Last weekend was the Utah Pride festival and parade. In fact, all of June is national Pride month here in the U.S. There is no secret that my LDS faith community has a rocky relationship with the LGBTQIA community. Frankly, there are some ungodly policies within Mormonism focused specifically on LGBTQIA members which are harmful to them and their families. These institutionalized biases allow some members to feel justified in their really ugly beliefs about some of their brothers and sisters.
The rhetoric always amps up in June, but there’s still a fair amount of it that persists throughout Mormonism on a regular basis. To be honest, it is a problem and one which causes genuine harm, measurable and unmeasurable, to families within the church (as well as others who are connected to Mormonism in some way).
I wish it would stop. I do not understand why we as a church body feel that we have the right or knowledge to make the kinds of judgements that we do, ones which create a lot of pain. I may be painting with a broad brush here, but as I see it, the entire LDS opposition to gay marriage rests on the idea that we have an understanding of the makeup of “eternal families” in the afterlife. It’s based on polygamy culture wherein perpetual procreation happens with one or more Heavenly Mothers married to a Heavenly Father who procreate the same way that we do in mortality.
Which is utter nonsense.
We have no actual revelation about the family structure of heaven (don’t reference the Proc on the Family; that’s not revelation and even if it was there’s plenty to support a different interpretation of heaven).
Heck, we barely know anything about Heavenly Mother or Her role. Without that, we certainly can’t maintain our intellectual integrity AND a belief that we have perfect understanding about the family structure of Heaven.
Our current cultural beliefs are assumptions based on mortality and founded in polygamy, pure and simple. Polygamy culture infuses our church and I don’t have space or will do dive deep into it right here, right now, but I would suggest the Year of Polygamy podcast series and researching the temple origins and their relationship to polygamy if you’re unaware of how pervasive it is.
So, I guess if you want to embrace the idea that to get to heaven you have to practice polygamy, then go ahead and also embrace homophobia. (Full disclosure, I’m still going to call you out on it; see two paragraphs below. However, you can’t reject the LGBTQIA community as sinful, within the Mormon paradigm, without also embracing polygamy.)
BUT! If you (men) do not want to risk your wife being taken from you and given to another man (gag me; we aren’t property) while you are cast out for unfaithfulness to a god who would do that, or if you don’t want to risk being required to be married to multiple other women to achieve Godhood, then you might want to also rethink your certainty that there is no room for non-hetero families in Heaven. If you (woman) do not want to be forced into being a second or third or fourth wife or your husband being sealed to four or five or more other women and all of you being eternally pregnant, then you might want to also rethink your certainty that there is no room for non-hetero families in Heaven.
Without revelation on the family structure of heaven, Mormonism has plenty of room (and a historical track record) to believe the current LDS bias against the LGBTQ community is culture, not doctrinal (aka the revealed Truth or will of God). And, frankly, there’s enough difficulty determining what’s doctrine and what’s culture that Mormonism leaves you free to believe that what I see as cultural error, you, my traditional LDS friends, can see as doctrine from God (but, remember, polygamy).
Whether you do or not, whether you believe Jesus declared marriage between a man and woman only (in which case, let’s address the “sin” of being single with equal vigor), we all can acknowledge that that yes, Jesus did in fact cast judgements. After all, doesn’t the Book of Mormon teach that the only gatekeeper is Jesus (see 2 Nephi 9)? How can a person decide who comes and goes through a gate without some kind of judgement.
But… he’s Jesus. Perfect. Flawless. Capable of loving beyond imagination and understanding without any confusion and making judgements without errors. Are you? If not, then maybe you should direct your energy towards developing and perfecting THOSE Christlike attributes before you get really good at the Christlike attribute of passing judgement.
If you’re not capable of seeing the whole of a person, capable of perfect knowledge of what is and isn’t sin, capable of perfect love, then maybe you shouldn’t be setting yourself up as God in anyone’s life. The Book of Mormon also has a term for that: antichrist.
I have no doubt that many of the people who disagree with me on this are trying their very best to follow God. Just so we’re clear, I am too. I am hopeful that by sharing my thoughts there will be room for you to take this to our Heavenly Parents with an open heart and not with one bound up by a cultural bias founded on a (semi)discarded belief system both of which that causes immense damage.
As for me and my house, we will choose love. We will choose to develop relationships and let Jesus worry about sin. We will choose to teach our children to wait for further light and knowledge from our Heavenly Parents. We will choose to acknowledge that even our prophets are subject to cultural biases and we will not expect perfection out of even them. We will never, ever subjugate our moral compass to someone else’s control, even if they are an authority. If at the end of my life I meet God and They tell me I was wrong in this, I will own it, but do it with a clear conscience that my error was loving my fellow humans too much. I would rather be guilty of that than of condemning them too much. I would rather help bear burdens too much than add burdens too easily.
I’m not afraid to say I don’t know. I might be wrong. But I’d rather be wrong being with kindness than being wrong with judgement.