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smac97

Youtube Vid: It Gets Better With Mormon Family And Friends

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Smac -

I know you don't see it this way but my comments have been directed at the content of the video. Yours have been directed at what you perceive may be subtext.

The video was not made as a missionary tool. It wasn't designed to call people to repentance. It's sole purpose was to offer love and support for those who feel they aren't loved or who feel their lives aren't worth living.

Do you feel that message is inconsistent with the teachings of Christ or the church? Why or why not?

It's evident that we are watching the video very differently and that we differ on the relevance of my comments. It's your thread so I'll bow out as to avoid introducing a spirit of contention.

Peace,

MnG

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To express to gay Mormons that are suffering that there are indeed those in their community who love them as they are, that things can get better for them, and above all, "don't check out" - don't kill yourself.

Right. I get that. My question is this: How does life "get better?" The vid participants don't say. They don't explain that life "gets better" by adhering to the principles of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Nor do they say that life "gets better" by disregarding those principles and engaging in homosexual behavior.

Why is the vid so vague on this point? Why not be crystal clear? "We love you. Don't check out. Don't kill yourself. Keep the faith. Obey the commandments, no matter how difficult."? Why instead leave viewers with an ambiguous message of encouragement? Encouragement to do what (besides abstain from suicide)?

Thanks,

-Smac

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If the immediate goal is to stop those considering suicide from carrying it out? YES!

Shouldn't we express our love for these folks and encourage them to live by the precepts of the Restored Gospel? Or is the Restored Gospel just a pesky thing to be shunted aside when it requires us to do something difficult (such as resist certain impulses of the flesh)?

Thanks,

-Smac

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ahh [email protected] - I have to offer one last comment because of this:

But assuming you are correct, is this the best message to convey to young Latter-day Saints? Shouldn't we express our love for these folksand encourage them to live by the precepts of the Restored Gospel? Or is the Restored Gospel just a pesky thing to be shunted aside when it requires us to do something difficult (such as resist certain impulses of the flesh)?

We all know you place no value on the Restored Gospel, but Mormons do. Or should.

Do you remember Bishop Burton's talk a couple of GC's back when the GC was focused on the Welfare program? He shared the following story:

In 1897 a young David O. McKay stood at a door with a tract in his hand. As a missionary in Stirling, Scotland, he had done this many times before. But on that day a very haggard woman opened the door and stood before him. She was poorly dressed and had sunken cheeks and unkempt hair.

She took the tract Elder McKay offered to her and spoke six words that he subsequently would never forget: “Will this buy me any bread?”

This encounter left a lasting impression on the young missionary. He later wrote: “From that moment I had a deeper realization that the Church ofChrist should be and is interested in the temporal salvation of man. I walked away from the door feeling that that [woman], with … bitterness in [her heart] toward man and God, [was] in no position to receive the message of the gospel. [she was] in need of temporal help, and there was no organization, so far as I could learn, in Stirling that could give it to [her].”1

There is an immediate need that has to be addressed in this community. The "bread" being offered in this video is that there is hope, that gay people have worth and are lovable regardless of their inclinations/choices/sins.

It's not a compromise of standards to feed that need so that the gospel can subsequently be received as it ought, just as Elder McKay realized that a starving Scot needed food before the restored gospel would matter to her.

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Shouldn't we express our love for these folks and encourage them to live by the precepts of the Restored Gospel? Or is the Restored Gospel just a pesky thing to be shunted aside when it requires us to do something difficult (such as resist certain impulses of the flesh)?

Thanks,

-Smac

The video isn't a misionary tool, or Church production. It's part of a series designed as outreach for LGBT individuals who have lost their sense of self-worth, and feel that people don't love or care about them anymore, and that suicide is the only way to go. It's to get them to wake up the next morning. THEN other steps can be taken. This isn't the end. It's a beginning. It's a twig of hope, encouragement, and love. It's not to tell them what they should do better than they're doing now.

Edited by David T

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Smac -

I know you don't see it this way but my comments have been directed at the content of the video. Yours have been directed at what you perceive may be subtext.

No, not entirely. I am trying to understand the message of the vid, which I think is ambiguous. What is the message of the vid as relating to young Latter-day Saints, SSA, and the Restored Gospel?

The video was not made as a missionary tool. It wasn't designed to call people to repentance. It's sole purpose was to offer love and support for those who feel they aren't loved or who feel their lives aren't worth living.

