I was on a mission to Sweden in 1966-68. We had an investigator that we had met in a public sauna in Stockholm. In Scandinavia everybody goes to the baths. May people do not have showers or bath tubs in their older apartments. We once stayed in an apartment with only one cold water tap, no fridge, and an outhouse for a toilet. So, when you are sitting in the sauna with a bunch of men, you talk. If you are a missionary, you talk about religion. This man was very interested, and we taught him and eventually baptized him. However, the mission president was concerned that he might be Gay because we met him in the sauna.
The mission president made a preposterous statement, which I am sure most modern Mormons (even 2011) would have no problem with, but which runs completely against the teachings of the New Testament. He said to us: “You have to make sure the man isn’t gay, because if he is gay, we can’t teach him. Gays are attracted to us and they feel the Spirit, but they can’t be baptized.” In the Acts of the Apostles, when Peter saw that the Holy Ghost fell upon the Gentiles, and he realized that was a sign from God that the Gospel was not meant for the Jews only, but also for the Gentiles. These authorities today, claim to hold the same authority as Peter, but apparently do not share the same inspiration that Peter had.
You can read the entire story in Acts, Chapter 10, but the main principle that Peter realized is summed up in these words:
“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.” Acts 10:34.
This was a perception that came to Peter through the Spirit. The perception came to him in a flash when he could not deny what he say before his very eyes. Please note that there was much preparation leading up to this moment. You can read all about that in this chapter of Acts.
These general authorities need to have their “Peter moment”. But, I am afraid it will never happen because they are so invested in their current ways of thinking that the only way to “reform” Mormonism is to do it from without. But this Gay issue or women issue, is only symptoms of a far greater problem. I, for one, would not return to the church, even if they accepted Gays with open arms. There are many other issues that are far greater on which they have made some wrong turns. The documents that I have been reading in connection with Reform Mormonism document some of these changes, and these aren’t just theological niceties. These are basic fundamental issues.
I have had my “Peter moment”, and I know several others who have also had their “Peter moments”. I know a man who was a gay, former LDS bishop. Once a member of the RLDS church was sick, and he and an elder from the RLDS church together laid their hands on the person, blessed him, and the person got better. He took this as a sign that God recognizes Priesthood, whether it was in the LDS or RLDS church. I was a co-founder of a group that eventually was considered on offshoot Gay Mormon church. I’ll post more about this later, but in that church, which many people would consider to have no authority, or no valid reason to exist, I saw and felt spiritual manifestations in my own life and in the lives of members that far surpassed what I had even experienced in the LDS church. The Lord show us, in a very powerful way, that we were doing the right thing.