1st Presidency Letter - supposed to read to all members

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SilentDawning
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Re: 1st Presidency Letter - supposed to read to all members

Post by SilentDawning » 01 Jul 2015, 08:52

Old-Timer wrote:I want to make only one suggestion:

Read it yourself, specifically to make the following statement, in whatever words are natural to you:

As the Bishop of this ward, I don't want this issue to be divisive within the ward, so I hope that you will not let it become a topic of conversation in any other meetings.


I would read it personally in all of the meetings where it is supposed to be read, not delegate it to your counselors, and I would tell the youth, directly and explicitly, that you understand there is disagreement among faithful members about this topic and that any of them can talk with you at ay point about it if they want to do so - that you won't love or accept them any differently no matter what they believe.
I like Ray's approach -- but I am not sure that I would invite youth to come and talk to me about it. Mostly because I don't know what I would say. My daughter, for example, would say "I'm confused about this issue -- people say that people with SSA can't help it -- they are born that way. So that means they can't have marital companionship in the church -- they have to live alone or get married to someone they don't love, and they don't get the sealing if they choose to stay single".

What would you say to them Ray? I'm curious.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

Roadrunner
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Re: 1st Presidency Letter - supposed to read to all members

Post by Roadrunner » 01 Jul 2015, 10:35

SilentDawning wrote:My daughter, for example, would say "I'm confused about this issue -- people say that people with SSA can't help it -- they are born that way. So that means they can't have marital companionship in the church -- they have to live alone or get married to someone they don't love, and they don't get the sealing if they choose to stay single".

What would you say to them Ray? I'm curious.
I'm not Ray but I'll chime in. I've been asked this very question. Paraphrasing and shortening, but answer was along the lines of -
a) at some point you may have to choose between your physical and emotional needs versus your ability to hold many callings in the church and get sealed in the temple
b) it's possible the church's position will change in the future
c) at this point if you married someone of your gender you probably wouldn't hold a leadership calling and depending on where you live you may not feel comfortable attending church
d) I know your family and they would love you no matter what
e) you'll have my support no matter what
f) don't marry someone you're not attracted to and don't have kids because that's what you think the church or your family want.

NonTraditionalMom
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Re: 1st Presidency Letter - supposed to read to all members

Post by NonTraditionalMom » 01 Jul 2015, 12:17

Roadrunner wrote: f) don't marry someone you're not attracted to and don't have kids because that's what you think the church or your family want.
And don't marry someone or have children because you think it will "fix" you.

jwalker409
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Re: 1st Presidency Letter - supposed to read to all members

Post by jwalker409 » 01 Jul 2015, 13:21

Roadrunner,

I encourage you to state that you agree with SCOTUS. You cannot teach it as doctrine, but you could use it as an example of the fact that people have different opinions within the church. Besides the fact Elder Christopherson has said members will not be disciplined or impacted in any way for their opinion of same-sex marriage (so long as they do not attack the church), the letter itself recognizes the right of members to express opinions without retaliation: "The Church insists on its leaders’ and members’ right to express and advocate religious convictions on marriage, family, and morality free from retaliation or retribution."

I say use this as an opportunity to show your ward its ok to have different political opinions. Belief in equal protection under the Constitution is not the same as saying something is moral.

Old-Timer
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Re: 1st Presidency Letter - supposed to read to all members

Post by Old-Timer » 01 Jul 2015, 15:53

I would mention the contribution today by the LDS Church to the Utah Pride Center to help homeless gay youth and ask the members to model,that sort of loving outreach to address serious issues and build friendships with people who see things differently.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

Ann
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Re: 1st Presidency Letter - supposed to read to all members

Post by Ann » 01 Jul 2015, 16:56

Old-Timer wrote:I would mention the contribution today by the LDS Church to the Utah Pride Center to help homeless gay youth and ask the members to model,that sort of loving outreach to address serious issues and build friendships with people who see things differently.
This would be seen by my kids as a kind and serious gesture, even though they disagree quite strongly with several points in the FP letter. Editing to add: The way I said that makes them sound like unteachable know-it-alls. But they're not, and they don't like being at odds with beloved local leaders and general authorities.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

youngadult22
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Re: 1st Presidency Letter - supposed to read to all members

