Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Finding Faith In Christ And In The Members - by David Baker

Membership: What does this word mean to you? What do you think of when you hear it? Church membership? Membership in the Democratic Party? Membership in the NRA? Recently I have heard the terminology used and described as being a “card carrying” member. Does a recommend, a credit card, a checkbook, a Masonic ring really make you a member? It seems that more and more if you are a member of this group or that, then you are defined solely by that membership. The concept is that you are a homogeneous member of the basic guidelines of the group, that you are one solid core or thought.

Even if this isn’t the actual case, the manner in which we act would lead us to believe that this is so. How often in church do we see other members as “fitting the mold?” When you meet a Mormon from Utah County do you not think of one key type, a member of a particular set of homogeneous guidelines?

I ruminate upon this because a while back I discovered that the word “member” as used in the ancient Greek by Paul, means an “organ;” an essential part of the whole. Today we see membership as belonging to a “unit” like membership as a storm trooper or of a member of the Borg. We see membership and each member as one replaceable cog in the collective machine.

I feel that this is how members on a ward, stake and worldwide level see “membership” in the Church. How uninspiring is it to be a replaceable cog in the machine of the Church when Paul produced such beautiful imagery to describe how we are all organs in the body of Christ, and in the body of the Church. We each have our own vital role that is no less important than any other organ’s job. We might be a tiny nephron, filtering out waste, or a neuron transmitting essential commands of higher thought. Regardless of our role in the body of His Church, we are vastly important to Christ.

How sad is it that in our modern world of machinery we grow up learning that to question is wrong; that those whose opinions within the Church were wavering or off from our own were succinctly bad or evil. This happens all around us. If you doubt it just bring a Sunstone magazine to Sunday School or speak up in priesthood with a viewpoint that is different from the status quo.

If we looked and saw someone doing something different from us, we would assume that our model, our way, is right, that it is the best way to do it. If a neuron saw a nephron filtering waste, wouldn’t it wonder and think (after living only with other neurons) that that nephron was a foreign entity, that it was wrong, or evil and that it was not doing things correctly? And yet, when looked at from a distance, with an all-encompassing view, are they not both equally important and necessary for maintaining the body? If we are all members in the organization of the Church then should there not be the diversity of thought and opinion and of people as seen by Paul?

As a gay Mormon I now know and feel that there is a place for me in Christ’s love and I while I know that there is a position for me in membership of his Church organization, I hope that others begin to notice it and realize that even though I might be a nose hair follicle, a stem cell, or a pituitary gland, it doesn’t matter. Each individual cell has a place; each organ is essential and each member essential to the Body of the Church. I know that the Lord sees me, as he made me, as an integral part of the overall body of the Gospel.

Regardless of what others say, I believe that “MoHo’s” (Mormon homosexuals) have a place in the organization of the church. Whether our place is to cleanse the system of the waste of prejudice and inequality, to help the church grow out of stagnancy, or to serve as a line of defense against the outside world, we have a place. I do not know what or where it is, but I have faith in the Lord, the Master that he is. He has placed us precisely in the position where we need to be and at the end of the day he will tell us, “well done my good and faithful servant.”


Carol said...

Great post. I know that with God's infinite love, he embraces of all of His children regardless of their sexual orientation. He loves His children and asks us to do the same.

gentlefriend said...

I agree. There is a place for everyone in the Church. I believe that my same-sex attraction as well as all the challenges one faces as an active, believing LDS member with these feelings has blessed me with a special capacity to be sensitive and responsive to other struggling souls. Only my wife and I know of my private, personal challenge. I am grateful that my orientation has not kept me from having a family. I am not without strong temptation in my life, but I have kept my Temple covenants these many years. I have served as bishop, scout master, teacher, high councilor, and many other church positions. I enjoy the blessings of the priesthood and the Temple. I enjoy the rich blessing of a large family and the special joy of having many grandkids.

Yes, I struggle with a deep desire for total intimacy with a male. I choose to follow a path that will leave unfulfilled that deep empty craving. My wife share a deep abiding love for each other, but I will never experience the passion I could feel with a man. But she is my closest, truest friend. I am so blessed to have our companionship.

If I could do it all over again, I would not change it! Others with this same attraction challenge may not have families, but they are still needed in the Church.