If you haven't already heard the buzz, you will. And that's because the story of over 300 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), on Sunday, marched in Salt Lake City's LGBT Pride parade -- in support of gay rights - capturing national attention. Erika Munson, who describes herself as an "active" Mormon, organized the gathering of other active LDS members, who have passionate feelings, and desires, to help bridge the gap with other members who have same-gender attraction, and who feel alienated from the Church.

In garnering publicity for the parade, which has worked, as evidence in the Associated Press covering the story picked up by major media outlets, such as my friends over at the Washington Post, is the emphasis that these Mormons are active, and straight, Church attendees, who support being gay. And to make this point with even greater clarity would be marching in Sunday attire, on Sunday -- which they did.

As much as I am all for working toward building bridges, within the Church, to help our gay brothers and sisters feel love among us, I'm not sure I quite get how taking the one day that the Lord has commanded us to worship Him, the Sabbath, to march in a parade, accomplishes, or enhances, that desire.

If this march (and others planned) is to be a show of LDS member support for gays, intended to draw outside attention, then I would question exactly what message this is sending and why? Did any of these LDS members, marching in the parade, have signs inviting gay members to return to Church, saying "Come Worship With Us Again" -- or rather, are these marches simply intended to broadcast a message that Mormons support gay Mormons, no matter how they choose to live their lives, and that we will embrace you within our congregations -- even if you choose to openly and actively live a homosexual lifestyle? If it is the latter, then certainly most "active" members of the Church would not be in support of such public, minority declarations.

Once again I have concerns that small fringe groups, of LDS members, are using any available media source to promote and advocate for change that is oppositional to what current prophets teach. During this time of increased interest in everything Mormon, it is beyond easy to bring media attention to anything remotely controversial about being Mormon. Normalizing same-sex attraction, with its advocates, both inside and outside of the Church, has become a joint effort with, no doubt, hopeful political results.

As much as I hesitate to bring the Sabbath into this discussion, because I know many will simply focus on how judgemental of others they believe that I am being, marching in a gay pride parade, on Sunday, I believe, is a misguided effort to extend love and build bridges with other members of the Church, who have the challenge of same-gender attraction. I'm not suggesting that something positive did not result, but I am saying that I believe that like, with any family - and the Mormon community is like a family -- love, forgiveness, repentance, etc...  begins in the home.

I envision the day when those challenged with being a Mormon, having same-gender attraction, will know from gentle and quiet personal experiences, with friends and family within the gospel, that they are loved, and supported, in their desire to faithfully live the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have a great deal of confidence that members with SSA, if they so desire, can and will find such loving support -- as God, I believe, intends.

I would love nothing more than to walk, on the Sabbath, into Church, with a gay person, who has previously felt alienated -- to help them feel the love that not only I have for them, but most important, to experience a reunion with God's love, through His Atonement.  This is the bridge that members of the Church wish to help build for all of God's children, who are heavy laden. No need to march.

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Kathryn Skaggs

My latest article on the Washington Post's On Faith blog: Mitt Romney's Mormon milestone

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