Straight Mormons March on Sabbath in Gay Pride Parade

If you haven't already heard the buzz, you will. And that's because the story of over 300 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), on Sunday, marched in Salt Lake City's LGBT Pride parade -- in support of gay rights - capturing national attention. Erika Munson, who describes herself as an "active" Mormon, organized the gathering of other active LDS members, who have passionate feelings, and desires, to help bridge the gap with other members who have same-gender attraction, and who feel alienated from the Church.

In garnering publicity for the parade, which has worked, as evidence in the Associated Press covering the story picked up by major media outlets, such as my friends over at the Washington Post, is the emphasis that these Mormons are active, and straight, Church attendees, who support being gay. And to make this point with even greater clarity would be marching in Sunday attire, on Sunday -- which they did.

As much as I am all for working toward building bridges, within the Church, to help our gay brothers and sisters feel love among us, I'm not sure I quite get how taking the one day that the Lord has commanded us to worship Him, the Sabbath, to march in a parade, accomplishes, or enhances, that desire.

If this march (and others planned) is to be a show of LDS member support for gays, intended to draw outside attention, then I would question exactly what message this is sending and why? Did any of these LDS members, marching in the parade, have signs inviting gay members to return to Church, saying "Come Worship With Us Again" -- or rather, are these marches simply intended to broadcast a message that Mormons support gay Mormons, no matter how they choose to live their lives, and that we will embrace you within our congregations -- even if you choose to openly and actively live a homosexual lifestyle? If it is the latter, then certainly most "active" members of the Church would not be in support of such public, minority declarations.

Once again I have concerns that small fringe groups, of LDS members, are using any available media source to promote and advocate for change that is oppositional to what current prophets teach. During this time of increased interest in everything Mormon, it is beyond easy to bring media attention to anything remotely controversial about being Mormon. Normalizing same-sex attraction, with its advocates, both inside and outside of the Church, has become a joint effort with, no doubt, hopeful political results.

As much as I hesitate to bring the Sabbath into this discussion, because I know many will simply focus on how judgemental of others they believe that I am being, marching in a gay pride parade, on Sunday, I believe, is a misguided effort to extend love and build bridges with other members of the Church, who have the challenge of same-gender attraction. I'm not suggesting that something positive did not result, but I am saying that I believe that like, with any family - and the Mormon community is like a family -- love, forgiveness, repentance, etc...  begins in the home.

I envision the day when those challenged with being a Mormon, having same-gender attraction, will know from gentle and quiet personal experiences, with friends and family within the gospel, that they are loved, and supported, in their desire to faithfully live the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have a great deal of confidence that members with SSA, if they so desire, can and will find such loving support -- as God, I believe, intends.

I would love nothing more than to walk, on the Sabbath, into Church, with a gay person, who has previously felt alienated -- to help them feel the love that not only I have for them, but most important, to experience a reunion with God's love, through His Atonement.  This is the bridge that members of the Church wish to help build for all of God's children, who are heavy laden. No need to march.

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Kathryn Skaggs

My latest article on the Washington Post's On Faith blog: Mitt Romney's Mormon milestone

Gay and Mormon: Is it Safe Yet?

Mormons Value Traditional Marriage


  1. As much as I enjoy reading your blogs I find this one left a bad taste in my mouth. It was preachy and showed little compassion for members who are struggling with one of the hardest trials they could be burdened with. I'm not gay but I heard this once by one of my favorite bishops: "don't judge someone because they sin differently than you."

    1. I sincerely appreciate your concerns. However, I would love to see more emphasis on what we can do, in the Church, to help our gay brothers and sisters, whom I have great compassion for, feel the love of the Savior, His way.

      As I mentioned in the post, I do have a concern that my thoughts risk coming across as judgemental -- and that is not what I want to convey. However, in saying what I feel is most important, I understand and accept that this is a strong possibility.

      I can only hope that those who regularly read my blog have come to know my heart, and position, when it comes to Mormons and SSA.

    2. Ironically I had the opposite reaction - I had a bad taste in my mouth when I started reading the post, thinking that you we're being approving of the whole thing.

      I did not find you to be judgmental - quite the contrary. I felt that you were "condemning the sin" not the sinner. I felt that you made it very clear that you love and support LGBT brothers and sisters, but you are cautious to make sure that you are supporting the PEOPLE rather than a lifestyle that you feel is sinful (which you have every right to believe).

      It's actually refreshing to see someone with a wide audience stand up without bashing those who do struggle.

      I agree - I would love to walk (ANYWHERE) with an LGBT brother and sister and show them by my actions that I support and love them. And those who choose to live a active LGBT lifestyle, I love them, too. But for all my love and support (my brother is part of the LGBT community and chooses to live that lifestyle) I could not feel comfortable marching in a parade that I feel "normalizes" the LGBT lifestyle, since I do not believe that it IS normal.

      Again, Kathryn, I appreciate your stand and I am glad you have such a big heart. Maybe we could organize a parade of our own a "We Love You No Matter Who You Are or What You've Done" parade :) that sounds about like the right message.

    3. Thank you so much, Becca. I really appreciate your thoughts.

    4. I agree wholeheartedly with Becca and would also like to add my appreciation for your big heart and bravery to speak so boldly your thoughts on the issue of Mormons and SSA. I love reading your blog (when I get the chance to) and do know as an occasional reader of your heart and do believe that you were not trying to be judgmental but only expressing an opinion that many of us do share. Thank you and keep on writing...many of us agree and love reading your blog!

    5. As a memeber of the church, I do not need to hold up a sign to invite people to worship or come to church. I only want and need my love and support to be inviting to my gay brother's and sister's to feel welcome. Kudo's to sharing this.

  2. Such a shocker. Someone writes a well thought out, reasoned post on concerns with marching in a LGBT parade and it's labeled "preachy and showed little compassion."

