Monday, April 6, 2015

Let Your Light Shine Forth!

In the Saturday morning session of General Conference (April 2015), Elder L. Tom Perry gave a talk on the family.  He referred to The Family: A Proclamation to the World as well as a worldwide conference on the family, which was held in the Vatican, and it included religious leaders from all over the world.  He discussed the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, and how the family, within that context, is a fundamental building block of society.  I believe in this doctrine.  It makes sense to me, and combined with other General Conference talks about eternal perspective, it gives me so much hope.  It might seem like a paradox, a gay man saying something like that, but it certainly is not a paradox for me.

While listening, however, I was painfully aware of others who are gay (or same-sex attracted) who may not share my perspective or have a similar amount of hope.  I thought about how there might be some discouragement, loneliness, or anger.  There may be others who have gay family members, or who simply struggle with the doctrine on marriage.  I assure you that God's plan for families, as outlined in the Proclamation, does not exclude any of His children who seek to follow Him.  Elder D. Todd Christofferson, later on the same day, also talked about marriage.  He mentioned same-sex attraction, and other situations that may prevent someone from getting married and/or having children in this life.  He reassured us that God seeks to bless us with all He has.  The lack of ability or desire to be married in this mortal life does not in any way decrease your worth to Heavenly Father.  He has blessed you with unique talents and abilities that you can use to bless others and to help build the Kingdom of God.

I invite you to the 2015 North Star Conference, where you can learn how to "let your light shine forth" as a "gay" member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  You can become a part of a community of amazing brothers and sisters who know what you are going through and who want to help you.  You can learn how to open up, live more authentically and develop a network of support within your own family and within your own ward.  You do not have to give up forming wholesome and loving relationships with those of your own gender.  You can live a covenant life, not in spite of your attractions, but through embracing them in ways that are in harmony with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Just like everyone who strives to follow Christ, there are some sacrifices involved, but that does not mean you need to suppress who you are.

Equally important are the resources available to spouses, families, therapists and church leaders.  For more information, and to register, please see http://conference.northstarlds.org/ (Prices increase on April 11, as the conference is being held in the Utah Valley Convention Center).

I am grateful to have found a community of support.  I am thankful to have friends who understand me, and who also want to live the gospel.  I am always inspired when we go to the temple together.  I mean...a bunch of "gays and lesbians" serving in the temple together?  I look forward to those numbers growing.  More importantly, I am grateful for the Savior and for the opportunity I have had to grow closer to Him through my experience with same-sex attraction. 



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