Because We’re Friends…

Sit down, Bloggernacle… you’re about to get dating advice from a gay man.

Seriously.

And by dating advice, I mean dating advice… Not courtship or relationship or marriage or sex advice. Just… dating. Because, well, I’ve had some experience in that department. And if you believe what you see in movies and on television, gay friends are duty-bound to help their straight friends when it comes to these things.

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Step by Arduous Step…

English, Bahasa Indonesia, Česky, Dansk, Deutsch, Eesti, English, Español, Faka-tonga, Français, Gagana Samoa, Hrvatski, Italiano, and , Latviešu, Lietuvių, Magyar, Malagasy, Nederlands, Norsk, Polski, Português, Reo Tahiti, Română, Shqip, Suomi, Svenska, Tiếng Việt, Vosa vakaviti, Ελληνικά, Български, Монгол, Русский, Українська, Հայերեն, ภาษาไทย, ភាសាខ្មែរ, 한국어, 中文, 日本語.’

The Church has now posted a set of localized materials to their Mormon & Gay resource site. The materials translate the notice which was originally sent to local Church leadership in English-speaking areas of the Church; the Frequently Asked Questions section of the site; the Church Teachings section of the site; and the Same-sex Attraction gospel topics essay.

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Getting There…

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LDS Church adds a new video to Mormon & Gay—and it features a family lovingly accepting their out, gay son as he leaves the faith. It’s a welcome addition to the site—and a bold move that, no doubt, took a great deal of work on the back-end to power thru institutional resistance. [Read more…]

Lesson 9: The Only True & Living Church #DandC2017

The revelation later designated D&C section 21, as seen in the book of revelations kept by Joseph Smith et al.

On Tuesday, April 6th, 1830, in a small log cabin belonging to Peter Whitmer Sr, Joseph Smith Jr and five other men* organized the Church—a little more than 50 men and women, total, were in attendance.

Joseph later recorded:

“Having opened the meeting by solemn prayer to our Heavenly Father, we proceeded, according to previous commandment, to call on our brethren to know whether they accepted us as their teachers in the things of the Kingdom of God, and whether they were satisfied that we should proceed and be organized as a Church according to said commandment which we had received. To these several propositions they consented by a unanimous vote.”

History of the Church 1:78

It was a momentous occasion. Not only for the Kingdom of God on Earth… but for 24 year old Joseph Smith. It was both the culmination of the work of his life to-date and the start of a work that would only end in his death, a mere 14 years later. That same day, Joseph would look on as his father—a stubbornly areligious man—was baptized nearby.

During the meeting, Joseph received a revelation that would become D&C Section 21, where the Lord calls Joseph a prophet, seer, translator, apostle of Jesus Christ, and an Elder of the Church.

Sidney Rigdon remembered the events of that day, saying:

“I met the whole church of Christ in a little old log house about 20 feet square, near Waterloo, N.Y. and we began to talk about the kingdom of God as if we had the world at our command; we talked with great confidence, … although we were not many people; … we saw by vision, the church of God, a thousand times larger; … the world being entirely ignorant of the testimony of the prophets and without knowledge of what God was about to do.”

Times & Seasons,1 May 1844, 522–23

Today, 187 years—and literally millions of baptisms later—that little Church continues… Sometimes thriving, sometimes struggling, sometimes faced with utter destruction.

In the study guide for Lesson 9, students are asked:

How might your life be different if the Church had not been restored or if you were not a member of the Church?

As I think over my life and think of those who influenced me—my mom, a lapsed conservative Lutheran; my classmates, many of whom were deeply religious—I can’t help but think that I would have most likely joined the Catholic church, by way of dalliances with various evangelical movements. 

As I came to understand my orientation, but without the spiritual courage afforded me by my Mormon faith, I would have likely drifted from the faith or taken my own life, convinced of my worthlessness in the eyes of God.

It’s a sobering thought.

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Hate the sin, not the sinner.

We’ve all heard the saying. We’ve all used it. Recently, we’ve been rightfully castigated for using it… it’s a fraught calculus, to hate the sin but not the sinner. But this morning, those six words found fresh purchase in my mind… as I laid in bed reviewing the events of the last several hours.

And while I hold out a sliver of hope that the Electoral College—our weapon of last resort—will be put to good use, denying the presidency to a creature so un-prepared for and ill-disposed to that high office… I can’t really wait around for that bit of intrigue to play out.