I get that. And the message of "it gets better" is certainly an encouraging one. But how does life "get better" for young Latter-day Saints with SSA? What are they supposed to do relative to the Restored Gospel, which prohibits them from acting on same-sex impulses? This is rather an important point, and one that the vid does not address (or only implicitly addresses - see Dehlin's comments).

Do you feel that message is inconsistent with the teachings of Christ or the church? Why or why not?

As I have said many times now: I think the message is ambiguous.

How does life "get better" for Latter-day Saints with same-sex attraction? By resisting SSA, obeying the commandments as taught by the Church, and hoping that the membership of the Church will love and support you in such an effort? Or by accepting it as "who you are," beginning to act in ways which break the commandments, and hoping that the Church will change its doctrines by embracing and endorsing same-sex behavior?

Are these people trying to convey a message like this: "Some people in the Church lack charity for people like you, but know that we love you, and God loves you. Obeying the precepts of the Church, particularly as regarding marriage and the Law of Chastity, will be difficult for you. Know that we will be here to love and support you as you cope with this difficulty."

Or is the message something like this: "Some people in the Church lack charity for people like you, including leaders who refuse to alter the doctrines of the Church to endorse and embrace the full ambit of same-sex attraction, including allowing Latter-day Saints to engage in same-sex behavior. We hope the Church will make this change. Meanwhile, know that we love you, and God loves you, even if other church members don't."

I like the first message, but not the second. The first one is consistent with the teachings of Christ and His Church, the second is not.

And the ambiguity of the vid allows for the viewer to come away with either one. That is what I find troubling.

It's evident that we are watching the video very differently and that we differ on the relevance of my comments. It's your thread so I'll bow out as to avoid introducing a spirit of contention.

As you like. I didn't find you particularly contentious (though my contention-meter is probably out of whack given my line of work).

Thanks,

-Smac

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Shouldn't we express our love for these folks and encourage them to live by the precepts of the Restored Gospel? Or is the Restored Gospel just a pesky thing to be shunted aside when it requires us to do something difficult (such as resist certain impulses of the flesh)?

It seems to me that there are plenty of messages "encouraging them to live by the precepts of the Restored Gospel?"

To do so here, would undermine the message that you are loved, unconditionally ... meaning obviously, even if you choose to accept and embrace your homosexuality.

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The video isn't a misionary tool, or Church production. It's part of a series designed as outreach for LGBT individuals who have lost their sense of self-worth, and feel that people don't love or care about them anymore, and that suicide is the only way to go. It's to get them to wake up the next morning. THEN other steps can be taken. This isn't the end. It's a beginning. It's a twig of hope, encouragement, and love. It's not to tell them what they should do better than they're doing now.

David,

Some good thoughts. Thanks.

-Smac

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It seems to me that there are plenty of messages "encouraging them to live by the precepts of the Restored Gospel?"

To do so here, would undermine the message that you are loved, unconditionally ... meaning obviously, even if you choose to accept and embrace your homosexuality.

Really? Encouraging someone to obey God is at odds with a message of unconditional love?

Wow. We really see the world in different ways.

Thanks,

-Smac

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Really? Encouraging someone to obey God is at odds with a message of unconditional love?

I didn't say "at odds," I say it "undermines" the message. Perhaps an even better word would be "detracts" from the main message.

Wow. We really see the world in different ways.

If you would address what I actually say, rather than what you imagine I meant, the difference is likely not all that wide.

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Perhaps experiencing our love will help others move toward God more than experiencing our judgment.

However, some judgment must be undertaken if we are to judge what is the best way to help others. Loving someone isn't always enough.

Condemning someone is inappropriate, but ignoring that some actions are sinful can be harmful for all involved.

edit: off topic, perhaps another thread....

Edited by calmoriah

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Perhaps it would have been helpful to have included something along the lines of pointing out what the next step might be.

It is important to address the immediate need, but once that is addressed, once that individual in the case of the video survives to the next morning, what is he to do then? Being at a loss of what the next step might be can lead to hopelessness in and of itself.

It doesn't have to the central message of the vid, but I think some indication of a 'next move' would be useful and could remove the ambiguity that concerns Smac.

I also think the term "allies" is troubling as it implies that this is a contest or even a fight. It seems problematic to me that on the one hand it is being taught to be completely open and supportive of others no matter what and on the other, pointing to those who currently disagree as people who need to be resisted or overcome rather than loved and accepted in supported in their difficulties as well.

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Perhaps it would have been helpful to have included something along the lines of pointing out what the next step might be.

