Skylar Sorensen and Preston Jenkins are two gay members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After seeing how things are trending in the online world today, they decided to take action and create a podcast where controversial topics are addressed and discussed through the lens of those who willingly sustain and defend the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In one episode of their podcast, Preston shared an interaction he had with one of his gay friends.
A friend who was gay came to me and said, “I found a guy and I really want to date him. What do I do?”
I asked, “What covenants have you made?” He was an endowed member of the church and had served a mission. I wasn’t trying to be mean. I just wanted to know where he was at.
I then asked him, “What are other people telling you to do?” and he said, “They are telling me to ‘live my truth’ and they’ll love me either way.”
I said, “Well, what does that have to do with anything? Of course we’ll love you either way!”
But what shocked me is when he said that I was the first friend that had told him it probably wasn’t a good idea to date a man.
I said, “What do you mean? Why would I encourage you to break your covenants? You’ve made promises that you wouldn’t do certain things. Why would I encourage that?”
The world needs more people like Preston as friends.
Skyler recently shared an Instagram post where he explained the purpose behind the Sit Down with Sky podcast:
Nearly all our efforts on the podcast could be summed up with the one sentence: “If you believe in the reality of the restored gospel, you should probably keep the commandments.”
In a world where many are scared to tell the truth because of the fear of being labeled “mean,” we need more people in the world like Preston and Skyler who show grace, love, and truth in their interactions with their friends. True friends point their friends to Christ. True friends help each other honor covenants and commandments.
Here a few reactions from Preston and Sky’s Instagram post regarding this interaction Preston had:
- This is the kind of friend we should all be—the kind that encourages our friends to make and keep the very covenants that will strengthen and bless them for literally ever.
- I loved that you answered with questions. A “tell me more approach” and that you specifically asked “what covenants have you made?” Sharing these tidbits are very helpful!
- Too bad he didn’t also suggest this guy get “better friends.”
- Thank you for helping me know what to say. Everyone can choose for themselves. If they already chose those covenants, not keeping them is another choice. What is more important to you. What your friends think or what God knows.
The wise words and counsel of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland at Brigham Young University can aid us in our attempts to be more like Christ, who was full of grace and truth:
“…it will assist all of us—it will assist everyone—trying to provide help in this matter if things can be kept in some proportion and balance in the process. For example, we have to be careful that love and empathy do not get interpreted as condoning and advocacy or that orthodoxy and loyalty to principle not be interpreted as unkindness or disloyalty to people. As near as I can tell, Christ never once withheld His love from anyone, but He also never once said to anyone, “Because I love you, you are exempt from keeping my commandments.” We are tasked with trying to strike that same sensitive, demanding balance in our lives.”
Please be a friend like Preston. Stand against the majority who invite others to reject Christ’s commandments. Invite your friends to come unto Christ. Don’t encourage them to “live their truth,” but encourage them to keep the commandments of God.
As President Monson said, “We have been and continue to be taught God’s laws. Despite what you may see or hear elsewhere, these laws are unchanging. As we go about living from day to day, it is almost inevitable that our faith will be challenged. We may at times find ourselves surrounded by others and yet standing in the minority or even standing alone concerning what is acceptable and what is not. Do we have the moral courage to stand firm for our beliefs, even if by so doing we must stand alone? … It is essential that we are able to face—with courage—whatever challenges come our way.”