Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A positive experience -- The churches clarification of policy concerning gays (you know the one)

Yes, I have a bias and I seek to confirm it.* My bias is that the LDS church teaches people to be Christ-like to others, and that the policies of the church are to protect members; to provide the ordinances and information that will allow those who choose to be members the best chance to return to the presence of Heavenly Father.

As per many confirmation bias, I look for things to support my stance. There has been much representing the other viewpoints, and I have been looking out for more information. This experience was recently posted in Facebook. Yes, I understand the sketchy nature of faith promoting rumors, but this was proactive -- and it left me with another vantage point. Separate vantages have always proved necessary to pinpoint truth.

"I am a gay man with full custody of my children. I was invited to share the afternoon with my stake president and a general authority Seventy. After hearing the comments, positions, and beliefs of the GA, I would like to offer what little reassurance I can give to those affected by the recent policy on LGBT members and their children.

"Things were said in confidence and off the record that I am not able to share publicly at this time, however I will say that if what was said is representative of what is on the horizon, there will be a much brighter future for all of us affected.

"The comments he made were the most affirming, understanding, and compassionate things I've ever heard from a church authority in relation to LGBT issues. He was unequivocal in the disagreement of certain attitudes, actions, positions and teachings formerly perpetuated by other church leaders.

"When I expressed concerns about being on an apostate list and my kids being asked to disavow and not affiliate (per temple recommend question) he was able to calm my fears and anxiety and reassure me that this would not be asked or expected--even if I am living in a same sex partnership.

"He listened. He understood. He loves. He did not judge or condemn. He assured me that he was not alone amongst other leaders in his views and approach. 

"I realize that this is vague but he sincerely wants to maintain contact with me as things progress in my life and I don't want to betray his confidence. He asked for patience and hopes for change. He was clear that homosexual behavior is and would continue to be considered "sin" for the foreseeable future, but held out hope that changes in the way that LGBT individuals and families are dealt with is very possible.

"Knowing that I want to find a partner, he hugged me and invited me to return to activity in the church community if I ever felt inclined to do so. This was stated without any hint or suggestion that it would preclude my being single or celibate.

"I am in awe of the Christlike compassion I was shown."

So, what do you think? Could there be truth to this? 

*Confirmation bias, also called confirmatory bias or mysidebias, is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one's beliefs or hypotheses, while giving disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities.


  1. We all have knee-jerk reactions to statements; we have to learn to think about the things people say to us or statements that are made in the context of and taking into consideration all facets. I, too, was upset when I first heard about the statement; however, in thinking over the purpose for the statement, I was able to come to terms with its purpose and the Church's reason for issuing it.

  2. It doesn't matter at all what the statement is or who it affects. As long as it comes from leadership, you will believe it - no need to look for proof. Some would see that as a problem but it doesn't have to be - whatever the church says, you will believe. Why look for positive stories? No need. The church could say put all gay men on an island and leave them there - and you would believe it and go off to that island. I say look at it that way.