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Who Stoneth the Prophets

Sometimes writers distance themselves from religious subjects. Religion is still taboo to speak about. Read about it instead.

Imagine having a natural urge, feelings, when awakened, bring such elation to the body, even if for a moment, each time it manifests. That urge can be scratching an itch to the point of exclaiming! That urge could come through the consumption of large amounts of food. That urge can be the result of winning a competition. The urge to scratch, to consume, or to win comes as a part of life--something we all experience.

Deeper urges lead people to do things for satisfaction, an urge to find connections, love, acceptance, belonging, and such, hitherto unspoken, social media parades before the world. Society no longer exists secreted behind closed doors. Acts of depravity and immorality among the masses now receive the glamor of kings and queens in literature.

Open Door Times

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Everyone is a king or queen in his or her rights today, in our society, at least.

The Fact Remains, Hakuna Matata

People advertise criminal activity caught on video and posted by the actors themselves to gain viewership and followers. Self-gratification and sexual intercourse packaged and sold to the detriment of those who watch, scratch an urge.

The fact that we have natural urges, some socially accepted and some frowned upon, remains. There exists a hedonistic approach to urges in most societies at certain levels. At one time, men in power alone could escape what society considered poor morals. Kings and lords passing around ladies; and queens and ladies covering their lack of virtue in lies to the public while seeking male companions.

Lying, another activity that brings some people great pleasure, an emotional release. Hakuna Matata in The Lion King movie has become the approach to life in our society. It means no worries, hedonism.

Activities such as murder and theft are not socially accepted in most settings in modern society, but degrees of them under certain circumstances pass the modern moral litmus. Hamlet's killing of his uncle, Claudius, in Shakespeare's ancient play for killing a sitting king, Hamlet's father, seems justifiable. Kings could get away with such things in the past.

Simba allowing his uncle, Scar, to fall to the mercy of the hyena for murdering Mufasa. Simba knew the outcome of his actions (as did Hamlet) the death of a murderer.

Everyone is a king or queen in his or her rights today, in our society, at least. In the United States, each person has the right to speak his or her mind though not the right to determine the social ramifications of so doing. It's a privilege of those who dare to take it.

Hakuna Matata

Love Is No Sin

Sin Is Sin

Imagine having a natural urge, feelings, when awakened, bring such elation to the body, even if for a moment, each time it manifests. Imagine others discovering those urges and calling for inquisitions into your life to determine if you meet the social litmus test.

The body is a physical component of the soul that feels, sees, smells, tastes, and hears. Each sensation comes with the ability to sense pleasure or discomfiture. Human nature is to allow things that feel, look, smell, taste and sounds good to continue to occur and avoid things that do not. That is normal and natural among our species.

Imagine all the things that you love receiving judgment from others as debased and unworthy of higher forms of sanctity. Loving a person does not make a person a sinner. What we do with the person we love makes that determination.

We have to be careful that love and empathy do not get interpreted as condoning and advocacy, or that orthodoxy and loyalty to principle not be interpreted as unkindness or disloyalty to people.

— Jeffrey R. Holland

Love Thy Neighbor

Not His Or Her Actions

Imagine being attacked for presenting the truth because you have to. Imagine someone attacking someone you love for telling the truth to people who already believe it!

Jeffrey R Holland spoke to faculty at Brigham Young University about their moral obligation to uphold the principles and guidance of the institution that sponsors it, which is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In his speech, Elder Holland told those in attendance

We have to be careful that love and empathy do not get interpreted as condoning and advocacy, or that orthodoxy and loyalty to principle not be interpreted as unkindness or disloyalty to people. As near as I can tell, Christ never once withheld His love from anyone, but He also never once said to anyone, “Because I love you, you are exempt from keeping my commandments.” We are tasked with trying to strike that same sensitive, demanding balance in our lives. [1]

He also said this, which brought on the heat from the LGBTQ community, before the above quote. I purposely switched them for this article:

If a student commandeers a graduation podium intended to represent everyone getting diplomas in order to announce his personal sexual orientation, what might another speaker feel free to announce the next year until eventually anything goes? [1]

The above statement of an apostle of Jesus Christ singling out one student of the Restoration Church set a fire in many people who take the principles taught in The Church of Jesus Christ that only relationships between men and women lead to eternal felicity as an attack on an individual, though it is not.

What is it then? Matt Easton's addressed his fellow students to assert his sexual orientation. He felt empowered in so doing. Did he offend God? I don't think so. Was it appropriate to do? I don't think so in agreeance with Elder Holland. Should we stone the prophet for saying it was not appropriate? Probably not.

