by Joel McDonald
Affirmation President Nathan Kitchen had a commentary published by the Salt Lake Tribune on May 4th, 2019, titled Commentary: Ignore those shouting from the ‘great and spacious building.’ Kitchen’s words are a reaction to the negative online comments being made in response to Matt Easton’s convocation address at Brigham Young University where Easton came out to his entire school saying he was “proud to be a gay son of God.”
As news outlets reported this event, the social media comments began. While many were positive, a great many were shockingly mean and exclusionary. I won’t highlight the nasty remarks, but they came in waves from the Facebook sites of the Deseret News, LDS Living, the Daily Herald, and other publications along the Wasatch Front.
These commenters are our friends and neighbors. And, regrettably, on social media, these friends and neighbors pointed their fingers and mocked a young gay valedictorian, just because he delivered a BYU-approved speech at his commencement. It was a surreal moment as the comment sections became a “great and spacious building,” as spoken of in Lehi’s vision in the Book of Mormon, full of detractors scoffing at LGBTQ members of the church pressing onward towards the tree of life.
Inclusive homes know just as much as Lehi did that the love of God is desirable above all other fruit. These families are no longer persuaded to leave their LGBTQ children and siblings behind. And as they press forward together, the sad commentary is that they are met with self-righteous and snide remarks flung from a foundationless gallery of cowardly spectators.