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    Judge Bert and Judge Ernie

    Judging and judges.  It certainly is the time to think about them.  David and I had 
    a bit of a heated discussion on Judge Kavanaugh.  David is very much against him and 
    ready to believe Dr. Ford.  Me, well, a bit skeptical of the motives of both parties, and 
    certainly knowing Kavanaugh is a good ol’ boy and part of the good ol’ boy’s network of 
    Bush’s and Ivy League Schools, and I hate that.  I really do.  But, knowing also that 
    Trump, or worse yet, Pence, will nominate some other uber-conservative judge to the 
    Supreme Court, and it won’t matter anyways.  So back to judgments.   Nick Einbender, 
    David’s nephew, (my nephew, too, yay, as he and his husband are so handsome you just 
    smile looking at them), asks the following question on the facebook page “Mormons 
    Building Bridges”.
    Can LDS church leaders and/or LDS church members, fundamentally disagree with LDS-church 
    attending LGBT members choosing to “act on it” and still truly love, support, and welcome 
    them, and is it possible for the LDS-church going LGBT members to take those offering all 
    that at face value?
    And the question got me thinking about judging.  Many years ago, a good friend of my 
    oldest son got married.  The friend was not Mormon, but was religious, as was his 
    bride-to-be.  We all had gotten to be good friends with Mikal’s, my oldest son’s, friend 
    and with his family who lived just a few blocks down the street from us.  So, when we 
    were all invited to the beautiful, outdoor, Summer wedding ceremony and reception 
    immediately following, we decided to go.  The pastor conducting the wedding, like many 
    Mormon temple sealers do—sometimes to our great chagrin, as the Mormon temple sealer 
    sometimes tends to be too verbose and often is an unknown person to the couple and their 
    families, since Mormonism has a different tradition of who does the wedding sealing 
    ceremony and the sealer rambles on about something totally unrelated to the couple being 
    sealed—kind of like me when I write—offered some words of advice to the new couple.  The 
    pastor advised that the couple should take up some traditions, like he and his wife do, 
    of drinking coffee in the morning together and chatting, as a way of connecting more 
    deeply.  All of my kids audibly gasped at the word “coffee” and I couldn’t help but ask 
    myself what is wrong with my religion, my way of raising my kids that they would gasp at 
    the word “coffee”?  
    Being the good Mormon father that I was, I took up the subject of judgment at our next 
    Family Home Evening.  For those who don’t know what it is, Family Home Evening is a time 
    for the parents to teach their children.  I often used Family Home Evening as a time to 
    correct the teachings that had taken hold on my kids from a misguided talk or testimony 
    or class at the LDS ward we attended.  We probably sang the hymn “Truth Reflects Upon our 
    Senses,” a hymn not sung very much any more in LDS congregations, or “Lord, I Would 
    Follow Thee,” especially verse two.  Verse three of “Lord, I Would Follow Thee” is taken 
    by many Mormons as permission to judge another, but as I read it again from a different 
    perspective as an Ex-Mormon, I realize it could be simply that people in physical need 
    deserve our help, the poor, the “needy”.  Yet how many times in so many Mormon sermons 
    have I heard it used as permission to judge another who is “needy” spiritually?  We 
    inevitably have to judge that they are lost, sinning, and in such dire straits 
    spiritually, that they need saving.  For that matter, Christianity and many other 
    religions, too, have gotten it all wrong.  We humans are not broken or awful or in need 
    of any salvation of any kind when we’re born (yes, I know that’s a Mormon teaching, but 
    we still miss the mark too often, and eight years old? Come on?), and we don’t need 
    anything other than love as children or as adults.  
    As the years of my parenting wore on, it seemed misguided judgments and truly false 
    teachings were coming too often from my religion, but maybe that was just me thinking too 
    much.  Obedience, not thinking, is the first law of heaven.  NOT!  More than once I had 
    to re-teach Jesus’ own ranking of the sins to my kids because someone at our Mormon 
    church had gotten off track and said something about obedience being so damned important 
    as to override love.  Tirade and soap box coming; watch out.  Like when we could tell my 
    Mom was really mad, the swear words went up in order of awfulness:  Hell’s Bells (mom was 
    frustrated); Damn (mom was mad); Shit (mom was really mad; get ready for a &*&#!-storm).  
    So maybe I need some scatological expletives here, because I’m really mad.  My kids would 
    remember how many times I stressed the commandment on which we could hang all the law and 
    the prophets.  Ring someone’s neck, as my mom would say.  Back to the story at hand.  
    Coffee as a sin?  As I look back on that wedding, I realize my three girls were 
    especially vulnerable as they had been taught strongly that the ONLY wedding worth its 
    weight was a temple wedding, and so perhaps it wasn’t the coffee that made them gasp, but 
    the coffee on top of the wedding that would end in failure, because it wasn’t a real 
    wedding per LDS standards.  Perhaps that was just too much handle under the LDS way of 
    living.  Coffee, on top of it all!
    So, my answer to the question at hand.  Can?  Yes, humans can love, support, and welcome, 
    and they’d probably do it naturally if they’ve been raised themselves to love, not judge. 
    It is possible, but not very probable in the LDS worldview, in my humble opinion, 
    because . . . coffee!  
    And, funniest thing of all, I absolutely judge harshly my coffee 
    now; I’m one of those nose-in-the-air, particularly-picky coffee drinkers.  I have to 
    have just the right blend and roast with just a tiny bit of the right kind of cream, no 
    sugar.  David, well, he can do “instant” and be satisfied; or just plain old diner-style 
    black coffee.  But, who am I to judge another?
    In case you hadn't "judged" it, Bert and Ernie were a lovely gay couple.
    Dedicated to my niece, Tori Christensen.