I’m in the process of working on a “Queer Scripture Mastery” project. I will select a list of verses from the scriptures, as in the regular scripture mastery. However, these will be verses of special support and encouragement to queer Latter-day Saints. Queer people can be easily attacked verbally and emotionally, both from inside ourselves and from outside as well. But by memorizing these treasures, queer people will have ready defenses hidden away in our hearts. We can deploy these verses when we hear awful things from ourselves, other members, or the world. We can also incorporate phrasing from these verses in our heartfelt extemporaneous prayers.
As Jesus taught, “Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old” (Matthew 13:52). Yes, we can bring out new things from the scriptures! We will also be able to serve other queer people at a moment’s notice, with a comforting and encouraging word from the Lord. I’m sure this project will increase my affection and appreciation for the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price, as I’m learning more from all of these. (Along with each verse, I will provide a discussion of the context and application, to motivate the mastery of these texts.)
Then I’ll make these available to LGBTQ Mormons with the challenge to meditate on all of them and memorize any that feel relevant and useful. Then we can ponder these life-giving words at any time, day or night, even when a book/phone is not available. “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” (Psalm 1:2) Jesus himself in his temptation by Satan (Matthew 4, Luke 4) used memorized scriptures to repel the lies of the evil one. All of the awful things said about us are lies, and we can easily be tempted to believe them. We can respond as Jesus did when we hear or think those falsehoods about ourselves.
Here is just one example of a queer scripture mastery verse: Alma 34:26 on prayer: “But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness.” Crying out to God is instinctive for people in the closet. When you are most isolated and most pressed in upon, God will still hear you. The Atonement means that the Savior has suffered everything that you ever could. He has walked with you every step of the way. You are not alone. Whenever you feel trapped in a closet, pray and God will be there for you.
My question for all of you: What verses from any of the scriptures (especially the Book of Mormon and D&C) really inspire, energize, or soothe you? Especially, any that are liberating and go against the grain. I’ll be looking for verses that celebrate alternative identities and roles, cross boundaries, strengthen persecuted/misunderstood people, celebrate diversity, encourage critical and responsible thinking, etc. Post in the comments!