Donald Fletcher, an LDS Bishop in San Francisco, published a guest commentary on Religion News Service about how gay members are poorly treated in the Mormon church (my words, not his). The same article was picked up by the SL Tribune, but not the Deseret News (hum..wonder why?). You can read his article HERE.
I was surprised at the emotion this article stirred within me. Most the time I'm pretty much over the Mormon thing, but sometimes it comes back and surprises me. The truth is that I will always be, at my core, both Mormon and gay and they don't play well together.
As I read his commentary, at first I found tears welling up in my eyes as I felt affirmed by at least somebody in a leadership position within the Mormon church. I thought how great it must be for the gay members in San Francisco to have access to such an understanding priesthood leader. Then I wondered, is this the way the church will change? By adapting to meet the needs of the local members, with or without the approval of Salt Lake?
After I finished reading and as I was thinking about what I had read, I felt cheated for having to deal with such non-understanding priesthood leaders. Generally good men, but who did not know a thing about what being gay was like or how it felt to be continually held up as the ultimate example of evil in meeting after meeting after meeting. Their greatest concern was about implementing whatever discipline they felt was required so they could say that their hands were clean.
Next, I felt sad for gay members who live in Mormon Wards similar to mine. How many more must suffer and in some cases die? I felt sad that the leadership in Salt Lake does so little to prepare priesthood leaders and so little to dispel the false beliefs church members have about homosexuality.
The more I thought about it my sadness turned to anger. Anger at having been abused, taken advantage of, and lied to. I was so trusting, so believing, for so long. But ultimately, I was forced to acknowledge the truth about homosexuality that was in my face for so long. A truth that is obvious to so many who are willing to open their eyes and just see without prejudice or predisposition.
How can an organization that proclaims to accept all truth, and to have living prophets and seers who can see the truth, fail to acknowledge the truth about homosexuality? (or lots of other things, as it turns out). Why is an organization led by God so far behind in acknowledging reality? Why are the prophets being led by lowly members who drive change instead of leading the way?
Ultimately, the LDS church leadership must be judged based on their actions (or by their fruits you shall know them). Unfortunately, the weight of evidence suggests they are a group of generally nice but out-of-touch old guys who have established a management system that favors themselves and the status quo.