Homosexuality, Mormonism, and Me

Micah Nickolaisen is a photographer and active, faithful Latter-Day Saint living in Chandler, Arizona. You can read more of his thoughts and story at FaithfulHeretic.com. Micah also manages and hosts the new Open Stories Foundation podcast A Thoughtful Faith

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this post from my personal blog that I wrote last fall. The response to this has taught me that both my previous views on sexuality and subsequent journey to where I am now is very common in LDS culture. I feel my own experience is an archetype of similar paradigm shifts that we will hopefully continue to see in our Mormon community.

Be warned, I am not an academic, and don’t profess or pretend to be an expert on human sexuality. This has simply been my own experience, and I hope it will be of benefit to the readership here.

“. . . because of how you were born you must live your mortal existence denying yourself one of the most fundamental basic components of human happiness . . .”

My friend Scott recently sent out an email to his family and friends encouraging them to read and respond to this post on his blog. Since my response was growing far too long, I decided to post my reply here:

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I have been attempting to reconcile my Mormonism with issues related to homosexuality since I was around 12 years old. It was at that age that I learned that my uncle, whom I love and respect, was gay. At the time, I didn’t understand at all what it meant to be gay, just that it was very strange (dare I say queer :) ), and that the idea of two men or two women loving each other in the same way my mom and dad did wasn’t fitting into my worldview. Over the course of my teenage years though I managed to meet a handful of other gay people besides my uncle and his partners, I was taught by ecclesiastical leaders and Mormon culture that these individuals were confused, indulging in sinful degeneracy, masturbated too much, were probably scarred from a sexual/psychological trauma, or simply didn’t have a strong enough father figure growing up.

While on my mission, my thoughts periodically returned to this issue, and when I would bring it up with my companions, I was often given resources like Miracle of Forgiveness, or something written or said by Boyd K. Packer. These statements made by earlier leaders essentially reinforced the previous notions I had received. At one point on my mission I stumbled across this talk by Elder Dallin H Oaks, which served as a subtle paradigm shift that shaped my views on homosexuality through most of my 20′s. In this talk, Elder Oaks explains that while we don’t know what causes homosexual “feelings,” such inclinations were not an excuse to engage in sexual sins. In his talk, Elder Oaks also encouraged the saints to have compassion for those who struggle with these strong “feelings,” but encouraged those who experience them to not let them define who they are.

Somewhere along the way I started using the same natural man theory that you have promoted in your post. This developed after discovering that more than likely homosexuality was in fact a natural sexual orientation that has always existed amongst all species. I also learned that there were well documented and peer reviewed studies that showed clear physiological evidence that gay people are born gay. In order to reconcile this I came up with the theory that homosexuality was no different than any other undesirable inborn trait that plagues humanity. Some people are born with a disposition toward alcoholism or other addictions. Some people are born with chemical imbalances that make them depressed, bipolar, or prone to other behavioral/sexual deviations. Does that mean that those things are okay? Of course not. Should we just accept somebody’s actions because they are predisposed to engage in harmful behavior? Of course not.

It was in the midst of all this that the Church started sponsoring local initiatives like Prop 8 and Prop 102. At the time I was very conflicted when the edict came down from Salt Lake that we were to donate our time and “means” to these initiatives. On one hand I agreed that homosexuality was a sin, and I believed what the Church said would happen if gay marriage was allowed. On the other hand, I felt very uneasy about a religious institution inserting itself into the political arena, and I also didn’t feel it was the government’s place to impose itself on people’s individual choices, especially who they are allowed to marry. Regardless of my reservations, I remained obedient and manned the phone booths and voted in favor of my local ballot initiative.

Things started to change for me about a year and a half ago, when I heard this talk by BYU professor of microbiology and molecular biology, Dr. William Bradshaw. Dr. Bradshaw came across not only as incredibly knowledgeable but also very humble as he explained some of the things I already knew, and many things I didn’t know about human sexuality. It was this presentation that shattered my assumption that somehow homosexuality was anything like a chemical imbalance or propensity for addiction or really any other evil associated with the natural man. In fact, the only natural human behavioral phenomenon homosexuality was similar to was heterosexuality. The same longing that I feel to connect emotionally, spiritually and sexually to a member of the opposite sex is the same thing that my uncle and other gay people feel toward their sexual partners. In fact, it is possible that our yearning for this kind of connection to sexual partners is a vital and essential need for a healthy human lifestyle. You can also hear Dr. Bradshaw go into much further depth here.

