I know that this is a vastly different topic than things I normally write about on my blog, but this has honestly been keeping me up at night the last two days and I needed to write this post mainly to get some peace within myself. I usually try to stray away from controversial topics because backlash and angry comments make me squirm, get antsy, and delete posts in fear of them getting out of control, but here it is nonetheless.
I have quite a few friends and family members who are gay. I love them, and would never stop loving them because of the decisions that they make. The thing about living in a "free country" is that we all get to express ourselves freely. How grateful I am that I'm able to practice my religion, have a husband, essentially as many children as I want, and no one is going to knock on my door anytime soon to take all of that away from me. I'm able to live my life how I want, and because it fits this mainstream idea of what a family is and should be, I don't get much grief about it.
Then there are my friends and family members who love differently than the majority of the population, and they're scrutinized for that. They're ostracized in many different settings and their lives are unfortunately just a little bit more difficult than the average person just because the way they choose to express love and live a happy life is different than the vast majority of our country.
I've sat in church meetings where parents have expressed concern for their children possibly being friends with people who fall into this LGBT community and it's one of the most heartbreaking fears I've ever heard. For me, knowing my friends and family members who fall into this category has only made me a better person because it's given me a greater love for them, and has helped me to have a more pure Christlike love for them.
It is not our job to place judgement on people who think differently than us. The only person who has the right to judge people is Heavenly Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ. They are the only people who have this power. And to bring it to another level, we will be judged for how we treat people who are different than us. So if we are being selective on who we do and don't let our children befriend purely based on orientation, race, anything that makes them different than ourselves... we're going to be accountable for that, and I bet it's not going to be pretty.
I love this quote: "Jesus Christ commanded us to love our neighbors. Whether sinner or saint, rich or poor, stranger or friend, everyone in God’s small world is our neighbor, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters... our true commitment to Christian teachings is revealed by how we respond to this commandment. This love is tested every day of our lives. We may know individuals with same-sex attraction in our workplaces, congregations and town halls. As people with hopes, fears and aspirations like everyone else, these neighbors deserve our love. But we can’t truly love the neighbors next door if we don’t love the neighbors under our own roof. Family members with same-sex attraction need our love and understanding. God loves all his children alike, much more than any of us can comprehend, and expects us to follow."(lds.org)
Caitlyn Jenner recently hit the media and everyone is taking turns to give their thoughts, opinions, judgments, etc... Unfortunately a large amount of those opinions are negative. The fact is, LGBT individuals are 2-4 times more likely to question suicide than their straight peers. So while Caitlyn made an unpopular choice, I think that people need to send words of emotional support or say nothing at all. I know for me, I never want to be the reason why someone has had those thoughts. And for anyone who has ever had to grieve the life of someone who has committed suicide, I'm so sorry, and know first hand that it's one of the most painful things you could can go through. In the words of Gordon B Hinckley lets all, "Try a little harder, to be a little better."