Last Sunday I visited my daughter’s ward. The annual primary program was being presented at Sacrament Meeting. Three of my precious grandchildren were on the program.
I literally WEPT the entire meeting. A couple of times my emotions had to be reined in, as I verged on trembling.
Why the cry? The ward has a huge primary. 60 children were at the front of the congregation. They sung their songs. Recited their lines. Some squirmed. Some monkeyed. All were beautiful and cute. But, my attention was soon diverted by haunting questions.
Tears for the Rainbow
Among these 60 innocent, lovely and dear children…….how many are gay?
Is it 3? Is it 4? Or is it more?
What do they face in the coming years in MY church, the church of the gentle Jesus?
What of their coming teenage years? Will their self-esteem be destroyed? Only to be recovered after years of pain? To be reclaimed only after leaving the beloved church of their youth?
Will their family disown them?
Will their friends turn away?
In the past, my church has not been gay friendly. Even less so this past year.
Oh, that I could know who the gay children were. That they might be spared the fate of so many gay children who have gone before. What problems, what pain, what agonies await? Yes, I sobbed!
Then I heard the spirit of Jesus whisper, “Sam, keep that rainbow on your lapel. It will touch my little ones. Likely, they won’t remember you. But, they won’t forget the image of the ribbon you wear. When the time comes, they’ll take comfort that someone in MY church cares.”
Tears for Safety
I thought about their parents.
Which children have parents who are struggling in the lonely silence of questions and doubt?
These innocent children have no concept of the pain their questioning parents will suffer…alone. The children feel safe at church. How could they possibly comprehend that their parents could feel unsafe?
Which are the children whose parents will agonize and finally leave? Making that choice without any consultation with their active member friends?
Which of these little ones will be gone in 6 months? In a year? In ten years?
If current trends continue, at least 60% will eventually depart. 60% will be gone? Why, oh why? These tender children of today, gone tomorrow.
Oh, that a safe place existed for their parents. A safe place, before their parents made their fateful choice to pull out and pull out their children with them. Yes, I sobbed!
Then I heard the spirit of Jesus whisper, “Sam, keep pressing forward to make a safe place inside my church. It’s MY church, Sam. Soon there WILL BE a safe and loving spot for discussion & deliberation. My apostles are now openly addressing this in public. But, sometimes nudges from my sheep are necessary. You are on the right track. Please don’t stop working for it.”
This sacrament meeting, filled with the voices of innocent children, will be recorded as one of the most precious spiritual experiences of my 63 year journey through life.