Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Gay ads for Mormon men

I just happened to log on to this blog from an others computer and I saw an ad that made me cringe.  It was for a gay dating site.

I don't really have a problem with gay dating sites or straight dating sites, or  even for the farmers only dating site I have been seeing ads for on TV.  Frankly, the farmers only ad's looked like something off of Saturday Night Live.

But I do have a problem with this site that was being advertised on my blog.  It showed a half naked man from the back. 

The problem was this:  First, as a LDS/gay/recommend holding author, I am about giving gay men more options that are in keeping with standards that allow these men to earn temple recommends and to hold and use that priesthood honorably. Soft porn is not one of the options I am promoting.

Secondly, is that what we have come to as a society?  Pornography based (hard or soft) dating sites?  Regardless of the gender exposed, it does not say much about our depth of morality or character if ads created for success are based purely on sex and sexual arousal.

Is that how gay men are perceived -- that all we want is sexually based?  How cheep do they think we are?  Then again, if being gay is the major charateristic we identify with, then we may have caused that to happen, and we can only diswaied that perception by showing them everything we really are -- not just our sexuality, but our humanity as well.

And third, I am sad that some ad guy at a desk in Ithaca, Cleveland or Sacramento thought that my blog was a good fit for such an ad.

Nevertheless, I am trying to get this ad off my site.  If it is still up (just look to the left), tell me if you agree with me or not, and if it is down, then be glad for me.

Rise up, O men of God! -- Gentle Masculinity

What an interesting article  from "Religion and Politics".  The following excerpt is from "Why Mormon Men Love “Church Ball” and Are Scared of Homosexuality" By Kristine Haglund | September 10, 2012


"When the women of the church convene for their annual meeting in Salt Lake City, they are likely to hear things like:

“Sisters, we love you. We pray for you. Be strong and of good courage. You are truly royal spirit daughters of Almighty God. You are princesses, destined to become queens.” And they may be gently admonished to refrain from gossip or increase their self-esteem.

Fine and not so fine lines
Yet men are often bluntly castigated over the same pulpit for using pornography, abusing women and children, and otherwise failing, as the late Mormon Church President Gordon B. Hinckley declared in 2006, to “‘Rise up, O men of God!’ and put these things behind you.”

Mormons learn early that “maleness” is by nature potentially sexually dangerous. These lessons begin with the Book of Mormon itself. “For the natural man is an enemy to God,” Mosiah 3:19 reads, “and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man.” This “putt[ing] off the natural man” requires a total prohibition of sexual activity before marriage and strong taboos against masturbation.

Obedient Mormon boys are thus excluded from their peers’ conversations about sexual discovery. Participating in the casual misogyny and homophobia typical of teenage boys’ locker rooms induces discomfort and guilt in a boy who regularly hears admonitions to abstain from sex of any kind before his wedding night—with himself or anyone else.

Mormon boys might laugh at or even tell gay jokes, but they cannot brag about how far they’ve “gone with the girl” or what they’re planning to do with their prom dates. For a Mormon boy, becoming a Mormon man means not becoming a man, at least not the “natural man” engendered by the adolescent onslaught of testosterone. This means that, perhaps paradoxically, while most

Mormons would assert that both biology and God establish gender at birth, Mormon men’s experience of masculinity is highly performative. They learn that the natural tendencies of maleness must be subjugated to religious principle.

This performance is taught most intensively during the two years of missionary service that devout Mormon men undertake, most often beginning at age 19. Two-by-two, Mormon men knock on doors or pass out church pamphlets and Books of Mormon on street corners. During their mission, they are instructed never to be apart from the companion. They eat, work, pray, and sleep “in the same room but not in the same bed” with their companion.

Missionaries are even instructed to conduct a weekly “companionship inventory,” the instructions for which read like a self-help book for married couples: “Discuss the strength of your relationship with your companion. Discuss any challenges that may be keeping your companionship from working in unity or from being obedient.”

This intense camaraderie combined as it must be among celibate 19- and 20-year-old men with sexual repression, is Mormon men’s induction into masculinity. In this context of profound homo-social bonding, they learn that masculinity is both a privilege and a danger. It is something to be controlled and sublimated to religious ideals of gentleness that are, in many other contexts, coded feminine.

If, on the one side, the danger is giving into the “natural man”—becoming promiscuous or abusive—on the other side the danger is that one might become too gentle and meek...

The performance of Mormon masculinity is a difficult balancing act, a tightrope walk between poles established by a brutish, hyper-masculine “natural man” and an effeminate gay man."

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Here's to New Priesthood traditions

Some traditions were meant to be broken, like throwing stuff at weddings, denying people the right to vote, and outdoor plumbing.

