These are just some thoughts that I’ve had swirling in my head for a while now, but with the release of the new Church Handbook today, I’ve seen a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth on the socials from people who style themselves as LGBT “allies” in anticipation of what they think the new Handbook will say.
One tweet said, “We need to mourn with our LGBT friends that mourn today and not remind them of the commandments” (???????)
There was another tweet about the supposed harm the Church does when it makes clear policy and doctrinal statements regarding the Law of Chastity, moral behavior, marriage and family relationships. I’ve seen it called “spiritual violence”.
Needless to say, it’s a full sack cloth and ashes day for some.
After a quick glance at the new Handbook this morning, it is much the same as the handbooks it repaced, in that the commandments and standards the Lord has set out for His children have not changed. Pre-marital sex is still a very serious sin. Acting on feelings of same-sex attraction is still not allowed. Gender is still an eternal principle. Marriage is and will continue to be between one man and one woman, and sexual relations are only to be had in this kind of marriage. Tithing is still going to be 10% of your increase. We’re still going to be asked the keep the Sabbath Day holy, and no you cannot drink coffee.
What bothered me most though, is the tweet that said, “don’t remind people of the commandments.” (??????)
We should be reminding people of the commandments. We are obligated to do that. The scriptures teach us that. For example:
Alma 29: 1-2 “O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people! Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.”
Ether 9: 28, “And there came prophets in the land again, crying repentance unto them—that they must prepare the way of the Lord or there should come a curse upon the face of the land; “
Doctrine & Covenants 18: 14, ” Wherefore, you are called to cry repentance unto this people. “
Ether 12: 3, “For he did cry from the morning, even until the going down of the sun, exhorting the people to believe in God unto repentance lest they should be destroyed, saying unto them that by faith all things are fulfilled “
Now, that’s not to say, you go out and be a jerk about it and parade around thinking you’re better than the next guy. Might as well get on your rameupmtom and tell the world what a jerk you are. No, this is not what I mean. I mean, teach, reach out, talk to your friends in person, face to face about their struggles. Follow the pattern of Jesus Christ as he ministered to people of all kinds Help people in person. Be with them, invest in them. If you consider yourself an ally, please help your LGBT friends to keep the commandments, and their covenants. Help them follow the prophet in all things.
As a person with a gay sibling nothing frustrates me more than when I see and hear about members of the Church telling my gay sibling they are a second class member, that they are some how “less than” because they are gay, and that keeping the commandments is something that is too much to ask of a gay person.
The Lord is not asking too much of any of us to keep the commandments. Keeping the commandments, keeping our covenants and following the prophet will always bring us the most happiness and peace. No one is a victim of the “big bad church”, because there is not a “big bad church” victimizing people. We’re all expected to keep the same set of commandments, therefore we call can help each other along the way. We all can draw on the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to strengthen and be with us when we need it. We can and should minster to each other when we struggle. We can mourn with those that mourn, but morning with each other does not mean enabling bad behavior or encouraging people to disbelieve the teachings of the church because those teachings don’t line up with current popular belief and the philosophies of men.
So today mourn with those that mourn and struggle and, keep the commandments, help others keep the commandments and rejoice in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If we love our Savior and Our Father we will keep their commandments, with the promise of a blessing of the Holy Spirit of Comfort. If we love our fellow men, we will also help them do these things as well.