While Heavenly Father loves you and me without reservation, many members of our Mormon community are not so open or so tolerant. While they might say they love us and accept us, they often end their expressions of love with a three letter word that is every bit as foul as any of the four letter words that I try sometimes unsuccessfully to avoid. That three letter word is the word “but”. The typical phrase is, “I love and accept you, but…”
How many times have you heard some well meaning Mormon say something like "I love gay people, BUT I will NEVER condoned their actions." Or, "I've always made it very clear to my Lesbian friends that I love them, BUT I don't support their lifestyle."
When I was young, I learned something that has stayed with me my entire life...a little insight into English grammar. I learned that when we use "but" in a sentence, we in fact generally negate most of what we have said before the "but".
When we say "I love LGBT people" and then say "but", we are in fact saying that we really don't love "LGBT people" unless it's on our terms. The question I’d like to ask those of you who use “but” statements, do you really love LGBT people?
It's interesting that in all the words of Christ, he never made a statement that was followed by "but". He never said, "Love thy neighbor, but..." He simply said "Love thy neighbor." He never said, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, but…” He just said, “Come unto me all ye…and I will give you rest.”
The problem with many today is that they insist that relationships and approval are granted on their terms with a HUGE "but" conspicuously hanging in the middle. This seems especially true when dealing with LGBT issues.
I don't think Christ or His Father would be too pleased.
The problem with “but” statements is that any reasonable person recognizes the patina of hypocrisy that drips from the statement.
What’s even more important to understand is that using “but” statements creates situations with consequences. Generally, these consequences impact people and lives, often in terrible or heartbreaking ways.
Over the next several posts, I will share a few of the most common "but" statements and the consequences that often transpire.
Adapted from the keynote address given by Allen Miller at the 2012 Salt Lake City Circling the Wagons Conference.