Giving a talk on SSM, Marriage, and Inclusion: Suggestions?

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SunbeltRed
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Giving a talk on SSM, Marriage, and Inclusion: Suggestions?

Post by SunbeltRed » 08 Jul 2014, 06:50

As a part of my calling we have been asked to give a talk on the following this month:
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Love thy Neighbor
“All people are equally beloved children of God and deserve to be treated with love and respect”.

Topic:
Brethren, this month’s topic is one that will need to be approached with sensitivity and prayerful consideration. We have provided for your preparation several different talks on the topic of Same Sex Attraction, Inclusion, and The Eternal Nature of Marriage. Our desire is for you to review these topics and prayerfully develop a talk that incorporates each into a single message.
Your goal is to help those within our stake understand the position of the church as it relates to the eternal nature of marriage as outlined in The Proclamation to the Family while still maintaining an attitude of loving kindness and acceptance of all as brothers and sisters in The Lord.
-----

I love that the focus is on kindness and charity to others regardless of their beliefs.

I am thinking I will quickly lay out the church's position, and will do so in the terms of this is the church's position (to separate that it is not necessarily my own), and then use most of the time to talk about inclusion, loving our neighbor, kindness, etc.

Would be very interested to hear from this group their thoughts or get references for talks that have a very inclusive Christ-centered theme, and any suggestions on ways to very slightly rock the boat.

Thanks,

SBRed

Minyan Man
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Re: Giving a talk on SSM, Marriage, and Inclusion: Suggestio

Post by Minyan Man » 08 Jul 2014, 07:18

SBRed, you must feel like you're walking into a "mine field".
What is the setting for this talk?
Is this a sacrament meeting?
Is it a combined meeting of PH & RS?
Or a smaller meeting like HP group?

If it's a big group, I would focus on the "golden rule" Do unto others...
If it is a smaller group, I may ask a question like...how would you react if your son or daughter said they were "gay"?
Would you treat them any differently?
How would you want them to be treated at church?, society?

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SunbeltRed
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Re: Giving a talk on SSM, Marriage, and Inclusion: Suggestio

Post by SunbeltRed » 08 Jul 2014, 07:38

Sacrament Talk

Yeah, minefield might be a bit of an understatement :smile:

(Although my own personal views on the subject lie somewhere in between very orthodox and very liberal Mormon views, which I guess would still probably not resonate with most LDS church attendees.)

Minyan Man
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Re: Giving a talk on SSM, Marriage, and Inclusion: Suggestio

Post by Minyan Man » 08 Jul 2014, 08:14

I would try to take it to a personal level, if you can.
For example, my brother & I were helping my son move from California (Grad school) back to the mid-west. We volunteered to drive the truck. For almost 3 days we talked about a lot of topics.
Between us, we have 3 sons that were born within 12 months. They have always been close.
One of the topics, my brother & I talked about was: "How would you react if your son told you he was gay?" My brother is Lutheran & not very active.

He said: "I would probably disown him". That was his first reaction without really thinking about what that meant. My side of the conversation was: "I could never do that". (This is the abbreviated version.) It went on for several hours back & forth.

The key to a talk like this is bring it to a personal level. How would you feel? What would you do next? Would your relationship be any different? What would God what us to do?

Good luck. (better you than me.)

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Re: Giving a talk on SSM, Marriage, and Inclusion: Suggestio

Post by Old-Timer » 08 Jul 2014, 08:31

I would start by introducing the assigned topic almost word-for-word as you shared it with us. I would mention, briefly and simply, that the LDS Church opposes same-sex marriage, but that our leaders have said repeatedly that we need to love and embrace people who are homosexual (and I would use that word).

I would say that it is very important that all the members understand the Church's current understanding of homosexuality or "same-sex attraction", as some people refer to it (and I would say it that way), since that understanding has changed significantly over the past decade or so. I would read a quote from mormonsandgays.org and/or "God Loveth His Children" about how, for many people, being attracted to people of the same sex is not a choice.

***I would search through turinturambar's posts and comments in our archives and pull out one or two that are extremely poignant - sharing them as "something a friend of mine who is a celibate gay member wrote about his experience in the Church".***

Then, as you said you are thinking of doing, I would spend the rest of the time talking about inclusion in general - using quotes from Pres. Uchtdorf and the analogy of the orchestra from Elder Wirthlin's "Concern for the One".

