The point of embarking on something new was to get out of my comfort zone. Maybe I would've been better off attempting sky diving?
At one point in her book, Carol Lynn Pearson asks, "What if?" and finishes the sentences with happy endings like, "What if I wasn't gay? What if my family was whole?" I ask myself this: "What if I never read this book?"
Well, then I would still be a very naive convert into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
The whole time reading this book, I kept thinking, "This is not the Church I know. These are not my fellow brothers and sisters. This is not how we treat our members." But, talking to older wiser members, mothers, people in general, I realize that there are people like this; unforgiving, biased, harsh, cruel, mean people who do not understand what Christ's mission was about.
A quote on the front of the book says, "Thank you…for reminding us that the task of any religion is to teach us whom we're required to love, not whom we're entitled to hate." –Rabbi Harold Kushner author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People (Really? Bad things happen to good people? Who knew?)
All sarcasm aside, the issue of homosexuality is a very serious issue that I think all people, of all races, nationalities, religions etc. should consider. I have one gay friend. One. I hardly see him. In fact, I've spoken to him all of two times since he "came out." But I adore him still. I still think of him, still love him. Nothing has changed for me. The fact that we don't talk is purely related to the "married" vs. "single" friend's phenomenon. You just tend to fall apart. I have a mortgage, a husband, and two children. He still get's to stay up past ten o'clock.
What do I think of "No More Goodbyes?"
I think that it casts a very dark shadow over the Church. I want to shout from the roof tops "THE PEOPLE OF THE CHURCH ARE NOT PERFECT. THE GOSPEL IS PERFECT." If every member of this Church lived the Gospel the way it should be lived, then we wouldn't need it. We wouldn't need this probationary period. We wouldn't need the atonement. I'm not speaking about homosexuals when I say this. I'm talking about the members of the Church who put it upon themselves to judge. But I understand that I am not perfect, that I am a growing child of Heavenly Father, and that He will never, ever leave me alone in this growth process.
My heart breaks reading stories about young boys who have killed themselves because of the guilt they've felt over their homosexuality; because the way people treated them (members and non-members alike.) About families torn apart after years because one parent can no longer disguise who they are. It hurts more to see how people react to these men and women. How they're treated after already suffering great pain. Carol Lynn Pearson quotes Maya Angelou at one point. She says, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
Amen Maya. Amen.
I'm not going to touch on this subject again. It has invoked in me so many new and strange emotions. This is a new frontier for me.
But I do want to say that though there may be a shadow looming over the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for much of the world who is still in the dark, I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that this is the one and true Gospel. I know that it was put here in the last days to help redeem us. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God; a courageous and amazing man. I know that Jesus is the Christ, and that He lives and He loves us. I know that there are trials in this life that we have to deal with; that we will fall, and that, with hope and faith, we will remember the Atonement, that we will stand up again with the help of the Lord. There is no sheep in His flock not worthy of this Atonement. Not one. And I hope I go forward remembering that. I hope that people who encounter me will remember how I made them feel, and that I make them feel like they're loved.