By Dana Hale (written on Aug. 4 and posted on Mormons Building Bridges)
This is last minute, but I’m teaching today’s Gospel Doctrine lesson (#29) and found a nice little gem. This lesson focuses on the churches work in building the kingdom in Nauvoo. The lesson also relies heavily on DC 124. If it comes up today in class, or if you’d like to take a look, read DC 124:49-53. These verses comfort the saints who were commanded to build a temple when they were in MO, but were unable to due to the persecutions they faced there. We know that messages from the Lord can be very literal, but the spirit of these lessons are also very symbolic. Let me offer some symbolic meaning… Verse 49 tells the saints, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that when I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings.” The lesson? Our LGBTQ LDS (or those members of other faiths) brothers and sisters are desirous to “do a work” unto the Lord’s name, and often face adversity that “hinder(s) them from performing that work”. The Lord told/tells the saints that he understands that adversity prevents them from performing their work, but he knows the desires of their hearts, so he finds those offerings acceptable. Even further, in verses 50 and 52, he incites his wrath upon the heads of those who prevented his work. This sums up a very important portion of how I feel about the activity of LGBTQ saints who fall away or simply give up because of the adversity they face at church. I say stay strong and keep going, but the Lord says, “I understand if you can’t because someone else prevents you from it.” He loves all of us, and knows that we can’t always fully perform the work he intends us to do. He knows our hearts! In verse 53, he ends with a beautiful consolation: “And this I make an example unto you, for your consolation concerning all those who have been commanded to do a work and have been hindered by the hands of their enemies, and by oppression, saith the Lord your God.” Anyway, just my thoughts on today’s Gospel Doctrine lesson.
I’m an “open” straight ally, baptized as an LDS convert in Jan 2002 (while working as an advocate and HIV/AIDS education specialist in the gay community in Roanoke, VA), and currently a GD teacher (going on 3 years). I’m from the “buckle of the Bible Belt”.