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Just my rambling thoughts about being gay and Mormon

Friday, April 6, 2012

Queer as Folk Doctrine

I've been fascinated to watch the growing use of the term "folk doctrine" to describe past common teachings of the LDS Church that are no longer in favor (or no longer in fashion - to be gay about it). Folk doctrines are ideas that older generations grew up with, taught in church, and firmly believed to be absolute gospel truths.
Today, these ideas or folk doctrine still circulate in the back halls of Mormon chapels and many people still believe them but they are played down or eliminated from church lessons and public communications. If a former LDS teaching is uncomfortable or perceived as kooky it's very vogue to call it a  "folk doctrine". 
I like this option, but it takes a little getting used to. All my life in the LDS church it's been pounded into my consciousnesses that doctrines don't change and if a prophet said it then it's always going to be true. The folk doctrine idea gives some much needed flexibility.
Folk doctrine occurs in any religion but it takes some aging of the religion for folk doctrines to become obvious. Perhaps the LDS Church is just reaching the point where it is old enough that folk doctrine can begin to be distinguished. The Mormon church may be more prone to folk doctrine than other religions because it does not have a professional clergy at the local level or a clearly defined book of belief. Mormon doctrine is more likely to be taught (or made up) in Family Home Evenings or on scout camps. Typically, Mormon's refer to their scriptures as their doctrinal creed. It's not hard to see how various folk doctrine can grow out of the vast volume of Mormon scripture, which contains some pretty unique ideas. 
As an old queer myself I see lots of ideas that I was taught growing up that have disappeared from the lessons and are today considered to be folk doctrine. For example, I was fascinated to read in a recent survey that fewer than half of Mormons surveyed in a national sample had even heard the old stories of prophets and apostles proclaiming the evils of interracial marriage. Only 9% still believed them and only 5% of Mormons under 35. This despite that fact that these statements were made by prophets as recent as President Kimball.


How long will it take for homophobia to become a folk doctrine?
If you missed it, the top photo is the cast of the Showtime hit, Queer as Folk. And by the way, how can you not love Peter Paige? Yea!

1 comment:

  1. Check this article out:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peculiarpeople/2012/04/why-is-it-so-hard-to-figure-out-what-mormons-believe/

    I think he nails it.

    ReplyDelete