This new information has caused me to jettison any notions I’ve had in the past of what I thought homosexuality was about, and to start from scratch. Everything I have read and heard from other resources have reinforced this concept to me. Of course, the real lingering concern has been my religion (oh yeah, that whole Mormonism thing). How could I reconcile what the leaders of my Church were saying with what I had learned from vetted, reliable sources?

The first thing I realized was that the claims the Church had made about the implications of gay marriage were largely speculative if not blatantly false. We were told from the pulpit and from official Church statements that gay marriage would place “church and state on a collision course.” What the Church alluded to here was a battle between secularism and religion that would culminate in churches being forced to recognize and perform gay marriages. A minimal amount of research demonstrated to me that the arguments the Church was making were full of logical fallacies and other forms of misinformation. After all, the LDS Church has excluded people from its temples since the Utah period.

The next shift came less than a year ago, when one day while driving in the car I had an epiphany. As I revisited in my mind some of the Church’s previously-held-yet-now-obsolete positions and doctrines related to sex and marriage (polygamy, birth control, interracial marriage, acceptable marital sexual behavior, etc), I realized that the Church has a very unreliable track record when it comes how it approaches sexuality. The same language and rhetoric we currently use to condemn homosexuality has been used in the past against other perceived immoral conduct. Here is a brief sampling:

“It is a fact worthy of note that the shortest lived nations of which we have record have been monogamic. Rome…was a monogamic nation and the numerous evils attending that system early laid the foundation for that ruin which eventually overtook her.”

– George Q. Cannon, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, p. 202

“The founders of that ancient empire were robbers and women stealers, and made laws favoring monogamy in consequence of the scarcity of women among them, and hence this monogamic system which now prevails throughout Christendom, and which had been so fruitful a source of prostitution and whoredom throughout all the Christian monogamic cities of the Old and New World, until rottenness and decay are at the root of their institutions both national and religious.”

– Prophet Brigham Young Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, p. 128

“…the one-wife system not only degenerates the human family, both physically and intellectually, but it is entirely incompatible with philosophical notions of immortality; it is a lure to temptation, and has always proved a curse to a people.”

– John Taylor, Millennial Star, Vol. 15, p. 227

“Monogamy, or restrictions by law to one wife, is no part of the economy of heaven among men. Such a system was commenced by the founders of the Roman empire….Rome became the mistress of the world, and introduced this order of monogamy wherever her sway was acknowledged. Thus this monogamic order of marriage, so esteemed by modern Christians as a holy sacrament and divine institution, is nothing but a system established by a set of robbers…. Why do we believe in and practice polygamy? Because the Lord introduced it to his servants in a revelation given to Joseph Smith, and the Lord’s servants have always practiced it. ‘And is that religion popular in heaven?’ it is the only popular religion there,…”

– Brigham Young, The Deseret News, August 6, 1862

 

“This law of monogamy, or the monogamic system, laid the foundation for prostitution and the evils and diseases of the most revolting nature and character under which modern Christendom groans,…”

– Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, page 195

 

“We breathe the free air, we have the best looking men and handsomest women, and if they (Non-Mormons) envy us our position, well they may, for they are a poor, narrow-minded, pinch-backed race of men, who chain themselves down to the law of monogamy, and live all their days under the dominion of one wife. They ought to be ashamed of such conduct, and the still fouler channel which flows from their practices; and it is not to be wondered at that they should envy those who so much better understand the social relations.”

– George A Smith, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, page 291

 

“I have noticed that a man who has but one wife, and is inclined to that doctrine, soon begins to wither and dry up, while a man who goes into plurality [of wives] looks fresh, young, and sprightly. Why is this? Because God loves that man, and because he honors his word. Some of you may not believe this, but I not only believe it but I also know it. For a man of God to be confined to one woman is small business. I do not know what we would do if we had only one wife apiece.”

– Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses Vol 5, page 22

 

“Just ask yourselves, historians, when was monogamy introduced on to the face of the earth? When those buccaneers, who settled on the peninsula where Rome now stands, could not steal women enough to have two or three apiece, they passed a law that a man should have but one woman. And this started monogamy and the downfall of the plurality system. In the days of Jesus, Rome, having dominion over Jerusalem, they carried out the doctrine more or less. This was the rise, start and foundation of the doctrine of monogamy; and never till then was there a law passed, that we have any knowledge of, that a man should have but one wife. ”

– Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses Vol. 12, page 262

 

“If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.”

– Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses Vol. 10, pages 104–111.

 

“I think I have read enough to give you an idea of what the Negro is after. He is not just seeking the opportunity of sitting down in a cafe where white people eat. He isn’t just trying to ride on the same streetcar or the same Pullman car with white people. It isn’t that he just desires to go to the same theater as the white people. From this, and other interviews I have read, it appears that the Negro seeks absorption with the white race. He will not be satisfied until he achieves it by intermarriage. That is his objective and we must face it.”

– Mark E. Peterson, Convention of Teachers of Religion on the College Level, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, August 27, 1954

 

“Those who attempt to pervert the ways of the Lord, and to prevent their offspring from coming into the world…are guilty of one of the most heinous crimes in the category. There is no promise of eternal salvation and exaltation for such as they…”

– Joseph Fielding Smith, Relief Society Magazine, 3:367-368, July 1916

 

“Married persons should understand that if in their marital relations they are guilty of unnatural, impure, or unholy practices, they should not enter the temple unless and until they repent and discontinue any such practices. Husbands and wives who are aware of these requirements can determine by themselves their standing before the Lord. All of this should be conveyed without having priesthood leaders focus upon intimate matters which are a part of husband and wife relationships. . . . The First Presidency has interpreted oral sex as constituting an unnatural, impure, or unholy practice.”

– Spencer W. Kimball, First Presidency Letter, January 5, 1982

 

Upon realizing this, I asked myself, “why would I let the proclamations of a Church with such a checkered history with similar issues influence the way I feel about this?” If they can be wrong about polygamy, and wrong about interracial marriage, and wrong about birth control, how could I honestly trust what they tell me about this? It was at this point that what Church leaders past or present promote about this issue no longer had influence on my approach to human sexuality.

Still, after all this the last overarching concern for me has been Mormon theology in general, and the doctrines associated with eternal gender and families. If the current family structure of husband and wife is meant to last through the eternities, how does homosexual relationships fit into the Plan of Salvation? To my surprise, this question had already been thoroughly addressed. In his essay published in Dialogue,Toward A Post Heterosexual Mormon Theology, Taylor G. Petrey demonstrates how there is room in existing Mormon doctrine and theology for eternal relationships regardless of any human notions of gender. Ah, but what about the Family Proclamation? You can do the research yourself, but it’s pretty clear that this document is not scripture, not part of official cannon, and has never been presented as a revelation. Well, what about the scriptures? I would appreciate anyone being able to point me to any scripture outside of the Old Testament that clearly condemns homosexuality.

At the end of the day, I think our modern faith tradition in general is all too comfortable with what we perceive to be “certainties” about the Gospel. If Mormon doctrine teaches us anything, it should encourage us to never be satisfied with what we think we know is true, and to always be open to and actively seeking further light and knowledge. I also feel like we’ve repeatedly ended up on the wrong side of history, and eventually have capitulated to what the rest of society learned decades before us. What I do feel certain about now, is that the relationships that my gay friends and family members experience with their partners is no less valuable than the one I enjoy with my wonderful wife. I can’t find any reasons that don’t prey on people’s false assumptions, fears, prejudices, and conspiratorial imaginings that justify us or any government denying these people the same rights, privileges, and status that I do.

I think it is beyond a heterosexual person’s comprehension to imagine what it must be like to hear the Church you love so deeply tell you that you are less-than, and that because of how you were born you must live your mortal existence denying yourself one of the most fundamental basic components of human happiness. The suicide rate amongst LDS homosexuals is as embarrassing as it is utterly horrifying. So, in the same way that Governor George Romney actively defied the highest leadership of our Church during the Civil Rights movement, I hope to stand now for what I feel is right. You have referred to the Mormons for Marriage Equality as misguided. To me they are heroes, who despite the Church’s and Mormon culture’s demands for obedience and conformity have stood up for their mistreated brothers and sisters. Though I wasn’t able to march with these brave men and women, I certainly was with them in spirit.

I have consistently researched this issue since 2004. I don’t pretend to be an expert, but I happily defer to the intellectual heavy lifting that has been done for us by biologists, geneticists, and psychologists who possess the skill, training, and experience to thoroughly research this issue. I happily welcome you or anyone to engage in further discussion on this matter. I am completely open to being dead wrong about this or anything else. Regardless, as people continue to kill themselves or live in hopeless shame, this issue deserves our highest levels of thinking and dialogue to arrive at fuller awareness and truth.

