Faith and forgiveness are cornerstones of the gay experience. We endure alienation during our most vulnerable years, but we’re told that it will get better. That’s faith. Our families can’t fully understand the distress we feel as foreigners in our own homes, but we try to enlighten them as we mature together. That’s forgiveness.
One would imagine that religious groups founded on the pillars of faith and forgiveness would warmly welcome the LGBTQ+ community into their congregations, but it’s been a treacherous road thus far.
Take, for example, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Gay Mormons have struggled to survive centuries of persecution in the name of “traditional values,” coveting affection and carnal connections in the shadows of society.
As recently as 2019, LDS supported the use of conversion therapy cloaked in virtuous vestments.
“We teach the right of individuals to self-determination and the right of parents to guide the development of their children,” the church told CBS News. “We also believe faith-based perspectives have an important and ethically appropriate role in professional counseling.”
While their sentiment sounds reasonable, it disregards the devastating ramifications of conversion therapy. Equality Utah responded to the Mormon church with a righteous reckoning of receipts. “Let’s be clear. Studies have found that more than 60% of children subjected to conversion therapy attempt suicide. It’s long past time to protect youth from this dangerous practice.”
It was a come-to-Jesus moment, and the Latter-Day Saints listened. In an official statement, the church recently voiced their support for a congressional bill that will enshrine same-sex unions under federal law.
“We are grateful for the continuing efforts of those who work to ensure the Respect for Marriage Act includes appropriate religious freedom protections while respecting the law and preserving the rights of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. We believe this approach is the way forward. As we work together to preserve the principles and practices of religious freedom together with the rights of LGBTQ individuals, much can be accomplished to heal relationships and foster greater understanding.”
With this simple yet resounding declaration, the Mormon powerhouse has proven to be more inclusive than many so-called political representatives who routinely dismiss our civil rights as a “stupid waste of time.”
It will take an epic act of faith and forgiveness to get past those hateful words from Senator Marco Rubio. We’re not there yet. Don’t hold your breath. Instead, let’s focus on the promising developments within the LDS church. We pray this progress continues.
Last modified: November 29, 2022