Monday, October 4, 2010
Into the Fire
Because we are not afraid of opposing opinions, lets hear what others have to say...
HRC to Mormon Apostle: Your Statements are Inaccurate and Dangerous - Mormon Leader’s Inaccurate Statements Yesterday Fuel Anti-LGBT Violence, Teen Suicides10/4/2010
Washington – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest civil rights organization dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality, today called on Boyd K. Packer, the president of the Mormon Church’s Quorum of Twelve Apostles, to correct statements he made yesterday calling same-sex attraction “impure and unnatural,” claiming that it can be corrected and characterizing same-sex marriage as immoral. Packer’s inaccurate and dangerous rhetoric comes on the heels of the suicides of at least four teenagers over the past month, all victims of anti-gay bullying or harassment. An additional seven teens committed suicide in the past year in one Minnesota school district alone; three of the teens’ suicides were connected to anti-gay bullying. Packer, who is 86 and one of the church’s most senior leaders, made his statements to a crowd of 20,000 – and millions more watching via satellite transmission -- during the church’s 180th Semi-annual General Conference in Salt Lake City.
“Words have consequences, particularly when they come from a faith leader. This is exactly the kind of statement that can lead some kids to bully and others to commit suicide,” said Joe Solmonese, president of HRC. “When a faith leader tells gay people that they are a mistake because God would never have made them that way and they don’t deserve love, it sends a very powerful message that violence and/or discrimination against LGBT people is acceptable. It also emotionally devastates those who are LGBT or may be struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identify. His words were not only inaccurate, they were also dangerous.”
As a church leader immersed in these issues, Packer should know better. The American Psychological Association and American Psychiatric Association have both concluded that same-sex attraction is normal and that “reparative” therapy – like the kind being advocated by the Mormon Church -- is unhealthy and harmful. This is not the first instance in which the church has spewed lies related to same-sex orientation. Last summer, another senior member of the church’s hierarchy, promised that same-sex attraction could be cured. “If you are faithful, on resurrection morning – and maybe even before then – you will rise with normal attractions for the opposite sex,” Mormon Church leader Bruce Haffen told a conference.
Packer also took the opportunity to dismiss efforts toward marriage equality as ones that “legalize immorality.” Ominously during this speech, the apostle declared that the church hierarchy’s opposition to marriage equality “…will not change.” As HRC has chronicled on its website www.NOMExposed.org, the Mormon Church is a key funder of the so-called National Organization for Marriage (NOM), a powerful fringe group that regularly encourages anti-gay attitudes and behaviors. The church was also a prime funder of efforts to pass Prop. 8 in California. NOM board member and famous Mormon writer, Orson Scott Card, has said, “Any government that attempts to change it [marriage] is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage…”
"Elder Packer's remarks in General Conference were not only ill-advised and contrary to fact, but were mean-spirited and will be perceived by many as bullying,” said David Melson, Executive Director of Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons. “We see no potential for good coming from his words and much possible damage, to the church, to individuals, and to families. The LDS Church should be a source of love, compassion, and conciliation, and not of fear and unfeeling petty hatred."
My concern is that people will read the many commentary's which will be presented this week, combine them with the Prop 8 political fiasco and decide that the LDS church, as either a spiritual or a political/temporal entente is uncaring and unfeeling - which has not been my experience. My larger fear is that SGAttracted young men and women will glean from all commentary and original comments made by EBKPacker that anyone considers them to be less than, or damaged.
As a quick Side bar, my father has experienced what I fear is becoming a standard for men. He was once outspoken, grandiose and aggressive in his political views and moral stances - even with his friends and family. It was, honestly, rather off-putting. He then seemed to develop a kind of political correctness that made his stances less offencive. As I understand it, his views didn't change, but his approach became kinder. I liked him better. I didn't cringe when he spoke to a group of people. Now he is older and wiser - but he has gone back to rude and confrontational. Where I may have listened politely to what he had to say when he was being "nice dad", I now have little tolerance for his assaults. I talk to him less and less.
Put into context, there is nothing that was said during this conference that has not been said before. I may or may not be ecstatic at the manner in which this was presented - especially in conjunction with the horrors that have been perpetrated toward young SGA men this last week, but the doctrine has been consistent. Take away the abrasive manner in which this talk was given (I cant say as Abinadi to Noah was any more silver tongued) and the principals are correct. Homosexual behaviors, BEHAVIORS, PEOPLE!, are contrary to the Lords plan. (As in, I may want to smack my mother-in-law, but I am only in trouble if I actually do it.)
However, and I cant believe I still have to make this stipulation, Homosexuals are not contrary to the Lords plan. Homosexuals are not less-than. Gays are not inferior to straights. Being heterosexual does not give you a leg up, or a head start to heaven. This is not a contest, people!
My Heavenly Father is the same as your Father. He made me with love and kindness and purpose - just like he did you.
Here's the rub (there is always a rub) I am GAY! No butts about it. I am also a believing true blue dyed in the wool Latter day Saint. Let me go out on the same limb I named myself Gay with (a term not PC anymore) and say I am a Mormon. I wear the clothing. I went to BYU. I take the sacrament and teach Sunday school. Still gay, gay gay. Yet I understood what BKPacker was saying. I knew what he was going to say before he said it. He has always been a bit in-your-face, and where he stands on issues is not going to change because he is now sitting.
Look at the doctrine.
No, it wasn't as soft or as fuzzy as if the talk had been interpreted by Elder...well, Elder Soft and Fuzzy. (You know who you are!) It may have been a little over the top for me as a SGAttracted individual, but I will get over it and not use it as an excuse to take a detour.
I will still follow the prophet.