    Why can't we just accept people have differing opinions without invalidating them with petty insults? Is it really that difficult?

    1. Thanks, Ryan. It sure seems like a reasonable concern to me.

  3. Given that only 300 members showed up to march suggests that 1/2 million members did not show up. Given that only 2% of the population regards itself as GLBT, I'd say they get a lot of press for being such a small group. Studies show that in states allowing gay marriage, only a tiny fraction of gays and lesbians are seeking marriage, while they also have a much higher level of divorce than the heterosexual marriages.

    As a church, we do not need to march with them. We need to quietly speak with them, encouraging them to live chaste lives, and not bending on things the Lord has not approved. Marriage has been defined for us, and until God give a new revelation, it is not going to change. We need to love all people, regardless of their sins. But then we cannot approve of sinful behavior. We do not approve sexual sins of any kind, as we do not approve of addicts using alcohol or drugs that they have an intense attraction to.
    To have 2% of the population impose its will on the 98% is wrong. That we can live peacefully with them is fine. But we must not embrace sinful behaviors.

    1. Given that Mormons represent less than half of one percent of the world's population maybe we should not give Mormons any press either? Not regard Mormons as legitimate?

  4. I just don't understand how it is not compassionate to point out that marching in a political cause, on the Sabbath, shows great disrespect not only to the Lord, but to the thousands of Mormons who have SSA who were also, AT CHURCH, renewing their covenants.

    This was merely a political stunt. It had more to do with broadcasting their dislike of current Church policies than anything involving compassion. They can march in a parade and then pat themselves on the back and say, "See! Look how enlightened and compassionate I am!"

    As time goes on, I see more and more of this fracturing among the LDS. Where it will end, who knows, but it certainly isn't helping move the kingdom of God forward.

    At some point, we all have to make a stark choice: what god do we worship?

    If you want to worship the god of politics, the god of change or social agitation, or the god of power in Washington, D.C., then go for it. But that's not the God that we've covenanted to worship.

    1. I hope you worship the God Jesus who said: Sabbath was made for man not man for the Sabbath. When HE was criticized for helping those in need on Sabbath day.

      It saddens me that Jesus followers can not follow Jesus's example.

      There is no better way to worship God on Sabbath than to protect, stand up for love and protection of the minority from the tyranny of the majority.

    2. I find there is no better way to worship God than by standing up for traditional family values, including chastity before marriage, fidelity during marriage, and the traditional marriage between males and females.

      The homosexual lifestyle does not lead men or women to the best outcomes in this life or beyond. Sorry you don't agree.

    3. mormonchess, you nailed it. Not only was this nothing more than a "look at me" stunt it was misguided and a blatant "Not thy will, but mine be done" act. This is counterfeit. It is wandering off into the mists of darkness. I find it disturbing.

  5. "This [LDS] Church has felt the bitter sting of persecution and marginalization early in our history ... Our parents, young adults, teens and children should therefore, of all people, be especially sensitive to the vulnerable in society and be willing to speak out against bullying or intimidation whenever it occurs, including unkindness toward those who are attracted to others of the same sex. This is particularly so in our own Latter-day Saint congregations. Each Latter-day Saint family and individual should carefully consider whether their attitudes and actions toward others properly reflect Jesus Christ’s second great commandment -- to love one another." ("Church Responds to HRC Petition: Statement on Same-Sex Attraction",, 2010)

    The Mormons Building Bridges mission statement:

    "We are faithful Latter-day Saints dedicated to sharing a message of love and acceptance with the LGBT community. We seek to build bridges of understanding and respect after many years of strife and heartbreak. We want our gay brothers and sisters to feel welcome in our congregations and safe in our pews. We are especially motivated to extend our hearts and hands to LGBT Mormon youth. Jesus said “Love one another as I have loved you”; we want to share His love with everyone and affirm God's joy in the beauty and diversity of His creation.

    Mormons Building Bridges is not an organization, it's an idea around which like-minded Latter-day Saints can rally in sending a message of love.

    The march in the 2012 Utah Pride Parade is just the inaugural effort sponsored by MBB. The hope is that fellow Mormons across the country who may not be able to march in the Utah pride parade will see the march as an invitation to create their own ways of expressing the same message of love and acceptance to their LGBT brothers and sisters in their own congregations.

    Moving forward, MBB will serve as a gathering place for fellow Mormons to share ideas of how they’ve been able to express this message of love and improve understanding of what it’s like for their LGBT brothers and sisters in their own congregations. MBB will also serve as a source of support and feedback for these ongoing efforts.

    MBB is not sponsored by nor do we represent the LDS Church or any political party or caucus. "

    The invitation to march reads:
    "Please come join Latter-day Saints in extending a message of love and support to our LGBT brothers and sisters by marching in the Utah pride parade. Each step we take will be an outward demonstration of our commitment to loving our neighbors. We are marching for the values of empathy and compassion that the Mormon faith teaches. Recognizing that silence (though coupled with good intentions) may leave some LGBT individuals to seriously question their self-worth in their homes, congregations, and before God, we are marching to save lives."

    1. Those are wonderful values, and I actually have a friend who marched. She is beautiful. However I'm not a fan of accomplishing anything by marching, and I don't think an activist church is God's plan for his church. Most importantly, those who march contribute to the LGBT movement, not the individuals. The movement has a very different feel than many who are kind, open, non-judgmental and willing to extend love. We have to know with whom we ultimately align. For many of us, there were much, much better ways to show love for our neighbors.

  6. Kathryn,

    As someone who knows you and has interacted with you and discussed this issue with you on numerous ocassions, I know your heart on this subject.

    I have several family members and friends who have same gender atttraction. My struggle is how do I best show compassion and understanding without sacrificing my personal beliefs and standards. If I thought marching in a parade would accomplish that task, I would gladly do it. I hesitate to do that, though, as most parades of this nature are well-known for their debauchery and hedonistic displays. There is nothing subtle about a gay pride parade. Although, SLC may be a completely different parade. I doubt the standard fare that is acceptable in San Francisco, for example, would be acceptable in SLC.

