Past few Sundays, I’ve been battling worthiness. Not feeling worthy to administer the sacrament. So, I deployed my buddy system. 😇 A huge thank you to all who have encouraged me and holding myself accountable. In these uncertain times, with this global pandemic. I’m sure all of us are battling our inner challenges. My good friend Craig Johansson shared this wisdom on Sunday.
“In Matthew, Chapter 8. Jesus heals a leper. Cures the centurion’s servant and others, stills the tempest, and casts out devils—The devils enter a herd of swine.
1. When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.
2. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
3. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” So, here’s why I love this scripture. Lepers were banished from the city. They were avoided. People distances themselves from them. Nobody touched them. Few people talked to them.
What I love is the fact that it said Jesus reached forth his hand and touched him. Jesus didn’t need to touch him to be healed. He could have just said it. However, Christ knew that the leper needed to be touch, a human touch he probably hadn’t felt for decades.
Don’t we all need human interaction❓
Christ knows what WE need and he will bless us in a personal way. 🌟 Let a friend know, they are loved.
Returning LDS missionary sister Alexis Wood teaches Dennis about the importance of trials to become closer to Him. The Book of Mormon, Helaman. CTR. A lot of hilarious moments.
Hosted by a Gay convert to the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.” Dennis Schleicher – Best-selling author of: “Is He Nut?” Elders Quorum First Counselor, Ward Mission Leader. Devotional and public speaker.
When you think about the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a few things typically come to mind. Members of the LDS faith send out their young men and young men to do missionary work around the world. They read a book called The Book of Mormon that was translated by the Prophet Joseph Smith. What the LDS faith is also known for very heavily is the travels and struggles of the pioneers.
The pioneers were latter-day saints who were constantly mocked and driven from their homes throughout various states. Because of this constant persecution, these pioneers traveled to the west side of the American continent.
When we talked with Dennis Schleicher about his book Is He Nuts? Why A Gay Man Would Join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints he talked about his special connection to the pioneers.
In his early days of learning about the LDS faith, Dennis was introduced to the history of the pioneers and their struggles and persecution. Their experiences brought him to tears because he could relate to the persecution he had gone through in his life for being a member of the LGBTQ community.
My mom wrinkled her nose. “They are all going to hell. This is so disgusting.”
I looked over at her and stopped myself from rolling my eyes. “Really? You think that’s disgusting?”
“Yes, I do. They’re going to hell. It’s in the Bible.” She stopped and stared hard at me. “You’re gay, aren’t you.”
It was a statement, not a question. I hesitated, but I had nothing else to say.
“Yes.” “I knew it!” she burst out. “I always knew it! Your father is going to be livid when he gets home!” I wasn’t there when he got home.
My mother wasn’t the only person to figure it out.
Two weeks later, Dennis was attacked by 5 boys at his school.
Through those experiences and so many others, Dennis was determined. “In so many ways, I decided to be a survivor, not a victim, and to use the journey of my life as a source of inspiration to help others in similar situations.”
In 2014, Dennis, who had grown up a member of the Congregational church, was church hopping. It also happened to be the year that he met members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as Mormons) for the first time. In his own words, Dennis says:
I had never met a member of the Church except for the poor missionaries who had my door repeatedly slammed in their faces. So I was shocked that my sexual identity didn’t seem to bother these Mormons I worked with.
From that point on, Dennis learned more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He visited the Sacred Grove with friends, attended sacrament meeting, met with the missionaries, and studied the Book of Mormon.
I had been studying the Book of Mormon for only thirty days. I didn’t understand everything, nor did I need to. It’s not a book you read one time—you read and ponder it every day, and through constant scripture study you will gain further knowledge and insight.
Roadblocks, challenges, trials, tribulations—whatever you want to call them, we’re all going to have them. It’s a fact of life. It’s what we do when we’re faced with them that matters. We can give up and be defeated. Or we can use them to grow and become stronger. I believe and know in my heart that God is there for every one of us.
Dennis now serves as a ward mission leader, assisting sisters and elders throughout New England to better understand how to work with the LGBTQ community, creating a better understating amongst all people.
To contact Dennis or schedule him for a speaking engagement, visit his website (dennisschleicher.net/contact). Purchase his book, Is He Nuts?: Why a Gay Man Would Become a Member of the Church of Jesus Christ, at Deseret Books.
Reviews for Is He Nuts?
“As an active Latter-day Saint mother of an openly gay son, I was moved by Dennis’s story and the pure love of Christ. A must-read for all who are seeking to walk in the shoes of another.” ~ Becky Mackintsoh
“I devoured this book the day after it arrived. I am now passing it on to my teenage children to read.”
“His experiences and testimony are truly a light in this world and I believe his story will help many both in the LDS church and out of it.”
“This book is revolutionary, groundbreaking, transformative and much needed for anyone looking for a great story.”
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.
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.
Missionaries are awesome! Meet a few I’ve worked with.
I am an openly gay man who feels nothing but love from members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was told my entire life that God rejected me and I was going to hell merely for my sexual orientation. I needed to change my entire persona and become straight. This left such a bad taste in my mouth about organized religion in general that I refused to attend any church for many, many years.
It was Latter-day Saints who taught me that Heavenly Father loves ALL of His children, regardless of their sexual orientation. We are all children of God, and we should leave judgment to the Savior. It is not our place. We are asked only to love. Let’s all Turn Up The Love.
I saw this on the front page of the Church website this morning and I remembered our conversation and how this is your opportunity as you are called to speak to others – to bear witness of God’s love, His goodness and mercy to you in your life experiences.
This is the scripture that came to my mind so powerfully that I felt was for you:
Mosiah 18-8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
9 Yea, and are 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, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life-
I have tried to hold myself to this standard. All too often for me, I have fallen short to fully express and acknowledge God’s greatness and goodness–His love–in my testimonies. It is a skill I am still. working on to improve.
May I share with you some tools I am using to become more accomplished in this goal.
As I study the Book of Mormon, I examine how the great prophets testify of Jesus Christ. They are great examples who bear great witness of God’s love. We can learn much from them in this endeavor.
Consider Lehi and his dream [I Nephi 8] wherein he goes from a place of darkness to the tree of life. There he partakes of the fruit of the tree which we understand represents the love of God. After experiencing this love he states in verse 12 – “And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy;” This is Lehi’s witness of God’s love. He then turns to his family and invites them to come and experience this great joy which he described as desirable above all other fruit.
I like to think this represents all missionary work. First we each must come to the tree and experience God’s love (baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost). Then we turn and invite others to come to the tree (Come unto Christ) and receive this continuing gift of His love in always having his spirit to be with us.
I have made a detailed study of the Book of Mormon prophets of how they each in their own way have testified of this fruit and how it has brought them great joy.
Another tool I have used is to do a personal evaluation after I have shared my testimony – asking questions such as Did I acknowledge His hand in all the goodness I have experienced? Did I convey the joy that I experienced as I partook of the fruit? Did I invite others to partake as Lehi did?
After this personal evaluation revealing my weaknesses (which have been too many- to my dismay), I then reviewed what I desired to have said. That was followed by a prayer that the Lord would make my weak things become strong. There have been occasions when my prayer has been answered. I have been able to give a witness that exceeded my highest expectations, and yes my joy was great in that blessing.
Dennis, I know the Lord loves you greatly and has called you to serve in the building of His Kingdom. Thank you for asking me to share.