Friday, September 18, 2015

What I Wish We'd Hear In General Conference

This is the testimony that rings most true to me now:

"My agenda now is fairly simple: I want my presence on the planet to result in less pain, less inequality, less poverty, less suffering, less damage for those sharing it with me. I want the sum total of my efforts to yield more compassion, more decency, more laughter, more justice, and more goodness than before I showed up. That’s it.

In other words: I just want to do Love right.

...And let’s not kid ourselves, most people know when they’re really being loved and when they been handed a lousy imitation with the same name—especially when it comes to religious people. I’ve come to believe that if someone’s color, gender, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation keeps you from fully loving them, you’re probably doing Love wrong."


darren said...


Hopefully all of us, regardless of our religion or other influences, aspire to the desires and outcomes in the first paragraph. Unfortunately, the implication in the last paragraph that some of us are doing love "wrong" simply because we don't share this person's beliefs is less than inspirational. Certainly you see how this type of commentary is every bit as combative and destructive as your perception of the church's application of commandments.

Clean Cut said...

Thanks for the comment darren.

I'm not sure I'm seeing what you're seeing in the second paragraph. I don't think the implication is that you must share the same beliefs in order to love them "right" or that if you don't share the same beliefs you're automatically doing love "wrong". I don't think that your beliefs should matter--they shouldn't get in the way of you loving them. But that's the problem. Too often we let our beliefs get in the way of truly loving and showing compassion and inclusiveness.

Granted, it's not always easy to love people who believe things very different than you, but we're supposed to do it anyway.

I love the Brethren, but I disagree with them that there are no acceptable ways to act on one's homosexuality without it being inherently sinful. My love for the Brethren is not conditional based on whether I agree or disagree with them about homosexuality. I think Mormons who believe that the Church's current stance is "right" deserve for me to show them true love and compassion, regardless of the fact that I disagree with the Church's current stance. It's easier to love people who think like you. But that's why I personally think I need the Church in my life, not because I always think alike, but because I need to learn to love people who are radically different than me.

Of course, ultimately we're all more alike than we are different, whether in or out of the Church. People historically have killed each other over believing the "right" dogma. That's a shame. I believe we mustn't let dogma get in the way of love. Love must always come first. Love can be the bridge between people who disagree on dogma (and love is preferable than killing, shaming, or even excommunicating people over differences in belief.)

darren said...


Thanks for the additional comments; I always appreciate your thoughtful explanation. Whether or not we agree on the correctness of a given source (the "church", it's leaders, or our interpretation of the Savior's words) I wholeheatedly agree with your emphasis on acting in sincere love toward gay individuals. I believe the leaders of our church do also.

We apparently simply disagree on one's ability to genuinely do so if that individual agrees with doctrine (dogma) that identifies homosexual actions as inconsistent with the commandments.

Maybe I misread the original post, but it seemed pretty clear to me that the language sustained the current popular belief that one must agree with and accept an individual's behavior to truly love them. That, of course, is false.

On the flip side, however, I completely agree with you that using another's sexuality (or any measure of percieved righteousness for that matter) as a basis for unkind or hateful actions is entirely un-Christlike.

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