    For me, I will continue to love and embrace those in my life who struggle with same gender attraction. I love them more than words can express. I want them to be happy. That said, I cannot and will not compromise gospel principles to show my love and support for them or anyone. My love, friendship, and support should not be conditioned on the ability to bend my beliefs to fit their needs or desires.

    1. Thank you, Brian.

      And you know, if I believed that marching in a gay pride parade would bring souls to Jesus Christ, I too, would do it in a heartbeat. I just believe that God has a much better way, which doesn't include supporting the ways of the world.

      And like you, away from the glare of the media, I will continue to support those, who I personally know, who have the challenge of SSA. And like you, I also love them deeply and pray that we will, over time, learn best how to embrace, support and love them in ways that they will feel -- and in harmony with the gospel.

    2. When you read your post and your friends above and compare it to Jesus words in the Bible and those of the rabbi...who do you sound more like. Sitting on your throne of self righteousness!

      You are an not one with God..because God is LOVE.

  7. Thanks, Kathryn. This is my concern, as well. As you know, I have family members and friends who deal with SSA and openly live that lifestyle. I love them for who they are and embrace them (and their companions) as the wonderful children of God they are -- but I cannot condone the lifestyle. Marching in a gay pride parade would not be "showing my support" for them. I "show my support" for them by loving them and being there for them when they need me. Marching in a parade is actually counterproductive to the good example I should be setting as a member of Christ's church.

    1. I do know, and I love that you love them -- and that while doing so you remain true to the principles of the gospel and the teachings of our prophets. If more of us can learn how to do that I truly believe that the gospel will become a much safer place for those with SSA.

  8. "My love, friendship, and support should not be conditioned on the ability to bend my beliefs to fit their needs or desires."

    Good point Brian.

    I have a good friend of many years who doesn't struggle with being gay—he embraces it and pursues it. He is not a member of any christian church, primarily for how judgmental they have come across to him in the past as well as other personal and secular reasons. He doesn't believe that one can 'pray the gay away' as he puts it.

    I'm the one with the issue. I really struggle with how to be his friend after all this time since our lifestyles are so different. My fear is that our time to interact socially is nearing its end because of our vastly different beliefs. The kicker is that I am a convert and used to be really supportive of his life choices in regards to his sexuality and his form of worship. He considers himself 'a child of nature' and subscribes to many pagan philosophies. Husband tells me to love the sinner not the sin as far as my approach goes.
    The truth of the situation is that I'm no longer comfortable in trying to come across as supportive of his choices as I continue to grow in the church. That makes me worry whether or not I am becoming narrow-minded versus devout.

    I really struggle with this because I feel I need to follow Christ's edict "Love thy neighbor" first and foremost yet I'm not sure how to go about this. Would Christ-like love be demonstrated by remaining his friend and keeping my feelings to myself or would it be demonstrated by keeping my distance and letting our friendship cool as time passes and contact ceases?

    We had some really good times together. I just don't behave the way I used to and am really not looking to resurrect any of my old ways. Unfortunately it has cost me one friendship already (of 14 years).

    I would really appreciate some guidance here.

    1. Jesus gives a clear example, Red. He never broke off contact with the fact he sought it out, and was condemned for it by the religiously devout. It's one of the great lessons of His great life.

    2. Jesus gave us a pretty clear example, Red. He didn't keep his distance from fact he sought them out and befriended them, and was condemned for it by the religiously devout. One of the great lessons of his great life.

    3. Jesus gave us a good example for this one, Red. He didn't shun sinners; in fact he sought them out, made a point of being seen palling around with them, and was condemned for it by religious zealots. A great lesson from a great life.

    4. Kyle: No one is suggesting that we reject the sinner and turn our backs on anyone.

      Red: I completely understand your predicament and know that for myself, dealing with individuals whom I have very different values, and whom I love, has required me to seek the spirit in knowing what to do. I don't think there is any one answer.

      For me, as long as I'm able to freely share my values and opinions in open and honest exchange, maintaining these types of relationships has been a real positive. However, if offense is taken by my values and beliefs then I tend to withdraw out of respect for differences.

      It comes down to the feelings that are shared between two people, who clearly understand where each other are coming from. I happen to really enjoy the relationships that I have with others who are different. I learn so much and value the opportunity to understand. But, it's got to be positive for both parties.

      All my best to you as you navigate your personal challenges in this area.

    5. Thanks. Unless I'm interpreting his response incorrectly, I think Kyle misunderstands my conundrum, as I may not be articulating myself clearly but I'm not seeking to reject my friend. I love him with all my heart. He has always been important in my life. However, we are both growing in very different directions. I am a heterosexual woman growing within my marriage while embracing the doctrines of the church and scripture and he is embracing a homosexual lifestyle and other personal habits I don't care for nor want to support. But I do not want to abandon my friend. Like you and Brian said, essentially it has to be a two-way street. A friendship isn't about demanding that each other like or condone acts or behaviors that contradict each others morals or beliefs. I love my friend very much. We are both growing in different directions and it is hard to endure at times. Nonetheless I will always be available to him and pray for him whether he wants me to or thinks he needs it. I pray for his safety, that he has happiness and love in his life, that he will choose what will edify his spirit rather than what will harm his spirit and body, that he will feel the acceptance and love of Christ, that the Lord will touch his heart, that in spite of past hurts he can have good experiences with the christian community, that he can feel included and wanted, that he will not mistake ideological/moral clashes for personal attacks, and that he will extend the same tolerance he wishes to experience from others who differ in lifestyle and moral choices. I pray for myself for direction from Christ as to how to proceed with our friendship while in the midst of trying to figure out how best to demonstrate His example as I deal with aspects of our friendship that leave me conflicted. This doesn't mean we have to agree with each other on everything. Finding common ground at this point after all the changes he and I have both been through is proving a challenge.

