Who Loves Gay People “the Most”: Activists or Prophets?

Jacob Z. Hess

When it comes to “the loving thing to do,” we continue to reach very different conclusions in the American conversation on sexuality.  Why? Our convictions about love, I argue below, arise directly from other convictions about happiness and identity itself.

With another Pride month upon us, rainbow flags everywhere remind us about who has decided to love gay people in their neighborhoods. But what does that really mean? And is it a question about which thoughtful, good-hearted people could legitimately, honestly disagree?

Maybe not. It’s become so common to equate support for the formalized gay rights movement with loving people more, that when a question or concern is raised about this same movement, it’s become almost automatic for (many) people to label the person raising the question as obviously “unloving.” 

And when someone suggests (as I have) that it’s possible to love gay people in a different (perhaps even better) way than is being called for in the gay rights movement, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised with the responses. 

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“Enlarging the Wounds of Those Already Wounded” in Our Sexuality Discussion Today

Jacob Hess

After the passing of his dear older brother, Jacob stood before the people of Nephi with an earnest interest in “consoling and healing” them through the “pleasing word of God; yea, the word which healeth the wounded soul” (Jacob 2).

Even while doing just that, Jacob also admitted feeling “weighed down with much desire and anxiety” for his people’s welfare – to the point that he felt constrained to share other things he acknowledged would likely “enlarge the wounds of those who are already wounded.”

In particular, Jacob knew that his cautionary words about sexual boundaries being crossed among his people would be painful for some listening, which made his deeply-felt obligation to speak personally painful as well:     

Wherefore, it burdeneth my soul that I should be constrained, because of the strict commandment which I have received from God, to admonish you according to your crimes, to enlarge the wounds of those who are already wounded, instead of consoling and healing their wounds; and those who have not been wounded, instead of feasting upon the pleasing word of God have daggers placed to pierce their souls and wound their delicate minds. (Jacob 2)

I believe the prophets in our day feel a similar pain, especially when teaching about issues they know are sensitive, and deeply personal. But like Jacob of old, they feel “constrained” to speak what God puts on their hearts – recognizing that whatever pain some might feel in their words, they are necessary to address a deeper woundedness that exists independent of their words.    

Wounded America.  There are enough wounds to go around in America today – of all kinds, and in all directions.  Even more pervasive and life-threatening than physical wounds are those tearing at hearts, and minds – spirits and souls. In particular, lots of people feeling wounded when it comes to questions of sexuality today. The pain is real, often overwhelming, and sometimes even lethal.

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