I Wish Boyd K. Packer Had Said "It"
In the October 2010 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, church Elder Russell M. Nelson implied that all of God's children are worthy of our love, when he said
Heavenly Father loves every one of His children.
That statement clearly implies that we, too, should love every one of Heavenly Father's children. But Elder Nelson didn't say "it".
Elder Robert D. Hales clearly stated the importance of always loving every one of our children:
our homes become an incubator for our children’s spiritual growth. There we teach them the gospel, bear our testimonies, express our love, and listen as they share their feelings and experiences.But he didn't say "it" either.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson, in describing the magnificent example of Church President Thomas S. Monson, counseled us to
...cultivate a listening ear that can discern even the faintest whisper of the Spirit signaling the need of someone [w]e can reach and help.
He came so close, it seems, and he maybe even thought "it", but he didn't say "it".
I like to think that Elder Jeffrey R. Holland was thinking directly about "it" when he said:
I have struggled to find an adequate way to tell you how loved of God you are and how grateful we...are for you. I am trying to be voice for the very angels of heaven in thanking you for every good thing you have ever done, for every kind word you have ever said, for every sacrifice you have ever made in extending to someone—to anyone—the beauty and blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.But for some reason, Elder Holland sidestepped "it", too.
The person who had the best opportunity to say "it" was Boyd K Packer, quorum of the 12 apostles, because he talked around "it", when he said
Sometimes...the most difficult part of repentance is to forgive one’s self. You must come to know that forgiveness means forgiveness.But, unfortunately, although he didn't say anything hateful, what he said was hurtful, because he didn't say "it".
Why does "it" need to be said? Because far too many Mormons think it is normal to make derogatory comments and jokes about gay people. Because far too many Mormon families are mortified when a son or daughter becomes a known homosexual. Because far too many Mormon families reject their children when their sexual orientation becomes public.
What, then, is "it"? "It" is this: the one group of people that so many Mormons seem to have the most difficult time loving is the one group of people who need our love the very most. The one direct lesson that members of the Church so desperately need, that, for whatever reason, Church leadership teaches only very indirectly is that it is a far greater sin to hate or harm or belittle someone who is homosexual than it is to actually be homosexual. I suspect that Christ was referring in part to those born with the orientation toward homosexuality when he said:
whosoever shall aoffend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.As this father of a homosexual young man so truthfully stated:
my son is the most unselfish and Christ-like person I know. This holds true for most of the LDS homosexuals I know well. They have to be to keep trying [to be Latter-day Saints].I know more than one somebody like that. I'll bet if you think hard enough, you do, too. That is something for which there is no reason to be ashamed or uneasy.
Latter-day Saints, listen closely. Your leaders are teaching you an important concept, but they are, for whatever reason, teaching that concept indirectly. The LDS October 2010 General Conference was replete with exhortation and encouragement to love and serve everyone, including those who happen to be homosexual.
So I challenge you, much more directly than they have done. Not only is it okay to love and serve homosexual people as much as you love and serve anyone else, it is a requirement for your eternal salvation. Try it. You'll be glad you did. And your Church will be much better off because of it.