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Yesterday my husband and I attended church services at the First Church Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Salt Lake City.
The minister, Reverend Harold Straughn, related an account of Bishop Krister Stendahl’s "Three Rules for Religious Understanding," which the bishop shared in a 1985 press conference in Sweden, by way of suggestion to non-LDS religious clergy members who originally opposed to the building of an LDS temple there.
Keeping these three rules in mind ultimately resulted in the diverse, non-religious clergy members to arrive at a shared mutual respect large enough to authorize the necessary permits for the construction of the LDS Stockholm temple.
When you are trying to understand another religion, you should ask the adherents of that religion, and not its enemies. Don't compare your best to their worst. Leave room for "holy envy." (By this Stendahl meant that you should be willing to recognize elements in the other religious tradition or faith that you admire and wish could, in some way, be reflected in your own religious tradition or faith.) Our UU Minister Rev. Straugh applauded the actions of the Swedish Lutheran clergy who, by keeping the above in mind, arrived at enough shared understanding to overcome their strict objection to the construction of the LDS temple.
He then drew a correlation to the church’s recent policy change by saying, “I couldn’t help but wonder: if the LDS church would have chosen to apply those same three rules for religious understanding to how it dialogues with gay and lesbian parents, would we all be dealing with the same aftermath we’ve been facing now, in the wake of the policy and it’s affect on Utah’s religious landscape?”
That got me thinking about how both religion and LGBT issues are often approached here on the board. I think those rules are definitely a helpful starting point (although not the ending point, either) when beginning to understanding a religion.
I can’t help but think that some haven’t been giving gays and lesbians the same benefit of the doubt, when it comes to how those three rules could be applied:
When you are trying to understand what it means to be gay or lesbian, you should ask gays or lesbians—not our enemies. Don’t compare “the best” heterosexuals with “the worst” homosexuals. Leave room for “holy envy”—be willing to recognize elements in gays and lesbians, and their relationships, that you admire and wish you could, in some way, reflect in your own self or relationships.
More and more, in the name of equality, equality for marriage, equality in healthcare, the government is more and more stepping in and telling religion what it can and cannot do. Here's a case where the state of California is ordering churches to pay for surgical abortions.
I cannot begin to express how disturbing a trend we are seeing where government is regulating churches. Our number one freedom is Freedom of Religion. Freedom of Religion is pivotal. If it goes, so do all our individual freedoms. The more power We the People give government the more individual liberty gets pushed aside. The two cannot coexist. Never has. Never will until a perfect person rules government but no one knows when that will happen.
So for a good while now, much of the apostolic counsel to youth and young adults (my people) has been to share the gospel online. I am all for doing this, but not really sure what to do. Most of the Mormon internet evangelism I see is endless regurgitation of short videos and memes produced by the Church, with an occasional testimonial posted on a Facebook wall that resembles what you might hear at church on fast sunday, but with more hash-tags. Then there is the bloggernacle, but to be honest, I don't think many non-mormons read mormon blogs, and given the fact that they tend to be endless debates on pointless subjects, I wouldn't recommend it to any.
So, do ya'll have any suggestions? Does anyone on here make an effort to proselytize online? This is a serious question I have thought about quite a bit