A Letter to My LGBT Brothers and Sisters

By Rachel Meigs Manwaring

I feel like I’ve finally sorted through my feelings. Get ready for a novel!

These last few weeks, I’ve had a little shift in my thinking and understanding. Most of you know that I became interested in this when my brother-in-law told us that he was experiencing SGA. We’ve talked and talked and talked about this over the last 10 years, and it’s been one of the greatest blessings in my life! I’ve felt closer to the Lord as I’ve put my own understanding on the altar and have asked to be guided. I know that I was guided to be a part of my gay brother’s and sister’s lives. I originally thought that I needed to be there to support and love them, and although I think that is so important, it’s become so much more. As I’ve gotten to know so many of you I feel like I have ‘seen the face of God’. My life has been touched in a way that I could have never, ever imagined, and it’s not because I have rendered some service that makes me feel good. It is more, it’s so much more. I’ve had the chance to know some of the most courageous, kind, loving, brilliant, charismatic, spiritual, and genuine people I’ve ever known, that I ever knew could exist in this strange world. Someone once told me that maybe it’s because of hard trials some have had to endure and that they’ve learned to have a greater amount of empathy….maybe? To me it still seems like more, a lot more. There is more to all of this than any of us know, a lot more. As we’ve been blessed to have many of you in our home, I feel the spirit of our Savior so near (I hope I’m not sounding crazy here). There is something so special and unique.

So, here is my shift in thinking. Lately I’ve not felt like my sole purpose is to just be a support, because truthfully I think I’m the one that has received more support and love along the way. I’ve felt like I’ve needed to bring my other friends and ward members to be with YOU and to learn at YOUR feet and feel YOUR love. It’s almost like I’m saying to them, “Come on! If you want to feel what heaven really feels like, come! Be with us! It’s joy and love and everything good!”. It’s almost like I’m begging them to “get it” because I know that being with YOU brings me such peace and happiness, which is something that I see lacking in many of our members. I feel all of this so deeply that I could never deny it and certainly there isn’t any talk that could change the way I feel.

I’m so sorry for any hurt that has been experienced with some of the conference talks. Heaven certainly knows that not one of you deserves it. However through the pain there has to be hope and light, otherwise we lose, and I don’t like to lose . I feel more commitment and determination for this now, than ever before. I feel more bonded to you than I’ve ever felt before, and incredible strength comes from that. I’m not leaving….not you and not them; please don’t leave me either. WE are family and nothing can break that! Someone very wise told me that there is strength when we unite our prayers. I know my prayers are that we will have increased understanding and peace and strength to carry this on! Love you all so much! xoxoxo

Rachel lives in Arizona with her husband and 5 children. She is a stay at home Mom that used to teach elementary school. She has served as primary president, but got promoted to teaching the Sunbeams.

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