeking my own personal revelation.

We can safely trust in God before anyone else.

“…for he doeth that which is good among the children of men;

and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men;

and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness;

and he denieth none that come unto him,

black and white,

bond and free,

male and female;

[gay and straight]

and he remembereth the heathen;

and all are alike unto God,

both Jew and Gentile.”

-2nd Nephi 26:33, The Book of Mormon

 


 

Note: This article was written for straight, practicing Latter-day Saints. The views and experiences shared were mine alone and won’t necessarily be shared by others who have considered these issues. This is not intended as a replacement for queer Mormon voices but rather seeks to share one straight member’s own experiences wrestling with the intersections of religion, sexuality, and life. I completely agree with Elder M. Russell Ballard when he said that, “We need to listen to and understand what our LGBT brothers and sisters are feeling and experiencing. Certainly, we must do better than we have done in the past so that all members feel they have a spiritual home where their brothers and sisters love them and where they have a place to worship and serve the Lord.” 

You can take part in responding to this apostolic admonition by exploring the following resources which hold numerous examples of LGBTQ Mormon lived experiences. Regardless of what your own views may consist of, we can always strive to grow in further understanding, charity, and empathy toward one another:


Listen, Learn & Love: Latter-day Saint LGBTQ Resource Center

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Affirmation: LGBTQ Mormon Families and Friends

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Latter-Gay Stories: Real Stories, Real People, Real Talk

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18 thoughts on “I Accepted President Nelson’s BYU Devotional Challenge and Here’s What Happened…

  1. It still feels like you had to make the fools choice, but somehow you were able to find some odd form of the middle road. I hope that there are individuals out there that will follow your example to choose mental and emotional by leaving their missions, and church activity; even if for a short time. I hope more people show vulnerability by writing letters to their local leaders. It is spiritually toxic to be told that we should seek and find answers, to be told that it is of Satan because it doesn’t match what the Conference God says. Very unnecessarily conflicting…all of it.

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  2. Feelings, very real, yet did you take up the challenge to pray about it? I wonder. (please do not take this as pointing at any one person, but rather as for each of us to consider)
    I also wonder if we are the ones who holds the Lord back. If we had been ready, would the blacks ever have had the priesthood taken away after Joseph Smith had give it to them, or was it a God seeing that we were not ready and sorrowfully denying what he fully knew was rightfully theirs.
    I recall once many years ago the Relief Society changed the Visiting Teaching lessons that were published in the Ensign. I am sure it was inspiration. I loved the new format and I wrote a letter to Salt Lake complimenting them on the new format. It made the lessons so much fun to share. We were to make the lesson fit our sisters with discussions and choices of scriptures instead of making our sisters fit the lesson.
    A few weeks later I got a call from Salt Lake. Me, just a nobody from a small town in the middle of nowhere. The sister who spoke thanked me for the compliment and sadly told me that the lessons would be withdrawn for some time. That we as sisters in the church were not yet ready. She said to watch and that they would slowly evolve. It took a generation. It was not that the revelation and inspiration were wrong, it was that we, as sisters, were not yet ready and our opportunity to grow as a group would be postponed. We had a responsibility as a group and we did not take it on. What did we miss?
    Our Sister Leaders have listened to inspiration. We as a group had not listened. I am remembering now the complaints I heard. There was a bit of rebellion, but I do not recall anyone just asking God.
    President Hinkley gave a clarion call in about 1995 to the women of the church to stand as a beacon and a lighthouse to the world. Are we claiming the blessings that come with being that beacon? Are some women out there quietly claiming those blessings that come from answering that clarion call.
    As we point our condemning our finger at the Lord, are we ignoring the three fingers pointing back at us. “Is it I?” must be among the most profound words ever spoken.
    Was it the Lord, or was it us who were not ready yet to welcome all. For me, I think it is time to ask as the Lord instructed and our prophet counseled, and allow the answer to arrive.

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    1. The restriction on Black members from receiving the Priesthood had nothing to do with God withholding it because we weren’t ready. It was withheld by man due to racism. Please go onto lds.org and read the Race and the Priesthood essay where this false narrative, along with many others, is squashed.

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      1. I agree with you, Sarah. God did not withhold, it was our racism that withheld. I worked on the comment trying to get the words just right, but still I failed. Thank you for your comment and I hope others read it also.

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  3. Heartening to see this is the next generation; I completed my wrestle during the Monson Prop 8 years. Yes, it took years of study and prayer. I was active another decade before that same spirit released me to heal, for the fight you have taken up has a cost; and in all the moments you are paying that cost, you remember how you suffer nowhere near as much as your LGBTQIA+ siblings. Good luck.

