Kyle Ashworth | In the New Testament, the Apostle Peter wrote that disciples of Jesus Christ are to have “compassion one of another.” Over the last year, and with Latter Gay Stories I have witnessed so many of you fulfill that commandment honorably and admirably. I have met one-on-one with first time allies, parents and family members of LGBTQ+ children and siblings, sat with bishops, stake presidents and General Authorities. I am always in awe of those who give space for understanding and enlightenment to people who differ from them. In a world of divisive language and polarizing acceptance, the need for compassion is as great today as it ever has been.
Within the realms of Mormonism, to be called His people and to stand in His Church, it is taught that a person must be “willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; yea, and [be] willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things.”
This charge is often the foundation for many Latter-day Saints and others who find compassion and love for all people, all sexualities, and all paths— in or out of the Church.
The energy and involvement to lift the burdens of others and to mourn with those that mourn can be overwhelming at times.
I appreciated this message from Elder Holland:
“For those of you who earnestly seek to bear another’s burdens, it is important that you refortify yourself and build yourself back up when others expect so much of you and indeed take so much out of you. No one is so strong that he or she does not ever feel fatigued or frustrated or recognize the need to care for themselves. Jesus certainly experienced that fatigue, felt the drain on His strength. He gave and gave, but there was a cost attached to that, and He felt the effects of so many relying on Him. When the woman with an issue of blood touched Him in the crowd, He healed her, but He also noted that “virtue had gone out of him.”Jeffery R. Holland | Bearing One Another’s Burdens
There is such a need for allies within the LGBTQ+ community. There is a need for strength givers and strength creators. There is a need for you to give both empathy and sympathy. There is a need to lift. There is a need to bury. There is a need for those who can acknowledge that we can be both happy and sad at the same time. There is a need for people just like you.
We need you. We need each of you.
Your small gestures, supportive words, and empathetic love have the power to lift the burdens of those who seek you. Your kindness will give way to mourn more completely. Your comfort creates comfort. Your love will untangle bonded love.
One of life’s greatest misconceptions is that it takes a giant to lift those around us. I invite you to challenge that idea. It takes something much simpler: you.
We are embarking on a new year. Think of the many different people in your life—your coworkers, your boss, your family, your neighbors, (your long list of Facebook friends) and during this time of the year I challenge you today to ask yourself:
“What is my role in the life journey of these people?”
•Do I use them to fill my needs (and occasionally give back so I don’t seem selfish)?
•Do I simply coexist with them to keep peace?
•Do I listen to, and understand their experiences as they want me to hear them?
•Am I making a positive impact in their lives?
Genuinely embracing others around you will open your eyes to understanding and growth. You will learn that the people in your life are not there by accident. We need each other. And as Elder Ballard recently said, we must do better than we are currently doing to listen to and understand the experiences of the LGBT community.
Let your light shine. Let your good works be seen (and felt). You are the light of the world and with that great privilege carries great responsibility!
Happy New Year.
Together, we are going to do great things.
Go and do some good today.