Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Facebook Note- Controversy? Not yet.

Earlier this week, I found out about an exhibit in the HFAC about homosexuals. It depicts two men side by side. One of these men is a homosexual and the other is one who supports them or is an advocate for them in the sense of they love them, but don't necessarily encourage them to be practicing homosexuals. The photography is well done, it is not a violation of the Honor Code. The project was pulled earlier this month and then was hung again in a fairly recent move, rehung. The artist expressed gratitude for the University's decision to rehang the photos. The University claims that it was due to some "misunderstanding." Here's the link about it:,5143,705269360,00.html

So here follows an editorial that I would like to publish but probably won't.

When Jesus Christ began his ministry, He didn't exactly join the ranks of the socially prominent or the popular. He spent His time eating with publicans, the poor, the sick, and the needy. He spent his time with the people whom the Pharisees deemed "evil" or "unclean." Jesus came to minister to all men, but some were too blind to listen. Those who actually fully appreciated Christ's message the most were those who were perhaps in the worst circumstances. They took His message to heart and followed His commandments. The sinners forsook their sins and bore their crosses. Also those who experienced mental anguish or conditions that they could not change, loved Christ's message and followed him with all their hearts.

Recently, a series of photographs appeared in the HFAC at BYU, depicting BYU, active Mormons who are trying their hardest to live their faith and who happen to be gay. These are the kinds of people who pray and fast that they won't be gay anymore. They also pray that God will lift this burden from their backs, that someday they will marry and have a family, and that someday, they will feel loved by their fellow men. Many of them won't ever do anything to violate the Law of Chastity. They will have celibate lives, waiting for the day when they shall receive their eternal reward.

In these photos, it doesn't just shows a gay person. There is a person beside them, acting as their friend, their supporter in their quest. Neither one is identified as the one who is actually gay. In the end, they are both depicted as more than just people- they are children of God. They have a divine heritage and a divine destiny. They are trying to keep the commandments. And yet, as they face the world, they often feel criticized, abandoned, and cast off from God's love.

But here on the earth, they can't see that eternal reward coming soon enough. Many gays in the Church have committed suicide, in hopes that they will find peace in the afterlife. They feel immense pressure to become straight, to become the "perfect Mormon." They were told if only you had fasted a little more, if only you had been more faithful, then you could be straight. They weep. They mourn. And all they want is love.

With Proposition 8 and all the media surrounding it, the Church did not come off as friendly or particularly loving to gays inside the Church. This was an unfortunate PR move. I know the Church loves gay people, they really do, but they just don't express it very well. I was, however, saddened by the member's reaction to the whole situation. I came out of this, even as a straight, white, Mormon from Salt Lake, hurt and frankly very confused. I felt as if many attacks were aimed towards gay people themselves. And from what I have gathered from many gay members, who are trying to remain faithful, they came out of this situation, very hurt.

I am proposing we stop the hate speech this instant. I am proposing that the next time someone tells you they are gay, you don't immediately think of them as a sinner. I am proposing that we realize that in reality, Jesus Christ is their Lord and their God too. They have just as much as a divine past, present, and future as you do. Gays in the Church are trying very hard to live their lives. And all they need is a little love. Where can they turn for this love? Right now, they have very few places to turn. Mostly they turn to the liberal or "radical" members of the Church. I am asking, pleading, in fact, that we all become the source for love. Don't attach a stigma to them.

And for the last time. Please. Just love them. That's what they need right now more than anything.

As for the display- I am saddened that it was taken down. I am frankly quite angry that it was taken down. The photographer was encouraging BYU students to look at gays as people. He wasn't supporting homosexual behavior. But on the other hand, I am glad that it is back up now. Maybe now we can all come to love people more.

So, in conclusion. Love them. Love them. Love them. Love them. I don't care if you think people have problems who are gay, if you believe it is a mental condition, if you believe it is a test, or if you believe it is simply a matter of genes, here comes our test and our condemnation. I imagine when we reach the judgment seat of Christ one of the first questions He will ask is "Did you love your fellow man- including the gays?"

I hope and pray we can say yes.

I bear you my testimony that God loves all his children, not just the straight ones or the white ones or the perfect ones. I bear testimony that Jesus died for everyone.

May we remember these lessons, I pray.

1 comment:

Catherine said...

Controversy? You bet!


Loved this note. Loved the ensuing discussion. Wish it could have continued.

I am looking forward to 500 gallons of discussion on this topic when we return to BYU.