Even though they break my heart every year, I am a BYU football fan. In the first game of this season they played Nebraska, at Nebraska. BYU was losing when Tanner Mangum took the last snap of the game. Time expired as he rolled right, reached back, and hurled a long pass to Nebraska’s goal line. A 6’ 5” tall BYU receiver caught the pass and BYU won the game. Nebraska had not lost a home opener in three decades. All Nebraska fans were stunned. All BYU fans rejoiced more than they had in decades. The next week, Mangum hurled the same last second pass for another last-second victory in as many weeks—this time against Boise State. All Boise State fans were numb from the stun. All BYU fans rejoiced again!
What’s the point of talking about football at a time like this? Here’s the point. Since the announcement of the Church’s policy toward same-sex married couples and their children, I have witnessed something akin to fist pumping and victory dances at Mormon cultural goal lines. I have seen strutting and swagger commensurate to sports figures and their fans that Lord over the conquered. To me, that is tragic. It is mean spirited. It is uncivil and it is un-Christ-like.
Many Mormons are at peace with the announcement and they are also at peace with Elder Christopherson’s initial responses to very difficult questions. That is fine. Many Mormons are troubled but steady in their faith. Good. But please remember that many, many Mormons are devastated. They are bruised, they are bleeding, and they wonder if they can persist in this faith. Many of these will not attend Church Sunday—they’re done. Personally, I ache for them and with them. God bless them in their pain. Many others that are bruised, bloodied, and broken by the announcement will be at Church Sunday. I ache for them and with them. God bless them for persisting in their pain.And so a rather preachy message to the generally conservative Mormons that struggle to accommodate almost any aspect of same-sex marriage as a possible norm of society. Prophets, seers, and revelators just affirmed your position with an ecclesiastical exclamation point. At some level that must be a validation of your values and core beliefs. I see no problem with that confirmation. I’m with you. However, please do not—no, don’t you dare do a victory dance in the faces of so many beloved brothers and sisters that are in deep pain. This is not a football game. And the stunned people nearby are not Nebraska or Boise State fans. They are beloved and deserve kindness. So please remember that it would be terrible to do this victory dance anywhere. But at church on Sunday? Don’t you dare!