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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!/Two major developments regarding the Church and the LGBT population

I am posting at this hour for some very important reasons. First and foremost, my parents celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary yesterday (July 1). I am so grateful to the woman who set them up on their first date when neither of them had previously known each other. I am grateful for the influence my mom had on my dad serving a mission. She must have made quite the impression on him. By the time he left on his mission, she was also serving as a missionary. When my dad gave his farewell talk, he mentioned that he had met a South African lady that he intended to marry when he got home. I'm glad my mom came to the United States on a "short vacation." I'm glad my dad didn't let the moss grow under his feet upon his return and that my parents were engaged a day after his release as a missionary. I am grateful that they did such a remarkable job in raising their family. They deserve much of the credit for my personal successes. After all, as I observed in my article in the Ensign this month, my earliest doctors told them to take me home and simply love me, as I would never amount to more than a limp noodle on a sofa. While I do have my "limp noodle" moments, thanks to them, I have had far more successes than I have had failures. And even when they had reservations about letting someone else (the woman who would become my wife) take over responsibility of looking out for me, once they knew I was serious about marrying her, they fully supported me, just like they have in everything I've ever done. I hope to be able to give them many more grandchildren to dote on. And I know that my children couldn't ask for a better Ouma and Oupa. I have seen what my wife has gone through in dealing with the death of her mother. I hope my parents will be around for many years to come. I still have so much to learn from their examples and testimonies. They have lived a legacy of faith and devotion to God that  I know will be a blessing to their posterity for many years to come. Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad, and thanks for everything!

That being said, there have been two major developments relating to the Church and their attitude toward and actions regarding the LGBT community in general and same-sex marriage in particular. The Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has written a letter that they indicated should be shared to all adults and youth in congregations in the United States and Canada either July 5 or July 12, in a setting other than Sacrament Meeting. It reaffirms the Church's support for traditional marriage, reiterates the doctrine of marriage being between one man and one woman, addresses the reasoning behind a belief in and support for traditional marriage, and directly provides answers to questions relating to why traditional marriage is so important in the eyes of the Church and our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Since the Church has made public the information that will be shared, I share it here as well. I would encourage all those Latter-day Saints who follow my blog to prayerfully review these materials and come to find out for themselves the truthfulness and importance of this doctrine. I believe the statement that "when . . .prophet[s] speak, the debate is over." I have been and will continue to be a supporter and proponent of the Church's view. I know that will not make me popular with any who support same-sex marriage, but I have never been afraid of being unpopular. In the letter, it is stated that the Church insists on its right to practice and uphold a support of traditional marriage without threat of ridicule or persecution. The bottom line is, our leaders have spoken, and no one, whomever they may be, has a right to change the doctrine the Lord has set forth. The Church will never change their position. Neither will I. The whole world could make same-sex marriage legal, and it still wouldn't alter what the Lord has decreed. Any who take issue with that are welcome to do so, but I hope all my readers will accept this as something I have come to know for myself to be true and respect me for it, rather than ridiculing or persecuting me for so believing. I respect other peoples' rights to disagree with what I believe and proclaim their own opinion on the subject, but I don't appreciate people telling me that I'm bigoted, prejudiced, or misled. Other people may believe however they want. I accept their rights to do so. I hope in turn they will accept my rights to believe in and support traditional marriage without trying to convince me of the error of my ways. Sorry about the sermon. But it's how I feel. Those who favor same-sex marriage have said that everyone needs to love and accept everyone else and their lifestyles. I do have a love and respect for all of our Heavenly Father's children. But just as a parent won't condone their children doing something wrong, I cannot condone or support something that I believe is not in harmony with God's will. Many say about same-gender attraction that those who deal with it were just "born that way" and that they can't help their tendencies, that this is just part of "who they are." Anyone is free to believe that. But I refuse to believe that a loving God would take away anyone's power of choice or ability to act for themselves in any matter. Everyone has their agency. For some, that leads them to disobey and disregard the Lord's standards. I am using my agency to live the way I feel God wants me to live. And I hope I will be respected for that rather than ridiculed, criticized, or persecuted for it.

Enough on that. I also wanted to mention another development in regards to the Church's conduct towards the LGBT community. The Church has made a sizable donation of money and much-needed perishable food items to the Utah Pride Center at the request of the Center. The Church made no mention of this themselves. It was the Center who reported the information to the local news outlets. What was donated will go to help the Center provide breakfast every Saturday to homeless youth. The Center partners with the Utah Food Bank, but the Bank is unable to supply perishable items. Those interviewed said that they were glad that, in spite of their difference in beliefs, they were able to come together on this issue, to help those who are not currently able to help themselves. It is a major milestone in the Church's relationship with the LGBT community in general and this Center in particular. It is hoped that this donation will benefit those homeless youth for a long time.

Well, I've "sounded off" enough for one night. It is past 2 am, and I haven't eaten anything since getting back from work 4 hours ago. I will keep my eye out for further developments on the Church news front and will do my best to also keep all my readers updated on our personal lives. Until I write again, all the best!