Sunday, August 17, 2014

Brotherly Love, My thoughts on LGBT.

When someone who was very close to me came out I found myself confused, and trying to make everything in my heart and head match up and make sense. I cried so much about it. I’ve always had LGBT friends. I’m one of those “love everyone, don’t judge, we all have the ability to live our lives and choose where we want to be, so who am I to say anything” type person. Love comes very easily for me. Those people shared different religious beliefs so I never thought about it or let it weigh heavy on my mind. This person however was of the same faith as me, and I just couldn’t understand. I prayed, and prayed, and fasted about it to find peace, to find clarity, to make it “make sense.” All I could think about was the loneliness this person had been dealing with hiding it, the loss this person would feel losing love or losing religion. Mostly I couldn’t help but think about how others would treat this person, the bullying, the judgment, the possible shunning and hurt they would experience probably for the rest of their lives because of the culture that surrounds us. It was a heavy weight. At this time I was also taking a Family Foundations class which added to the personal confusion and tears. I felt like my answer came to me one afternoon inside the Rexburg Temple. I was praying about it once again just seeking peace and just as clear as ever the thought came to me “Carree, Why are you so upset? What are you so worried about? You know about Christ’s Atonement in your own life. You have experienced that indescribable love, that shift in your life. That change. You know that God knows and loves all his children. You know that during the Atonement Christ felt the pains and sins and struggles, the sadness and loniness of every single person. He knows that person better than you do and He has taken care of it. Why are you still upset?” That was one of the most peaceful times in my life. I trust that God will protect this loved one of mine. I trust that the hurts will all be healed. My love for them never changed, and I learned that God’s love for them never changed either. This is just a brief sum up of a very personal experience I would share more but I really want to talk about what I’m really passionate about, and anyone that knows me knows that it is anti-bullying and love for all.

This is mostly directed at those who share my LDS faith (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints), most of the facts I’ll present here about loving our LGBT brothers and sisters come from LDS websites, scriptures and beliefs. This Blog is also for those who believe that church is cruel or hateful to LGBTs. That is NOT in the doctrine. Imperfect people trying to live the Gospel may misunderstand or mistreat others but that is not what God is about. On that note I want to also state that this is NOT a blog about “Right or Wrong” “Human Rights” “Religious stand point on homosexuality” This is a blog post about Brotherly love and how we treat those who see the world differently than we do. If anyone has questions feel free to ask me them. On that note I want to begin. It might be a little choppy but I promise I will try to get it to come together nicely and hopefully say the message I am trying to convey.

Agency: Agency is the ability and privilege God gives us to choose and to act for ourselves. Agency is essential in the plan of salvation. Without agency, we would not be able to learn or progress or follow the Savior. With it, we are “free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil” ( 2 Nephi 2:27) (

We believe in agency, we believe in freewill. We all can choose the life, and lifestyle we all want to live. No one is perfect and we are asked not to judge, only Christ who perfectly understands is to judge. In Matthew 7:1-5, the Savior says judge ye not; how can you see clearly to cast the mote out of your brother’s eye when there is a beam in yours? It is a command not to look at other’s sins when you have your own sitting right behind you. Not one of us is perfect. Not one of us is qualified to judge. However we are commanded to love. Christ taught when asked what the two great commandments were his response was 1) Love God. 2) Love one your neighbor as you love yourself.  (Matthew 22:36-39)

The church handbook says: "While opposing homosexual behavior, the Church reaches out with understanding and respect to individuals who are attracted to those of the same gender. If members feel same-gender attraction but do not engage in any homosexual behavior, leaders should support and encourage them in their resolve to live the law of chastity and to control unrighteous thoughts. These members may receive Church callings. If they are worthy and qualified in every other way, they may also hold temple recommends and receive temple ordinances." 

Also the church has a complete website about our members who are doing their best and trying to live the gospel while finding peace with their attraction. ( We all have things we are trying to learn in this life.

We are instructed to give support. We are instructed to take the lessons we study about charity, the pure love of Christ, and apply it to our lives. We are to love. In Moroni 7:45 it states “And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth in the truth, bearth all things, believeth all things, eudureth all things.” Verse 46 starts by saying, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth…” this same doctrine is taught in the Bible in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.  We are to love to the end, though it’s hard, we are to be kind, no exceptions.

A really great example of this is the Story of Tom Christofferson. I’ll share the clip of an article that had his story that really hit home for me. Here it is:   
“The challenge for my church isn’t that we don’t know everything we wish we knew about where gays fit into the eternal scheme of things. A higher power will sort that out. The more immediate challenge is to help church members and local leaders set a tone and example so that gay members feel welcome in our congregations. Our doors should be open, our pews inviting. In my travels I have visited a congregation in New Canaan, Connecticut, that serves as a model example. Tom Christofferson is an openly gay Mormon who attends services there. Tom’s backstory is a lot like Clark Johnsen’s – strong Mormon upbringing, served a mission, left the church due to his sexual identity being in conflict with his faith. But a few years ago he decided to return to the church. He is still with his gay partner of 18 years. Yet his congregation has embraced them. He sings in the choir, attends all meetings, and has shared his testimony from the pulpit. It started with a compassionate bishop.
"Tom's presence has made me a better person," New Canaan resident and JetBlue Airways founder David Neeleman told me. "I wish there were three or four Tom Christoffersons in every Mormon congregation. We'd learn to be more tolerant, more compassionate."
I know and admire Tom. I also admire his brother D. Todd Christofferson, who is one of the Twelve Apostles in the Mormon Church. The Christofferson family’s approach to the situation is a pattern for other families with gay children. "Quite soon after I came out,” Tom said, “My parents took an opportunity to express to my brothers and their wives their determination that nothing would be allowed to break the circle of love that binds all of us together as a family. As they expressed it, while none of us is perfect as individuals, we can be perfect in our unconditional love for each other."

Everyone, everywhere can learn from this family.

In Utah every 11 days a teen commits suicide, one in three of those suicides is a LGBT. That’s once a month (simple math 1/3 of 30)  under the pressure of bullying, lack of love from families, and trying to find peace with their self, an LGBT child ends their life and the solution is so simple: kindness, imperfect people loving each other enough to put aside that difference and be a friend, be a parent. ( On top of that 20-40% of homeless youth in Utah are LGBT. Kicked out, or have moved out because parents were unable to continue loving the child that they raised. These statistics really break my heart. Is this the application of Christ like love the Savior asked us to have? Even coming from parents who are to love and support their own flesh and blood.

I want to end pretty much where I started with Christ and the Atonement and my personal answer. When Christ paid the price for all sin and all pain, he experienced what homosexual temptations would feel like, he experienced the loneliness, he experienced the sadness and pain of what it would feel like to be abandoned and tormented, and he overcame it all. He knows and understands what we cannot, and his final command is to love.


  1. I had an airhead moment and left out my source for the homeless teens. here it is if anyone is wondering.

  2. very good Carree. This is one of the things that started bugging me about Mormons before I became an Atheist. I know there is a lot of prejudice against gay people among mormons because I used to be one of the worst of them all. Looking back I can't believe I ever thought all of those crazy things about them-they're normal freaking people (for the most part, I mean there can still be crazy gay people) who just want to live their lives the way they want and be accepted. I think getting to know gay people makes it easier to accept them because it isn't as foreign or weird or whatever. Anyways, if more mormons thought like you did, they would have more going for them!

    1. Thank you. My hope with writing this was to encourage others to open their hearts.

  3. I agree with the person above. If more people in the church interacted with people who are homosexual, they'd know how to love them better. We must learn to love all.