The MBB Approach.
In accordance with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Mormons Building Bridges community is dedicated to conveying love and acceptance to all who identify as LGBTQI and those who experience same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria. Yet since it’s inception, the Mormons Building Bridges community has been criticized – some fair, some unfair – for its approach to the question of how to best help our LGBT/SSA sisters and brothers thrive. This criticism, from all sides, has focused particularly on the fact that the MBB community has abstained from campaigning for or against same sex marriage and the attendant heated debates that continue to ensue, even after the Supreme Court’s ruling on the matter. This approach is designed to free the MBB community from divisive debates that can inhibit empathy-based conversation and alienate some participants. While the Mormons Building Bridges community includes individuals on both sides of this issue, the community exists particularly to provide a space for Mormons who want to support LGBTQ/SSA brothers and sisters from within the existing doctrine of the LDS church.
Not Conservative Enough. Not Progressive Enough.
Some feel this stance is not conservative enough and that focusing on “conveying love and acceptance” is not the right message but rather should be a more consistent affirmation of the LDS church’s position on the nature of chastity, marriage, and family. Others feel the MBB community’s approach is not progressive enough, insisting that if you are not going to come all-out in favor of same sex marriage, then “your love rings hollow to me.”
Confusion and Frustration.
Still others find it confusing to enact a loving stance toward LGBT/SSA people while also demonstrating an allegiance to their core beliefs. This is entirely understandable. We are not well practiced in our society in holding two apparently conflicting ideas in our hearts at the same time. This does indeed take practice. But with grace, this can be done.
Lead with Love.
The “MBB community way” has always been to focus on the love; to lead with love and let the consequence follow. We assert that all our sisters, brothers, and families are inherently worthy of love and belonging in our homes, congregations, and communities – no matter where their life path may take them. This assertion means that we affirm the wholeness or innate divinity in every individual. We recognize the genuine, inherent worth of each soul as a child of God (without any insinuations about what that means in terms of life choices each child of God might make). By leading with love and affirming the divine wholeness of each individual, the arguments about dogma or politics fade away in relative importance to the power and beauty manifested in the act of deep and genuine acceptance.
Imagine the Difference.
The Mormons Building Bridges community is less a movement built around a visible leader and more a way of creating thoughtful dialogue and innovation that is available to all LDS people as they approach the question of how to help LGBTQ/SSA people to thrive. The fundamental motivation that energizes this way of helping our LGBTQ/SSA sisters and brothers to thrive is the total and unequivocal affirmation of the divine wholeness of each individual. And when we lead with this kind of genuine love for one another, rather than dogmatic pronouncements or political manifestos, imagine the real difference we can make in one another’s lives. This is the source of true power for good; leading with love.