I think it is only fair that I explain why I advise LGBTQ people who are unhappy with the Mormon church and the way it is treating them to leave. I am not saying it to demean the LDS church, or to be mean-spirited. I am saying it because there might be an alternative, which some might find attractive and doable. I have not spelled out this alternative in the past because I was hoping somebody would figure it out on their own, but so far no one has. This post is an attempt to spell it out in the hopes that somebody will take the suggestion. It’s a pretty outrageous suggestion, but I am asking you to at least consider it for a second.
If you would like be part of a group of true followers of Christ, who want to honor their covenants and serve God and form eternal family units, but are prevented from doing so by a church that considers you and your friends as outcasts and apostates, then read on.
If you are looking to remain in a church where the main purpose is not serving the Lord, not building Zion, not honoring and strengthening your relationships, or not helping one another, regardless of one’s identity, but instead supporting a corporate hierarchy, or putting forward some political agenda, then this post would be of no interest to you.
If you are looking to serve the Lord, exercise your Priesthood, serve others, build Zion, and fulfill your covenants, in the most effective way possible, may I suggest that you approach the Lord in prayer, state your plight, and ask for further light and knowledge as to how to proceed.
Many people say that they have received revelation from the Lord that it is OK to be LGBTQ. I can tell you that it is OK, provided you abide by all your other covenants, to the extent that your church permits you to do so. But, there is so much more available to you. If you are willing to pray and ask the Lord whether He is willing to invite you to do more.
This is exactly what a group of gay and Lesbian ex-Mormons did in 1985. Our prayers were answered. We wanted to serve the Lord. We wanted to meet and partake of the Sacrament and teach and bear testimony to one another, but the way was hedged up, and we were at an impasse. There was no human way out of our situation, so we turned to divine help.
We started receiving revelation — not just one person, but four or five different individuals. The revelations told us only to organize ourselves into Priesthood quorums and ad hoc family units, and join faithful, stable, and worthy couples in temple marriage.
Most of us were Priesthood holders who were formerly LDS, but we did not consider ourselves a “break-away” group. (1) We were driven out. and (2) We were given a completely new dispensation of keys and authority, by revelation, and in a manner described by Joseph Smith and revealed in the D&C.
In the early days of our organization, we received many revelations about how to proceed in our unique situation. We extended the blessings of the Priesthood and the Temple to our members. We build a small temple/tabernacle structure and dedicated it. Despite our poverty and the meager surroundings, the feeling inside the temple space was the same feeling you get in a regular LDS temple. During the dedicatory service, several members reporting seeing angels. Angels were also seen in some of our temple services and sacrament meetings.
As long as we were seeking direction from the Lord, things were going great. I want to caution and emphasize that as some of the leadership desired to seek positions of personal power, and return to the LDS corporate, hierarchical model, the Lord warned us that we were “following the arm of flesh”. We persisted anyway, and the heyday of the church lasted only about a year and a half. The church continued to dwindle and linger for another 25 years, sometimes having as few as 2 remaining members. Eventually, the president of the church died, and the remaining leadership scattered.
The organization failed because we collectively, and not individually, failed to listen to the Lord’s counsel. Every day I read stories about LGBTQ Mormons, DADT, DOMA, HIV/AIDS, suicides, same-sex marriage, and I regret not having made the difference we could have made in peoples’ lives, had we continued.
It may be that the Lord has given us our one and only chance. Or, it may be that He is willing to take another chance on us. But, whether He is willing to invest in another organization and suffering through their learning curve, is not for me to say. There are plenty of affirming churches out there, if you want to join Community of Christ, or Reform Mormons, or any number of organizations. The Lord may direct you to stay in the LDS church, or join any of these other groups, or remain on your own. Or, take a look at the possibility I am offering. The Lord has much more available for you, if you will take it. The choice is yours.
In the Church of Jesus Christ of ALL Latter-day Saints (aka Restoration Church of Jesus Christ), the Lord communicated his love for us over-abundantly, and in return, we sought occasion against one another, and thought it more important to be the greatest in the Kingdom instead of being humble servants.
I once prayed and asked the Lord for forgiveness, as we had allowed His name to be dragged through the mud. He asked me, “Did you learn anything?” I said, “I certainly did.” Then, He said, “Then, it was all worth it.”
Would I personally try and start another group today? No. That experience still has me gun-shy, and, most importantly, I have received no confirmation from the Lord to do so. In fact, quite the contrary.
Instead, I am offering you a chance to go to the Lord and inquire about small, intimate fellowships, while adamantly warning you of the dangers of forming a church. But, if the Lord does direct you to do something, I would strongly advice you to humbly seek revelation and direction every step of the way, even if people criticize you for doing so.
I would also advise you to learn the Gospel and teach it. Learn the Doctrine of Christ, as taught in the Book of Mormon, and teach that. Teach people to make and keep covenants with God and with each other.
There are now other people out here “in the wild” seeking to live the Doctrine of Christ, and forming small intimate fellowships, which act as ad hoc families, the same as we started out doing in the Restoration Church. But, these people are focused on coming to know and become like Christ, following the teachings of the Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, the Bible, and the Lectures on Faith. They are preparing themselves as a covenant people, looking forward to the day when the Lord will bring again Zion, preparatory to the Second Coming of Christ.
The Gospel isn’t complex at all. It’s deceptively simple. But, it is strict and exacting. It isn’t to make you comfortable or affirm you, though these might be by-products. Focus on the Goal. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all the rest will be added to you. It’s a matter of where your focus lies.
The purpose of the Gospel is to change you and make you more Christ-like, and to build up His kingdom on earth in preparation for Zion and His Second Coming. You have a chance to engage in a work where your gender or sexuality is simply not an issue. You should expect to be neither shunned nor fawned over. It is simply not an issue. Of course, we comfort one another and bear one anothers’ burdens. But, we should support others’ burdens, not create them.