It is important to address the immediate need, but once that is addressed, once that individual in the case of the video survives to the next morning, what is he to do then? Being at a loss of what the next step might be can lead to hopelessness in and of itself.

I agree. If the vid is construed as a "talk 'em down off the ledge" kind of thing, then fine. But I got the impression that the vid has more in mind that an exhortation to not commit suicide.

It doesn't have to the central message of the vid, but I think some indication of a 'next move' would be useful and could remove the ambiguity that concerns Smac.

Yep. I wonder whether the despair felt by some Latter-day Saints with SSA stems exclusively from a feeling that nobody loves them, but that it also stems from the profound incompatibility between innately-held impulses and the precepts of the Restored Gospel. This incompatibility becomes particularly hard to deal with when virtually every other voice in the world (other than the LDS Church and its members) is telling them that acting on those impulses is fine and dandy.

I also think the term "allies" is troubling as it implies that this is a contest or even a fight.

Well, it is a fight. The question is the identification of the contestants. Are Latter-day Saints with SSA arrayed in battle against A) their own impulses which, according to the precepts of the Restored Gospel, cannot be acted upon, or B) the LDS Church and its teachings proscribing homosexual conduct?

Whom, according to the vid participants, is the adversary? I dunno. The vid is ambiguous. And the ambiguity itself is a bit troubling.

It seems problematic to me that on the one hand it is being taught to be completely open and supportive of others no matter what and on the other, pointing to those who currently disagree as people who need to be resisted or overcome rather than loved and accepted in supported in their difficulties as well.

Yep.

-Smac

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I agree with Smac that the HOW it gets better is ambiguous. I also agree that it should have been more clear about its motive so as not to allow for the intent of the vid to be misconstrued. Speculation on the ambiguous intent is also problematic because it serves as a means to create mountains out of mole hills. If someone is concerned as to the intent then perhaps they should contact the vid creator and/or participants and simply ask.

There is no need for the vid to be used as a missional tool to advocate "sinful behavior" nor to be used to further promote the LDS church position. I don't see the vid as needing to be about the church or the Restored Gospel according to the LDS church.

You are loved unconditionally by a merciful God who transcends earthly vessels. Don't give up. Persevere and endure.

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I agree with Smac that the HOW it gets better is ambiguous. I also agree that it should have been more clear about its motive so as not to allow for the intent of the vid to be misconstrued. Speculation on the ambiguous intent is also problematic because it serves as a means to create mountains out of mole hills. If someone is concerned as to the intent then perhaps they should contact the vid creator and/or participants and simply ask.

There is no need for the vid to be used as a missional tool to advocate "sinful behavior" nor to be used to further promote the LDS church position. I don't see the vid as needing to be about the church or the Restored Gospel according to the LDS church.

You are loved unconditionally by a merciful God who transcends earthly vessels. Don't give up.

There is no ambiguity.

How does it get better. It gets better because you have family and friend that love you, and will accept you ... just as we have.

It is evident from the video that this unconditional love and acceptance is directed even to those who chose not to live their life as a celibate gay Mormon.

Persevere and endure.

I can see why you weren't invited to participate in the video.

Edited by Jaybear

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I taught seminary for many years. Part of each morning was devoted to students quoting a scripture. The most often quoted scripture in seminary was also the shortest scripture in the Bible. "Jesus wept" This scripture comes from when Mary and Martha plead for Christ to come heal their brother Lazarus who is gravely ill. Before Christ gets there, Lazarus dies. When Christ arrives, Mary is a bit unhappy with Christ. "Why didn't he come sooner to heal his brother. Did Christ not love Mary, Martha, and Lazarus enough to bother to come?"

Christ could have said a lot of things to Mary. He could have chastised her for not believing in the plan of salvation. He could have scolded her for her lack of faith. He could have preached a sermon on what his atonement would mean to Lazarus. Instead, the scriptures simply say "Jesus wept".

Sometimes showing compassion and love is the most important thing we can do. I have grown to love this scripture and feel that it has an important lesson for me when responding to other peoples situations. Perhaps it might shed light on what this video is about.

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I don't see the vid as needing to be about the church or the Restored Gospel according to the LDS church.
But it targets LDS as its audience, does it not? It is not just a generic appeal.

If the video itself identifies membership in the Church as a qualification of its intended audience, then it seems that the message must have implications for the Church, either why is there any need for that identification?

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However, some judgment must be undertaken if we are to judge what is the best way to help others. Loving someone isn't always enough.

