Missionary Work Within Our Own Wards

By Doree Burt

I hesitate to share this because I don’t want it to sound braggy, please know that is not my intention. But maybe it will help us all find our feet again and remember that there is still a great need to speak up and be kind.

A couple of weeks ago a friend asked if I would share in Relief Society what it means to me to me a missionary. I think she asked me because I have a son currently serving an LDS mission and we are in a ward with not very many who have served. And my kids have. Anyway, I knew as sure as anything that I could not not (forgive the double negative) speak of MBB and the LGBT people I have met and come to care deeply for over the last two years, and still be authentic with myself.

So, scared and shaking I spoke of the words we use in our homes and congregations and online and how it makes no sense to me that my kid and thousands others are out seeking new members when we are being cavalier and dismissive to those, specifically our gay brothers and sisters, who want to stay connected with Christ through His gospel, and the LDS faith.

That the true missionary work we can all do is to seek out and love and like and learn from the Other, no matter who that Other may be (gay, single, unwed parent, widow, Mormon feminist, anxiety-ridden) because if I have learned anything it is that we are all the Other…even super conventional mini-van straight Mormon mothers like me, but in Christ’s eyes we are all the Other because none of us are like Him yet and we all need what He can offer, through missionary service.

That it is our duty to behave and think and feel like missionaries to all…even (maybe especially) with those who have been baptized…that we need to all, in the words of a common missionary song remember that
“Perhaps today there are loving words
Which Jesus would have me speak”.

As nervous and as rambling as I was (taking more time than good manners would suggest) I knew it was the direction I needed to go. And here is why…this will come as no surprise.

After the lesson was over, a lady in my ward came up and told me that her son told her he thinks he is gay and that her brother is. The dialog has started. This lady has shouldered what she perceived to be a burden alone. I hope, with time and openness, she will no longer see what her son and brother are as a burden. I hope she joins this community and gets to know many of you.

Happy Sabbath, all.

Doree Burt, a life-long and active Mormon, is a mother of three who is from California and currently resides with her husband in Utah. She is a freelance writer; CASA Volunteer, working with neglected and abused children; a member of the Mormons Building Bridges Steering Committee; and a Utah State Delegate.

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