    I advise against accepting blame as the sister did above. The two best groups to throw under the bus when something goes sideways are: God, and the lay members with no institutional power.

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  4. This is very sincere and very well written. Thank you for sharing. For me, I was not able to turn the corner and sincerely found the flaws of men in the prophet(s) at that point to which I could not return to seek guidance in my life. I value your ability to express your thoughts so sincerely.

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  5. Great letter. If anything will get through to them, this will. Thanks for sticking up for all of us.

    My story was one of those recently featured in Latter Gay Stories. The story was anonymous, but I will share it with you. https://lattergaystories.org/coming-out-all-the-pieces-fit-together/?fbclid=IwAR3ZFKMpg9Y1Nt1Vma75I5W8slBB0Wx5c0rIAQmOzEZbM6RW7X20pY1sjOY

    It illustrates the power of seeking our own answers from the Lord through revelation and valiantly following through at all costs.

    I have apologized to Gabriel Petrie for my unkind comments, and I apologize to you as well, and I hope you will consider me as a potential Facebook friend.

    Thank you.
    John Crane

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  6. “And in this case for some time now, the Spirit, in these moments of sincere prayer in the name of Christ, have confirmed to me that faithful, loving relationships, in this life and in the hereafter, should not be restricted to heterosexual unions alone.“

    If you are referring to friendships, then you’re right. If you are referring to homosexual marriage, you are way off. You can receive revelation for yourself, but not for the church. Saying that gay marriages will continue on into heaven isn’t doctrine of the church, neither is it supported by scripture or the prophets. In fact the prophet and apostles received the opposing revelation. That only heterosexual sealings in the temple (for the dead or otherwise) by authorized priesthood holders will continue on in the celestial kingdom. Sorry Jaxon, but you cannot declare otherwise because you are not the mouthpiece of the Lord. You might have received a confirmation, but you really should ask yourself if that’s the answer you wanted. Sometimes when we pray, we already have an answer in mind rather than an open mind. And further, I would reason to say that by reviving that answer, which is in contradiction to what the prophets have received, you’ve contradicted your answer about the prophet being a true and living prophet of God.

    I think you should revisit your spiritual promptings on that subject. If you actually sustained the prophet as a prophet seer and revelator, and you’ve received a witness from the Holy Ghost that the prophet is a true prophet who God speaks to, then you know that the answers about celestial marriage that the prophet has received are true. If you’ve received a different answer than than the prophet about gay marriage then you should ask yourself which one is true. They both can’t be. Either the prophet is a true prophet who god spoke to, or he’s not. Which is it jaxon? You can’t have it both ways.

    I told you, this is an issue with yourself and God, and not an issue with the church itself.

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    1. There are other types of relationships covered in D&C 132:7 which should also be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. Such types of relationships the church knows nothing about. And there have been no ordinances revealed concerning them. The final verse in Section 132 leaves the door open for the Lord to reveal more about the New and Everlasting Covenant. Additionally, Joseph Smith used to seal men to men under the Law of Adoption, which the church admittedly doesn’t understand and is not practicing.

      I would also mention that not all the Lord’s judgments have been revealed to man. D&C 29:30.

      BH Roberts points out that most if not all the revelations given to Joseph Smith came in response to a sincere query. However, if we suppose we know the answer already, we won’t bother asking.

      You have to leave the door open to further revelation. We can’t be like the Protestants who scream A Bible, A Bible, while claiming the cannon is closed.

      There is indeed a place for gays in the plan, and I believe that someday God will reveal it to his servants, the prophets. (Provided they ask.) In the meantime, we need to prove our faith by loving them, as Jesus commanded us to love all people. If we can demonstrate our faith by truly loving them, then the time will come when the prophets will seek counsel for the Lord, and he will reveal their. If the Lord were to reveal it now, with the hatred there is in the church for LGBTQ people, the church would be under condemnation for failing to accept the revelation.

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      1. The proclamation has revealed that marriage is between man and woman only. And you can isolate just about any scripture you want and take it out of context. The truth of the matter is, marriage is recognized by God as only between man and woman, Joseph Smith did not say otherwise and the prophets today have definitively said this.

        You are right that there is a place for all of God’s children in His kingdom. “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it”

        God’s way isn’t the popular or easy way. If anyone truly sustains the prophets and actually believes them, they wouldn’t sound like this. This is duplicitous. Because on one end of his mouth he says he sustains the prophet, on the other end he says he received revelation that they are wrong. And he claims that by the fruits he shall know them. Jesus upended an entire religion, he ruined monetary gain for many priests, they were devastated. In that view, his fruits were bad. There always a way to twist things around, and Jaxon is good at that. He can’t keep putting one foot in the Church and the other in his SJW campaign. It doesn’t work that way.