Elder Holland continued,

What might commencement come to mean — or not mean — if we push individual license over institutional dignity for very long? Do we simply end up with more divisiveness in our culture than we already have — and we already have too much everywhere.

In that spirit, let me go no farther before declaring unequivocally my love and that of my Brethren for those who live with this same-sex challenge and so much complexity that goes with it.

Too often the world has been unkind, in many instances crushingly cruel, to these our brothers and sisters. Like many of you, we have spent hours with them, and wept and prayed and wept again in an effort to offer love and hope while keeping the gospel strong and the obedience to commandments evident in every individual life. [1]

Isaiah wrote of his debauched society before the captivity into Babylon came, "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!" [Isaiah 5:20-21]

Elder Holland reiterated that the Church does not approve or condone same-gender sexual activity and actively preaches for heterosexual relationships to sustain humanity now and for eternity. What is evil here is to persecute a man for sharing the very thing that God commanded His prophets to teach. Either the university is an extension of the Church or it is not. If it is not, the Church needs to cease funding it so that it can exist the way other universities do.

I believe it is good to have the school, but not at the expense of the life of the prophets. Is Elder Holland to be the next Abinadi, an ancient American prophet burned alive for dare telling the King and his immoral priest to keep the Law of Moses?

Abinadi Scourged

We have spent hours with them, and wept and prayed and wept again in an effort to offer love and hope while keeping the gospel strong and the obedience to commandments evident in every individual life.

— Jeffrey R. Holland

Love Thy Neighbor

Dare Not Mention Sins!

Is it a sin to have same-sex attraction? NO! Desire is not a sin. We have natural desire placed in us with the understanding that we will subdue those desires and fit our wills into the Lord's will. Who is Elder Holland to say what the Lord's will is? Oh, he is an apostle. That qualifies him to so do.

Matt Easton, the valedictorian who chose a commencement speech to declare his sexual orientation giving a public voice for other students battling same-sex attraction, or accepting it as their state of existence, responded to Elder Holland, using his newfound celebrity, in an article linked below.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not have a position on same-sex attraction other than to accept those who willingly abide by Church teachings of charity and marriage between biological men and women.

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The commencement speech stopped being about the graduating class of 2019 the moment Easton became the face of it...

Matt Easton rebukes Elder Holland's counsel to BYU staff with the following:

I chose to acknowledge my sexual orientation in my graduation speech because I wanted other LGBTQ+ students to know they are not alone. That they can succeed, and can be proud of who they are while doing it. My sexuality is not antithetical to my divine identity — in fact, it is an essential characteristic of it. Would you hold the same fear of students “push[ing] individual license over institutional dignity” if a valedictorian shared information about his or her heterosexuality? ...Our variety of life experiences is what makes BYU so wonderful. Let me be clear — diversity is not the same as divisiveness. I imagine that is what the administrators who pre-approved my words understood as well. [3]

Matt Easton spoke his pre-approved words expressing his personal desire to have his faith, his desires, and the ability to live in the open about them both. Elder Holland, however, was not speaking to a group of students in his chastisement of the speech. He spoke to faculty at Brigham Young University, a religious establishment and extension of the Church. The university is supposed to build bridges with society without becoming a part of it.

No, the speech allowing Easton to express his sexuality should not have occurred. The commencement speech stopped being about the graduating class of 2019 the moment Easton became the face of it, successfully catapulting into the limelight, if briefly, for the world to glorify his effort to drag BYU into conformity with the world.

No speech using sexuality as an identifier brings unity but brings divisiveness. How? The focus comes away from the start of a new life for the class and now becomes about the one. No matter what sexual orientation, it is an inward expression of an individual desire. Yes those desires do have outward manifestations, but unless a person advertises it, no one would ever know another person's sexual orientation, as it should be. The only person who needs to know about sexual orientation are the people involved in the dating of an individual. However, the historical treatment of Gay people begs for attention, which is why Elder Holland acknowledged it during his address to staff.

The things God expects from us have not changed. The things some of us are willing to do to please God have changed.

The Hurt Runs Deep.

Dear Elder Jeffrey R. Holland,

For any of us who have struggled with sexual orientation, the pain runs deep. I struggled with sexual orientation for years because of things I was told by a particular family member. An adult male family member told my mother I would grow up to be homosexual using epitaphs best left to the imagination. I overheard him say that to her, which made her cry. I believed him--the trusting kid I was.

