Sunday, June 5, 2011

Gay Gospel Doctrine Class: Signs of the (Changing) Times

This is another in a series of posts that take a lesson from the LDS Church’s (Adult) Gospel Doctrine class and present it from a gay perspective.  Today’s lesson is based on Lesson #21 in the Gospel Doctrine Manual and was prepared by UtahHiker801.

Today’s lesson is the Joseph Smith translation of Matthew 24 which discusses the signs which will precede Christ’s return to earth, otherwise known as the “signs of the times”.  I find it interesting that every generation since the crucifixion of Christ has felt that His second return was imminent.  From the writings of Paul until the times of Joseph Smith and the early church until today (just listen to the rantings in nearly any actual Gospel Doctrine class), many faithful have predicted that Jesus would be here shortly.

Every generation has believed that their wars are worse; their natural disasters are more of a “premonition”; that their society’s evils were more proof that the end was near.  Interestingly, all of these people have one thing in common: they were wrong.

Instead of talking about the many doomsday prophecies that cause the faithful to shake their heads when they see a testimony-affirming calamity on TV which causes suffering or disaster (usually accompanied by the quote of “wars and rumors of wars” and a shoulder shrug indicative of an attitude of “There’s nothing I can do about it.  It’s been prophesied”), I would like to talk about some encouraging signs of the times.

Despite the evil and tragedy in the world, as discussed in a recent Time Magazine article, most of us are wired for optimism.  There is so much good around us.  Gay people are not living with the same stigma that existed even 20 years ago.  I believe the change and acceptance is similar to the civil rights movement in the 60s (and not in the way Elder Oaks discussed at BYU Idaho).  Laws are changing to recognize all of our basic human rights:

Because the Legislature refused to act, several municipalities in Utah have passed non-discrimination ordinances protecting sexual orientation for housing and employment.

There are now five states which allow gay marriage: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont (plus Washington, D.C.). 

Internationally, same-sex marriage is allowed in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden.  It is also performed in Mexico City.

Although there is no doubt that there is still much homophobia around us, it is becoming less acceptable to voice that view.  Those who do are seen as backward, bigoted and uneducated – at least to the wider world.

I’m generally not much of an emotional person, but some time ago, I was watching a show on LogoTV which followed a gay couple who was getting ready to get married (I believe the show was taped in Canada – I love those Canadians).  It followed all of the preparations for the wedding which, okay, in the world of reality TV, I find really annoying.  But when it came time to the actual ceremony and they were exchanging vows, I sat there and cried.  It was so beautiful and moving.  And I wanted that so badly.  I’ve never cried at a wedding and never understood why some people do.  But in that moment, it made perfect sense to me.

The world is changing.  It is becoming a better place.  And the friendships and connections I have made from this site and others like it continue to make this true.  

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this wonderful lesson, UtahHiker801. I have often thought how an obsession with the "signs of the times" and everything that goes along with it, skews the world view of many church members - narrowing the mind, turning it inward, viewing the world as a negative, wicked, evil place, regarding every progressive social change as one more indication that Satan is marching us all confidently down to hell. Thanks for pointing out a different view - one that views the world as a hopeful place, a place where each one of us can contribute to a better, more loving world.