- I spent this past week experiencing Education Week at @brighamyounguniversity and I LOVED it! It was amazing! If you have never attended this incredible event, I invite you to put it on your calendar for August 2020!
- At first, I was hesitant to attend because I imagined it being college courses to learn
math, business, science, etc. I had no clue that It was a week full of gospel learning that has strengthened my testimony of the @churchofjesuschrist. I would like to share my TOP 5️⃣ . this week:
- 1️⃣ It serves me to serve you. It serves you to serve others.
- 2️⃣ Do not ever be afraid of asking God for help. Do not feel guilty asking for the smallest of things, or even the biggest of things.
- 3️⃣ Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have done their part, so now we need to do our part of preparing to receive their blessings. We fulfill our part by reading the scriptures and by studying the gospel.
- 4️⃣ You would never judge anyone else if you only knew their life story.
- 5️⃣ We need to always consider ourselves as students. There are “teachers” all around us, who help us to learn and grow.
Today is the TWO-year Anniversary of my baptism as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!
I remember opening my eyes during the opening prayer to look around the room at everyone who was there to support me: Derek & Shelby Hall, my ward members, many other close friends, and my parents.
I remember the feeling I had while immersed in the water and immediately afterwards. I was lightheaded, refreshed, with a new sense of well-being and a revitalized purpose in life. I felt peace. I had a new start to my life, a second chance to find true joy and meaning in life!
August 19, 2017 forever changed my life!
❓❓ How long ago was it and what do you remember about your baptism day that made it special?
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This week I was studying the New Testament from the study guide, Come Follow Me (provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). I was studying about Paul and the horrible persecutions that many of those church members faced anciently.
Today, we as followers of Christ, encounter many of the same hardships that they did. When people say harsh words to me and when Satan attacks, I have found that I forget my own challenges by serving others. This week, the benefits of studying Paul’s teachings is that:
1️⃣ I want to strive every day to provide random acts of kindness
2️⃣ Be more receptive to listen to others
❓What have you found best helps you to manage and tackle your daily challenges? When you get knocked down, what picks you back up again?
Love, Dennis Schleicher
Who Happens to Be Gay and LGBTQ+
I believe in my heart through personal revelation, that our church is by far the most accepting of LGBTQ+ members. Based on what I’ve experienced. This may not be the case for past members or people who left the Church. All churches have experienced a lack of understanding or tolerance for people who are different, that was in the past. I have witness times have changed. Have you?
I understand that a lot of people may not comprehend or approve of me being gay and a worthy temple recommend holder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know that a lot of my LGBTQ+ friends will never understand why I became a Latter-day Saint, or will distance themselves from me. It’s okay! I choose to love and care deeply for all my brothers and sisters! That’s the difference between someone who is striving to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ and someone who needs to do a little more work loving and accepting those they may not understand. I’m writing this at the risk of losing friendships and work relationships and upsetting my family for divulging my innermost secrets and struggles. Nothing can change this if it needs to be done.
After years of searching, I unexpectedly discovered a new family in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Now secure in his relationship with the Church and with God. Now I share the story of how a gay man, found his home in the Church. Determined to be a survivor, not a victim, I use my life’s journey as a source of inspiration to help others in similar situations and to foster a better understanding of God’s many LGBTQ brothers and sisters in the world. I now love serving as a Ward Mission Leader, assisting sisters and elders throughout New England and the world.
“No matter your religion, faith background, sexual orientation, or race, I challenge you to choose love!”
~ Dennis Schleicher
Turn Up The Love Devotional – June 2 at the Pasadena Stake Center from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. Join Dennis Schleicher as he shares his story as a gay man that was welcomed into the fold of God with open arms and was taught about the true nature of God’s love for everyone. Follow Dennis’ journey from hate-crime victim to a Ward Mission Leader that helps hundreds of missionaries better reach the LGBTQ community.
When our Prophet talks about us “all being mothers,” what I feel him saying is that we are all creators.
Are not we all mothers? We ARE all creators. Whether we choose to partner with our Heavenly Parents and create human bodies to be populated with souls to come to earth or we partner with them to create technology, books, music or other artwork or perhaps we create a cure for a previously incurable disease; we are ALL creators. We are ALL mothers.