24 comments for “Homosexuality, Mormonism, and Me

  1. Micah Nickolaisen
    January 26, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Thanks for thinking of me Daniel!

  2. Cary Crall
    January 26, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Wow! I am blown away by your thoughtfulness about an issue that could have been far from your heart. I wish I could upload this same process you went through into many of my LDS friend (ala the matrix…I mean, I didn’t see the matrix…). I especially appreciate all of the quotations you have collected from church leaders on last season’s sexual sins (“polygamy: so hot right now. Oral sex: so out.”). It’s a great resource to refer to in future discussions.

    • Micah Nickolaisen
      January 26, 2013 at 10:50 am

      Thanks Cary!

  3. Gretta
    January 26, 2013 at 10:05 am

    This is fantastic!! It maps out an intellectual trajectory that I hope many, many more Latter-Day Saints can follow. Brilliant and beautiful! Thank you!

    • Micah Nickolaisen
      January 26, 2013 at 10:50 am

      Thanks for your kind words Gretta!

  4. Martin in WY
    January 26, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Good job here! I would be more than happy to march with you. But, frankly, I would rather stand with you in our writing, our speaking, and our stronger stances that we MUST take in the months to come. I am one who seeks a similar ground to Dr. King 50 years ago. But let us NOT forget – that while he was the speaker, it was Bayard Rustin who was the expert organizer.

    Brother Bayard, who was ALMOST lost to history had it not been a couple of books and a great Sundance film about him – black and gay. And shut out of the movement until everyone realized in July 1963 that no one could figure out how to pull off the upcoming March on Washington that would take place six weeks later. Brother Bayard, an outcast from the movement since around 1960 because of the fear (that everyone had in the movement) would be a huge impediment in the struggle (because J Edgar Hoover might and very well could link him to Dr. King) was called in at this last second and pulled off the historic March. And you know what he was doing when Dr. King was being ushered into President Kennedy’s office that afternoon for “further conversations”? He was helping to clean the Mall, which he had promised Park officials that the group would take care of so that there would be no cost to the government.

    So, what I want to say is this: let’s get even MORE organized. Let’s get straight allies to push even harder for us (because we need them very much). And let’s plan on something huge for downtown SLC in the next 18 months.

  5. Leanorah-Loreli Grace (Leah)
    January 26, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts about this important issue. I also want to thank you for bringing together such a collection quotes from our Prophets and Church authorities. Reading these quotes is very unnerving, uncomfortable, indeed quite sickening, as to highly bigoted and heinous these beliefs were. And to make disinformational claims that any of this sick dogma ever came from God, is just beyond the pale.

    I would like to see a “Post Bigoted Mormon Theology”. For there is still far too much bigoty steeped within our Church, that has no legitimacy whatsoever. Most of it is cultural, unwritten policy, that never came from God, and is unbecoming of a Church bearing the name of Jesus Christ. It comes down to weather we want to be known as an ‘Unwelcoming Church with Bouncers at our Doors’ or a welcoming Church with loving greeters at our doors. Make no mistake, our Churches are “gated”, but how do we want them stationed?

  6. Tabitha
    January 26, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Thank you for sharing this Daniel. As a heterosexual member of the church, I went through a REALLY similar evolution of thought and have landed in the same place as you, with the same conviction to be a voice of love and support to LGBTQ Momon community, and to speak up in my own sphere of influence amongst the straight members that I know. I do think that the church will eventually change on this issue (as they have time and time again on several issues, including ones you outlined in your post). In the meantime, there is too much pain be foisted on gay members and their families, often by well-meaning and loving people, under the pretense of “religion” and god, and through the use of fear and ignorance. We just have to keep calling it out and challenging the fear rhetoric and nonsensical arguements when we see them and keep trying to educate those around us in the most loving and Christike ways we can muster.

  7. Sandra Barnhart
    January 26, 2013 at 11:13 am

    I found I could not rely on anything coming officially from “the church” after 40 years of membership. I felt incredibly guilty about apostatizing as a betrayal to my hard-fighting Mormon ancestors. Then, I realized; they had a completely different church to pin their lives to. Heck, this “church” was ever-changing its “eternal principles” too fast for even me…the very devoutest of devotees… to keep up with. After leaving and a tough journey discovering my truth in contrast to what had been being spoon-fed to me, I discovered a much nicer, more tolerant, humble, person resided inside myself. Mormon judgments were so harsh, their circle of “worthies” became so small…it was simply drawn out of the circle. I am incredibly blessed! In conclusion, this policy on homosexuals? It will be a real circus to sit back and watch the apologists scurrying to justify Mormon hatred as not so “eternal” after all. Thank you for this well thought out, and documented post. Very nice, indeed!

