by Summer Lee-Corry
Updated: Sep 9, 2019
A phrase that has been in my mind lately is, “Where love is, there God is also.” This comes from the song, “Where Love Is,” in the Children’s songbook, written by Joanne Doxey in 1932.
When thinking about this phrase, I was reminded of a scripture in 1stJohn chapter 4, verse 8. It says, “He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love.”
God is love. They embody the meaning, the purpose, the actions of love. And this love is not specific. It is not just romantic love. It’s not just Mormon or heterosexual love. God is love—this encompasses all forms of love—all sorts of love that elevates us as humans. Where love is, there god is also. But is also works vice versa—where god is, there love is also.
When I finally came out to myself as gay, I had the hardest time accepting who I was. I felt that because I was LDS, being myself wasn’t an option. I thought there was something wrong with me—that being gay wasn’t normal.
Not only was coming out to myself, my family, and friends difficult, but I also struggled with feeling like I was acceptable before God. I couldn’t love who I was, because I thought it was wrong, that I was a mistake.
However, since coming out, with the help of my amazing parents and other friends, I have learned more and more about my divine nature. If I was created in the image of God, my sexuality must not have been an accident. I am learning to love myself—and as I’ve done this, I’ve felt the guidance of my heavenly parents increase. Where love is, including love for yourself, there god is also. I am beginning to realize my purpose here, to stand up for those of us who are different, for those of us who have questions, for those of us who fit in the grey areas.
It is easy for humans, myself included, to judge those who are or live differently. It is easy to us to love God but not so much, love ourselves or “our neighbors especially as ourselves.” 1st John 4, 7: “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God.” Continuing in verse 12 it says, “If we love one another, god dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” We are the catalysts for love, the catalysts of God. As we become like God, who is “not a respecter of persons,” we can bring God into the lives of others without knocking on doors or preaching at them.
Often times what stops us from loving our neighbors is fear. Ignorance can lead to fear. As Elder Uchtdorf said of fear, it “rarely has the power to change our hearts, and it will never transform us into people who love what is right and who want to obey heavenly father.” Fear can lead us to exercise “unrighteous dominion” and judgement. And as Jesus said, “when we exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, the heavens withdraw themselves and the spirit of the lord is grieved.”
As it says in John, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.” Love cancels out fear. God cancels out fear. As we love people whole-heartedly for who they are, without expecting them to change or chastising them for being different, we can remind them of their divine nature and worth.
I am reminded of a quote from Chieko Okazaki, a past leader in the General Relief Society presidency. She said, “’Sometimes I think we don’t create a very hospitable climate for questions in our Sunday School classes, Relief Societies, and priesthood quorums. Sometimes we give people the very clear message that there’s something wrong with them if they don’t know something already, or if they don’t see it the same way as the teacher or understand it to the same degree as the rest of the class. . ..
“So people lie. They say they understand when they really don’t. Or they say they agree when they really don’t. Or they find one point they can agree on and swallow the four points they disagree on. Or they suppress the perfectly wonderful questions they have, because they’re afraid that the questions may sound accusatory or faithless. As a result, no miracles happen. . .. If we don’t have questions, there won’t be any miracles for us. I don’t know about you, but I need miracles in my life. I want miracles in my life. I hunger and thirst for miracles in my life. So I think I’d better ask questions---questions from the heart, questions that hurt, questions with answers that I’m afraid will hurt.’” (Disciples, p. 229-230)
Being gay has caused me to ask questions that have hurt. And I’m still asking questions. Our collective human knowledge about the universe and God is probably about the size of a grain of sand compared to the vast oceans of what we don’t know. I don’t know everything about God. I don’t know how the atonement works. I don’t know why women can’t hold priesthood positions. I don’t know what will happen after we die. I don’t know why LGBTQ+ people can’t get married in the temple. I don’t know what my role as a gay Mormon might be. But what I do know is enough to support me right now as I look forward to further revelation, both personal and general.
We learn things “precept upon precept, here a little and there a little.” I have a testimony that our heavenly parents love me, and that they love all of us. I have a testimony that no matter where we are in life, as we look to God, we will be supported through any trial. I know that after we make mistakes, we can experience forgiveness and acceptance. I know that Jesus feels my pain as a gay Mormon and loves me. I know that women and everyone in between play an important role in the church. I know that things will change. I know that God is merciful and just. I know that God would never make anyone a mistake—I know that they have a plan for each person here and each person who isn’t a member or has never even heard about the church.
In 2ndTim chapter 1 verse 7 it says, “For god hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Whatever path I take in the future, I am determined for it to be a path of love, a place where god will be with me also. I pray that we can look at each other with understanding and love—that our perfect love—our god—can cast out fear. Though we “see through a glass darkly,” I look forward to the day when that that glass will become clearer, that our vision will become elevated, that we will love more fully. For we “cannot behold with our natural eyes, for the present time, the design of our God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation.”
Okazaki, Chieko. Disciples. Deseret Book, 1998