      Thank you for allowing me to post my dilemma and for your collective input.

    6. Red, if you and your friend can agree to disagree about homosexuality so that there is no contention in your friendship, I don't see a problem with you remaining friends. Obviously you will follow the Spirit and not put yourself in circumstances where the Spirit cannot dwell when it comes to interactions with your friend. But going to dinner or a movie or just relaxing in one of your homes for friendly conversation shouldn't be a problem.

      My father is gay, and I still struggle to a degree with how to appropriately interact with him and remain true to my own principles and standards. But I have quite a number of friends who are gay with whom it's a nonissue. I have my views and they have theirs, and we just love and respect one another as people and it all works out. You can be friends without condoning his behavior.

      Ultimately I think WBMW got it right in her response when she suggested you seek the Spirit for your specific situation. BTW, I wish you blessings and guidance as you continue in your own conversion and growth in the Church.

  9. The policy of the Church is to reach out with open arms and love to our gay brothers and sisters. Mormons Building Bridges went out of its way to avoid political statements--marchers who showed up with political signs or T-shirts were asked to remove them before the march, and there was a list of pre-approved messages for signs made up before the event (scriptures, quotes from prophets past and present, and lyrics from hymns and primary songs about love and acceptance). The focus of the march was to get past political rhetoric and get back to the message of the gospel--the message of love. Because Christ didn't just reach out to those sitting in the pews--He made it His mission to help those on the fringes of society and those seen as spiritual outcasts. He broke the Sabbath to serve and heal others, and for those who participated in the march, there was a wonderful spirit of love and healing in the air. Everyone was encouraged to attend an afternoon sacrament meeting after the event. I have rarely felt the Spirit as strongly as I did this past Sunday morning, and I have maybe never seen such love and gratitude as I did from the gay community, who thanked and hugged and wept with those who marched. Christ's message was one of love, understanding, and healing--our purpose with the march was to share some of that love with members of the community who have felt ostracized. The sincere, beautiful, Christlike love we received in return dwarfed our efforts. I have rarely seen such Christlike love as I saw in the LGBT community at Pride this past Sunday. I can only speak for myself, but my purpose in marching was to send the message to at-risk gay members and wounded gay non-members that there are those out there who love and support them and want them to stick around. It had nothing to do with the Church's stance on gay marriage. I can also say that I interacted with those who helped organize the event and saw what lengths they went to to keep the message centered on love rather than promoting a political agenda. You may still disagree with those who organized or participated in the event, but please try to more thoroughly research Mormons Building Bridges before speculating about the motives of the organization as a whole.

    1. I'm pleased to hear that your experience was a positive one. I never said that nothing good came from this activity.

      However I do feel that even though those who marched, and the organizers that influenced the project, may not have wanted this to be seen as political, that is how it is perceived by those watching. A gay pride parade is a celebration of the gay lifestyle. It is what it is. Those who support it are advocating for their cause. You cannot separate these two things, even with good intentions.

      In saying that, I do feel that many good people had very good intentions. I just feel that marching in gay pride parades is a misguided way to accomplish sharing the love of God with those having SSA.

  10. I was one of the 300. I didn't do it for publicity. I did it because I have a sister-in-law who's gay, and I was moved by the BYU students "It Gets Better" video, and then found out about MBB. We wanted to show our love and support. It was a spiritual experience, not only being allowed in, but sent to the front of the parade and having thousands cheering, clapping, yelling "Thank you!" and "We love you!", people in tears running up to hug my wife. It built a bridge, it opened dialogue, it spread goodwill, and yeah, it may have softened some hearts toward the church. I got to march in front of thousands holding a sign that said "God is Love." Who can argue with that?

    In fact, one of the very few protesters had a sign that said gays and Mormons are going to hell.

    I recognize the suspicions held about the event (if you want to read some hate, see what the Huffington Post commenters have to say) but most of the people I met, talked to, introduced myself to, were sincere.

    And I'm an active, straight, temple-going, proud member of the LDS Church.

  11. So said the Pharisees to Jesus as he healed on the Sabbath day.

    Check out Luke 13.

    "14 And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to awork: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.

    15 The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?"

    Or perhaps Matthew 10?

    "5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?

    6 But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple."

    Your intentions may be good, but your logic concerning the love of God is not sound. God is love. His first concern is love. I believe he would be on the streets with the people who need healing rather than in a manufactured building on the Sabbath day.

    1. God's first concern is obedience. Love is an attribute. God's love is not going to usher us into His presence without the required righteousness.

      Sorry you don't agree. But this "God is love therefore no standards exist" is pure rubbish.

  12. I guess I'm confused on why this subject is so different from other situations. For example, some of the strongest language in the Book of Mormon condemns infant baptism, yet I don't know a single LDS member who would be uncomfortable hosting a Catholic family for dinner. Or would refrain from going to a Jewish wedding because the participants reject Christ as the Son of God, which is a more central tenant to the LDS faith than its beliefs on the eternal natural of the family.

    I hope my words aren't read as combative, because that is seriously not my intent, but an actual question I have for this forum: why are these sins (and I call them that because they have been labeled in the scriptures as such) acceptable when it comes to social interaction and why does the same social interaction with gay people and their families cause so much more spiritual discomfort?

    1. Clint: One of the things that makes the issue of SSA and SSM more difficult to ignore is that those who are advocating these things want to see changes in doctrine and policies of the Church. This is not in keeping with sustaining prophets of God. That, for me, is a problem.

      However, social interaction, in my opinion, is not the problem. I have gay friends and dearly love and respect them. I simply draw the line at advocating for the lifestyle.

      And your words are not received, by me, as combative. I sincerely appreciate your respectful tone.

