Beck’s latest two posts have inspired me to get around to posting something that’s been forming in the back of my mind for a while. Over the last few years I have come to realize that most of the change I’m ever going to effect in my life is going to happen in a small arena. I used to be pretty idealistic and I wanted to “change the world”. The world, however, is a pretty big place. It will only change gradually, and it might just be better to focus on things that are a little more manageable. It’s also easier to see the small, local changes and rejoice in them. So, while “the Church” may or may not be amenable to homosexual members, I’m heartened to notice attitudes changing in many areas.
Like Beck, I was nervous about the law of chastity lesson. After reading through it, I found it hyperbolic and a little too black-and-white, doom-and-gloom for my taste. I was actually attending a ward in the town of Pahoa, Hawaii when I had the chance to experience this lesson. The teacher was inexperienced and nervous; her idea of teaching was simply to stand and read through the quotes in the lesson while we listened. After she rattled off the quote about homosexuality, she paused for breath. At that point an older lady in the back of the room raised her hand: “Excuse me, but I just wanted to say something. Actually the Church has changed since that quote was written. There are homosexual members of the church and they are welcome as long as they don’t have sex. They are no longer expected or encouraged to marry and many of them can’t change their attractions.” (I’m paraphrasing here, but that was more or less what she said). I wanted to talk to her after the meeting, but I ended up leaving a bit early because my child was running free on the lawn outside. No one commented on what this woman said, not even the teacher, but I hope it at least encouraged people to think a little more about the issue. I was also impressed by her bravery and willingness to speak up. I’m not usually that brave.
Besides the fact that change can also happen on an individual level, I’ve also realized that we have to be specific when we talk about things. I think it’s great to talk about tolerance or loving others, but I think we need to address specific situations as well. Do we simply talk theoretically about love and forgiveness, or do we apply them to common problems in our families and wards? I wanted to link to this post by Ana where she talks about a FHE lesson her family had on loving those who are gay. I love this idea and I am going to use it when our children are older. Youth need straight talk on love and tolerance.
So, here are several good examples of ways to raise our voices and teach tolerance. What have you seen?