Sunday Supplement: Room for You
Sunday Supplement blog posts are issued each Sunday as a supplement to the messages heard in our congregations and homes, with emphasis given to how the scriptures and counsel from church leaders can help us to reach out with love, empathy, and compassion to our LGBTQI/SSA sisters and brothers.
“There is room for you in this church.”
For some of you this statement will resound with truth and you will agree with me, Yes! Of Course! As I am fond of saying, everything I ever needed to know I learned in a primary song, in one of my favorites we sing, “I belong to the church of Jesus Christ, of latter day saints, I know who I am.” I rejoice with my friends who know there is Room for them in this Church!
For some of you, precious friends of mine, you know who you are too! Just like that simple primary song declares, YOU know who you are, and know there is NOT room for you. This simple statement, “There is room for you in This Church,” just isn’t true. I have precious gay friends and their families, some I have known from my childhood, and my own son, I have listened to you, to my friends, to my friends of 30 plus years, and my son, I have listened to your stories and I am simply devastated by the heart breaking stories of rejection.
To you my beloved, who do not want to be a part of this church anymore, I respect you, I hear you, and I want you to know, that I know, your spiritual journey is every bit as valid and sacred as mine. Period.
I am here to promise you, with every thing I am, something another primary song says,”I’ll walk with you; I’ll talk with you, that’s how I’ll show my love for YOU.”
Nephi, the Prophet in the Book of Mormon asks us this question about Jesus Christ,
“Behold, doth he (Jesus Christ) cry unto any, saying: Depart from me?
Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price. Behold, hath he commanded any that they should depart out of the synagogues, or out of the houses of worship?” (2 Nephi 26: 25-26)
Nephi tells us with emphasis, NO!
I am not here to debate with anyone whether my friends have been rejected by their church family or not. My friends tell me this is their experience, I believe my friends.
So if it is NOT the Savior of us all telling you, my beloved, that there is no room for you here, why do you feel this way? Why do you understand so deeply what He, the Savior Himself said when he answered this question, What are these wounds in thine hands? Jesus answers and always will answer, “Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” (Zechariah 13:6)
Let’s go back to the words of Nephi,
Verse 28, “Behold, hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of his goodness? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden.”
I Want YOU to hear me, I am sorry, this is not right that you have been wounded and rejected, I also want you to know you are in good company, the very best of company, Jesus Christ.
I spent 6 months, after the ALL conference last April, learning so fast what my LGBT and same sex attracted brothers and sisters had to teach me, that truly I needed my brain to grow faster so it could keep up with my heart.
I admit, I wondered if the breach between, IN the church I love so much and my beloveds for whom there is no room, could be repaired?
Then, In October last year, my soul rejoiced in this message from President Uchtdorf, sounding just like my friend Nephi, “To those who have separated themselves from the Church, I say, my dear friends, there is yet a place for you here.”
There is work to do. There are conversations to have about what causes the wounds and rejection, conversations which need to happen, questions to be answered, and to put it very simply, stones which need to be dropped from hands which cling so tightly I wonder when the conversation can even start or how long it will take? I commit to you my friends; I am here with so many others, to have these conversations and to ask hard questions.
I will keep dreaming that some of you hope for a day that the table is spread for you and for any of the rest of my beloveds, I will KEEP WALKING WITH and TALKING WITH and LOVING YOU.
I will close with one more statement from our good friend Sister Carol Lynn Pearson,
“We take turns, then, don’t we? When you are caught on any plains where love is not, I will gather what I have and bring what I can. And when I have used up all my love and am stranded in the cold, I will watch for you to appear with fresh supplies. That way we can make it, I think, all of us. We can be sufficiently creative and sufficiently kind that we will draw circle upon circle upon circle, bringing each other in, leaving no one out, joining, linking, enlarging, until the pattern of the whole human family, seen through the Eye of God, is complete.”