Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Bishop Hayashi's Statement in Response to the LDS Church's New Policy

The following statement by The Rt. Rev. Scott B. Hayashi was published on the Episcopal Diocese of Utah's facebook page on November 7, 2015:
(To view the original statement, click (here).)
Bishop Hayashi has made this statement in response to questions that he has been asked regarding the stance of the LDS Church as it appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune:

There have been a number of people who have expressed anger at the recent stance of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints regarding the children of Gay or Lesbian couples. The Salt Lake Tribune reported on this in a recent edition. I completely understand these feelings. We in the Episcopal Church believe that the Holy Spirit has led us in a different direction. We believe in the inclusion of people regardless of their sexual orientation. We live this out by welcoming people who are heterosexual or homosexual into the life and work of our church. In following after the leading of the Holy Spirit we experienced the loss of members who felt betrayed by what we had done.

This summer at the 78th General Convention in Salt Lake City we took another step by authorizing clergy to perform weddings for same-sex couples. I am confident that our decision on this is not one with which the LDS Church agrees. Yet they believe that the Episcopal Church has the right and power to determine our own way of being and working to fulfill God's mission in this world and the work of Jesus.

So what do I think about the stance of the LDS Church? I do not agree with it. I believe differently than what they have expressed. I will continue to follow after the leading of the Holy Spirit as we in the Episcopal Church have discerned it. We will continue our stance of welcome of people as they are. We invite all people to be with us.

The larger question for me is can we maintain friendships, relationships and respect for those of another tradition who have stances that are different than ours? In short, if we cannot do this then then there is little hope for the world.

I value the friendships and relationships with my Mormon neighbors and the leaders that I know. I respect their right to determine how they will live out their life and work in the world as they have done the same with us.

I encourage both of us to continue seeking God's guidance and to follow it as we have discerned it. I offer my prayers for all of us as we seek to do God's work in the world.

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