I had a recent interesting experience while attending priesthood in my local Mormon congregation. The lesson was from “The Teachings of The Prophets: Lorenzo Snow”, the lesson was titled “The Kingdom of God Moves Forward.” At one point the Instructor asked the class what were some of the things happening in the world that were causing opposition that had the potential to keep the Church from moving forward. One individual raised his hand and then said that “homosexuals” and “gay rights” were destroying the family and were a threat the Church. This individual had no sooner finished his comments when another brother spoke up. He said, “You know, I have a gay uncle. He has been married for several years now. Our whole family is LDS. We all love and accept this uncle and his husband. Their being married has not destroyed any of the other marriages in our family or harmed us in any way. My uncle may be gay but he is still a child of God and we love him.” There was what I felt was a profound silence for a moment, and then the class moved on.
There has been a lot of talk about whether or not Mormon attitudes towards homosexuality are changing. The Church issued a news release stating that Church doctrine has not changed and that the Church is maintain a “consistent” support for “traditional marriage while teaching that all people should be treated with kindness and understanding.” Well, in that lesson I saw an excellent example of how one family treats a gay relative “with kindness and understanding.” I hope that this brother’s story impacted others the way it impacted me. “Mormon Doctrine” is what it is. I am not here to debate or to challenge the LDS position on homosexuality or gay marriage. It is what it is and someday it will be what it will be. But the position that Jesus took on how we should treat others is pretty clear “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31). There is no asterisk. There are no second class citizens in the kingdom of God. When that brother shared his story, those of us who were present were taught how one family has managed to remove the asterisks and accept all of their family members.