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Just my rambling thoughts about being gay and Mormon

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Conf and other recent events


Pardon me for saying so, but LDS church leaders are a day late and a dollar short.  Doesn't it just bug you that the “prophets” are always playing catch-up lately to respond to the latest turn of events?  I wonder if the “prophets” were being more spiritual leaders and less focused on running the corporation if they might be able to better see the problems before they run into them like the Titanic hitting an iceberg.
So here are a few thoughts from conference/recent events and my commentary.
Elder Chistofferson made a nice but weak attempt to address the recent changing of doctrine by press release and the ongoing fuzziness about what constitutes doctrine versus opinion. He said, “The key to understanding LDS beliefs is simple: Establishing the doctrine of Christ or correcting doctrinal deviations is a matter of divine revelation to those the Lord endows with apostolic authority.” He also said, “However, Mormon leaders — even prophets — are not infallible,” and "Not every statement made by a church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine.” "A statement made by one leader on a single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion, [and is] not meant to be official or binding for the whole church."
Great, but this does not help much if the prophets don’t tell you when they are speaking as prophets and when they are giving you their opinion. Are we going to put a green and red light system on the podium so the audience will know doctrine vs. opinion? The fuzziness is convenient for them because it puts all the advantage on their side. It leaves no room for a member to disagree without feeling like they are going against the prophet. The leaders can hold you accountable for everything they say when it suits their purposes. They can also slap you down when you later quote them, because it was not “doctrine” just an opinion.  Sorry folks, like it or not, this IS a characteristic of a cult.
I really liked what President Uchtdorf said: “This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following: Stop it! It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters. I don’t know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick. I can quote scripture, I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”
I think this is the right direction -- but too late for me.  I’ll be dead before it becomes a reality. The reality of Mormonism in Utah is what happened in Utah County this week.  The BYU Sociology Department sponsored a panel discussion entitled "everything you wanted to know about being gay at BYU but were too afraid to ask".  The very idea of a forum that would explore how LGBT students can attend BYU awakened the wrath of an anti-gay group called, Standard of Liberty, an "LDS-oriented" operation in Pleasant Grove.  This group vocally opposed both the forum and the change to the BYU honor code that allows gay students to attend so long as they don’t act “on it”.
To quote Peg McEntee over at the Salt Lake Tribune, “So a revered institution that makes a small but important change in how it deals with diversity becomes the target of misinformed and self-righteous Mormons who call out the LDS Church and claim that one day there will be gay temple marriages. Oh, please. In essence, these people view homosexuality as depravity, believe that unwitting innocents can be recruited, and that they are mentally and physically ill, lustful, sinful and will die young. But wait, they can be cured through so-called "reparative therapy," which has long been dismissed by professionals as quackery. But Standard of Liberty contends the change in the Honor Code was a mistake".
Finally, Mitch Mayne tells a very sad (but not infrequent) story of a young man seeking help from his religious leaders only to have them turn on him.  You can Mitch’s post HERE.  This is so very similar to mine and many many other gay LDS members’ experience. It has been going on for decades and the pace of change and improvement is glacially and pathetically slow. With a core group of Bishops and Stake Presidents who are utterly unequipped to deal with gay members this tragedy will continue to perpetuate.
I feel like I've progressed beyond the LDS Church right now.  I really can’t wait any longer for the church to come to the realization of what I already know to be true. If I could go to Elder Ukdorf’s church I would go. I think I would probably feel free to speak my mind, be respected, and accepted. But because I live where the church of the “Standard of Liberty” is the only version of Mormonism available, I’ll stay away.  I've lived with the hate for long enough. I’m going to be happy and love myself for a while.  Thanks.

4 comments:

  1. "The very idea of a forum that would explore how LGBT students can attend BYU awakened the wrath of an anti-gay group called, Standard of Liberty, an 'LDS-oriented' operation in Pleasant Grove."

    To be fair, how big and influential _is_ "Standard of Liberty?" On the other hand, that panel was attended by an overflow crowd with an incredibly positive response and receptivity.

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  2. Trev, thanks for the comment. In my mind it's not about how big and influential SOL is. It's the fact that they feel they have enough community support to openly call themselves "LDS-oriented". I haven't seen the surrounding LDS community protesting that SOL does not represent their values.

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  3. Yeah, that's a problem; they're too afraid to. Current Church statements are too ambiguous for members to feel confident supporting LGBT people, which is ridiculous but is, I believe, right on the cusp of sea change (being comfortable supporting, mind you, not necessarily beyond that--but who knows?)?

    I like to think of the whole situation as a metaphor. SOL represents the minority that is loud and tends to dominate the conversation just because others are afraid to talk or don't know what to say. USGA represents the new (hopefully approaching) critical mass of LGBT Mormons who are speaking out, and the overflowing audience represents the mostly silent but definitely there mass of Church membership that wants answers and information and will give attention to those who will speak out (and who have "Church cred").

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  4. Trev, I agree with you. Thanks for your comments. Have a great Easter!

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