I have belonged to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for six years coming up next month. During this time, no matter what Ward or Branch I have attended, each and every year I have joined in the singing the one hymn in the hymnal that recognizes our Mother in Heaven every year on Mother’s Day.
In 1845, Eliza R. Snow (Relief Society President 1867-1887) wrote the hymn, “O My Father,” penning the most well-known reference to Mother God. Written only months after Prophet Jospeph Smith Jr.’s death, it has been speculated that the Prophet may have taught of a Mother in Heaven either implicitly or to limited audiences.
It didn’t surprise me to listen to Sheri Dew, a righteous woman who has never given birth to a child, say “Aren’t We All Mothers,” or President Nelson in his address to the October 2018 General Conference profess that he became a doctor, “Because [he] could not choose to be a mother.”
President Nelson went on to say last October, “Every woman is a mother by virtue of her eternal divine destiny.”
When I listen to childless women and their frustration with some of these quotes and standpoints, I contemplate if they were to substitute the word creator for mother if there would still be offense taken?
Our society, and in particular some of our cultures, tend to pass judgment on what types of parents we are, how many children we produce and how we choose to raise them. How we judge one another trickles down into how we feel about ourselves. When we internalize external judgments, we diminish our own divinity.
Our role as creators is divine. Our Mother in Heaven is just as important as our Father in Heaven.
Elder Erastus Snow stated, “There can be no God except that he is composed of the man and woman united, and there is not in all the eternities that exist, or ever will be a God in any other way,” a statement, according to the Historical Teachings about Mother in Heaven, that has been reaffirmed by several General Authorities.
Thank you, Mother and Father, for the gift of creation…for the gift of motherhood.
I remember the nervousness that overcame me not long after I felt the impression to seek out and listen to the Missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They talk a lot about “being in the world, but not of the world,” but all of my friends were “of the world,” none of my family were members of The Church (except my granddaughters) and most of my friends had “alternative lifestyles.” When I decided I wanted and needed to be Baptized, I prayed constantly about the situation with my friends. How could I tell my friends I was now a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, would they want to be my friends anymore? Did that matter?
During my repentance process in the weeks before my Baptism, I was relatively quiet on Facebook, a social media outlet where I had spent an inordinate amount of time during the previous 5 years accumulating an audience for my writing. At times I had been known to make a spectacle out of myself, becoming rather dramatic about loves and losses and pain and pleasures. I had been known for “letting it all hang out.” How could I reconcile my previous behavior with the life I wanted, no, needed to create and begin to live? I prayed more.
The answers came gradually, but they came. I was impressed to read “The Articles of Faith.” They all rang so true in my heart that not only did my “bosom begin to burn” but I also wept with joy several times. Then I came to the 11th:
“We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”
The second part of that statement, “and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may [emphasis added]” caused me to completely lose my cool. I broke down and cried loudly; I bawled. Why? Because it was an answer to my prayers. There was NOTHING in the church Doctrine that said I had to exclude those who worshiped differently from myself from my life, ABSOLUTELY the opposite!!!
Relief filled my soul. But what about all of the people who followed my social media? Now that I no longer practiced alternative beliefs, should I even be “out there” in the public? What about all of my photos and the things I posted?
As I began to hint about my baptism on social media some people I thought were my friends were quick to delete me from their connections, I cried but continued to pray about it. I didn’t want to lose friends, but those people who had “unfriended” me weren’t acting like friends. My prayers to my Heavenly Father continued, so did my tears.
I deleted hundreds of photos of myself that embarrassed me from my social media accounts and I prayed to know if I should continue with an online presence. After all, it would have been easier just to delete the accounts.
The impression I felt from the Holy Ghost was persistent: I needed to be LOUDER about my conversion than I was my sins.
I was at a loss how to accomplish that. The year before my Baptism was quite humiliating as I looked back upon my own inequity to others in addition to myself. I continued to pray and study my scriptures.
Then came the answer: Start a blog about your conversion to The Church. Share your feelings about God and your faith and be honest with those who follow you.
