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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin Schilaty

Carrying One Another’s Crosses

I get a lot of phone calls from struggling gay Latter-day Saints. I got two such phone calls last night. And sometimes, like last night, I do a terrible job. My message to both friends was, “Get it together. Suck it up. Who cares what other people think?” Not the message they needed. And I know better. I could blame my poor responses on being tired and busy, which I most certainly was. But both of them were expressing feelings I often experience. Feeling hurt by a system that often acts like it doesn’t have a place for us. A friend of mine in a YSA stake in Provo recently shared a poignant story with me. Each semester the leaders in his stake host a Q&A and invite members to submit questions. I’m sure you can anticipate the kinds of questions that get asked. How do I know when to get married? How do I know what to study? I am struggling with pornography, how can move past this? The stake presidency and stake relief society presidency spend the entire meeting answering these questions. My friend submitted the following question: I experience same-sex attraction. I feel unwelcome at times in this church, feeling like I am seen as something less or different. How can I know that I am accepted in this church and in this gospel? I know that feeling. I asked this friend if he’d write out what happened so I could share it. He wrote in part: I approached the meeting with apprehension and excitement. Anonymously I had revealed a critical part of myself, which was a little stressful. I was excited because I hoped they would respond and give me an answer to my question. The meeting went on as normal, with the stake leaders providing great answers. My question came up and a member of the stake presidency elected to answer it. During previous questions and in this answer he emphasized that we were called to bear one another's burdens. He stated more than once that he believed our personal crosses had handles on them. Designed so that we could help one another and relieve burdens. He invited us all to carry the burdens of those who experience same-sex attraction. He sat down and I thought it was a good answer.

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