Friday, October 16, 2015

Matt Walsh: Blood on His Hands

On a fairly regular basis, LDS friends of mine (who I love and still associate with) will share a post like the one shown below. Sometimes, they’ll add their own stamp of approval for the content they are sharing and praise it. So, then I go to read what is shared and feel completely opposite. I continue to be amazed how something that brings a friend such goodness and light can cause me to feel incredibly down and sad, at times, even angry.

“Well, Nate, you’ve lost your way.”

“You’re not in tune with the Spirit.”

“If you made more of an effort, you’d agree with everything in the post.”

I’ve lost my way? I’m not in tune? Then why do I feel so good when I pray? Why do I feel more assured than ever before that the efforts I am making are acceptable to my Maker?

Consider the following example, posted by a friend earlier today. I’ve eaten dinner at her table and she is remarkably kind and thoughtful. But then, she posts something like this and regards Matt Walsh as brilliant and courageous. It makes me wonder what she truly thinks of someone like me.

Matt Walsh is well-known for his blog, and I have a fair amount of friends who subscribe to his way of thinking. That’s okay, we can still be friends. But I’m a different kind of Christian. On numerous occasions, I’ve read Mr. Walsh’s thoughts on a variety of topics and, in my humble opinion, he misses the mark. It’s very “letter of the law” and less “spirit of the law” to me.

In his latest post, No, Christianity Should Not Welcome or Include Your Sinful Lifestyle, he says a number of things that strike me as dangerous, insensitive, lacking in understanding and devoid of any compassion. When members of the church perpetuate these kinds of messages, I feel extreme sadness.

I understand that as members of the church, we must strive to be obedient. But sometimes I wonder why we don’t focus as much on the concept of forgiveness. “The law is the law and who are we to change it? Fall in line or get out of the way!”

As I consider friends who have taken their lives or who have lived their lives in hiding and isolation in fear of condemnation from the very people who should be prepared to love them the most, these are the direct quotes from Mr. Walsh’s latest blog entry that concern me the most. As you read through them, do you feel good?

“The sins of homosexuality and fornication have existed since Biblical times…What do we know in our time that the Church didn’t know — that God Himself didn’t know — up to now? Be very careful in how you answer that question.

“You need to stop reading with your emotions and read with your brain.”

“Two plus two equals four, because it does, and because even a stupid man can see that.”

“It’s difficult to have grown-up conversations these days, because people like yourself see every mention of moral truth as either a personal attack or a statement of superiority. This is the real damage you cause in the Faith.”

“You want to be coddled.”

“You want to modify Christian teachings not because you tried them and found them wrong, but because you found them difficult and don’t want to try them.”

“You apparently come a sick and broken man looking to be assured you were never sick and broken to begin with.”

“I’m tired of hearing this “inclusive” stuff.”

“You’re asking to be “included” in the Faith on your own terms. That’s just not how this works, brother. As Christians, we have no authority to “include” you in that way.”

“You must be the one who “includes” the Truth in your life. Your lifestyle must change to accommodate the Truth, not the other way around.”

“A sin is still a sin, and He instructs us all to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11), which often means dramatically altering our lifestyles.”

“You must choose, then, to walk through the right path, the narrow path, but it will be difficult and demanding, and it will not and cannot be widened to include you.”

“We all struggle with sin. But struggle is the keyword. Struggle. Fight back. Plead with God in agony to help you defeat these demons. Go to Christ begging that He help you overcome your temptations and live with chastity and temperance. Don’t demand that your sin be allowed to accompany you into Heaven. It can’t.”

“It seems you want to remove, well, all of those ingredients and still call yourself a Christian. You might as well remove all the yeast and flour from a mixture and call the goop of water, butter, and salt that remains ‘bread.’”

“We have to choose to shed our sin, pick up our cross, and follow Him. That’s what it means to “be included.” You say that’s what you want, but do you?”

