I will be the first to admit that there has been a learning curve for me on this. I can remember lots of things I've said, especially in times before I knew my brothers were gay, that probably hurt their feelings and pushed them away from me. But I think I've improved in many ways, and I hope openness and awareness can make the curve for my kids not quite so steep as it was for me. If by chance they are gay, I hope with all my heart that they can avoid the pain my brothers have felt.
I got inspired to have this FHE after reading Carol Lynn Pearson's most recent book, No More Goodbyes. I think one of the most practical things we can do to override some of the outdated curricula and misguided traditions our kids will run into at church, is to provide a good foundation of truth, reason and love at home. I don't think the LDS Church's official position is necessarily outdated or misguided (though I hope for ongoing change) but many members still use old materials or propagate false traditions.
A few disclaimers:
- We keep FHE pretty simple at our house, so if you're here looking for clever object lessons or themed treats, sorry.
- This is not an insurrectionist FHE plan, nor is it intended to be. I believe everything we have taught here is in line with the current Church position on homosexuality.
- Also, I am fully aware this is not an exhaustive discussion of all things related to Mormonism and homosexuality. I intended it as a foundation - an opener - for my two elementary-school-age kids. Mainly I want my kids to know that in the future, they can talk to G and me about this. I want them to have some clear standards for how to treat others, especially in our extended family. And I want the seed planted in their hearts that we will love them no matter what.
1. Talked about Jesus' teaching to love one another.
2. Talked about people we know who are gay. Provided the following definition:
Gay or lesbian is when someone falls in love with people who are the same sex as them. Gay men fall in love with men, and lesbian women fall in love with women. Sometimes lesbian is also called gay.
I kept it this simple because my kids are young. Their knowledge about sex is still pretty general - we haven't discussed mechanics yet.
3. Discussed our ideal concept of family: a man and a woman being married for eternity in the temple. Some people can do this, and some people cannot. People who cannot do this, for any reason, are good people who are doing their best. We love them, and so do God and Christ.
4. Talked briefly about the law of chastity: God has commanded us to share our bodies with another person only when we are married to that person. We are expected to keep this law. Not everybody keeps it. That doesn't mean they are bad people.
5. Provided some guidelines:
- We never make fun of someone because of who they like or love.
- We never use the word "f-----." It is as offensive and wrong as the "n" word (something my African-American kids unfortunately understand all too well).
- We never use the word "gay" to mean "bad" or "stupid."
- We treat everybody the same as a child of God.
- If there are things we don't understand, we ask questions of Mom or Dad.