Monday, December 3, 2012
I love and accept you, but…I don’t accept your homosexual lifestyle
In a previous post, I stated my belief that all too many members of the LDS Church claim to love their LGBT brothers and sisters, but often attach "but..." to that love. This conditional acceptance, while perhaps justified in the eyes of the orthodox, has consequences that are generally hurtful to gay members of the Mormon community and sometimes tragic.
One of the most common "but..." statements is the nasty stand-by, "I love and accept you, but…I don’t accept your homosexual lifestyle."
Several years ago, a friend and I were riding public transportation to a restaurant in the western part of the Salt Lake Valley. At one of the stops, a group of teenage boys, obviously homeless, boarded the bus. As is our custom, my friend and I began a conversation with the boys—a conversation that ultimately would break our hearts.
These boys came from various parts of Salt Lake County. Each had been raised in "good" LDS homes, attending primary and Young Men’s, priesthood and seminary. One boy’s father was a stake president and another boy’s dad had been a bishop.
Why were these boys on the streets? Tragically, each had been driven from his home by parents who refused to accept that he was born with certain perspectives and desires which the parents viewed as deviant. Rather than try to understand, support, and accept these young men for the sons of God that they are, their fathers and mothers demanded conformity as a pre-requisite for granting parental love.
As a result, the boys were lost to their parents and lost to God, rejecting all that would make their lives rich, safe and joyful. Instead, these young men were lonely, angry and afraid.
What had each parent told these boys before sending them to the streets? Everyone of those homeless boys had been given some variant of this "but..." statement. "I love you, but if you remain at home you'll be a bad influence on your brothers," or "I love you and want you to stay, but you can't keep thinking you have same sex attraction," or "I love you and feel your pain, but you better not bring your gay friends into our home." Everyone of these parents bought into the idea that, "I love and accept you, but…I don’t accept your 'homosexual lifestyle'."
The underlying issue is that these parents do not or cannot accept the fact that their sons are homosexual males, no more afflicted than any of their heterosexual children. They believe that in the end, their SSA-behaving sons have a choice. What this choice actually boils down to is that they can either live lives of deceit and pretend to be straight or they must live lives of integrity outside the family circle.
The irony is that the families of these boys had all been sealed in a temple of God, united forever.
What these parents failed to remember is that "what God has joined together, let no man put asunder."