Also, I know someone who serves as a High Councilor who was given the responsibility of reaching out to the LGBT members in his stake. I can connect you with him, if you would like to pick his brain.
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

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Sheldon
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Re: Giving a talk on SSM, Marriage, and Inclusion: Suggestio

Post by Sheldon » 08 Jul 2014, 08:50

You can quote L. Whitney Clayton of the 70’s, when he was interviewed by Peggy Stack in the Tribune about California’s Prop 8 “
“Latter-day Saints are free to disagree with their church on the issue without facing any sanction, said L. Whitney Clayton of the LDS Quorum of the Seventy. ‘We love them and bear them no ill will.’ ”
State the churches official position, but then quote the above, and say we can make our own decision without repercussion from the church. Tell then to do what Christ would do.

Roy
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Re: Giving a talk on SSM, Marriage, and Inclusion: Suggestio

Post by Roy » 08 Jul 2014, 10:39

I really like Ray's suggestions.

Reading the assignment word for word will help people understand that you are not on some sort of personal vendetta.

The major opportunity as I see it is to share the church's current position that homosexuality is often not a choice. #1 priority.
In the book “What Happened to the Cross?” BYU prof. Bro. Millet describes counseling a young gay teen as his bishop. The boy is distraught and somewhat terrified. He asks bro. Millet if he follows all the counsel given will God remove the stumbling block of homosexuality from him. What could Bro. Millet say? He told the boy that God can perform miracles but that it is quite likely that the boy’s homosexuality will not be removed in this life.

You may want to share some statistics about how many people self-declare as homosexual in the general population and then extrapolate those numbers to the ward primary. How many of those little tikes will discover themselves with a homosexual orientation as they enter puberty?

Then you might want to ask how one might feel if it was their son or daughter that came out as gay? The church's position is also against "disowning". You could reference the experience of Bridget Night (a friend of yours) and her heartache and bewilderment when her own son came out. Eventually, she found a measure of peace in attempting to understand and accept her son.

I think sharing some snippets from Turinturambar's posts would be excellent. Further personalizing the concept.

At this point - some in the congregation are probably steaming mad at you for suggesting that some of our beloved youth might be homosexual (and saying it within earshot of the primary and the YM and YW).

Maybe that is making the issue too personal than some are ready for.
I hope that some element of these comments is helpful for you.
I would also like an update/transcript when you are finished.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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mom3
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Re: Giving a talk on SSM, Marriage, and Inclusion: Suggestio

Post by mom3 » 08 Jul 2014, 10:47

I support everyone else's great answers here. I would offer one more church leaders words on our LGBT brothers and sisters - Chieko Okazaki, first counselor in General Relief Society Presidency.
I don't want anyone to misunderstand what I'm going to say next. The First Presidency has made its opposition to same-sex marriages very clear; as a member of the church I support them in their position. But I want to stress that we can be opposed to a piece of legislation or to a practice and still behave with courtesy and decency toward those who hold other opinions. I would not want anyone to use the First Presidency's stand as an excuse for being hateful or disrespectful toward others..... It is very likely that every person in the Church knows someone - a family member or a friend - who is gay, lesbian or bisexual. I also think it is very likely that many people do not know that they know a homosexual or bisexual person because that person is afraid to reveal that part of him or herself for fear of being rejected, punished, or excluded. I think there is much we do not understand about how such conditions come to be, or what resources are truly helpful. In the meantime, nothing has suspended the commandment of Jesus to love one another and to bear one another's burdens.
From an address recorded in her book Disciples, entitled Good Measure, Pressed Down and Running Over.

You will do great.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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nibbler
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Re: Giving a talk on SSM, Marriage, and Inclusion: Suggestio

Post by nibbler » 08 Jul 2014, 10:49

Wow, and I thought that I got a tough talk assignment a while back.
Mike wrote:If it's a big group, I would focus on the "golden rule" Do unto others...
If it is a smaller group, I may ask a question like...how would you react if your son or daughter said they were "gay"?
Would you treat them any differently?
How would you want them to be treated at church?, society?
+1
Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
— Hippocrates

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SilentDawning
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Re: Giving a talk on SSM, Marriage, and Inclusion: Suggestio

Post by SilentDawning » 08 Jul 2014, 11:02

Ray nailed it.

I would also search Bridget's posts -- she has a son who is gay. Unless I misread what Ray and others said, that is an angle on SSA that you might talk about -- the families of people who have children who are gay. It would be good to understand how families of gay children feel about the issue and to encourage sensitivity.

One thing I'm sure of, if I talk to an outwardly straigth LDS person, I don't assume they are somehow against SSA -- they may well have a family member who has it.
"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

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