A Wonderful Opportunity to Practice Discipleship
There are strong feelings on both sides of the same sex marriage issue. In an effort to set a tone and expectation in our congregations that we love one another, especially when we have a difference of opinion, Bishops have been proactive in sharing messages like the following in their Sacrament Meetings. Please consider sharing this message with your ward leadership as a possible template to follow for minimizing contention and maximizing love in our discipleship. You may also want to use this template to share your own feelings with your ward and stake leadership on this issue.
“Brothers and Sisters,
As you know, the Supreme Court has ruled on the issues of same sex marriage. It is clear that ward members on both sides of this political/legal issue have very strong feelings. I think that social media can unfortunately amplify these feelings leading to disparaging comments towards people who do not share someone’s point of view.
I believe this is a wonderful opportunity for us to practice discipleship. Remember, that Christ taught that we should love our neighbors.
The following quotes are from the church’s websites www.mormonsandgays.org and Mormon Newsroom.
“Few topics are as emotionally charged or require more sensitivity than same-sex attraction. This complex matter touches on the things we care about most: our basic humanity, our relationship to family, our identity and potential as children of God, how we treat each other, and what it means to be disciples of Christ.”
The Church’s doctrinal position is clear: Sexual activity should occur only between a man and a woman who are married. However, that should never be used as justification for unkindness. Jesus Christ, whom we follow, was clear in His condemnation of sexual immorality, but never cruel. His interest was always to lift the individual, never to tear down.[i]
In short, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints affirms the centrality of doctrines relating to human sexuality and gender as well as the sanctity and significance of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.[ii] However, the Church firmly believes that all people are equally beloved children of God and deserve to be treated with love and respect. Church apostle Elder Quentin L. Cook stated: “As a church, nobody should be more loving and compassionate. Let us be at the forefront in terms of expressing love, compassion and outreach. Let’s not have families exclude or be disrespectful of those who choose a different lifestyle as a result of their feelings about their own gender.”[iii]
I want to make sure that our ward is a place where all are welcome. I don’t want our ward to be a place for contentious political debate. Our ward should be a place where we demonstrate our commitment to discipleship by showing kindness and Christlike love for all of our Heavenly Father’s children. May I ask that each of us consider the counsel from Elder Cook as we communicate with others about the Supreme Court decision.
With love, … “