Monday, December 5, 2016
Preface of the new book "They That Be With Us -- The Connection Between Gay and Mormon
I am dividing the new book up in chapters and presenting them here on the blog. Feel free to comment in the notes, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Calvin: As with most of my meaningful encounters, Julie and her husband and my wife and I were brought together by food. It was a family dinner invitation under the guise of a “get to know you”. It was over desert that we realized that we had something other than a new ward and a love for eating in common. In our own private lives, Julie and I were both dealing with homosexuality; I was gay, and she had recently found out her son was as well.
Julie and I come from dissimilar backgrounds and we have singularly different approaches to living and writing. We will not attempt to blend our styles because we hope that in keeping our unique perspectives we can act as Velcro; I have the rough edges and she the smooth soft side. Neither side works effectively alone.
There are a few assumptions or suppositions - five, actually - that we as a team have made in the researching, writing, rewriting and subsequent reworking of this book. They are fundamental enough that each and every point we will be making is contingent on one or all of the following.
1) The first assumption is, of course, that homosexuality is somehow and to some degree an issue for you or for someone you either love or are required to tolerate.
Julie: More and more I am running into people - parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends - who have someone in their immediate circle that is dealing with SGA and they are confused. As members of the LDS church we have very strong beliefs in what is right and what is wrong, but as family and friends, we hate to see our loved ones hurting and struggling with something we don’t completely understand. We need answers.
This brings us to the second principal.
2) God is God - all knowing, all powerful and unchanging. We do not know everything. Not having to know all the answers but trusting that someone has them is liberating. Answers are available, and as we grow and progress and seek truth they will be revealed to us.
Our Heavenly Father has the power to heal and reveal, to mend and make whole. He knows us and is aware of our quirks, trials, our successes and failures. He knows what is on our I Pod and on our Google search. God, who is our Heavenly Father, loves us and wants to share with us all that He has - such as His love, His power and His knowledge. All three are quite formidable.
God’s abilities are limitless. He is able and has the means - both power and knowledge - to keep us safe. Because we know this we know that the situations we face will be for our good and are ultimately in his control. As writers and collaborators, every point Julie and I make is based on this truth and will resonate if we remember this; God has our back - even if we don’t see Him, or hear Him.
3) The third fundamental is that Jesus is the Christ, and that as our Lord and Savior He has made repentance possible. Jesus is Jehovah of the Old Testament. He left our Father from on high and lowered himself to come to earth. He alone was the perfect man capable of carrying out the atonement - the only being “at one” - signifying the act of unifying or reconciling that which has been separated (in this case God and us)
The atonement of Jesus Christ was necessary to overcome both physical and spiritual death - physical death by guaranteeing our direct involvement in the resurrection, and spiritual death by providing a way for us to return to the presence of God. Because of the sacrifice of His life, all people will be resurrected. Because of His atonement, we who sin can be clean and may receive the gift of eternal life with God.
Calvin: The Savior didn’t do it for fame, a promise of stardom, or to bind us to Him, though thankfully, we are bound. I can’t imagine being bound to someone I genuinely love and respect more. He did it because He loved us and He loved His Father.
“For behold, I...have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer...even as I”
There is none equal to Him. We honor Him.
4) The forth indisputable fact is that Satan and his influences are real.
Julie: Satan wanted to control us from the very beginning, to compel us to worship him. His methods haven’t changed in the many years since. While our Heavenly Father will never force us to do anything, Satan has no such scruples. He aims for power over us and to deprive us of agency.
Satan was a control freak in the pre-existence and he is even more so now. He traps, binds and would force us to give up our freedom so he can sift us as wheat or do as he would with us. He has an answer for all he does - a perversion for everything pure. If it exists in righteousness then he has his own version that is immoral and foul. He is not the inconsequential mischievous Halloween fodder he has been made out to be. He wants to demolish and destroy all that Father has.
What Father has is us.
Calvin: Satan is the opposite in every way from our Savior. He too has priesthood power, though his is dark and selfish. But our Savior’s priesthood power comes from our Heavenly Father and is stronger than that of the devil. I have had personal confirmation of that. When we live as the Savior has asked we have access to God’s power. Having authority through the Savior and ability to use Gods priesthood will thwart Satan’s plans for our destruction.
5) Lastly, we know that Latter-day Saint prophets speak for the Lord in our day. Christ, who is at the head of His Church, has not left us alone during our stay here on earth. He speaks to us and guides us by way of his spokesmen on earth who are modern day prophets -- just as He did in days of old. His word will be disclosed, and, “…He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.”
We believe that the words of the modern day prophets when they speak for and to the body of the church are the word of the Savior just as those contained in the scriptures.
These are our essential suppositions -- the core issues which are the foundation of our lives and, consequently, of this book.
We witness to these truths. If you do not have knowledge of these certainties for yourself then come and sit on our porch for a while. You can stay as long as you choose, and you can borrow a little of our testimony until yours is stronger.
We have enough to share.
Stay tuned for more of "They That Be With Us -- The Connection Between Gay and Mormon"