  13. And there is also this from the church website and Sunday School manual:

    What did the Pharisees do when they saw Jesus’ disciples pick corn on the Sabbath? (See Matthew 12:1–2. Explain that the Pharisees’ interpretation of the Mosaic law ignored the true spirit and purpose of the Sabbath and instead focused on traditions that greatly restricted Sabbath activities.) What did the Lord teach as he responded to their accusation? (See Matthew 12:3–8.)

    • What did Jesus mean when he said, “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice”? (Matthew 12:7. He wanted the people to focus on loving others, not merely on performing public religious ceremonies.) How can we use this principle to guide our Sabbath activities?

    No hard feelings. I don't know you. I love you. I love the church. And I love my Heavenly Father. God is love.

    1. You are conflating this website's desire to remain true to sexual standards with intolerance of people.

      They are not the same thing. I am intolerant of breaking the law of chastity, but that does not mean I am intolerant of those who do so.

      God is indeed love. But he is also jealous of His standards. To ignore one while trumpeting the other doesn't do you, or God, any favors.

      And I would be very careful in quoting scripture to claim the moral high ground. The Proclamation on the Family, written by prophets, is very explicit on proper sexual relations and the makeup of the family. Perhaps you would care to re-read it?

  14. I think the author does not understand exactly what this group was trying to do, which is just fine. One of the purposes of the Mormons Building Bridges event was to create an open dialogue between groups that would promote healing, not further fracturing and animosity, so an initial misunderstanding is both acceptable and expected.

    The event was in no way meant to be proselytizing, so signs inviting others to worship at the local LDS meetinghouse would have been completely out of place, and, quite frankly, offensive to those watching the parade who were not expecting to be targeted as potential converts. It wasn't supposed to be a political rally, either. Attendees very intentionally focused their message on love and inclusion rather than marriage equality specifically because they did not want political issues to overshadow their message. The event was not even focused primarily on gay Mormons, though the high rates of suicide among local gay Mormon teens was definitely a motivating factor for many of the participants.

    Now that we know what the event was not, let's look at what it was. The group wanted to directly address the growing confrontation between the LGBT community and the LDS church. The LDS church's involvement in the fight against marriage equality has caused a lot of name-calling, bigotry, and even violence on BOTH SIDES. MBB hopes to, well, create bridges, open doors, build roads between the groups in the hopes of finding common ground and mutual love and understanding.

    As far as seeking media attention goes, well, you got them there. Of course they were hoping that people would be talking about the event. They WANT the buzz because they want their message to be heard by as many people as possible, by those within the church who have lost sight of Christ's teachings about love, forgiveness, and acceptance; by those in the LGBT community who have developed a hatred for members because of the actions of the institution; and by everyone else watching who deserve to see the best in people, especially during this “Mormon moment” when so many are learning about the church for the first time.

    What I don't understand is how such a Christ-like goal as love and acceptance could lead another active LDS person to question the MBB's Mormon “credentials,” if you will, by insinuating that no truly active LDS person could have participated in such an event. After all, the First Presidency has explicitly stated that differing from the church's official stance on this issue in no way affects a person's standing within the church. To throw such juvenile stones as accusations of inactivity because the event took place on a Sunday shows a focus on the letter of the law to the exclusion of the spirit of the law. Besides, most of the attendees did indeed attend sacrament meeting after the parade.

    My hope is that everyone, Latter-Day Saints and LGBTQ both, use this as an opportunity to talk to their neighbors, learn where the other person is coming from, and practice compassion. We're all sharing this world together, after all. We need to find a way to get along.

  15. Jesus said we should love God, and love our neighbor. On These two things hang all the laws and the prophets. He didn't say make sure your neighbor is coming to church. Or make sure your neighbor is not sinning. He said LOVE your neighbor.

    I marched in the parade with this group. I have never felt so much love from a group of people who have every right to be hurt and angry. It was an incredible experience. Are we so focused on attending our church meetings, attending mutual, getting our Eagle Scout award and YW award that we've forgotten how to love and serve others?

    The gospel of Christ isn't rocket science. It's not about being "well behaved", and making sure those around you are also well behaved. Or that those around you know how well behaved you are.

    Love God. Love your neighbor. In this you will find joy, and nothing else.

  16. I think this action can really teach us a lesson about human relations. AFAIK, there was nothing about this that would be against LDS teachings (well, maybe missing a Sunday meeting or two...). These Mormons simply expressed their love for the LGBT community -- something the church leadership has been emphasizing for some time now. So why is it so impactful today? Why were so many tears of gratitude shed and so many hugs between strangers taking place?

    Could it be that this proactive expression of love is, unfortunately, a bit rare? Could it be that despite the words by people that say they love everybody, that the actions and energy projected sometimes say something different?

    Could it be that the concept "love the sinner, hate the sin" may not be very workable in reality?

    Well this planned activity performed by a large, beautiful group of Mormons clearly showed that despite some differences, they really do love these beautiful LGBT they are! This seems to be one step...but maybe the beginning of a new type of expression that the LGBTs have been waiting to hear?!

  17. Nothing is holding you back from already implementing this Kathryn. Go talk to your Bishop and ask if there is someone you can walk into church with next Sunday.


  18. I think as humans we want to find human answers to problems that only Jesus Christ can heal. I like what you said about healing beginning in the home and I think we'd all be better off laying our burdens at the Savior's feet...but all too often we seek the approval of everyone else first...and him last. This is something we must each do privately and it is between each of us and our Savior. Well-said, Kathryn.

  19. " are these marches simply intended to broadcast a message that Mormons support gay Mormons, no matter how they choose to live their lives, and that we will embrace you within our congregations -- even if you choose to openly and actively live a homosexual lifestyle? "

    How does this jive with this scripture:

    "Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out from among you, but ye shall minister unto him and shall pray for him unto the Father, in my name; and if it so be that he repenteth and is baptized in my name, then shall ye receive him, and shall minister unto him of my flesh and blood."

