Friday, March 18, 2016

More gay Mormons in the news -- and not in a good way


I have been cringing for a half an hour since I read about the gay teen who was sent to a therapy center (?) to have the gay beat out of her. And get this: She is from a Mormon family. Just when I think that all the stupid has been wrung out of the body of the LDS church, something like this hits the news.

First of all, I feel for this poor girl and applaud the person who told her "get thee to a lawyer". Standing against a wall with a bag of rocks? What the...? And I support everything this girl says about conversion therapy needing to be eliminated. Buried. Placed into a large red balloon and allowed to float off into wherever.

Her experience with her parents? Completely pointless to tell a child that they choose their sexuality and that they chose wrong.

Morons. Is that too harsh?

This girl is coming out with a book that details her eight-month-long experience with so-called “conversion therapy” at a residence in southern Utah. So, the first thing I think is that I hope, for humanity's sake, that this story has been exaggerated. Even if it has, at the core is a problem that should be publicized. Gay kids are being abused in the name of religion. Mormon religion, if you happened to miss it at first reading. I didn't, which is why I am still cringing.

What was she doing at this treatment center/house/level of hell, you ask? Because her Mormon parents sent her there after she came out as gay, says a KUTV report.

This girl called what was done to her (rocks in a backpack, physical abuse, and other crap) a practice that was "exhausting and humiliating" that needs to stop.

"It's like sending you to therapy to change your eye color," she said in an interview Tuesday Channel 2 news. “It’s not going to work. What it's going to do is damage you."

Eventually, the teen was allowed to attend high school and through a fellow gay student was eventually able to contact an attorney in Salt Lake.

The official stance of the LDS church, through spokesman Eric Hawkins (who I have in my frequent contacts on my phone these days) is this:

"The Church denounces any therapy that subjects an individual to abusive practice," said LDS spokesman Eric Hawkins.

"We hope those who experience the complex realities of same-sex attraction find compassion and understanding from family members, professional counselors, and church members."

And in this case particularly, members of the LDS church are saying, once they are able to un-cringe, GO GIRL! We love you and wish you the best and we don't care about your sexual preference. The Savior loves you and we do, too.  And those that don't shouldn't be in your life.

OK.  I am going to try to un-cringe now.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Are Mormon gays invisible?

When I was younger and skinnier I used to dream that I was invisible and because of that I could go anywhere I wanted to go without being seen.

The first place I thought about going as an invisible being was a men's locker room. After a couple of months with that scenario, I moved onto visiting a bank on equally a regular basis, but those were always one/two.
At different times, everyone has
 a different idea of heaven

So, is this a dream come true?  I am a gay Mormon man and by being such am I invisible or am I just a nothing?

I ask because I am here. Here is my hand and it's attached to the rest of me. I do exist. Saying that there are no gays in the Mormon church is misguided at best.

Glibness aside, the doctrine that was stated last week in a relatively obscure conference (and I know it will become doctrine) validated what I have always felt to be true. I have even spent much of the last five years writing a book with that concept at its core.

The reason a general authority in the LDS church said that there are no gays in the LDS church is because gay or bi or anything that is not "Man/Woman" is a state that does not exist in heaven and didn't exist in the preexistence -- which explains the reason for Mormons to hold onto the Proclamation on the Family as a standard.

Based on that new (old?) information, a same-sex marriage could be performed here on earth, and when the next life came around, the couple would be mismatched. No sarcasm or cynicism -- just a mismatch.

However, if one experiences gay feelings from one's birth -- as I do and have done -- it's hard to imagine that things could be any different.  I am gay, and I am a Mormon. If one has ever had these feelings or acted on them and has created relationships based on one's homosexuality, then it will feel as if one's very foundation is being ripped out from under one.

The general authorities have always stated that homosexuality didn't quite fit in the church -- if "fit" is the right word. They didn't always have the answers as to "why", and the speculation around the topic was sometimes comical. Regardless, they have always said "no".

Let's open this up a bit, because you may remember my saying that I am gay and I am a Mormon which seems to contradict what Elder Bednar said: Alcoholism is not a state that existed in the pre-existence, yet there are alcoholics in the LDS church. Depression is not something that was a part of our lives in the world that was before we came here, but look around you. Abuse was not something that happened in the pre-existence, yet there are abused and the abusive here on earth -- and in the LDS church. There are many conditions here on Earth that did not exist in the life before we came to Earth and will not exist in the after-life.

There exist here on earth conditions and possibilities that were brought on by our allowing Heavenly Father to send us to Earth in all imperfection to make choices and to be tried and tested.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is given to man as a tool to return to Him. The general authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day are here to guide us with His word, and we are allowed freedoms to act and to choose. The fact of the matter is that our limitations, physical characteristics and challenges do not define our identity -- hence, the comment that there are no gays in the church. We are much more than the proverbial sum of these parts.

BTW, the Gospel was not given to us as an excuse to judge others or place others below us. Anyone who believes that the gospel gives us the authority to put anyone in a predetermined place is mistaken.

God has given His children the ability to overcome earth life and all that separated us from Him.   There are things we don't choose.  But we can choose to follow the Savior. This latest info from David R. Bednar fits in with that concept, even if it may not have been well thought out.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

What I know as a gay Mormon.

I started this blog years ago to support gays in the Mormon church -- because there were gays in the Mormon church and no one seemed to want to acknowledge them. I knew this to be true because, as you may have guessed by now, I am gay and I am in the church.

I thought I'd be the hit of the season, the toast of a town that never toasted.  Conservatives would love me because I supported the commandments as laid out by the prophets of God, and liberals would love me because I was gay and had fabulous shoes.

There was little love. I thought that I wasn't well-received because  I hadn't found my voice, so I just kept writing, and as I wrote I continued to lose friends. I had to pretend that I didn't notice when Facebook friends eliminated me from their accounts. Many didn't want to hear what I had to say.

Had I been a celebrity or a political figure, or rich and pretty, things may have gone over better. Rich ain't going to happen and pretty is relative. I am just a normal gay guy in the church who has had problems in his life and knows what it feels like to have to repent in a large way. I will never be any one's poster child. 

All I know, and I have been trying to get these several points across for years, is:
  • God is loving and just
  • All people deserve respect
  • Everyone has a place and a purpose
  • Everyone makes mistakes and has need of the atonement
  • My viewpoint is just as valid as yours and vice versa.
What I want to say to members of the LDS church is that sinners of all types and ages will never feel comfortable coming to church that passes judgement at the door. To lay claim to a bench and disallow others is a grievous error on our part.

What I want to say to gays is that there is a reason that the Lord gave us commandments to follow. The rules apply to everyone who wants to follow God.

Yet we still have our agency. 

Which is the worse sin:  Being critical and exclusive, or immoral and disobedient. The answer may be different that you think.