“Christians churches in America were never guilty of “alienating” unrepentant sinners like the “LGBTQ community.” They are so attached to their sin that they literally define themselves by it. They look for ‘community’ not with the Body of Christ, but with those who share their urges and fetishes. They elect to reject the difficult aspects of the Faith. They alienate themselves.”

“John Chrysostom said the Holy Scripture should be “engraved upon our hearts.” There are some Christians who wish to adhere to it with that level of severity. They are the minority that all churches should be bending over backwards to embrace. They are the ones who need to be included again.”

“The church has not failed if it makes open homosexuals or anyone else feel uncomfortable in their sin. That is a success. That is the church doing what it’s supposed to do.”

“I’ll pray Christian churches in this country always “include” the Truth, not liberal sexual dogmas or any other form of blasphemy.”

“I’ll pray you leave your sin behind and come to Christ remorseful and empty handed, ready to be His servant.”

I could respond to each quote, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll leave it up to my readers. Do these comments sound like they come from someone who wants gay people to feel welcome and included? Does the author of these comments even begin to understand (or make the slightest attempt to understand) what it’s like to be gay and Christian? Does this collection of quotes sound like anything the Savior would say?

As I read through this blog, it doesn’t bring me closer to the Savior. It’s basically Matt Walsh saying, “Get over it, no mercy is available here. Just get over being gay and stop complaining.” He associates being gay with being depraved. Most of the gay people I know have the same core needs as anyone else. But Mr. Walsh would dismiss the longing to be loved and the chance to build a life with someone they love as “urges and fetishes”. But only when it comes to gay people.

In closing, I’m just asking you to be more aware when you share these kinds of messages. I’m all for standing up for what you believe in and even fighting the good fight. But if you can do these things in such a way that makes people like me feel loved and included and part of the fold, that’d be really great.

Compare his approach to Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Twelve:

"As a church, nobody should be more loving and compassionate. Let us be at the forefront in terms of expressing love, compassion and outreach. Let's not have families exclude or be disrespectful of those who choose a different lifestyle as a result of their feelings about their own gender."

His use of the word "lifestyle" kind of bugs me, but the tone is so much warmer and more Christ-like, don't you think?

I think Matt Walsh’s approach is irresponsible and dangerous. His complete lack of mercy and understanding is something that he’ll have to account for one day just as much as I will have to account for my own sins. Luckily, we both have a Savior who loves us. I just think one of us tries to bring people TO the Savior while the other one often pushes people AWAY from the Savior.

Read Matt Walsh. Agree with Matt Walsh if you want. Say how brilliant and courageous he is. But be aware that his insensitive tone and unapologetic approach is doing damage to people who truly love the Lord. I know plenty of brilliant and courageous gay men and women who lives their lives in a way that would be pleasing to the Lord. People like Matt Walsh may never understand what this kind of discipleship requires.


  1. Posting anonymously, because I'm not ready for the real world to know who I am with the feelings I have. But you do know me, and well.
    Matt Walsh, and people like him are the reason I have almost completely given up on christianity. I have yet to find a Christian religion that accepts me as an adult. I'm a female, in a male profession. I have several kids, but, as a general rule, I don't like children. I don't like dresses, I don't get pedicures, I rarely wear makeup. I don't do pta. I serve my community, as a volunteer in a male-dominated profession. The women in the religion I grew up in, won't have anything to do with me, and the lessons in women's group make me feel like a failure. The women at church turn the other way when they see me. The ballsy ones charge straight at me and tell me I'm a bad example because I have tattoos and that I should get a job as a teacher so I can be a better mom. I've looked at a few other Christian religions, because I do believe in christ. But I can't find any, for various reasons; mostly doctrine I can't agree with. And that Matt Walsh mentality. I can't sit back, and consider myself to be following Christ, if I am surrounded by people who are judging and unkind.
    I'm ready to give up on organised religion.

