We came out to our church congregation (ward) by email, letting them know that our 13 year old son was gay about a week before we came out on Facebook. Well, in our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), we hold what is referred to as a Testimony Meeting on the first Sunday of each month. This gives members of our church (and those who are in attendance) an opportunity to stand from the pulpit and share their Testimonies (spiritual confirmations or faith inspired emotional journeys). The day before this Testimony Meeting, I had an experience that changed my heart and made it even bigger. Having just emailed our “coming out” letter to our ward a few days before this meeting, I felt inspired to share the following day. I also wanted my son to hear his mother’s voice first; a message of love. I raced to the pulpit to be the first one. Here is the Testimony that I shared:
Good morning Brothers and Sisters, I would like to share an experience I had just yesterday while sitting in traffic. No one likes traffic, but I was in a big hurry and getting annoyed. Then I noticed a man holding a sign at the edge of the road. I didn’t read the sign, but I could tell that he was asking for money. As always, the words of my father came to my mind when I see someone begging for money, “Don’t give them any money, they are just going to buy booze!” As I thought about this, I remembered a recent news broadcast where a homeless man was being interviewed. This man said simply, “I’m not a bum, I am a human being.” This resonated with me. It made me think about how I have treated my fellow man. I pulled up to the gentleman and gave him what I thought was a couple of dollars. It felt AMAZING! I was a little miffed that by taking my father’s advice I had missed out on all these good feelings. As I was handing him the money, I noticed that there was a $5 bill tucked in there, too! It felt even BETTER! It felt so good to give. Yes, maybe he went and bought booze. Maybe he went and bought a hot meal. I’ll never know. But here is where I learned something very valuable that day.
I thought of Christ. How he must have felt good all day long because he was constantly doing good. I started thinking about unconditional love and what that really means. When Jesus healed a lame man, he did not say, “What are you going to do with those legs? You better do good deeds with them!” No, he loved unconditionally. And our love should not extend to only those we see deserving. Our love should not have conditions. I cannot imagine looking into my son’s beautiful green eyes and telling him that my love has conditions. I am getting glimpses of how Christ feels about us and why he shared his message of love. Christ said, ‘Love Thy Neighbor’. Thy Neighbor is everyone.
And that was my testimony on that day. Not a day will go by where I am not grateful for the gift that is my son. He’s perfect. I love him. And I wouldn’t change a thing. If you think that our story could help someone else in your life, please feel free to share. Talking about it will only yield acceptance and love over time.