This family member caught me with Grandma's nightgown laid upon me with my arms in the sleeves pretending to be her. He scolded me severely. I sought his approval as a five or six-year-old kid; so, the scolding truly hurt to the point where I remember the feeling of hollowness it brought. I also learned that this family member meant I would amount to nothing because of it. I did not know what it meant to be Gay, I was a kid! I had no sexual desires at the time, but I believed him.

When I went through puberty and started finding interest in girls, I was confused since, by that time, I knew what the derogatory word this family member used to describe my future state meant. I did not know that I was supposed to find girls sexually attractive and did not have a male figure in my life to properly guide me.

I also found interest in boys, though not sexually. I could not tell the difference between sexual desire and friendship desires, due to other trauma that had come since my kid-hood; so, I started closing off from others with the understanding that I am Gay. Tragedy in my life caused me to fall, smothered deeply in emotional turmoil suppressing my sexuality until it no longer existed. I still pretended to want to have sex, though psychologically was unable to do so, even in my dreams!

I wanted to be Gay! It made it easier. It was the thing my male family member told me I would be using other words. By the time I turned 14, I decided that I would no longer suppress my desire to pursue women, but did so cautiously still with the thought in the back of my mind that I could be Gay.

When I learned through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that "In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life," [2] I jumped for joy! Though these words did not exist in the form quoted at the time, the sentiment was the same. The next words settled my inner turmoil to a great degree:

All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose. [2]

I lived as a spirit before birth into this human body‽ I was always a male‽ ...blew my mind! I had direction, finally, that let me know that I WAS NOT crazy for being me!

Why is life unfair? Why do bad things happen? Why are people mean? I didn't care because I knew that I chose to come to mortal life and experience it all to be like God one day! That did not take away my struggle with identity. It took years to come to the conclusion that I am a son of God, even in the face of the knowledge I learned from the Church. It took years to accept that I am a man, a good man because I did not have that influence in my life, not knowing my father until my late teenage years.

In a society of theists and atheists, the application of love is dubious. However, the truths taught by Jesus to "love thy neighbour as thyself" and to "keep My commandments" ring just as clear in modern times as when reintroduced to Israel following their occupation by Rome.

The things God expects from us have not changed. The things some of us are willing to do to please God have changed. Why not? Many of us do not have a relationship with a moral god, so to speak.

Jesus attempted to explain to His fellows that loving God must come first, loving humanity must come next, and keeping the commandments must exist the whole way through.

That is all you tried to express to the BYU staff, Elder Holland. You could have left out the reference to that commemoration speech, but you didn't. You've demonstrated to those in your personal life that you're a man of love. I adore you and the passion you use to testify of the truth. I hope never to use my past to justify sins of any kind. It is good to know that if I do, I still have a place among the true Saints.

Your brother in Christ, His Gospel, and His Church,

Rodric Anthony Johnson

Concluding my contribution to support a man of God facing the clamoring blame of many, the hurt runs deep, but healing through Jesus Christ runs deeper if we allow Him to heal us through humility. It takes time. Elder Holland understands this and the reaction of those who hurt. He also knows that so persecuted they the other prophets, even the Christ! I will NOT cast stones at him.


Resources / References

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 Rodric Anthony Johnson

Comments

Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on September 20, 2021:

I love Elder Holland's willingness to speak what's in his heart, John. We love every person and while keeping all the other comments God gives us. We do not need to cast stones of derision towards others because their sin is not our sin or because the popularity oof their sins make for bad press.

Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on September 20, 2021:

Pamela, thanks for reading. God is love. The sooner we all accept that and change our lives to become love also, the sooner we build the Zion needed to greet Jesus at His coming.

Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on September 20, 2021:

I'm happy to be active again, Bill. I just need to stay active on HubPages if not writing. Physical therapy has taken so much if my time at home and the facilities. I have to move or I lose! Thanks for picking up my questions on you next Mailbag following today's.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 18, 2021:

Welcome back! I hope the physical therapy is going well. Thanks for the two questions for the Mailbag. I'll include them in a week; this Monday's is full, and I don't want people to ignore your questions because they are at the end of the Mailbag and they are bored reading. :)

Have a wonderful week, my friend. It's good to have you back amongst us.

Love is always the answer!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on September 18, 2021:

This is a very interesting topic, Rodric. I will not cast the first stone either. God is love. That is something I read frequently in the Bible. Thank you for sharing.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on September 17, 2021:

A very interesting article, Rodric. It does introduce a moral dilemma, but I am with Elder Holland all the way. Thank you for sharing.

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