Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The gay FHE

I mentioned once on a comment on Feminist Mormon Housewives that we have had a Family Home Evening about treating our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters (in my case, brothers, literally) with love and respect. I've had a request to share this information privately and I figured if I am going to type it up I might as well make it a blog post.

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 I think one of the most practical things we can do to override some of the outdated curricula and misguided traditions our kids will run into at church, is to provide a good foundation of truth, reason and love at home. I don't think the LDS Church's official position is necessarily outdated or misguided (though I hope for ongoing change) but many members still use old materials or propagate false traditions.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.
Here's what we did, after our standard opening song, prayer and family business.

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.
6. Assured the kids that each one of them is a beloved and precious part of our family no matter what -- no matter whom they love and no matter what they do.


Deborah said...

Ana: You rock.e

SalGal said...

Thanks so much for this, Banana. I don't know if we feel comfortable talking to our kids about this yet, but I'm glad to know you've paved the way for us when we do.

Love you!

MiniMarie said...

I don't even have kids yet, and have been thinking about this talk. Thank you for the practical, logical, and most importantly, loving and Christian way you have laid this out.

PS Do you mind if I put a link to this on my blog? Will you email me and let me know if you are comfortable with that or not? SelosMini@gmail.com

FoxyJ said...

I was also going to ask if I can link to this from Northern Lights (a blog for faithful gay LDS). I'm writing a post about the ways people can reach out in their communities.

FoxyJ said...

My email is on my profile.