“We will stand with the words of Jesus himself, following his radical policies of absolute love and absolute inclusion. These are the words and the actions we will celebrate this Christmas, for these are the “tidings of great joy.” By Carol Lynn Pearson
My son Jonathan told us he was gay about ten years ago. I didn’t react well. I tried to convince him he could be straight. I tried to convince him that even if he was “a little gay” that he could marry a woman. I couldn’t believe that “this” happened in my family. The first time my son brought home another young man and introduced him as his boyfriend, I nearly became sick to my stomach and I treated them both like lepers and didn’t want them to come into the house. Affirmation healed my relationship with my son. He knows now that my former homophobia is totally gone and that I love him unconditionally.
By Bob Rees
Today there is immense pain in Mormonism. Addressing that pain depends on our individual acts of courage, sacrifice, and, especially, love. It is amidst that pain where much of the most important work of repairing, healing and transforming through love is to be done.
The current issue appears to be the dramatic change in society’s acceptance towards homosexuality, gay rights, and same-sex marriage. The Church has addressed homosexuality by distinguishing between sexual orientation and behavior, and applying the Law of Chastity consistently, whether straight or gay. In 2012, they developed an official website, mormonsandgays.org, which provides official, up-to-date statements of the Church, tools to help members and local leaders overcome fear and ignorance through education and Christlike love, and interviews with members who share their thoughts and insights regarding these issues. On this website, for example, the Church states that sexual orientation is not a choice.
John Gustav-Wrathall has been elected as 2016 Affirmation President. His election and selection of Sara Jade Woodhouse as Senior Vice President and Adrián Sanchez Román as Vice President has been ratified by the Affirmation Board of Directors. These three will constitute the 2016 Executive Committee. The current Executive Committee – Randall Thacker, Todd Richardson, and Kathy Carlston will all join the Affirmation Board of Directors. Fred Bowers will also continue serving as a member of the Board. This is the first Affirmation Executive Committee to include a transgender person and a Latino and non-U.S. citizen.
So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
I have played the organ every week for 30 years. I have led the choir for 3 different periods. I have taught Priesthood, Sunday School, given talks; played for baptisms, weddings, and funerals; composed over 30 vocal pieces for Sacrament Meeting; run the Stake Christmas Concert, and conducted a concert of LDS forces at Carnegie Hall. I have played the organ for church functions at Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden. Though there has been some discord, I have never been away from the Church for more than a short burst…It’s different, this time.
Many LGBT members consider one of their greatest gifts to be a greater capacity to love their fellow man. They feel an increased awareness, empathy, compassion, and desire to serve others, especially those who have faced uphill battles in society. Depending on the discussion and as led by the Spirit, a personal experience involving this greater capacity to love may help tear down walls and build bridges towards love and understanding of each other within the group.
By Dave Sandberg
At the Affirmation Conference, Fiona Givens pointed out that even the Lord of the vineyard feels ready to give up on this project, yet continues to persevere, knowing that both the tame and the wild olive trees will perish if left to themselves. But if grafted together, they will become different from what they have been – and provide vital nourishment and strength to each other as they continue to grow. There are both tame and wild olive trees that grow within my own character that need pruning, grafting, and managing.