With everything that is going on in Utah this month and for personal reasons the topic of homosexuality has been on my mind for a while and I would like to write my thoughts about it. I have read and seen much lately about the topic and I want to be very clear that the things I am about to say are my thoughts. They do not represent the doctrine of my church or the thoughts of my family. They are mine and I alone own them. This is a subject near to my heart as I have a very dear family member who is gay. This issue is something that has divided my extended family and there are many hurt feelings. This makes me sad as I do not believe this has to be an issue that divides families no matter their religious affiliation or personal beliefs. If you disagree with my comments, that is ok. We can still be friends and I can still respect you. I hope you can still respect me. Please read all of my thoughts before you jump to conclusions about what I believe and where I stand on the issue.My beliefs center around my religious persuasion and my educational background. I believe that marriage is ordained of God and that it is the will of God that marriage is between a man and a woman. I believe that children do best when they are born to and raised by two parents, husband and wife, who are legally married and prepared to have children. (This is not only based on my religious beliefs--but also in the work that I do--I see first hand what can happen to children who are unplanned, born and raised out of wedlock). I believe that the family is central to God's plan of happiness for his children on earth and that society is strengthened when the family is strengthened (again this belief is not only based on my religious beliefs but the research that has been done on two parent homes versus single parent homes). These are my personal beliefs.With my personal beliefs as a foundation I hope that what I say next is received with love. I love my gay relative. He is a huge part of my life and has been since I was a small child. I have never experienced anything but love and compassion from him. I genuinely admire him. He has so many qualities that I wished I possessed. He is kind and charitable in a way that I can only one day aspire to be. He and I have had discussions about our beliefs and where we each stand on the issues. I respect him and love him. He respects me and loves me. We agree on some things and we disagree on others. The thing that I love about our relationship is that there is enough mutual respect that we are ok with where we both are. He does not try and change my mind and I respect his way of life. In fact in year and a half that I lived with him and his partner he not only supported me in my church activities, but allowed me to hold church events at his home. He came on the day of my temple marriage and stood outside in the cold to be there for me. He supported my decision to serve an LDS mission. He has never once questioned or demeaned my beliefs. I am so thankful for that and respect him so much for that.
I believe that God granted each of us agency. That being said, I do not believe that my uncle chose to be gay. I believe that he is biologically and physically attracted to other men. However he has the choice to live his life the way he deems best for him and I respect that. I honor his agency and I want more than anything for him to live the way that brings him happiness. I am comfortable in his and his partner's home. I take my kids there and I am not at all scared of that. My kids are going to be exposed to homosexuality at some point in their lives. I cannot shelter them from that, nor would I want to. I want them to know that we can be different from others and still be around them. We can still love them. Being tolerant does not mean that I agree with the lifestyle, but that I love the human being, the person. I want to teach my children that we love everyone regardless of their race, ethnic background, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, political views, or religion. I thank my uncle for being tolerant of me and my beliefs when they sometimes differ from his. He and his partner allow me and my family to be in their home and have treated me with nothing but kindness and respect.I do not understand why more people cannot live and let live. You get to believe, act, vote, and live the way you want to believe, act, vote and live. I get to do the same. If we differ in the way we do these things why can't we still respect, love, and associate with each other? Why does it have to become a you're wrong, I'm right dialogue? Why do we label each other as hateful, sinful, intolerant, and bigots? In the end I believe that we will all return and stand before our maker. When I get there I hope that I can tell Him that I lived my life the way I felt He wanted me to live. I honored my beliefs and the covenants I have made with Him. My standing before Him will be about my relationship with him. I hope to tell him that I loved the people he put in my path, regardless of who they were and what they are.I am grateful for my faith. I am grateful for a loving, just and merciful Heavenly Father who I believe knows each one of us individually. He knows my heart and my desires. I believe that He knows my uncle's heart and desires. Therefore God is the only one that gets to judge each one of us. We can judge ourselves and decide what we want to do in our lives, who we want to surround ourselves with, and how we want to treat others. In the end if each of us are living consistent with the principles we believe than nothing else matters. Just my thoughts...please don't respond hatefully