But I like the tradition of going to priesthood meeting on general conference Saturday. Last week it was announced that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will broadcast the meeting live to LDS men and whomever else can turn on a computer or a TV at home.

I liked dragging my boy to the stake center for a guy’s night out. I appreciated not having to worry about what to wear or how to keep the young men entertained. (Wear a white shirt and listen-up.)

It’s true, our father-son tradition of getting ice cream after the Saturday night priesthood session changed a year or two ago — one of many changes I have dealt with since he started shaving more than I do.
We invited some neighbor boys to go with us, but that wasn’t much of a change. As a parent, I am prepared for more than one. “Wake up, “or “Put your phones away” works just fine in the plural.
There have been other interruptions in the tradition. Several years ago I was part of the priesthood choir that sang in the Conference Center during the October general conference. So, my son and I improvised on the tradition for that session.

We went out the following week and discussed our favorite talks, or the ones that stood out for us over ice-cream. At least I had ice-cream. My son had a shake, a coke, a banana split and a double order of chicken fingers.

The tradition was about my relationship with my son anyway — not where, when or what we ate.

Now we have the option of staying home to watch the live session on Saturday night, and I don’t know how I feel about that. I like the idea that the meeting will be open to more than it ever has before.

I am proud of what has been discussed, and pleased that everyone will get to hear the instruction my church leaders have always given to the men; treat your families with respect, follow the commandments and love your wives.

I won’t be surprised when “Mormon men asked to follow the rules and to be good husbands,” is not in the headlines.

My son and I will be at the stake center come Saturday night. Who knows about next year? This may be the last time all the men get together as the fashion mishaps that we are. It was a nice tradition. But sitting at home in my socking feet will be nice too.

One thing won’t change, I'm pretty certain. Dessert will still be on me. 

Hazing at the Laramie Project?

In two days, it will mark 15 years since officer Reggie Fluty found Matthew Shepard tortured, bleeding, hung on a fence in the middle of nowhere and left to die. Tuesday evening, after and during a sensitive performance based on that event and Shepard's own story, a group of Old Miss's athletes decided to yell out "fag" and heckle the actors on the stage.
After being dealt with by the administration, these athletes apologized, but didn't seem to have a clue why they were being called on to apologize in the first place. 
According to the play’s director Rory Ledbetter, audience members used slurs like "fag" and heckled both cast members and characters they were portraying for their body types and sexual orientations. Ledbetter  later stated that the audience’s reactions included "borderline hate speech."
From USA Today: University of Mississippi officials apologized Thursday for the behavior of a group of athletes among an audience of the play, The Laramie Project.  These freshmen used gay slurs and other disparaging comments to verbally harass performers during the production.
Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones and Athletics Director Ross Bjork issued a joint statement pledging and investigation of the incident, and plans to work with the response team to address the matter.
"It is clear that some students badly misrepresented the culture of this university," they said in their statement.
The play is based on the murder of Matthew Shepard, a University of Wyoming student who was killed in 1998 due to his homosexual orientation.
In a statement Friday, the response team said, "The task of identifying specific individuals who were purported to have disrupted the performance is difficult because of the dark theatre, and initial reports vary in regard to the frequency, volume and source of the comments or disruption.
Garrison Gibbons, a 20-year-old acting major who was in the play, told USA TODAY Sports on Thursday that the atmosphere at Tuesday's performance was "radically different" from other performances and that actors had heard gay slurs from the audience and laughter at moments in the play that weren't intended to be funny, including a funeral scene.
"They were laughing at lines that spoke in negative ways about gay people," Gibbons said.
Gibbons added that he felt "an incredible amount of judgment and laughter" while delivering a monologue in the play in which his character comes out as gay, including audience members taking pictures of him with their iPhones, which he said "appalled" him. He said the cast was later told after the play's second act that the football players and other athletes in the audience were going to apologize after the show.
Gibbons said he did not want athletes to be suspended for games but rather to learn lessons and help create a better atmosphere for gay students on campus.
Michael Barnett, assistant chair of theater arts at the school and also chair of the Ole Miss faculty senate, told USA Today that a house manager identified the group as athletes:
 "The football players were asked by the athletics department to apologize to the cast,” Ole Miss Theatre Department Chair Rene Pulliam said. “However, I’m not sure the players truly understood what they were apologizing for."
The football players’ apology was given by one undisclosed football player on behalf of the entire group.
The whole thing is massively depressing when you take the context of what these kids were yelling out and what The Laramie Project is.  Incidents like this one make us question Shepard's legacy and whether we have done enough to make sure that no one forgets what this young man went through before and as he died.