    • Nick
      April 9, 2014 at 3:28 pm

      “Mormon hatred”??? It is this type of extreme polarization that retards progress on such difficult issues. With the same logic, could it not be said that you “hate” Mormons? Because one believes stealing is wrong, does that person therefore “hate” all thieves? I think not.

      Debate until the cows come home whether stealing/homosexuality is wrong or not, but you needn’t accuse your polemical adversary as hating homosexuals if they simply disagree with that lifestyle.

  8. mikka
    January 26, 2013 at 11:25 am

    I think I now need to make an “I am a completely normal human being, stop forgetting that” notebook and clip this in there on top. Just what I needed to hear today, thank you!

  9. Pamela
    January 26, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    In my spiritual journey with the gay issue, researching things such as polygamy and blacks and the priesthood have strengthened my testimony. I have found out as you have written above that not every word that comes out of the mouth of a prophet is unchanging. Quite the contrary. This is probably the one thing that gives me hope for the future and helps me cling to my testimony. As Tabatha said above, we must lovingly teach and educate !!

    Thank you for this insightful post. I think I will print it out and keep it in my scriptures for future reference!
    .

  10. Micah Nickolaisen
    January 26, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    One of the reasons I used an abundance of the Roman/Monogamy quotes is because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard LDS family and friends cite Ancient Rome as a homosexual cautionary tale: “It’s because the Romans embraced and promoted homosexuality that their society failed.” I was FLOORED when I discovered this treasure trove of quotes that say the exact same thing about monogamy (i.e., the social and theological cornerstone of Modern Mormonism). The irony was too delicious. 🙂

  11. Dean Scott Tingey
    January 26, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    Thanks, Micah. This is one of the most well-written compilations I have read about the Mormon church’s changing doctrines. This has many of the thoughts I had as I moved forward in coming out, leaving the church, and finding a partner. Thank you for your support as an ally.

  12. Tristin
    January 26, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    Thank you, brother. That was very clear and inspirational.

  13. jen
    January 27, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    I SO appreciate this post. I went through a similar process… feeling uncomfortable with the question of sexuality, and uneasy about the church’s involvement in Prop 8. Once I started listening to the arguments (really listening) that the church gave against homosexuality, it sounded so much like the reasons they gave against black rights and interracial marriage, I knew they were wrong about gay rights just like they have been wrong about so many other things.

    And, I agree with you. Anyone who steps out of their comfort zone to do what they feel is right, regardless of what those in authority say, is a hero in my book.

  14. Grant Baxter
    January 31, 2013 at 11:56 am

    Daniel,

    Thank you for writing this up. I grew up in rural Idaho, served a foreign mission spent 5 years in school near Los Angeles. I participated in supporting the infamous prop 22 initiative there. I look back on that participation w/ embarrassment & sadness, especially because of the message that it sent to all of my non-lds friends (which were most of them)…
    My evolution of thought followed a very similar path to yours and I really started questioning my assumptions about homosexuality when I began to meet & form friendships with LGBT couples. One couple stood out to me in particular – a wonderful couple of older women who exuded every Christian principle of love, compassion, support, care of fellow man & were full of life, happiness, and even “old-fashionedness” which really made me smile. They were clients of mine & drove more than an hour one day to support my son & I at a fundraiser for cancer research while he was going through chemotherapy. (He’s fine now & been clean for 3 yrs). In any case, as soon as I was utterly convinced that homosexuality was as innate a trait as the color of someone’s eyes, the rest of the questions came & I’ve been working through them ever since. Thanks for putting all of those feelings to words – excellent work! 🙂

  15. Dave
    March 28, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Synopsis: Those stodgy old prophets, seers, and revelators are so out of touch and unsophisticated that they won’t rely on the arm of flesh and the philosophies of men. Therefore, having studied the issue thoroughly with my human mind, I’m going to preempt their inevitable policy reversal in the face of overwhelming public opinion by assuming I know what God will eventually tell us when He figures out what he’s doing. This iron rod is so hard and the people in front of me are going SO SLOW! Hey look, I found a shortcut to the tree of life!