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    2. Nicolas, was Brigham Young wrong to prevent people of African descent from holding the priesthood? If a person prayed and felt like the ban was not an eternal principle, would that have been in direct conflict with a testimony of Young being a prophet of God? How about if a member of the original church prayed and felt that the gospel should be taken to the Romans before Paul received his revelation?

      As I read his post, Jaxon is not trying to seal same-sex couples, he is not saying that he knows what the Church policy/doctrine should be right now. He isn’t even saying that you have to believe the same thing. Jaxon’s actions will only be in conflict with a belief that President Nelson is a prophet if he advocates against the Church and the teachings of the prophets. Nothing he did or said indicates him taking that path. Quite on the contrary, he is advocating for each of us to follow the words of the prophet to gain our own testimony on what the church has taught.

      Your arguments about the Family Proclamation also has issues. Please realize and remember a key fact that most members have forgotten. The Proclamation has not been canonized. You will not find it in any set of scriptures sold/distributed by the Church. It is still a document that could be repealed and contradicted. Not that it will be but it can be.

      One last point that is, perhaps, too personal. You have no right to tell someone that what they believe is not from God. You are not the prophet. Even when you believe a person has been misled, the approach that you took (using rhetoric that belittles, demeans, and attempts shame) is not of God. He doesn’t want anyone to feel small, less than others, or ashamed. Those are tools of the devil. You can point out what you view as fallacies without using language like “If you are referring to homosexual marriage, you are way off,” “Sorry Jaxon, but you cannot declare otherwise because you are not the mouthpiece of the Lord,” “Which is it jaxon? You can’t have it both ways,” and “I told you, this is an issue with yourself and God, and not an issue with the church itself.” This is not how God reproves with sharpness.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks Mitch. I appreciate your fair reading of my piece. It captured the intent of what I was aiming at without taking it to extreme levels that Nicolas seems set on arguing.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Slight correction. It was Peter and the Gentiles that was the big revelation to Peter in Acts. But, your point is well taken. Many people are bringing up this example. And I hope they continue bringing it up.

        My mission president in the 60’s told us we could not teach or baptize Gay people, even if they did feel the Spirit. I kept thinking about the story of Peter and Cornelius.

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      3. John, thanks for the correction. I can’t believe I made such a simple mistake!

        Loran, let me say that everything I have written is how I see reality. I am of the opinion that we cannot know anything other than the experiences that we have and expect that there will be many things that are revealed after this life that seem at odds with the experiences we have during this life. When I make statements, it is only a statement of my sincerely held beliefs and I am always open to being wrong. But when it comes to the Gospel, I look to the scriptures and the whisperings of the Spirit to be my instructor. I welcome others providing arguments supported by resources but I reserve the right to receive my own revelation.

        I think it is fairly clear that the Proclamation is not unanimously excepted; I believe Jaxon would say that he does not accept it. Further, I never said that it is not binding; if a sealer tried to marry a same-sex couple in the temple, it would violate the teachings of the Church. I also said nothing about whether or not it is the mind and will of the Lord. I am a firm believer that members should follow the prophet. He is responsible for directing the Church and, I believe, if we are led astray by his teachings (not by intentional deceit but because prophets have a temporal view and are fallible) we will not be responsible for related transgressions. Think of blacks and the priesthood. Looking back, we can say that there is some doubt whether it was the will of the Lord but the members were not wrong in following that teaching.

        As for stating that my statement is false, I do not discount your belief that I am wrong. And I very well may be. I hope that you hold that belief because you have studied it out in your mind, asked God, and received an answer from the Spirit. But, no one who has commented on this page (as far as I know) is God, the prophet, or all-knowing. We are all trying our best to follow a perfect God who lovingly withholds knowledge from us. I believe we need to continue to discuss the principles in the Proclamation because there are still questions that are not answered and even some that are raised by the Proclamation. We need to know how gay, lesbian, and asexual people fit into the Plan of Salvation because it is supposed to be a plan for everyone. We need to know how the statement that gender is essential to our eternal identity applies to transgender people. These aren’t just questions raised by people seeking to change the policies and doctrines of the Church. These are questions that have caused concern, anxiety, and/or fear for hundreds of LGBTQ members, like myself. I can receive answers to these questions for myself but until the Church answers these questions it is not serving the needs of all of God’s children. And maybe that is what we have to live with while we are in this mortal life; but please accept that they are very real concerns for some of us.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. If I said anything to imply that Jaxon was a Snufferite, I want to correct that impression. I did not say or imply anything of the kind. Ditto with Marxism. Loran, it contributes nothing but dissent to the conversation to mininterpret and misconstrue the words of others.

    If it “remains to be seen”, then hold your tongue and let it be seen.

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