Look to the Serpent or Fall

Current times call for us to be ever diligent in filling our lamps and heeding with exactness our modern prophets.

Editor’s Note: On two occasions, the author of this column uses the phrase, “identify as LGBT.” While it is typically the wish of those who have same-sex attraction to be “identified” as LGBT, we have been counseled to identify as Children of God rather than identify ourselves by our pet cause, attraction, or vice.

Here’s some real talk for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that you’re not likely to hear from very many people. The hot button issue of our time (in the Church) is very clearly, issues raised involving people who identify as LGBT.

I know of very few members of the Church who haven’t been deeply and personally affected by the complexities of these issues. Difficult, life-changing decisions have been made by many as members (Straight and LGBT alike) personally navigate their individual situations.

In 1995, the Church issued The Family: A Proclamation to the World which concisely, definitively, and specifically speaks to the doctrine of God regarding marriage, gender, sexuality, and family, all of which can be backed by scripture and prophetic teachings.

Last September, President Russell M. Nelson from the pulpit at BYU “made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole” for all of the saints to look upon, reaffirming once again the mind and will of God on these issues.

The response by so many in the faith – all of whom should know better – has ranged from indifference to outright rebellion and rejection, including from many who were in the building and heard the remarks of God’s prophet in person.

We are witnessing in real-time the actions of the ten virgins prior to the arrival of the bridegroom. Some are filling their lamps daily, while some have quit filling their lamps. Sadder still is the number who have no idea where their lamp is currently located.

The spiritual body count on these issues will continue to rise. Many are falling and many more will fall in the future. Do not be surprised when it’s your parents, your bishop or your stake president. Do not be surprised if your Mission President, Area Authority Seventy or General Authority falls.

I believe these issues are affecting or “biting” everyone, not unlike the fiery serpents. But the promise holds true: “it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten when he looketh upon it, shall ​​​live.”

Our brothers and sisters who identify as LGBT deserve our love, empathy, and encouragement in obeying God’s commandments and standards, just as we all do. However, if our collective eyes are not on the prophet in this time leading up to the Second Coming, we will not stand.

Supplemental Reading:

You can follow St. John 7:24 on Twitter @stjohn724.

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