Today I joined the Relief Society. I sat in the back and ironically sung the closing hymn of “As Sisters in Zion”. I honestly felt the spirit as the speaker bore her testimony and I felt appreciated. I only joined because I walked out of Elders Quorum mid-lesson.
Today’s lesson was on Celestial Marriage so I should have been better prepared and keep my frustration in check. Sadly I wasn’t. The lesson began with us reading from The Family: A Proclamation to the World which the teacher indicated was scripture. We read the following passage “The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.”
So to start off the lesson I was ticked because the passage was largely irrelevant to celestial marriage and the teachers inflection of “Man & Woman” cut at me. Add to that the fact that while the Proclamation MAY be revelation, it is in no way scripture and you have the start of a ticked off gay single member.
Next part of the lesson the teacher states that getting married is thus a commandment, and not only that, it is needed to enter the celestial kingdom. And because of 1 Nephi 3:7 God will always provide a way for us to keep his commandment (to get married).
First off Marriage is NOT needed to enter into the celestial kingdom. The only ordinance required is baptism. For Exaltation, marriage is required. However, marriage is never a commandment of God. No where is it commanded of all men to be married. The closest it gets to that is in D&C 131 where is states that The covenant of eternal marriage is necessary for exaltation. Again, not a necessary commandment. and especially not something needed to be accomplished in this life. These simple misunderstandings so adversely affect members that it upsets me when a teachers incorrect understanding is allowed to go unchallenged. Especially when I look around the room and see three members on the verge of tears and I recognize an agony behind their eyes. It really starts to aggravate me.
Finally we got to the odd part of the lesson. The teacher asked us to turn to Alma 32 and read about faith but instead of faith substitute out the word faith with love. Not the worldly view of love, or hollywoods definition of love, but true love. This bugged me for a couple of reasons. 1st off the comparison doesn’t work. Faith is an objective thing that you can work on and have it be improved upon by God. Love is a subjective thing that you can work on but if the other person isn’t as well then it can’t be improved. 2nd. I really was frustrated by the bastardization of scripture.
Let me tell you what I mean. “And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto the King, that the soul of Bathsheba was knit with the soul of David, and Bathsheba loved him as her own soul. Then Bathsheba and David made a covenant, because he loved her as his own soul. And Bathsheba stripped herself of the robe that was upon her, and gave it to David, and her garments, even to her girdle.”
What does this sound like? A romantic relationship? Well the true scriptures state Jonathan and NOT Bathsheba. It is the same process that is highly effective. However when it is used by me to make people see 1 Samuel 18 as supportive of homosexual partnerships I am insane. But to do the same with Love and Faith is seen as elevated, it really just wormed itself into me and completely drove the spirit out.
The teacher did state that this was his own personal testimony of things which was good to hear. But does that mean I have license to teach, over the pulpit, my own personal testimony that I will find a husband and to use that as the basis of a lesson for everyone else? Of course not, and that caused me to step out. To leave Priesthood where I felt a dark and oppresive spirit and instead join Relief Society.
I don’t know what I will do next week, perhaps I will just simply join with my sisters and rejoice in Christ rather then go downstairs with the brethren where I feel like I am worth less. Today I felt embraced and comforted by the Sisters and it felt grand!