Thursday, March 10, 2011
"Will the Mormon God answer the prayers of a queer?"
Last week I was visiting with an acquaintance, a gay man with an LDS background, about my faith. It's surprising to many people that despite coming out and being unrepentant about who I am, I still anchor my life on the rock of the Gospel. While many people would consider me to be a "cafeteria Mormon" and as a result, somehow inferior, my approach works for me and I'm grateful to feel the love of Christ in my life.
In the course of my conversation with this man, the topic of prayer arose. When I frankly admitted that I continue to pray morning and evening, the man was amazed. "You think the Mormon God will actually answer the prayers of a queer?"
His question troubled me then and continues to trouble me some days later. The reason the question troubles me might surprise you. The question itself raised no real doctrinal or spiritual concerns for me. My quick response was of course the Lord will answer the prayers of a gay man or any one of his children for that matter.
What troubled me was that the question and the assertion camouflaged by the question are common in the Mormon gay community.
All too often, people who have once been committed to the Gospel and have felt the healing hands of the Spirit and have recognized the role of God in their lives feel estranged from Heavenly Father and reject him because leaders of God's church have rejected them.
For me, this "kicking against the pricks" doesn't make sense.
I remain in the Church, albeit with some reticence, because I have felt the Spirit and I continue at times to feel the Spirit guide my steps. I know that coming out was congruent with God's will because the decision left me with a sense of perfect peace. The witness I received regarding my decision to leave my wife and live an honest existence was the most powerful spiritual experience of my life. That experience continues to sustain me nearly a year later. My circle of friends who I love and have written about frequently could only have come as a gift from God in answer to my prayers.
Admittedly, there are times when God seems distant, uninterested and unresponsive, just as he often seemed when I lived the life of a traditional Latter-day Saint. It is at those times that I step back, take a deep breath, and remember that in the end, He has always come through. Always.
My message to my gay Mormon brethren is that despite the real pain we feel because of the weakness of men, Heavenly Father loves us as much today as he always has. Whether we find that love in Sacrament Meeting, a Quaker Gathering,a Catholic mass, or beside our beds is entirely unimportant. The critical thing is that we reconnect with God and allow his love to once again embrace our lives with the peace and joy we felt as younger men.