I have bridges to mend.
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Sit with Me a While

Salt Lake City temple during a winter inversion.

 

I woke up this morning, after a night of coughing and fever dreams. It’s time for my annual autumnal bout of the blech (that’s the technical term)—flu-like symptoms folded into coughing spells so violent, they’ve literally brought me to my knees. I grew up in a house of smokers, with a fireplace roaring each winter. Now I live in Salt Lake City—where altitude, desert air, and smog thick enough to choke out my view of the stunning Wasatch Mountains, conspiring to rob me of the natural and felicitous joy I find living in Zion.

I love this city… but it’s literally killing me.
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Mormon & Gay — the New LDS.org Resource

 

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Again, with feeling

If there’s one thing that Mormons get, it’s that perfection is iterative. Line upon line, and all that. [Read more…]

I Believe… the Book of Mormon is Multidimensional

I had a vinyl banner that hung in my bedroom—a gift from one of my Primary teachers. It was distressed to look like an ancient manuscript, and on it were printed the Articles of Faith. Next to each Article, a blank circle hovered. As I memorized each Article, I would check them off with my teacher and she would give me a sticky-backed button to place in the circle… each Article had a different button, and I remember the anticipation I felt as I waited to see the image on the button’s obverse. The whole affair felt like an ancient rite of passage, passed down to me by those who’d paved the way before.

I never completed it.

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Abide with Me — Thoughts on Staying

Christian Harrison generously agreed to respond to Sam’s post. Christian is a longtime friend of the blog, an urban enthusiast, a professional storyteller, and a man of faith—a practicing member of the Church. He’s also gay.

Whether it’s some progressive acquaintance calling me an Uncle Tom or Elder Bednar insisting that I don’t exist, I must admit that I’ve had no shortage of chances to wonder, lately, why I stay.

Why do I lend material support to an organization dead-set on erasing me and countless other queer members? Why do I stay when my very presence defies the wishes of so many of my coreligionists—members of the flock who want so desperately to run off the sheep with different wool? Can’t I see that I’m unwelcome? Can’t I see that God’s love is a tough love—that His love isn’t universal? Why? Why? Why…
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Waves of Adversity

Christian Harrison is a long-time friend of the blog, and we’re glad to feature this guest post from him.

bcc-dch_eqp201602a-1_clouds

Earlier this month, I taught a lesson on adversity that was largely based on Chapter 3 of “Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Howard W. Hunter.” The following essay approximates my lesson.

* * *

In today’s Sacrament meeting, a story was shared by the speaker about a discussion he had with a professor of his from the Religion Department at BYU: “What,” he recalled asking his mentor, “did it all mean?” With the succinctness of hindsight, the professor replied, “I can sum it all up with one word: obedience.”

I have to admit that I cringed when I heard that. I think the Lord would have something to say to that professor about “what it all means” and how best to “sum it all up.”

Then one of [the Pharisees], which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?” [And] Jesus said unto him, “‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.’—this is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:35–40)

Love. Love of God… and love of all mankind, because God is Love (1 John 4:8). [Read more…]

Where Can I Turn for Peace?

Christian Harrison is a longtime friend of the blog (see his recent post here) and an active gay Mormon. He gave this talk in his ward this morning.

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Good morning, brothers and sisters.

Before I dive into the meat of my comments, I’d like to ask you to do something with me. I’d like for you to close your eyes for just a moment and to keep them closed until I ask you to open them…

Please close them now.

With your eyes now closed, I’d like for you to imagine that you’re at the ballet… you have the best seats in the house… the lights dim… and a small troupe of dancers come on stage. They’re strong and graceful. They take their places as the orchestra cues up, and they begin to dance…

[ Hum one verse of “Where Can I Turn for Peace” ]

The music ends, and the dancers exit the stage. [Read more…]

Yet I have hope

This guest post is from Christian Harrison, who is an urban enthusiast, a professional storyteller, and a man of faith—a practicing member of the Church. He’s also gay. 

trekAs I lay here this morning, awash in a flood of emotion — shock, dismay, disappointment, fear — I am coming to the idea that last night’s policy announcement was a profound (and utterly disquieting) betrayal. Not the hot betrayal of animus… but the cold betrayal of studied indifference.

Yes, it feels like animus. It looks like animus… but it smells like the well-oiled machinery of an inhuman bureaucracy—grinding away. And this morning, I am mustering what strength I have to whisper to myself “the worm forgives the plough”. [Read more…]