My unease continued even after I started the FIRST iteration of Slightely Mormon on Blogger. Then, in June 2013, came a directive in video conference form to ALL the Missionaries and the Missionary Members of The Church. This was the answer I had been awaiting. It was a confirmation of the personal revelation I had received from the Holy Spirit.
In a few weeks, it will have been 4 years since I sought out Missionaries to receive the lessons leading to my Baptism. In the subsequent years I have “cleaned up my act” on Facebook and other social media outlets, but I am louder than ever! I want the world (including my friends) to know HOW being a Mormon has changed my life!
In the last six years, I have worked hard not to alienate my friends and family. It’s difficult to convey to them how much I love ALL of them and I respect what they chose to believe in, all of that is part of them and I love them.
I had an opportunity to travel with a very dear friend of mine recently. Cub, as he likes to be called, is a professional photographer and acted as my assistant on a recent trip. In our travels across the country, we incurred our number of odd looks at us, but he helped me to see my world through different eyes. I saw judgment from my fellow church members when they watched him light a cigarette, I felt their stares and disapproval in both of our directions. That made me incredibly sad.
We visited the Ft. Lauderdale Temple towards the end of our time together. I asked Cub to take some photos of me when I was done with my session; he enthusiastically complied. When we were finished with our pictures another temple patron asked him to take her photo. Cub graciously agreed to do so.
While he was doing that act of service, I took a few snapshots myself for social media. I shared it first on Instagram as “Cubby doing service at the Temple,” then, after talking it over with Cub, I shared it again on my Facebook page and to a group called Facebook group focusing on members of The Church with an additional introduction:
For a while, I almost felt like I was exploiting my friend and his service. Although he had given his consent for both photos to be shared on the internet inclusive of my comment about his lifestyle, he had not asked for the photo to be taken.
While Cub probably wished I had allowed him to continue his nap in the car, I felt it was important. There was a lesson here for not only me. I am not ashamed of my friends. I love each and every one of them. Not in spite of their beliefs or their actions, but as WHOLE people with different ideas about life and different understandings of the universe.
We read in John 13:34 that Jesus Christ himself told us:
I believe that His love is unconditional. That is something I try to work towards each and
every day. I am so grateful to ALL of my diverse friends, like Cub, who help me to remember what my Heavenly Father commanded me to do.
(This article was previously published on Sister Maggie)
vpnMentor conducted a survey in which we asked 695 LGBTQ+ people worldwide about their experiences online as they relate to their sexual orientation and gender identity. The
results – referenced throughout this article – illuminated the unique challenges faced by the many LGBTQ+ communities.
Here are some of our key findings:+
- Alarming 73% of all who identify as LGBTQ, or any form of gender identity, sexual orientation have been personally attacked and harassed online.
- 50% of all respondents in all categories of gender identity and sexual orientation have suffered sexual harassment online.
- When it comes to sexual orientation, gay, lesbian, bisexual and the transgender community feels the least safe online.
- When it comes to gender identity, many transgender women feel the least safe when harassed online. Gay men the safest.
- Transgenders are most likely to be outed and bullied on social media platforms. Unfortunately, against their will. With gay men are least likely, outed but still suffer many forms of harassment.
Experts in the field of cybersecurity it’s their mission to provide practical strategies for coping with all kinds of adversity, bigotry, and abuse on the web, which is why they created this guide.
Whether you are part of the LGBTQ+ community or are a straight ally, I hope you’ll find this guide informative.
Thank You to Stephany Huneidy at vpnMentor for emailing me the statistics through this blog.
If you’re a victim of online harassment please share it with a friend, loved one, and family members.
Please, be safe when posting on any social media online website or platform.
Love and Hugs, Dennis Schleicher
I know without a doubt that there’s a place for all LGBTQ children within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As fellow brothers and sisters, everything that I’ve studied in our doctrine displays zero evidence that I am not allowed to be an active member of our church. I can’t find anything that says, I don’t have a home or place to worship. It’s the media and those who are judgmental. Or have left our gospel that continuously tells me that I don’t have a home in Mormonism. Our doctrine, along with scripture tells me differently.
Love and Hugs,