Being alone is hard. Suffering from SSA and being alone, as one twelve-year old Mormon girl wearing a white shirt and red tie, speaking in sacrament meeting testified, is even harder. According to a U.S Independent article this girl was quoted, “...if I’m perfect just the way I am [Heavenly Father] would never ask me to live my life alone or with someone I was not attracted to.” She also testified how she believed she could still go on dates, find a partner, get married, have a family and find a great job, despite being born lesbian.
At that point, the microphone was turned off and the girl was asked to sit down.
According to the article, she left the rostrum in tears and went out into the hall where her mother comforted her, telling her over and over how loved she was and that there was nothing wrong with her.
To ease the awkward moment, one of the members of the bishopric got up, taking the girl’s place at the microphone and bore a short testimony of God’s love for all His children, sons and daughters of God.
Before internet forums (and Salt Lake Tribune) light up in effigy howling over the injustice done to this girl, condemning the bigotry and conservative family values Mormons are famous for, I hope someone out there will remind those, both Mormon and non-member, that the purpose for a fast and testimony meeting in the LDS church is to bear witness of Jesus Christ.
The man who turned off the microphone did the right thing.
While this girl had many good things to say about God’s love for all His creations, her own personal testimony of Jesus Christ, his example in being alone, (unmarried?) rejected by the world, yet always maintaining a perfect love and connection with our Heavenly Father, somehow got left out. It is the Savior’s atonement we should always be focusing on, not our own selfish desires of the flesh.
If a single, heterosexual woman were to get up after this girl, “coming out as single” in the baring of her own testimony. She might say something like this:
Brothers and sisters, I want to thank ________ for reminding us all of the unique trials we were put on this earth to experience. As a lifelong member of this church who has never had the opportunity to marry in the temple or have a family, or even a great job, the fact I’ve reached a certain age and no man found me attractive enough to take to the temple, resulting in living alone, working outside the home I always dreamed of creating for myself, spending many nights in tears pleading with the Lord to grant me the desires of my heart, has been the single hardest trial of my entire life. It would seem I was also born this way; ugly to the eyes of men. Destined to live alone and be single my entire life, instead of filling the measure of my creation as the wife and mother I was taught to become. I know the idea of being born "a certain way" is one of Satan’s lies.
Like ______ testified, I also believe a loving Heavenly Father would never want me to live my life alone but I’m also grateful for the gift of free agency that has allowed me to say no to certain situations which might have resulted in being with someone I was not attracted to. We all have our free agency in this life and, as President Hinckley once explained in a story about a switchman working for the railroad who made a terrible mistake and the baggage car ended up hundreds of miles from its destination, we must be very cautious of the choices we are given in this life. A single width of just three inches was all it took to send that baggage car down the wrong path resulting in much unhappiness.
I wish I could testify of loving parents who supported my decisions to continue my education, live alone and not settle for any man just so I could say I was married. Believe me, my mom, stepdad and biological father would LOVE it if I was married and out of their hair!
It pains me, knowing how uncomfortable my situation is for my dysfunctional family who has no idea what to do with me. I am often treated like a perpetual adolescent. Yet, I know Heavenly Father is watching out for me and aware of my heartache and the rejection I’ve faced from so many people for being different.
A recent article in LDS Living, explaining a very broad reference to heavenly mother in 1 Nephi 11:18 had a significant impact on me. An angel was taking Nephi on this fantastic journey showing him the life of the Savior. Then he saw Mary, fair and beautiful. The angel said, “Behold the mother of the son of God, after the manner of the flesh.” The author of this article then paused to consider that phrase, “after the manner of the flesh.” Mary was a mortal woman. We know Heavenly Father could never have created Adam and Eve without a little help. We know Jesus Christ was born “after the manner of the flesh” meaning Mary was Jesus’ earthly mother but he also had a Heavenly Mother; the mother of his eternal spirit. It was a profound moment for the author.
Brothers and Sisters, even though I will probably never be a mother, “after the manner of the flesh” in this life, I know I can be a Heavenly Mother in the eternities. While I am very imperfect now, I know my Savior is rooting for me to make good choices and hold to the iron rod. I know that because of His atonement, I can return to my heavenly home where eternal families and maybe even marriage and motherhood await. I will be forever grateful to my Heavenly Parents and my Savior for loving me just as I am and accepting of my faults and imperfections, “after the manner of the flesh!” I know the Book of Mormon is true and that Jesus Christ died so we might all be able to return and live with Him again. For these blessings I give thanks.