Condemning someone is inappropriate, but ignoring that some actions are sinful can be harmful for all involved.

edit: off topic, perhaps another thread....

Keep getting drawn back in... :)

Agreed, Cal, however, there is a time and place as I tried to point out here.

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I don't usually find myself agreeing with something Jaybear said, but in this case, I do believe he is correct. I don't really see the ambiguity.

The path for a Latter-day Saint who faces same gender attraction has not changed: obedience to the law of chastity, and the things proclaimed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The effort to make it known that there is unconditional love for them, despite their struggles, is welcome and inspired, in my belief.

Your ability to resist temptation is strengthened when you know that you are loved no matter what, that they are always there for you. That you are not alone, and that it is possible to walk in the Lord's way and still be tempted by homosexuality.

So when they say "it gets better", I believe they're referring to greater efforts at understanding, compassion, and charity towards those who struggle with attraction to their own gender. Sometimes, that compassion, that pure love...it can make all the difference.

Just my thoughts.

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But it targets LDS as its audience, does it not? It is not just a generic appeal.

If the video itself identifies membership in the Church as a qualification of its intended audience, then it seems that the message must have implications for the Church, either why is there any need for that identification?

The church is a physical institution. The vid is directed toward a specific group of people. The vid was not about LDS doctrine.

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So when they say "it gets better", I believe they're referring to greater efforts at understanding, compassion, and charity towards those who struggle with attraction to their own gender. Sometimes, that compassion, that pure love...it can make all the difference.

I think Smac's point is that if one is required to say "I believe they are referring to..." instead of "they are referring to" for accuracy sake's, then there is enough ambiguity for him to be concerned.

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The church is a physical institution.

I disagree. The Church in my view is primarily its membership. Burn down all the buildings and possessions of the Church, but leave the people be. Does the Church still exist? Maybe it doesn't function as well, but I don't see how anyone could deny its existence.

PS: I doubt that explicit discussion on the Law of Chastity or the covenants we make or whatever behaviour is taught as appropriate by the Church leadership is necessary in such a video as long as it hasn't included confusing remarks that blur the line between the Church and society in general. Including a 'this is where you can go to figure out what to do next' is sufficient imo....though such action does require the individual to open up him/herself to others and not all are ready to do that, but in most cases I suspect they would already know what they can do on their own (and likely it hasn't been enough for them if they are feeling suicidal).

Edited by calmoriah

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The message is loud and clear.

The message is directed to young gay LDS members.

The message is you are loved, please don't kill yourself.

If you want to look for subtext, you can imagine any thing you wish.

Amen. That's what I took from it.

I didn't read into it that these were a bunch of radical members going against what the Priesthood leaders have declared and calling for LDS acceptance of homosexual lifestyles. I took it as an appeal for self-dignity. The fact is that 75% of gay students at BYU have contemplated suicide and 25% have attempted it. This is an epidemic. I don't see the agenda of this video being anything other than "We love you. There is support. Don't hurt yourself." How is that going against anything declared by the Prophets and Apostles?

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But it targets LDS as its audience, does it not? It is not just a generic appeal.

If the video itself identifies membership in the Church as a qualification of its intended audience, then it seems that the message must have implications for the Church, either why is there any need for that identification?

The very opening words are "I don't know you, but I feel like I do." To me that clearly indicated that this video was aimed at a gay LDS audience.

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I don't usually find myself agreeing with something Jaybear said, but in this case, I do believe he is correct. I don't really see the ambiguity.

The path for a Latter-day Saint who faces same gender attraction has not changed: obedience to the law of chastity, and the things proclaimed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The effort to make it known that there is unconditional love for them, despite their struggles, is welcome and inspired, in my belief.

Your ability to resist temptation is strengthened when you know that you are loved no matter what, that they are always there for you. That you are not alone, and that it is possible to walk in the Lord's way and still be tempted by homosexuality.

So when they say "it gets better", I believe they're referring to greater efforts at understanding, compassion, and charity towards those who struggle with attraction to their own gender. Sometimes, that compassion, that pure love...it can make all the difference.

Just my thoughts.

And very poignant ones at that!

I'm actually a bit suprised that anyone, after listening to that vid would find issue with it. The spirit was very strong in that message, (at least it was to me).

To many people the church represents a line drawn in the sand; a line that to them, at least at that particular time in their life, seems insurmountable. It seems entirely counter-productive to me, that to individuals that are so afflicted by the line in the sand to the point of closing the doors on life, that the means of offering them hope at that critical moment, would be to remind them of the line.

Edited by Senator

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