    • Micah Nickolaisen
      March 28, 2013 at 12:52 pm

      My synopsis of your comment, Dave:

      Strawman, strawman, ad hominen, ad hominen, over-simplification, generalization, generalization, strawman, strawman, strawman.

      Not sure what you hope to accomplish by oversimplifying my argument and ridiculing it. But I would love to hear an actual counter argument for the points made in the post. Thanks!

  16. Shea
    April 12, 2013 at 10:32 am

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a brief statement that reaffirmed its stance in the debate playing out in the Supreme Court. The court finished hearing arguments over California’s Proposition 8, a ballot measure supported by the church that overturned the state’s law allowing same-sex marriage.

    “We firmly support the divinely appointed definition of marriage as the union between a man and a woman because it is the single most important institution for strengthening children, families and society,” the statement reads. “We hope the court will agree, and we look forward to the decision on this important matter.”

  17. Walter
    February 27, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    Dearest member, I earnestly hope you will consider my thoughts on this important subject:

    http://generalauthority.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/protect-the-family-save-america/

    • Micah Nickolaisen
      February 28, 2014 at 8:22 am

      Dearest General Authority, thank you for your blessed inspired counsel. 🙂

  18. Mungagungadin
    April 11, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    I’ve been down this same road, albeit with more examination of our doctrine regarding separation of Church and state (Mosiah and Alma V those “taken in iniquity”) and D&C 134. Also, found much of interest in this discussion of the Old Testament and New Testament references

  19. Gabriele Funaro
    April 5, 2015 at 3:50 am

    I’ve read this article with interest and I start with a premise; I don’t share your position and I believe in marriage as an union between a man and a woman, but I absolutely appreciate the way you have expressed your thoughts and the historical material you have used to support your thesis. I believe that we, as human beings, have a limited knowledge and understanding of the things that occur in this universe and on the Earth. I think that there is so much we don’t know that really one life is not enough to get a proper view of all things. That said, what is then our purpose on Earth? That’s another interesting question and the scriptures give us a clear answer; “to return to our Heavenly Father”. Now the even bigger question; how do we do that? We read the scriptures, we follow commandments and teachings of the Gospel, we love one another and we enter into covenants that can lead us to eternal life. Isn’t this A LOT? There is so much material that I personally feel overwhelmed and I sometimes think “Oh my, how could I ever do this?”. I still have no complete answer, but one; through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement. This is all I need to feel happy and have a hope for the future.

    The dynamics of how the Church has changed positions and opinions over the years is comparable to the different teachings from the Old Testament and New Testament. We only know that obedience gives us a reward. Abraham was about to kill his own beloved son to show obedience and he was stopped at the last minute. His example lets us know that it’s not much about the final action, it’s about the disposition to follow the commandments. So in these days The Lord is clearly asking us to believe in His principles, to believe in the sanctity of marriage and to believe in what is important for the benefit of our eternal destinies. The only way to prove that we believe comes through obedience. It doesn’t matter how much we feel distant from positions and opinions inside the Church, we can always turn to God to ask. God will give us the answer if we simply ask in prayer.

    So I believe that in your position, no doctor, no prophet, no scientist, no man here on Earth can give you the answer to your question and I think you should simply turn to God. I don’t think there is anything wrong in expressing your vote during General Conference showing that you disagree or don’t support some of the authorities. I support them, I raised my hand and I believe in them, and I absolutely believe it’s every one’s right to do the opposite if they feel like to do it. But please, do not confound your support to the authorities of the Church, who are human, after all, with your support to the world. You don’t do any good to yourself and to others if you try to follow the ways of the world, listening to “that voice or the other” because the world already has enough confusion. Just keep your eyes focused on The Lord and believe in Him that has all answers to your questions. Even the authorities do not have all the answers, but He does. So if you have any doubt, do not turn to the world; turn to God.

    From your post I perceive that you are a good person with a good heart, so I hope you will be able to find the right answer inside your heart. I don’t have an answer for you and I don’t claim I can get one, so I will only respect your position while I keep mine, with mutual sentiments of understanding. This is the only way The Lord wants things to be done.

    May The Lord bless you my brother! If you want to write me any further message in the future, with hope for a continual, respectful and peaceful debate, I will be available to share thoughts and insights with you.

    Gabriele Funaro,
    Laveno Mombello, Italy

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