Two days ago I learned of the new SSM policy. That day, I wrote in my Patheos post that I didn’t see it coming but that things would work out. Within hours of the announcement, a young woman in her teens, that had been fellowshipped by a very good friend, was not allowed to be baptized—her parents are gay. The mother of the family that fellowshipped this teenage woman is a good friend of mine and she explained exactly how the policy was presented, received, and experienced at a very personal level. I asked her if I could share what she wrote to me. Gratefully, she said, “Yes.” I think you will find her words very interesting—perhaps even helpful and inspiring. I did. Here is what she wrote to me:
“Today my teenage daughter’s friend was supposed to have her baptismal interview for her baptism set for next Saturday. Every discussion has been taught in our home. Lots of dinner table questions have been answered. Lots of prayers have been said. This friend lives with her moms. Instead, a very emotional and loving Spirit filled the meeting that took place with the Mission President where the reality of this week’s announcement played out in real time. She would not be able to get baptized. We went in praying for peace and understanding and an abundance of love. We received that. This dear, sweet young one stated: ‘I understand. My family is being protected. Thanks for thinking about my Moms. I will just keep doing what I’m doing until I can be baptized.’ She taught us all that the Spirit has the power to teach and offer understanding when we can’t find it in this world. She is more at peace than I am, so I will follow her example and meet her where she is. She knows she’s loved by this action and that she will be okay.”
I am simply in awe of this young woman’s faith. She gives me much to think about. Many of my preconceived notions need to be re-examined. For example, I am more prone to get mad “for other people” than I am to get mad “at other people.” Everyone in this story has stripped me of my tendency to get mad “for them.” And I will not assume that they are deluded and misguided and then lecture them about what they should have done. No such paternalism fits this situation. Therefore, I am in awe of this young woman and the Mormon family that took her in to teach and fellowship her.
Now, I appreciate the fact that not all applications of the Mormon same-sex marriage policy will play out this way. And I appreciate that some will disagree with this application. However, I will draw meaning from this early example—and I’m grateful to all involved. Maybe you are too.