    How are we supposed to minister to people in same-sex relationships when we don't even want to embrace them within our congregations? I completely support the law of chastity and the Proclamation to the World on the Family. I support the churches stance on same-sex marriage. I see same-sex relationships as sinful. However, from my understanding on how to treat sinners, saying we refuse to embrace them in our congregations goes against everything I have ever been taught. I know someone who is in a same-sex relationship and actively attends his ward, even though he has been ex-communicated. His ward embraces him, and hope you will stop promoting the idea that we should not embrace sinners in our wards, because when you do so, you go against the teachings of Christ and his anointed prophets.

    1. I believe that we embrace sinners that desire to repent -- regardless of the sin. Not those who openly mock God and continue to sin in our midst, offending God.

    2. I'm not from Utah so perhaps I have a different take on this.

      She has a point, Peculiar Light. The person you talk about has come to church. It's not the Church or the people of the Church abandoning these people but they have removed themselves from the community. Maybe folks down in Utah are actively shunning others or telling them not to come, we hear stories that make us cringe out in the boonies of the church's influence, but it doesn't seem that anyone is attempting to be rid of gay members but that they are removing themselves. As far as I know they've always been and always will be welcome and I'm happy that they are.

    3. I believe we should embrace sinners no matter what. If we only embrace sinners who desire to repent, we would not embrace anyone within our own wards because we all have our own sins we are not ready to let go of.

      God wants us to come to him and he patiently guides us in that direction, but his love does not depend on our obedience. His love is completely unconditional. Our love should be, too.

  20. "I would love to see more emphasis on what we can do, in the Church, to help our gay brothers and sisters, whom I have great compassion for, feel the love of the Savior, His way."

    Maybe quit assuming most of us will be comfortable in living a life you don't have to live? Even if we've tried it, professed it, and encouraged it most of our lives. Would be nice for you to love me for me even if I have an intimate relationship with my girlfriend, rather than having love and compassion for me only if I live as you think the Savior wants me to live.

  21. I believe that we are god's agents to show the children of all the earth true love. And the LDS church has shouted distain for gays time and time again, and the parade was shouting we love you. What one is more like Christ and what is a better way to spend the sabbath.

  22. First, I like to correct a misstatement in your post. You state that the march was "in support of gay rights." The march actually had no political message. Just a "we love you" message.

    I marched in the parade, and words cannot express how uplifting and spiritual of an experience it was for me. I think it's unfortunate that you are nitpicking the idea of this event to death and not embracing the message of love that it sent to the LGBTQ citizens in our community.

    You seem to have really great "ideas" of how to treat LGBTQ individuals you come in contact with. I'd love to hear stories of when these ideas come to fruition for you.

    What I love about this event is that it actually happened, and it DID send a huge message of love to the community, as evidenced by the outpouring of love we received in return. It's unfortunate that you do not recognize the good it did.

    1. It was a Gay Pride parade to celebrate the gay lifestyle and community. That's what gay pride parades are all about. Those who marched in the parade showed support for the gay lifestyle. It's that simple.

    2. It's funny that you choose to define the purpose of the festival and our march in that way.

      The official statement for the festival is, "Utah Pride is a catalyst for building and celebrating the strength, equality, dignity and self-determination of the LGBTQ community throughout Utah." Also "to provide support, education, outreach and advocacy for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer individuals and their allies, through programs, services and resources"

      And the theme for this year was "Changing Hearts and Lives"

      I didn't see anything in there about supporting the gay lifestyle. I have no problem celebrating the gay community, b/c they are my brothers and sisters. I'm glad I had a chance to show them my love.

  23. I am, as you put it, an "active" member of the church who participated in this parade event. If by active you mean, meeting attending, tithing paying, calling holding, Temple recommend holder, then I fit the bill. This was such a wonderful experience, one I will keep in my heart forever. Had you been there, experienced the outpouring of love and kindness directed toward us, I suspect you would not question the event as you do. It was a beautiful moment and was helpful in healing wounds and rifts between the church and the gay community. Those wounds and rifts are real and Mormon kids and young adults are killing themselves over them. Christ doesn't require me to judge, in fact, quite the opposite. I suspect He would have joined right in with us.
    From the church's press release of October 2010:
    "This Church has felt the bitter sting of persecution and marginalization early in our history, when we were too few in numbers to adequately protect ourselves and when society’s leaders often seemed disinclined to help. Our parents, young adults, teens and children should therefore, of all people, be especially sensitive to the vulnerable in society and be willing to speak out against bullying or intimidation whenever it occurs, including unkindness toward those who are attracted to others of the same sex. This is particularly so in our own Latter-day Saint congregations. Each Latter-day Saint family and individual should carefully consider whether their attitudes and actions toward others properly reflect Jesus Christ’s second great commandment - to love one another."
    Love one another. Yep, that pretty much covers it.

  24. I view the LDS participation in the march as a gesture of love. I often hear people say, "Well, I love my brother, but I don't 'condone the lifestyle'." What does that look like in terms of a Latter-Day Saint's behavior, specifically? What things would I do that "condone" their lifestyle?

    Interestingly, my gay and lesbian friends condone my heterosexual lifestyle by coming to my house, bringing presents when my kids are sick, and calling on my birthday. They are even nice to my husband. I am rocking the hetero life, and they support me in that.

  25. I do think that your post sounds like you care about LGBT members of the church and I think it's wonderful that you go out of your way to personally support and comfort them.

    Considering how many gay LDS teens are still committing suicide, the church as a whole is failing miserably in communicating love to its gay members, so I'm grateful that you are making a contribution to greater love within the church.

    However, just because other members show their support differently than you, doesn't mean those ways are inferior. It has already been mentioned that Jesus did many things on the sabbath that weren't appropriate or approved, but his intention was love, so it was acceptable to God.