Post by youngadult22 » 05 Jul 2015, 15:55

Today in my singles ward our counselor read the 1st Presidency letter and then the bishop started an HOUR long discussion about it. It ended up taking the place of Sunday School which ironically I was supposed to teach about "Love one another." From the comments said during this discussion, I felt ostracized and felt like I was the only person in the room who actually supported the SCOTUS ruling. There was one person who actually raised his hand and proposed those who support same sex marriage on facebook probably shouldn't have a temple recommend which is absolutely WRONG. I don't understand why this issue is something that is constantly being spoken on in my ward. We don't stand at the pulpit and talk about how much we are against alcohol and then constantly write about it on facebook or blogs, so why do we do it with this issue? Aren't there way more important issues in the world than same sex marriage? Church was a little frustrating today, but I was glad to hear that in the ward that my sister visited this week, "Come Join With Us" was the theme in Relief Society which was tied to the Presidency letter.

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Gerald
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Re: 1st Presidency Letter - supposed to read to all members

Post by Gerald » 05 Jul 2015, 16:54

My ward is generally pretty low key about things but a couple of testimonies dealt with the ruling. The closing prayer mentioned it as well. The letter was read (without a great deal of commentary) and everyone went about their business. The issue was also brought up in Elder's Quorum a couple of times. Every comment and reference to it couched in the "religious liberty" language. So a number of members are quite rattled by the ruling. I find myself...a bit indifferent. I am puzzled at that. I suppose it doesn't seem terribly relevant to my life right now (that could change.)

I can see that for many members the thought of experiencing the same kind of persecution that their ancestors experienced would be very intimidating. I think they are right up to a point. It may become very difficult to at least publicly oppose some of these issues. On the other hand, I don't know that I totally buy into the "threat to freedom to worship" rhetoric. In addition, the LGBT group have historically been an easy group for the average member to demonize given the emotional reaction their position elicits. More tolerance from members in the past may have changed the outcome or at least the reaction to the outcome.

Time alone will tell what will happen. But overall, the reaction to the letter reading in my ward was still relatively subdued.
So through the dusk of dead, blank-legended And unremunerative years we search to get where life begins, and still we groan because we do not find the living spark where no spark ever was; and thus we die, still searching, like poor old astronomers who totter off to bed and go to sleep, to dream of untriangulated stars.
---Edwin Arlington Robinson---

Old-Timer
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Re: 1st Presidency Letter - supposed to read to all members

Post by Old-Timer » 05 Jul 2015, 17:08

Most of my friends have said the responses in their wards was minimal - that the letter was read and then everyone separated to the normal classes.

I know there were wards where it was bad, but it sounds like they were nowhere near the norm. I hope so.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

Roadrunner
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Re: 1st Presidency Letter - supposed to read to all members

Post by Roadrunner » 05 Jul 2015, 17:27

As a follow up from the original post soliciting advice, I think church went well for my ward. I announced in Sacrament meeting (1st hour) that I was asked to read a letter from the 1st presidency and that I would read it in 3rd hour to adults and youth and that it wouldn't be a discussion or a Q&A. I indicated that Primary teachers could come to my office after church and I would read the letter to them also. I knew people were very interested in hearing the letter because everybody was seated and ready at the beginning of 3rd hour, as opposed to me having to shepherd people into priesthood opening exercises. I did a hallway and classroom check and there were no stragglers.

I started by reading a statement I had prepared, much of which came from suggestions from many of you. No opening song, prayer, or announcements. I mentioned the golden rule and loving as the Savior did. I asked that the topic not be a primary topic in lessons or Sacrament meeting talks. I mentioned that it's possible to have differing viewpoints and that I myself am conflicted by the policy. I brought up the Utah Pride Center donation by the church. I said that I hurt for gay members of the church who find they are not accepted by their own church and who face despair and loneliness due to difficult choices. After my opening remarks I simply read the letter from the 1st presidency, thanked people for listening, and asked that we separate into priesthood, RS, and Young Women as we normally would for prayers, announcements, etc.

One of my counselors was gushing over how appropriate my comments were and how they hit exactly the right tone. My other counselor was completely silent afterwards and didn't say anything. I think it was almost a non-event and I've heard very little about the letter or my comments.

Thank you all for listening and for your suggestions on how to deal with a sensitive topic, and one that I find troubling. This forum has once again helped me through a difficult time, and I think has probably helped people in my ward.

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