While giving a lesson in my Elders quorum I asked the question of whether one could be a democrat and still be a good Mormon. Although no one expressed that one could not, people were very quiet, smiling uncomfortably. I then asked can one be Gay, can one be a feminist, can one be a scientist, can one be a racial minority, can one be an intellectual, can one be a U of U football fan? I ask this question because I believe that because of my particular understanding of the gospel I feel the answer should be an unhesitant “absolutely.” We belong to a large organization that contains members of all types, and I believe that not only should all of us belong as we attempt together to learn grow and apply the gospel to our lives, but I also believe that there is so much for us to learn from each other.
Sister Chieko Okazaki once taught us something vital when she said “Let us be sensitive to the unchanging and powerful core principles of the gospel. Let us understand that they matter most. Let us build firm foundations on these principles. Then when the rains fall and the floods come, our house will be “founded upon a rock” and it will not fall (Matt. 7:25). Then, building on that firm foundation, let us rejoice with each other, listen to each other, learn from each other, and help each other apply those principles as we deal with our different circumstances, different cultures, different generations, and different geographies. For six years now, I have been listening to the Relief Society women of the Church. I have learned from all of them. … Not many of these women thought they were giving me a gift. Most of them thought they were asking for help. But all of them blessed me as I listened and learned from them.”