    I personally don't consider homosexuality a sin and never will. I think the rhetoric of "homosexual life style" is total BS. As if you and I lived a heterosexual life style. I don't recall making a decision to be straight, just like I don't think homosexuals make a decision to be gay. But that's not the point of the post....

    I am grateful to the LDS members who marched and showed their love and support. From what I have heard of LGBT members of the church, it has been very healing and comforting on a grander scale, because the support was carried to different locations via media outlets and brought hope to LGBT members around the country.

  26. The photos from the parade brought tears to my eyes. Good ones. I thought it was a beautiful and courageous outpouring of love.

    Thanks for reminding me why I can no longer bring myself to attend the church of my youth.

  27. Do you have any idea how many people have been hurt and pushed away by their families because they are gay? Do you actually know any gay people? I do. I have listened to story after story. I mean I have actually listened with my heart and tried to understand what it means to be Mormon and gay. Do you understand that there are parents who actually kick their children out of their homes to live on the street because they cannot accept their homosexuality? It sickens me and breaks my heart to see the hurt that is caused in the name of religion, or of being "right." It is not our place to judge. Christ taught us to love our neighbor, not judge our neighbor.

    I know many people who were in this group, and their intent was purely to show love and acceptance to a group of people who are often rejected and scorned. I have heard first hand accounts of the outpouring of love and gratitude from the LGBT community. I have heard how strong the Spirit of love was among all of the people involved.

    This was a good thing. I am saddened that you choose to put it in a negative light. I would encourage you to step out of your black and white box and open your heart to understanding and loving people who may be different than you.

  28. You do come across as condescending and judgmental even if that is not your intent. By calling those members of the Church who choose to participate in the march as "'active' Mormons" (emphasis on the quotations) is very condescending and judgmental. Own it. If that was not your intention then maybe you should consider researching what the use of quotation marks infers. Everything else after your initial use of "'active' Mormon" makes it hard to hear your argument.

    1. The overuse of the term "active" to describe the Mormons that marched in the gay pride parade was how they, themselves, wanted to be seen and describes as. The media have used both "active" and "devout" for emphasis in telling this story. I gather that it's okay for national media to use the description that this group wanted focus on, but not a fellow member that is not completely in agreement for what they did as "active" members. This post was not an argument. It is my thoughts and opinions. That's all.

  29. I noted that a lot of language surrounding your core message makes it sound like you are non-judemental, and aren't saying anything bad about the Building Bridges event. But when you strip away much of your conditional and introductory language, I see the following as your message:

    "... are these marches simply intended to broadcast a message that Mormons support gay Mormons, no matter how they choose to live their lives, and that we will embrace you within our congregations -- even if you choose to openly and actively live a homosexual lifestyle? ... I have concerns that small fringe groups, of LDS members, are using any available media source to promote and advocate for change that is oppositional to what current prophets teach. ... Normalizing same-sex attraction, with its advocates, both inside and outside of the Church, has become a joint effort with, no doubt, hopeful political results ... a misguided effort to extend love and build bridges with other members of the Church, who have the challenge of same-gender attraction...."

    This, of course, does not include your comments about breaking the Sabbath (participants were encouraged to attend a local church after the event).

    Can you point to anything in the Mormons Building Bridges announcements / communicates that back your insinuations?

    1. Yes, I did raise questions about the purpose and intent of the event -- and that it was on the Sabbath. I made no mention, or judgement, of breaking the Sabbath.

      Here is what I actually did say about the Sabbath... "As much as I hesitate to bring the Sabbath into this discussion, because I know many will simply focus on how judgemental of others they believe that I am being..."

  30. I am one of those who marched on Sunday. What an incredible experience! There was such a spirit of love, and if I'm reading my scriptures right, love is the greatest commandment. Some show love and support in different ways. This was my way of showing love to a group of people who often feel disenfranchised, hurt, and misunderstood; often justifiably so. I've heard members and leaders of the church use rhetoric that, over time, has wounded and damaged people. I’m sure that wasn’t their intent. In fact, I think their intent, like yours, is to bring people closer to our Heavenly Father through Christ. However, in our zeal to bring closer to God those who we feel are sinning, we sometimes end up pushing them further away. Is it so wrong, then, to let a group of God’s children know they are loved; to let them know we know they are wounded or hurting inside and that we care?

    There was no ulterior motive to this group. No one was asking that the LDS Church change doctrine. No one was advocating gay rights for all or supporting gay marriage. Individuals may have other views, but the goal of the group was simply to let those in the LGBT community know that we love them and care about them; that we wanted to be there for them.

    Many of these wonderful people have been ostracized by their religion and families, the very entities that should be loving and supporting them. We could argue all day about whether those in the LGBT community brought those woes upon themselves, but the bottom line is it's not for me to judge. Unless I walk in another's shoes or live their life, I can't really judge them. Only our Father in Heaven can do that, and thank goodness that's His job and not mine. I am commanded to love, and that’s what I was doing on that lovely Sunday afternoon.

    What amazed me was seeing people weeping and perhaps feeling a love that they haven't felt from their families, friends, religious leaders, or fellow churchgoers. It was clear to me that many spectators had been hurting for a long time and were seeing and feeling something that they needed and craved. More amazing was the love we received from them.

    I felt the Spirit so strongly. Judging from comments I’ve read from many of my fellow marchers, I wasn't alone. As I marched, I thought how sad it was that there are some who wouldn’t be caught dead at a gay pride parade out of a sense of morality or obedience and how unfortunate it was that they were missing out on an experience that, frankly, I think would have enriched their lives and broadened their understanding of God’s love in another way.

