Thursday, August 5, 2010

Emails

This is a conversation I had with a friend of mine over emails. She's a sweet, funny woman in my parent's ward, and we've recently become friends. She asked me for advice, and I provided it, but you guys have given me tons of wonderful advice; so I asked her if I could put out conversation here so you could put in your two cents, too. Oh, and yes, I changed the guy's name.

Read this conversation I had with someone on facebook (I went to school with
his partner in Moab Utah). Please tell me what I should have said. This
really bothers me. And I can't find anywhere on LDS.org that Homosexuality
is equal to child molestation and murder.

ME: How cute did Keith change his name?

James Martin: No. Keith doesn't facebook and his partner, James's
mormon parents told him he was no longer a "Larsen" so he goes by "Martin"
...

Me: James I am so sorry and that breaks my heart! I am LDS, active,
temple worthy and also the proud parent of a gay son! This is the most un
Christ like behavior I have ever heard! Shame on your parents!!!! May they
be judged as harshly as they have judged you!!!

James Martin: "I'd be interested to know how you can be a temple worthy
Mormon & be a supportive mother of a gay son. This just tells me that you
sustain leaders who compare homosexuality with child molestation and murder
and then give these people money. You couldn't be too proud of your son or
the hypocrisy would drive you mad."

Me: I am sorry you feel that way. But I understand why.

James Martin: "Answered like a true Mormon. It was a real question. I'd
ask again but I'm not sure you understand the question. Good luck."

Me: I am a true Mormon and I do not take offense to it. I understand the
question and I also know that nothing I could say would make you change your
mind about how you feel towards the church. I am not one to debate
anything. Religion and politics on are on top of that list. You don't know
me and I don't know you. You stated your Mormon parents disowned you and I
think that is horrible and sad.

Me again: Sorry Chrissy for taking over your post on facebook. I am going
to delete my comments. James feel free to respond to me directly at
brenda.dickerson@comcast.net.

Brenda


Brenda,

I think your response was awesome! Good for you for sticking up for yourself, the church, and your son, all in one very short conversation, without attacking anyone, or apologizing for your own views. What you told Jeffery was honest, real, and very valid.

Whenever people ask me questions like that, I tend to respond with something like this:

Religion is a practice that enhances a relationship between a person and God. It is a very personal thing to me, my relationship to my Father, and I have strengthened it more by practicing the LDS faith than through any other means. If I support my leaders at church, it's not because of what they believe; it's because of what I believe. I go to church because I feel closer to God there than anywhere else. I love the temple, because God resides there, and I feel it everywhere I go when I'm there. I pay tithing because I'm grateful for the multitude of blessings God gives me daily, and He has only asked for 10% of my income. I have been blessed more than I have given, and I know that money has gone where God wants it to go. I have never given it to someone who was being payed to administer to me, because everyone who has come to my aid has done it of their own, profit-less accord.

Do I believe that there are members of the church who are close-minded, ignorant, or misinformed? Why yes, of course I do, because I've met them. I encounter them constantly, and I even support them at church, and become friends with them. Why? Because God asked me to love all of my neighbors, as I love myself. And you know what? The majority of these people have returned the favor. Some of these people have become my closest friends, and some of my best allies. And a minute number of them have ever suggested that homosexuality and pedophilia are synonymous, let alone murder. I'm sorry if that's been your experience, but it hasn't been mine; I'm very happy being a Mormon, and I think it's obvious. I respect those who are not, or leave the church by choice. I am still friends with many of these people, and they respect me too.

Really, Brenda, you were way too nice to that guy. I wish he had just appreciated your comments, instead of being a close-minded jerk about the whole thing. Do you mind if I copy our conversation into a blog?

Talk to you again soon!

Esera


There you go. What would you have said?

9 comments:

Emily said...

Junior- you are so great.

I am grateful that you stick up for your faith and are friends with so many people from different backgrounds at the same time.

I totally love everything you said!

howleanne said...

Brenda is WAY too nice! I would have told that guy's face off! How dare he judge anyone, especially their faith. He is as bad as the parents who disowned their son, because he obviously agrees with what they did. ARG! This angers me!

I'm not gay, but you know what!? I know and love someone who is, and I'm not one to judge who someone else loves! It's doesn't hurt me, or my family, for a man to love a man, or a woman to love a woman! I don't think we "choose" who we love.

