Another day, another statement from the LDS church that offends people.
There are already so many reactions being written from both sides of the most recent change in policy regarding same-sex couples and their families that this is really just a drop in the bucket. But I am hoping to respond, not react or overreact, from a little bit different perspective that helps me (and maybe you) understand the bigger picture.
I am so grateful I was able to serve my mission in Malaysia because it helps me recognize the purpose in this policy change. In Malaysia, it is illegal to proselyte to Muslims (80% of the population) and missionaries will go right to jail if they try. They take it seriously – any teaching materials from the church has a big stamp on it that says “for non-Muslim use only”. Muslims know the rules, Christians know the rules and that’s that.
It broke my heart as a missionary. Some of the kindest people I have ever met were Muslims in Malaysia. When I was hit by a car and nobody in the busy intersection moved, it was a husband and wife who were Muslim that came running and picked me and my mangled bike up out of the road. They are kind people and I love them dearly.
Some wanted to learn about our church and WE HAD TO TELL THEM NO.
It made no sense to me. They did not have control over being born in a Muslim family, why couldn’t they be baptized if they wanted to? Why were they not included in the “others” we were supposed to invite to come unto Christ? Because the church respects the laws of the country of Malaysia and the customs of the Muslim culture. When someone leaves the Muslim faith, their life is in danger and their family relationships are in serious jeopardy.
As members of the church we know that all will have the opportunity to come unto Christ, in this life or the next, because Heavenly Father loves all of his children. So, does this new policy mean that the LDS church hates members of same-sex families? No. He wants us to be happy in our families. I honestly believe it is as simple as that. I think many are missing the mark and making this out to be something that it is not.
The decision to have children in same-sex families wait until they are 18 years old to be baptized made me cringe when I first read it. It seemed harsh and exclusive. But, that’s exactly how the writer wanted me to perceive it. The reality is that trying to be active in a church that disagrees with how your family lives would be so difficult and confusing as a child. It would make it hard to be happy at home with so many mixed messages being sent.
I was 20 years old when I made the decision to be baptized and coming from a half southern baptist family, there was plenty of tension to go around. Luckily for me, my family and extended family have been supportive of my decisions to serve a mission and get married in the temple. If they hadn’t been, it would have been so much more difficult for me to continue to be a faithful member of the church. This is definitely not the case for every convert to the church and I know Heavenly Father is aware of just how hard it can be to make that decision when the people you love are against it.
I’m rambling. Here’s what I know. I know that we have a Father in heaven who loves us and wants us to be happy in our families He has given us. I know that I am happiest when I am living the gospel of Jesus Christ and following His commandments. I know that it was extremely hard for me to come to that knowledge and had I not been old enough to experience the trials I did and come to that decision on my own, my faith would not have been strong enough to get me to where I am now or where I want to go. As Nephi said “I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.”