For years—since likely well before the difficulties of Prop 8 in California—there have been those among the Mormon ranks who have experienced pain around the issue of LGBT individuals and how they fit within our faith. Many, if not all of these individuals, have prayed diligently for clarity, a softening of hearts on both sides of this issue, and an opportunity to help play a role—however small—in helping bring that about.
In 2012, the Pride Parades across the nation presented such an opportunity. And given the heartfelt and spiritual desires of those who joined this effort and marched in the celebration, we treated this very much like a worship service. In effect, we saw this as our chance to bring our spiritual worship service to the streets and directly to the LGBT community and their allies.
And in that same spirit, we opened the march with an opening hymn, and an opening prayer. We walked in our church clothes. We chose signs that reflected the best of our scriptures and statements of welcome from our leadership. We carried a deliberate and well planned message of love and inclusion.
Below is a transcript of the opening I prayer I offered at the San Francisco Pride Parade on June 24, 2012. (Special thanks to our friends at NBC for providing the transcript.)
We were recognizably Mormon, and we did that purposefully—to let others know that we love and welcome our LGBT brothers and sisters.
"Our dear Father in Heaven...
We bow our heads humbly before you today in gratitude, for the opportunity to be ambassadors of your unconditional love. We ask for you to bless us today with loose tongues, with free spirits and open countenances that others around us might understand our sincerity and our heartfelt desire to reach out to them--to love them as our peers, our equals, our fellows, as part of our human family. We ask that in turn that you might soften their hearts, so that each step we take today may be a step closer to unity between two communities that long for love and reconciliation, and who belong together as your children.
We ask these things humbly in the name of our Lord, our champion and our Savior Jesus Christ.
Alright you guys, march safe--and thank you, thank you, thank you!" (crowd cheers)