God created us as individuals, and we individually have certain tastes. Period! It sounds like God created this James guy to like sicks up his... well, you know ;) LOL

I'm glad Brenda responded the way she did. She lovingly said her peace, and he chose not to receive it that way. Let the Ultimate Judge condemn him when his time is due.

Love you, EJ!!!

smeltzer family said...

I have no problem with homosexuality. I encounter people all the time who talk to me about this topic and I think they want me to agree with them, but I don't. Maybe it's because I didn't grow up LDS and joined when I was 15 but I have a lot of views that are different with others. I feel bad Brenda encountered this guy. However he probably feels this way because a lot of LDS people he has encountered has given him no reason to feel different especially his partners parents. Hopefully people can learn a little bit more tolorence in this world.

James L Johnson said...

I, too, think this post is great. Junior and Brenda you both inspire me. I had a home teaching companion who was/is gay but as far as I know not in the Church any longer. I still think he is a great person even though I think he's missing out on blessings. I don't condemn him. Anyone who lives Christ's teachings not only will respect His teachings on marriage, but His teachings on loving our fellowman, as Brenda pointed out. Junior thanks for as always being a true inspiration. Cheers, James

Gay LDS Actor said...

As someone who is gay and is from a very active Mormon family, I was surprised that James reacted so strongly and defensively to what seemed to me to be words of support from Brenda. I would assume James' personal experiences with his own parents are part of the reason why he is so sour toward the LDS Church, and perhaps he has reason to be. But to accuse Brenda of not being supportive of her gay son simply because she still belongs to a religion James finds distasteful makes James seem as intolerant as the people he accuses of being intolerant. To my eye, James seems like he already had a chip on his shoulder, and I doubt anything Brenda could have said would have changed his attitude.

My own family is very active in the LDS Church, and although I have been excommunicated myself, I still attend and have positive feelings toward the Church in spite of differences of opinion I may have regarding homosexuality. My immediate family, all of whom are active members, have been nothing but supportive of me and my relationship with my partner.

I myself have conflicting feelings towards a church and religion I still have fond feelings for and my need to do what I feel is best for my personal happiness. I am sorry James has had negative feelings towards the Church, although I can understand why he might, but my point is that I doubt Brenda could have done much differently to get a different reaction from James.

bonevoce said...

I don't care if you use my real name. JEFFERY LARSEN (RANDALL) The questions remains how can one (Brenda) sustain and give tithe to leaders who say their child is "unnatrual", say that homosexuality is a choice, can be changed AND at the same time completely support their gay child or loved one? They can't. "I love you, but you're an abomination?" Come on.

"How dare he judge anyone especially their faith" I'll tell you how I dare...I don't give a flying________about your superstion. There is nothing wrong with homosexuality. There are homosexuals who do bad things just like there are heterosexuals who do bad things. If I'm considered a "bad gay" for telling Brenda she's full of crap I'll wear the name badge with honor. Brenda isn't saving gay youth by sustaing her leaders only perpetuating hate and misinformation. Funny though, I have a brother named James.

Corey said...

I am kinda taken aback a bit by James' comments back. It seems to me that you were trying to be very supportive and encouraging, and that you truly were sad that someone could try to strip their son of h is name...I am gay, and an ex-LDS member, so maybe its just that i came from the inside so i can see what you are saying and where you are coming from....but its just interesting to actually see someone react that way.


But, thanks for sharing. Thanks for sticking up for your son. I think that the church's stand on homosexuality is more of decision of man rather than revelation, but i simply get called out for "justifying my sins" when i say that. but i sincerely believe it. it's just my opinion.

my point is, thanks for being so supportive.
I am going to follow you :) hope that's okay :)

Corey said...

p.s....sorry that last comment was more directed towards brenda than you, ej. thanks for sharing the emails :)

miss meaygghan said...

I've recently listened to a series of podcasts titled "Mormon Stories". There are really terrific discussions on homosexuality. Carol Lynn Pearson and Dr William Bradshaw have been particularly excellent advocates for gay rights while remaining active LDS. My feelings are we don't really know that much about the next life in how God and the Savior are going to judge us, so who am I to condemn another person's current life? Gay people borne into our Church are in a very difficult circumstance, one in which there seems to be no answer that satisfies everyone. The best we can do is simply try our best to emulate the Savior, and find peace with that. EJ, love you to pieces and admire you to heaven. xo.