Saturday, March 21, 2009

Look for the Good

by Gale Sears

Malign. It’s a harsh word. Some of its synonyms are slander, smear, and libel. To malign someone or something means that you are intending to be negative, harmful, damaging, or destructive. The person who uses this tactic in making a point better be very sure that the object of their criticism deserves the myopic assessment. They’d better be sure that there’s no positive side which deserves attention—a positive side which the maligner often chooses to ignore.

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and recently, as a church body, and as individuals we have been the focus of several flawed assessments.

One: We do not hate homosexuals. We love all of God’s children. All. What we will not do is condone a homosexual lifestyle.

I have a master’s degree in theater arts, and as such, have spent many years in the theater as a writer, actor, and director. I have had many male friends who have been homosexual. One of my dear friends, Nick was a talented actor and director. He was also a faithful Catholic. A conversation I had with him, some thirty years ago, made such an impression on me that I remember it to this day. Nick told me that he had decided to live celibate for the rest of his life, because he knew his sexual persuasion was in conflict with his religious convictions. It was a monumental decision for him to make, and we cried together, knowing the difficult life he was facing.

Two: We are not a cult. We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. We are decent, hard working individuals who try and live lives of service, serenity, purpose, and joy. Though there are some bigoted, cranky, Latter-day Saints, the majority are good caring people.

Three: LDS temples are sacred not secret. Temples are sacred places of worship. There are now 129 temples around the world where peace and hope abide in abundance. Temples are holy places where faithful LDS members can go to learn lessons of truth and make commitments to goodness. As a person of conscience and courtesy, I respect the beliefs and sacred edifices of all religious sects and anticipate that others will treat my faith with the same civility.

This morning I was in the Draper Utah Temple as it was being dedicated by a Prophet of God. It is a beautiful building where one is taught the path back to Heaven. There were 2000 Latter-day Saints inside the temple listening to words from several apostles and from our prophet. It was serene and uplifting. It was positive and renewing. It was a chance for us to rededicate ourselves to living more Christ-like lives.

My heart-felt prayer for those who would malign members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is that they’d get to know us before making unjust judgments. Remember, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”


Michele Ashman Bell said...

You have beautifully put into words a wonderful expression of our faith and our purpose as Latter-day Saints. I was able to attend the dedication also and felt the undeniable spirit as the prophet of God entered the room. We, as a church, will face many more challenges, but isn't it wonderful to know whose on our side.

Jennie said...

Gale, you have expressed so well many of my own thoughts. I didn't attend the dedication at the temple, but I was there in our stake center when it took on the reverence and peace of the temple. It seems that as the world screams louder and louder for diversity, for freedom from social restraints, for equality, society is infact becoming less tolerant and free. We forget that God looks on sin with the least degree of allowance, but He loves us all, his children in spite of our failings, and He desires for us to break free of the impediments to our forward progression.

Cheri J. Crane said...

Beautiful post, Gale. =) Well said.