The Other Great Commandment: Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself

I found this open letter on Facebook. It is a courageous and inspiring effort to protect our gay children and neighbors in the BYU community. Since it is doubtful that the Daily Universe will publish it, I am taking the liberty to disseminate it on Main Street Plaza. It might be a good idea, if you share it on your own pages and blogs as well, not because you or I agree with it 100% but because it is a thoughtful contribution that deserves consideration.

A response to the hateful and deceiving articles in our Daily Universe against our homosexual brothers and sisters

We of the BYU community who are sympathetic to our homosexual brothers and sisters were extremely hurt by the ignorant articles in the Daily Universe comparing homosexuals to prostitutes and serial killers. Gay students are in every classroom, every ward, and every apartment complex at BYU and we want to reach out in love to help you better understand.

-Utah leads the nation in youth suicides and teen homelessness, a large number of which are gay youth. (Utah Suicide Stats Alarming, Salt Lake Tribune, 2007)

-Gay youth who are rejected by family or peers are 8 times more likely to commit suicide, 6 times as likely to be depressed, and 3 times as likely to use illegal drugs and engage in unsafe social behavior. (Ryan, Huebner, Diaz, & Sanchez. 2009. Pediatrics)

Attempts to “love the sinner and hate the sin” more often than not come across as rejection, hate, and hostility. The hostility directed toward anonymous populations instead spiritually wounds your brothers and sisters all around you. If you don’t think you know a gay person, you’re wrong. They just don’t trust you enough to tell you.

The attitude and environment at BYU represented by those articles creates and reopens wounds that the Son of God Himself died to heal. Gay members of the church struggle under the burden of self-loathing encouraged by a culture that inadvertently teaches that those attracted to the same sex are not worthy of God’s love. Only through much pain and the mercy of Jesus Christ are those wounds healed. And it is not your place to undo what He has done.

Some people believe that homosexuality is a sin, but what that have to do with love? The task of any religion is not to teach us who we’re entitled to hate, but who we’re required to love.

To our gay brothers and sisters at BYU you are not alone. We love you. There is a place for you, with us and with God.

For more information, see the Facebook group: ShameOnYou.

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7 Responses

  1. Georgia says:

    It’s sad that instead of judging the Daily Universe, you didn’t give them a chance to publish this thought provoking article.

    I am an active member of the LDS Church, a BYU graduate and currently, a full time senior missionary for the Church. My opinion is that Church members hold no corner on the market for judging others unrighteously. Sadly, it is human nature. I am not condoning this behavior. It’s easy to hate drug users, hypocrites, those who are uneducated, those who are lazy, ugly or fat, actually, anyone who is different then you (or different from how you think people OUGHT to be.) Maybe you are unrighteously judging those who judge homosexuals.

    It has been my experience that ANYONE who is rejected by family or peers is more likely to commit suicide, be depressed, use illegal drugs and make numerous other poor choices.

    The best advice I am aware of is stated beautifully in 1 Peter 3: 8 “Finally,be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful (compassionate), be courteous.”

    Remember that Jesus, who went about doing good (Acts 10: 38) was despised for it. I think, because of your letter, I’ll try harder to follow Christ’s example. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. ff42 says:

    Georgia, Did you financially or emotionally support Prop 8? What do you think of Mormons who did so? Were your/their dollars and words ‘doing good’? Where was the outcry from the good people of the LDS church against such bigotry?

  3. Hellmut says:

    Good to meet you, Georgia. At this time, the most important thing is for as many of us to speak out as possible to reassure our children and neighbors that we respect and love them the way they were born.

    I am looking forward to seeing you around.

  4. Chino Blanco says:

    Apparently, 4,000 copies of this letter were distributed on campus.

  5. Alan says:

    So, to summarize the situation:

    A letter was published in BYU’s Daily Universe, asking if a child raised by a gay couple is better than the kid being raised in an orphanage.

    The writer’s dad said, “I’d rather pay more taxes for the kid to be in an orphanage.”

    The writer thought it’d be better if the kid was raised by a gay couple, citing Oaks’ “Good, Better, Best” talk. The writer added:

    Im not sure the LDS Church has ever commented on this particular situation, although the proclamation to the world calls clearly for a mother and father in the home, if possible.

    Indeed, the Church has not officially commented on the “familiness” of same-sex homes. If “families are forever,” that means there would be gay people in Heaven, which means there’s homosexuality in Heaven, which means the Church has got the whole issue wrong.

    Three letters were published in response. One was “shocked” that the Family Proclamation was used to “defend” same-sex households. Apparently, same-sex homes don’t fit into “good, better, best,” but fit into “bad, worse, worst.” Another letter suggested that LDS households are the best, and all else are worse, including Buddhist ones (because what’s the point of being a missionary if the Church isn’t true?). The last compared gays to serial killers. The Daily Universe’s managing editor has removed the last letter from the site, but there’s obviously conversation among the student body on the issue.

    What I wonder is how much of the ongoing conversation isn’t about the “right way to treat homosexuals,” but rather about how Mormon theology doesn’t seem to “fit” the world we live in. It’s not like Mormons can “love” same-sex marriage out of existence.

  6. Hellmut says:

    More importantly, they can’t love sexuality and homosexuality out of existence. The brethren are reducing Mormon theology to a superstition by their refusal to deal with reality.

  7. Hellmut says:

    Thanks for the news, Chino. Distributing 4,000 fliers in that environment is no easy feat.

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