Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Mission of the Elijah Wall

The Elijah Wall has one mission: to foster reconciliation between gay youth, men and women and their parents. Why is this site called the Elijah Wall? The reference to Elijah comes Malachi 4:5-6 and Section 2 of "The Doctrine & Covenants." These passages envision the ancient Israelite prophet Elijah returning to earth to bring about a reconcilation between parents and children; to turn the hearts of each one to another; to establish an eternal link between the generations. The concept of a Wall refers to the Western Wall in Jersusalem--the holiest site in Judaism. This massive stone wall is all that remains of city's ancient Temple. The ancient Israelites believed that the Temple was the actual abode of God on earth. Since the wall is all that remains, people come from around the world to pray there, to pour out the deepest spiritual longings. Long ago a tradition began: people would write out their most fervent prayers on pieces of paper, which they would then fold, insert between the stones of the wall and leave at this holy site. The Elijah Wall will serve as a place where gay youth and adults can anonymously express their feelings without fear of judgment or rejection. The things they have wanted to say to their parents but have not felt free to say, can be expressed here. Likewise parents of homosexual children can anonymously express their feelings here. They can explain the confusion, disappointments or frustrations they felt when they first discovered or suspected that their child was homosexual. At the Elijah Wall they can also express the love they feel for their homosexual children--a love they may have been afraid to express for fear of judgment from some family members, friends or religious leaders. Too many churches and religious organizations have, for too long, played a powerful role in tearing families apart over the issue of homosexuality. While claiming authority to speak for God they have--on the one hand--proclaimed that the family is the most sacred institution on earth, while--on the other hand--denouncing the gay people in their midst as enemies of "family values." The result has been that many gay youth and adults who sincerely feel a connection to God and who deeply love their parents and familes have been excommunicated. Denounced by the very people they once believed loved them unconditionally, they have been forced to start completely new lives for themselves. Even when those new lives have been fruitful, productive and happy, these gay men and women often continue to deal with profound feelings of loss because they have grown apart from their parents. The pain felt by devout parents of homosexual children is also very real and profound. The religion which once provided them with a sense of security and moral clarity has now caused them to feel a profound sense of regret, shame, loss and moral confusion. Many have felt that they have been given no choice but sacrifice their children in the name of their faith. While their religious leaders may assure them that they have done the right thing and that "in the end" God will bless them, the day to day reality for these parents is that they have lost their child--the unique human being whom they brought into the world, nurtured, protected and loved. In light of losing one's child, promises of future blessings in eternity and heaven can seem shallow and meaningless. The Elijah Wall serves as a place where gay people and their parents can pour out their feelings and reach out to one another without fear of judgment or rejection--because this is all done anonymously. As with the Western Wall of the Temple in Jerusalem, no one needs to reveal his or her name or idenity. Simply write down your feelings; tell your mother, your father, your son, your daughter those things you want them to know and understand. Send them to: and they will posted here. The Elijah Wall will also serve as a place where others can come and look for answers. A gay youth struggling with parental relationships... A mother who secretly suspects a beloved child might be homsexual... A father who believes he has no choice but to withhold emotional support from a son or daughter because of their sexuality... A gay adult who mourns the loss of a relationship with parents... Any of these can come to the Elijah Wall, read your words and perhaps find some measure of comfort, insight and hope. Turning the hearts of children to their parents, and the hearts of parents to their children... Sealing parents and children to one another through family relations that are open, honest, supportive and loving... Working to truly preserve all families every where.... This is the mission of the Elijah Wall