From the Pulpit
Where Much Is Given
By Steve Evans
This talk was delivered at the Sunday Morning Devotional for the 1991 National Conference held in Palm Springs, California.
First, a note of clarification in my remarks today, I will be using the pronoun "we" inclusively. My remarks are aimed at what unites us, not what divides us. With the richness of diversity found in this room, so many different stages of progress, both in and out of the Church, it seems like quite a task to find some common ground. Not withstanding, the two things that unite us here at this conference are one, Homosexuality, and two, an affiliation with the Mormon Church. My words today are meant to include all of us under those common factors, what ever our own personal position and relationship to them might be.
When Ricky first asked me to speak, he said that I has 2 1/2 minutes. The last time I gave a 2 1/2 minute talk 1 was a Sunbeam in Sister Richard's Junior Sunday School Class of the Holladay 4th Ward. I still remember as a 5 year old how impressed I was every week by her different matching shoes and handbags. There was never any doubt that this young man was gay. Well, the day I had been practicing for arrived. My mother and father were in the back row, beaming with pride, and I stood in front of that Junior Sunday School and recited how "Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam, to shine for Him each day,". Many things have changed since that day. I'm grown up now, served a mission, graduated from BYU, the ward has been divided three times, and unfortunately, my parents are not here today to see me.
To us, the Lord said, "Where much is given, much is required". We, indeed, have been given much. We are a peculiar people. Who are we, and what have we been given? Mormon doctrine teaches us that what and who we are is no accident. We are not some unnatural mishap. Quite the opposite, we are God's begotten children, from before the beginning of time. Who we are did not happen at birth, no it goes much deeper, who we are, gay men and lesbian women, we have always been, and always will be. Man does not alter or in any way change eternal principles. The Lord knows full well the extent of the special circumstances embodied deep within us. He knows us.
Exactly what and who we are is exactly who and what He intended, by His own creation. We are fully known to God, fully loved by Him, and He requires that we fulfill that birthright. Unfortunately there are those, both within the Church and without that would have us be something else. Some Church leaders, politicians, governors, and even some of our won family members would have us sell our birthrights and wish us to fail in meeting His specific requirements of us.
These people encourage us to alter the deepest, most basic parts of our eternal soul, and thus to fail in our ultimate challenge. Anyone who encourages us to do so is uninspired, in the least, and has their interest more in mind that ours.
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God". We love the Lord by magnifying our calling, by living up to our fullest potential. We live up to that God given potential by moving ahead with our lives. We are productive, happy, moral, talented, beautiful, well-adjusted people. We need to show that. We need to shine, to blossom as the rose. No more flukes of nature, we are not unfortunate by-products of a sour environment. We are God's special children. Empowered with indescribable gifts and joys. As we find our special place in His plan, and blossom into the potential He created for us, we return His requirements fully completed. That is what we need to do, brothers and sisters, to come to an understanding of our own special measure of creation and to mete that measure. I look around this room, and the ability, the intellect, the joy, the talent, the beauty, the power here are overwhelming. Let it show. "Let your light so shine that men may see your good works, and glorify your Father In Heaven". Jesus indeed does want us for a sunbeam, to shine for Him each day. That we may do so, that we may take all He has given us, and fulfill all His special requirements of us us my prayer.