Joshua Weed: Why I love the LDS Church's new MormonsandGays.org website
Last Sunday, my father, my mother, Lolly and I (and two other men) presented on a panel about homosexuality. It was the first church-sponsored fireside on same-gender attraction that I had had the chance to be involved in. Slowly, the room before us filled. Church leaders from the Beaverton Stake in Portland, Ore., filed in and sat down. These were good saints, yearning to understand, obviously seeking to comprehend how they could help their gay brothers and sisters more effectively.
The stake president, a wonderful man, showed a slide presentation preceding a question-answer session with the panel. The church's website had been released but two days prior, and he had incorporated it into his presentation. So there we sat — my family and I, who have been walking together with faith through this issue for decades — alongside many members of the church who had had much less exposure to the issue of homosexuality. We watched as Elder Cook, with tears in his eyes, spoke of beloved friends who had died of AIDS, and then said, "As a church, nobody should be more loving and compassionate. ... Let's not have families exclude or be disrespectful of those who choose a different lifestyle. ..." We saw other leaders, with compassion and understanding, talk about same-gender attraction. We watched testimonials of good men and women living good lives as gay members of the church. And then, afterwards, we had a conversation. We talked openly and candidly. There was no judgment or fear. Only curiosity and openness. The Spirit was felt in abundance. It was a marvelous experience in large part because the website served as a crucial piece of the conversation, enlightening all of us together.
I'm grateful to live in this day. There has never been a better time to be a gay member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.Mormonsandgays.org is helping gay Mormons to feel God's love. It is helping us to feel the warm love of our beloved leaders. It is helping us not feel so alone.
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