“Two Degrees off Center” is a monthly blog by Rich Keys about the personal struggles, issues, and topics that speak to the LDS/LGBT experience. Sometimes it will be serious, sometimes humorous, but will always approach things from a slightly different perspective.
Two Degrees off Center
By Rich Keys
Rocking the Boat
At General Conference in October 2014, Elder M. Russell Ballard spoke of the Apostles braving a storm in Luke 8. As their boat was tossed about and they began to fear for their lives, they looked to the Savior for help, but He was sleeping through the whole thing. That did not go over very well with the Apostles, and they woke Him up complaining about Him being asleep at His post. The Lord kept His cool, commanded the storm to cease, and peace was restored.
Suddenly, “Stay in the Boat” swept through the Church like an official mantra from Salt Lake. It became the theme for every meeting, conference, and Fifth Sunday lesson from Juneau to Johannesburg. The answer to every problem and prayer in life was to “stay in the boat.” All we had to do was put it on the refrigerator next to the Proclamation, and it would see us through every storm that life threw at us.
By the time it got to my ward as the theme of ward conference, I’d had enough. What about the other storm in Matthew 14 when Peter got OUT of the boat? Another storm, another boat, but this time Peter climbed out of the boat instead of staying in. The difference with this storm was Jesus wasn’t in the boat. He was walking on the water, and Peter exercised his faith to go to Him. When he was distracted by the storm, he began to sink, but as long as his eye and faith were single to the Lord, he walked closer to Him.
When I look for the constant principle in the two storms, it seems the key isn’t to stay in the boat—the key is to stay with the Lord.
Since I realized I’m gay and I found Affirmation, I’ve been impressed by the level of faith of LGBT Mormons of all labels—active, inactive, disfellowshipped, excommunicated, walkaways, out or closeted, swimming with the current or against it, and so many others. I expected to find weakness in many forms. Instead, I found strength—strength in faith, in insight, in knowledge and intelligence and wisdom, in testimonies, in prayer and the answers to them, and love for all their fellow men, not just other members.
Out of this, I’ve learned the more we feel treated like second-class citizens in the Kingdom of God, the more we’re driven closer and closer to the Lord for comfort, solace, guidance, and answers. Like the Israelites in Egypt and the Saints in Missouri, our trials seem to unite us, strengthen us, and sustain us until our day of deliverance. Unlike mortals, His is a perfect love, a perfect knowledge, with no biases or blind spots. He knows what’s in our hearts, where we are on our journeys, and as long as we’re sincere and make Him #1 in our lives, He’ll sustain us through the worst storms.
Stay in that boat.
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out all posts in the Two Degrees off Center blog series.