    Sometimes when I go to church, I feel we are just preaching the gospel rather than living it. Sunday I felt like I was living it; that I was doing something good, meaningful, and worthwhile. Doesn’t the Article of Faith say “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things”? You might not expect to find that at a Gay Pride parade, but I assure you, I did. "Where love is, there God is also," so God was definitely at that parade with us and with the spectators. Many of us felt Him in our hearts in great abundance. Isn’t that what it’s all about – drawing closer to our Heavenly Father? Well, we did. Yep, I admit it - I missed a Sunday at church. But never try to convince me that I didn't learn at that Pride parade some of the greatest lessons the gospel could ever teach me. I was there, and I know. I know it as surely as I know any part of my testimony of the Church. I only hope that those who follow the letter of the law too closely won’t miss out on the joys that the spirit of the law can teach them. It’s something to think about. Much love your way.

  31. I find the authors comments in poor taste and not representative of the church. I invite her to cast the first stone.

  32. My experiences have taught me that the miracle of grace and the atonement often takes place when we breach our end of the contract and are no longer living a life that is in harmony with gospel teaching. Inviting someone to come to church and worship on the terms that you understand can be helpful but it doesn't necessarily build bridges. Going where they are and offering a hand of love and understanding creates a bridge from one lifestyle to the next.

    From the bible and the parable of the lost Sheep in Matthew 18:12, we can see how this teaching applies and the miracle takes place

    “How think ye? If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountain, and seeketh that which is gone astray?”

    If we are to follow Christ's example, sometimes we may have to leave a seat vacant in the pew. Not everyone is in a place where they can dedicate their time to the level discipleship that you find so fulfilling. If you feel like it is your calling to stay in the pew so you can be there to receive the souls that enter through the doors then that is fantastic because it's a necessary role, but please do not misconstrue the intentions of those who feel called to fill another role.

  33. Forgive my bluntness, but I am going to be blunt in responding to you, El Vaso.

    You put yourself above others, criticizing them for failing to respond to this issue in the same manner as you would, yet you completely ignore the issues raised by myself and Kathy. You flaunt the name of Christ, implying that Kathy and others are ignoring principles that Christ would practice.

    There seems to be a real dichotomy in what you profess versus what the Savior, Prophets, and Apostles have taught on the matter. While it is true that we are commanded to love one another, that admonition does not compel us as Latter-Day Saints to embrace violations of the law of chastity and principles relating to eternal families.

    You may continue to preach your version of Christ and his love as you view in the scriptures. That is your right and I applaud you in professing your beliefs. That said, you stand on shaky ground when you tell us that we ought to be marching in a gay pride parade to demonstrate our love. Just how does that demonstrate love and allow Latter-Day Saints to uphold a strict principles of morality, as taught by the Savior, Prophets, and Apostles?

    /end rant

  34. It is so difficult to bring up this kind of topic on a blog. A topic so personal and emotionally driven.

    I am on both sides of this issue. I want so badly for the Atonement to bring the peace and healing that my friends want and need. I want equally as badly for my friends, and relatives actually, to feel welcome. So in regards to the parade, everybody who participated did it for their own personal reasons and everybody there but the media understood that each person has their individual interpretation of what marching meant to them. To me it was purely to reach out in a way that was understood, a way that was more tangible to my friends. And sometimes it means doing something that isn't culturally accepted. Because if that's what it takes to show my friend that he is loved by me, if that is what he needs, then I'm going to do it. Because his or her trust is a whole lot more acceptable to my moral code than letting them feel rejected, alone and suicidal.

  35. "Gay couples are going to get together. It's been happening since ancient times. Legal prohibitions didn't, couldn't and would never stop it. Isn't it better that gay relationship conduct their relationships within the context of a well-defined marriage law, same as heterosexual couples?"

  36. Helping gays and lesbian from inside the Church seems like a reasonable thing to do. But it's completely void of understanding of the cultural dynamics within the Church that make that impractical. It might have been an option before the LDS Church got involved in politics. Their involvement in politics is a disinvitation, imho. If you want to build bridges you've got to be willing to span the gap.

  37. As they walked away from the chapels and with those state that this lifestyle should accepted by all people and faiths, my mind was drawn to John 6:64-68.

  38. I'm totally confused by this entire issue. I was baptized in Sept. 2011 and I guess I'm not understanding the message of the church about SSA and being Mormon. Maybe someday I will, I suppose. Just seems weird to me, on the one hand to say, "We love you and accept you," and on the other to day, "...but don't give in to your own God-given inclinations as regards SSA." Double-standard? I think maybe yes. No wonder Mormons with SSA don't feel loved or welcomed in their congregations.

  39. I do feel that we all need to remember that God does not see as a man seeth. He looks on the heart. I do not feel that God will punish those who walked for not attending thier designated meeting. Thier hearts were in the right place. I did not march nor do I think I will attend a Pride parade because the pictures from even the SLC one show some things I do not want to be surrounded by. I respect the Author and her opinion as also the choice of the MBB group. She seems to just be saying that from outside perspective this could appear political and reading Huffington Posts comments it would seem so from all accounts. I believe that her heart too is in the right place. In the end the message still is the same God is Love and we should follow our hearts and pray to know Gods will. We should not shun those who believe different than us. As the author said she hopes to attend church with members who may have SSA and show love to them. Others felt it important to walk in a controversial parade. Please when you comment remember that although you may not agree with something we are all sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father each seeking in our own way the answers to life. And those who think Christ sot out being among the sinners there are scriptures in which he does stay away from the Pharisees and Scribes. He regularly called them corruptors of the word. It does not say that he hung out with sinners. It quotes the scribes and Pharisees of saying so. For those who would hear him he offered only one invitation and that was to Follow me. After that he taught them but they chose to follow and some stopped following when what he taught was not favorable to them. He did not change doctrine for them. In the end we each must decide whether or not we follow Christ and make our choices based on the love that he would have each of us show. Isn't it wonderful that we have prayer and scriptures and leaders and personal revelation to guide us. MBB does not claim to speak for the church but their message was not a bad one. They simply speak as active members according to thier own conscience. There are other groups that speak very differently in the church trying to change doctrine. I did not get that from thier march.


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