    1. I can't figure out who this is, but you're more than welcome to reach out to me if you ever need to chat. I appreciate your comments and sharing some of your story. Sending you love and wishing you well on your journey. I'm here for you, if you need.

    2. To anonymous friend of Nate from another anonymous friend of Nate's...I can relate to you on many of your opinions. In short, I am not a traditional woman and mother. People are not going to agree with my decisions, but I have learned to accept that. Any judgment that matters will come from my Father. Those around me who are themselves full of sin have no right to sling stones at me. In regard to religion, I think each one has its standards. Many rely on a set of standards because they think it is the only way to go to Him. Believing in Christ is simple. Finding your own spiritual relationship can be just as rewarding, if not more so, without the structure of religion.

    3. I'm so sorry you are dealing with this. I completely understand working in a a male-dominated profession, as well as not getting into the same things as my church sisters, and often feeling judged and castigated because of it. I have learned that, for me, I don't go to church or take part in religion for anybody else. I go to church and take part in His church because He asked me to, and I love Him and want to be obedient. If I have a good social interaction or (gasp!) connect with another person at church, that is just gravy. Taking part in Christ's church offers ME a chance to be Christlike, not a chance for me to worry about whether others are acting in a Christlike manner toward me.

    4. Anonymous, I just want you to know that all of my 6 children, and myself and even my husband to the degree that he can (since he works for BYU), have all walked away from the LDS religion specifically, and religion in general, because of how they have treated minorities (blacks, gays, women). My son-in-law had two close friends who committed suicide because they were gay (former missionary companions). My niece committed suicide because she had scrupulosity which turned into a psychotic break from reality, brought on by a bishop who interviewed her week after week so she would be "worthy" to serve a mission. Her last words to her mother were that it was just too hard to be perfect anymore. Much of the pain and horror of the past has been brought onto mankind by religion. Patriarichal power is invoked whenever anyone talks about "obedience." Obedience is for small children (to keep them safe) and dogs. Leaving religion means you are growing up into an adult and can now think and act for yourself. I think you should believe in a "better" God then religion offers. We must find "God" ourselves without having to be swayed by men who enjoy the power they have been given by religion over our lives.

    5. Anonymous 8:56, those stories are heartbreaking. How can mortal men stand in judgment, so much so that they drive others to take their own lives? We seem to forget that religion is man-made, and you hit it exactly on the head when you said that it is perpetuated by men who enjoy the power they have been given. I couldn't agree more that "religion" is extremely personal, and it shows a level of maturity and understanding within yourself to be able to break free of the dependence on the thoughts of others and to believe what you truly feel in your heart. Like the Buddha said when asked about what comes after this life: no one really knows, so why worry about it? Worry about being a good person right now, in this life, because this life is the only thing that matters right now. If you're a good person now and there is an afterlife, you'll be rewarded for living a good life; if there's nothing, at least you weren't a jerk.

  2. It surprises me that Matt or your friend consider themselves Christians since they apparently have no faith in the Savior or belief in his atonement. Are they trying to take his place?

    1. The friend who posted is actually very kindhearted and loving toward others. I think it's just a classic case of a great woman not realizing the harmful effects of her decision to agree and share such hateful comments. I don't think it's her intention at all to spread hate. She's just somewhat oblivious as to why the blog would be so offensive to others.

  3. As the father of a 13 year old transgender child, and a LDS Elders Quorum instructor... thank you... You put it quite well. I will likely use some of your thoughts in a lesson in the near future.

    1. Thank you, Drew. I really appreciate that! I'm sure you have a unique perspective that many can benefit from.

  4. May I ask what your friend's response to your comment was? It's understandable if that's too personal. It's hard to imagine that your words didn't affect her in some way; not if she's a true, altruistic friend.

