Believe in Yourself and Believe in God’s Love for You
A Statement by the Executive Committee of Affirmation: LGBT Mormons, Families and Friends
At general conferences, leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speak to the general membership, sharing counsel. The 183rd Semi-Annual General Conference included many words of comfort and hope from Church leaders. Many in the Affirmation community were encouraged by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s talk at the Saturday morning session, reminding Church members about the importance of authenticity in our faith, and of the strength we derive from our diversity. We were also encouraged by Bishop Causse’s words during the Priesthood session that the Church must have no outcasts. Two talks, one by Elder Dallin H. Oaks and another by Russell M. Nelson, addressed the issue of marriage for gay and lesbian couples, emphasizing that current Church teaching sees marriage between a man and a woman as the only appropriate context for sexual expression.
Affirmation includes believing members of the Church who attend weekly, individuals who believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ but do not attend LDS Church services, and individuals who have left the church and no longer desire affiliation with it. Many LGBT Mormons, their family members and friends have listened and will continue to listen to talks by prophets and apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and, like all Church members, determine how best to apply what they hear from church leaders in their lives through a process of personal discernment that includes study and prayer.
Many in the Affirmation community have responded to the statements on same-sex marriage with disappointment. Others were not surprised by these statements, because they reiterated positions laid out in previous general authority talks on the subject, in official church publications, and on “mormonsandgays.org.” Many were also encouraged by a continuing emphasis on inclusion and welcome.
To those who feel disappointment and heartache, we say continue to trust in your own personal discernment process, believe in yourselves, believe in God’s unconditional love for you, and believe in God’s desire that you be happy in this life and in the next.
Please join a conference call this Wednesday at 9:00 Eastern/7:00 Mountain, to discuss and reflect upon the October 2013 General Conference. A panel will respond to your questions, thoughts, and feelings. The entire call will focus upon the issues brought forward by callers, so we invite you to add your voice.
We are grateful that in recent years a growing number of members and leaders of the church are showing greater openness and willingness to hear our experience and to walk a journey with us that has been very painful for many. We hope that this journeying and wrestling together will continue, and we trust that as we stay in this path that we will continue to grow individually and as a church. We encourage all people on both sides of this very difficult issue to continue to reach out to and listen to one another in empathy, patience, and love.
Randall Thacker, President
John Gustav-Wrathall, Senior Vice President
Tina Richerson, Vice President
Affirmation: LGBT Mormons, Families and Friends
P.S. If you are on Facebook, we invite you to use the attached image as your profile picture with a possible caption of “We will move forward as LGBT Mormon pioneers.”