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Molly Day’s Religion A 121 Essay

Being an LGBTQ/SSA member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

is anything but easy. It is a constant barrage of negative messages towards you and your

identity. The very people who are supposed to love you most—family, ward members,

church leaders, and general authorities—call you sinful, unnatural, and devilish. It is

impossible to reconcile these messages with the divine messages of pure love you receive

from your Heavenly Parents and you Savior. You are filled with fear, doubt, and

hopelessness. Carolina Núñez described this, “There is nothing lonelier than feeling like

nobody really knows or understands you and fearing that if others truly did see you as

you are, they might not accept you.” It isn’t a problem of not believing that there isn’t a

place for you in Heavenly Father’s plan, but a problem of not feeling like there is a place

for you in the Restored Church.


In Nephi’s last recorded address in the Book of Mormon—a prophet’s final

testimony— he describes Christ’s ministry. Nephi poses questions about the nature of

the Savior:


Doth he cry unto any, saying: Depart from me? Behold, I say unto you,

Nay….Hath he commanded any that they should depart out of the synagogues, or

out of the houses of worship? Behold, I say unto you, Nay…Hath he commanded

any that they should not partake of his salvation? Behold I say unto you, Nay…

Behold, hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of his

goodness? Behold I say unto you, Nay….He inviteth them all to come unto him

and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him…and all

are alike unto God (2 Nephi 26:24-28,33).


Nephi teaches us something crucial to the gospel of Christ: all are welcome, no matter

their race, gender, sexuality, or any other characteristic. All are invited to come unto

Him, and we, the members of Christ’s church, are commanded to invite all into His fold

—to love and cherish everyone like he would. They are invited into His “places of

worship,” His churches and temples. They are invited to partake of “His salvation” and

all of the blessings His Atonement offers us. However, as Book of Mormon Central

points out,


This comment…probably would have been shocking to [Nephi’s people]. Most

people in the ancient Near East, where Nephi and his brothers were from,

assumed that each nation had its own god, and that each god only cared about his

own people (Judges 11:24)…Many people in Jerusalem during this time thought

that God would protect Jerusalem simply because it was where His people and

temple were (Jeremiah 7:4).2 In contrast, 2 Nephi 26:33 shows that God values

and loves all His children (BoM Central).


Many of today’s saints feel similar to Nephi’s people; they struggle with accepting those

who are seen as “others” in society—those who look different or act different, those who

they fear or don’t understand. Because of that many don’t feel welcome in the church. It

is not our place to decide who belongs in the Church. It is Heavenly Father’s. He created

all of us and has a divine plan for each of His children.


It is our job to love His children as He would, closely and intensely. M. Russell

Ballard said, “That is our doctrine—a doctrine of inclusion. That is what we believe. That

is what we have been taught. Of all people on this earth, we should be the most loving,

the kindest, and the most tolerant because of that doctrine.” The second greatest law is

to love your neighbor, but I think many saints forget who their neighbors are:


Our neighbors are not the people who are most like us; rather, our neighbors are

those who are different from us. They are the people whom our own social circles

have rejected. They are our brothers and sisters who worship differently than we

do, who come from different backgrounds, who look different from us, who make

different choices than we do, who have dreams and goals that differ from ours,

who disagree with us, or who have despised us. This, of course, is not to say that

the people who are most like us aren’t our neighbors. But our love for others

cannot be conditioned on their similarities to us. We must love others

understanding that they are individuals separate and distinct from us. The

differences that separate us in this life make us each other’s neighbors, and…we

must reach out to love and serve those who are different (Núñez, Loving Our

Neighbors).


Without bold and unmistakable messages of love from the members and leadership of

the Church, the LGBTQ/SSA members aren’t going to feel the inclusive nature of

Christ’s love and His church. It is through acknowledgements like this one from

President Ballard that mean the most:


I want anyone who is a member of the Church who is gay or lesbian to know I

believe you have a place in the kingdom and recognize that sometimes it may be

difficult for you to see where you fit in the Lord’s Church, but you do.


We need to listen to and understand what our LGBT brothers and sisters are

feeling and experiencing. Certainly, we must do better than we have done in the

past so that all members feel they have a spiritual home where their brothers and

sisters love them and where they have a place to worship and serve the Lord.


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a church for all. It’s not just for

those who look the part of a Mormon. But sometimes we forget that. We forget who our

neighbors are, and we forget to give love to those who need it most. We need to love

them “personally and concretely” as Sister Núñez says. This may not seem important to

you; you may think you don’t know any LGBTQ/SSA people, so there is no need to even

think about them. Cal Burke says it best,


You probably did know me, or someone like me. I might have been, or maybe I

still am, sitting on the pew beside you at church. In the row in front of you in

Calculus. In the desk across from you in seminary. I might have been the person

you home taught. The boy scout you mentored. The young man you baptized for

the dead in the temple… I might have been your trek big brother. I might have

been your friend. I might have been your brother. I might have been your son. I

might have been your cousin. Your boy scout. Your student. Your missionary.

Your roommate.


Your brothers and sisters are here, and they hurting. Christ “denieth none” nor should

we. There is a place in this church for our LGBTQ/SSA brothers and sisters; we just have

to make sure we make space for them.



“Why Did Nephi Say That All Are Alike Unto God?” Book of Mormon Central, 26 Oct.

2017, knowhy.bookofmormoncentral.org/node/315.

Núñez, Carolina. “Loving Our Neighbors.” BYU Speeches, 2018, speeches.byu.edu/

talks/carolina-nunez_loving-our-neighbors/.

Ballard, M. Russell. “Doctrine of Inclusion.” Doctrine and Covenants 8, 2001,

www.lds.org/general-conference/2001/10/doctrine-of-inclusion?lang=eng.

Ballard, M. Russell. “Elder M. Russell Ballard (11/14/17).” BYUtv, 2017, www.byutv.org/

player/8789b987-b45f-4764-9e45-5b46d9e104f3/byu-devotional-address-elder-mrussell-

ballard-111417?listid=ca6d9b25-eb7c-44ce-8044-e596c36ae0e6&listindex=0.

Burke, Calvin J. “My Name Is Calvin, like the Jeans.” LDS Brothers, 2018,

www.ldsbrothers.com/calvin-burke/.




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