    1. Hi there. She responded with a lengthy response that was loving and kind. She still doesn't see how Walsh's post was dangerous or insensitive, but she just pointed out that as two different people, we got two different things out of it. My friend meant no harm, and that's the thing. Most people who post Walsh's words rarely mean to do any harm. Anyway, she was very kind about it and we agreed to disagree while we cherish the memories we've shared as friends. She really is a cool girl with a kind heart.

  5. Some of this shit is absolute garbage. Everyone has blood on their hands. Everyone has said or has taken part in something that offends someone else and proclaims to be a Saviors advocate. People are always going to say things that can hurt or may be insensitive or maybe, just maybe, its you're too sensitive. It's always those rotten Mormons with you, never any other religion, I know many Mormons that are great and totally accepting of me and my lifestyle (yes I'm Gay and I'm sure they know) but they do accept me and I don't get all offended over small words. Get over it, it is free speech and it doesn't always make it right, but it does allow us to express love in return. Matt Walsh, whatever!!! Stop going after his head (spreading the same hate he is, tarnishing him) and go after his heart. Show love. If you can't do that, you're no different. Don't hate your friend for posting something she believes in. Just love her back. Regardless. Not even Jesus waited around for a thank you to every kind word/act. Show her the Christian Man you are and for hells sake get off Matt's level.

    1. Dear "Anonymous", your reply sounds more angry than anything I wrote. I agree, we all sins and fall short. I write about being gay in the LDS church because I'm gay and Mormon. But I'm sure that the things I share happen in other religions too. I just can't speak to them as much because my own experiences are in the LDS church. But I'm not picking on anyone. I'm trying to bring both parties together. My friend and I actually had a great chat where we showed love and support of each other despite our differences of opinion. Not sure where you are picking up my hatred toward him/her. Anyway, the blood on his hands thing is suggesting that attitudes and approaches that people like Matt Walsh use can really push people away, even to the point of suicide. I'm asking for more responsibility and awareness when we counsel and support our gay brothers and sisters who still want involvement in the church. Rotten 'Mormons? Are you even reading my blog or just reacting to a title? I constantly write of my love for the church and its people and my desire to be a part of that. Not sure how you're missing that part of my message. I'm not being too sensitive when our gay youth are taking their own lives. Everyone else who has commented here or via Facebook sees that love is what I'm showing and demanding. If that's not clear to you, I apologize. I'd challenge you to re-read some of my messages. At the same time, I'll consider your thoughts on future posts. If you'd like to actually share your thoughts with a name attached, hit me up privately. Or let's do lunch.

  6. Thanks Nate. I read this blog of yours and then went back and read his piece. I didn't like what he wrote at all. You were too nice.

    1. Well apparently, I'm going after his head and tarnishing him, according to a previous comment. Thanks for taking the time to truly hear what I'm saying.

  7. I couldn't even read all of the quotes you posted because they filled me with rage. JESUS CHRIST DID NOT TEACH HATRED. He taught only LOVE and understanding and patience, not hate and vitriol and discrimination. I don't understand how someone who spews that kind of garbage can seriously call themselves a Christian - it's like they don't understand the "Christ" part of the title. I'm an agnostic anti-theist, but I believe Jesus did live at one time and he taught the world some very valuable lessons. It's so disheartening to me that some people choose to use their religion as a platform for prejudice and fear instead of teaching everyone to love one another as a true follower of Christ would do.

  8. To me, this feels a bit like weighing justice and mercy. Matt Walsh is all justice, and many LGBT supporters cry for only mercy. But there has to be something in the middle - or rather, honoring both. Right? That's what the savior did.

    1. Please know that I agonized over "lgbt supporters" but never thought of a better phrase.

    2. Nikki, thanks for your comment. Your comment that LGBT supporters cry only for mercy...what does that mean? Personally, that statement doesn't really resonate with my experience, so just curious. At any rate, yes, I agree that the Savior satisfies both. As readily as He can forgive the gays, He can also forgive those who judge and persecute the gays. I'm sure Matt Walsh is a nice guy, but man, his views are often like to Pharisees of old, to me.