I recently finished compiling some of the most notable blog posts published in the days following the Mormon church’s recent policy changes. I hadn’t intended to post on consecutive days but my proof copy of the book came in the mail this afternoon and I’m so happy with how it turned out that I couldn’t wait to share.
In fall of last year, the Mormon church introduced four new courses to be taught at its universities and Institutes of Religion. (Institutes of Religion are smaller institutions that provide religion coursework to college-age young adults apart from the Church’s universities.) The four courses are called “Cornerstone Classes” because they review fundamental beliefs of the Mormon church. The teacher and student manuals for these courses appeared online in September 2015 (or thereabouts). They are:
- Jesus Christ and the Everlasting Gospel
- Foundations of the Restoration
- The Teachings and Doctrine of the Book of Mormon
- The Eternal Family
I spend a lot of my free-time alone.
Don’t get me wrong–I have a beautiful family that lives ten minutes away from me and many close, wonderful friends that I see on a semi-regular basis. Working as much as I do, I am not short on opportunities to interact with others but I have found that spending some unstructured time with myself is an important part of my week. This wasn’t always the case.
I’m a closeted lesbian, but my aunt has known I’m gay for a long time. I never told her and she never asked. She just knew. She’s like that. Super em-pa-thic. A few years ago I told her I was thinking about coming out publicly. I expected her typical open, affirming, supportive response.
“Don’t do that! Why do gay people always feel like they NEED to tell people they are gay? Your sexuality is private. Nobody wants to know. Seriously, don’t do it.”
There is a war going on in this world in which our most cherished and basic doctrines are under attack. I am speaking specifically of the doctrine of the family. The sanctity of the home and the essential purposes of the family are being questioned, criticized, and assaulted on every front.
Bonnie L. Oscarson, General Young Women’s President, General Women’s session conference address. March 28, 2015.
This modern day declaration echos an older sentiment penned by Wilford Woodruff in his diary dated December 31, 1886.
“The year 1886 is passed and gone. It has been an important year in the history of the Latter-day Saints Church. It has sent to prison hundreds of leading men of the church and driven into exile the presidency and the 12 apostles and many other leading men all for obeying the celestial law of God and the patriarchal order of marriage.”
It is evident from their words that both Oscarson and Woodruff feel a relentless attack. While both feel at war for the exact same reason: the assault on the doctrine of the family, their definition of the doctrine is completely different.
When I first walked through the doors of Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church (MHR) in San Francisco, I felt like I entered the best possible parallel universe. The church is situated in the heart of the Castro, and eighty percent of its parishioners identify as LGBT.
The parish motto is “God’s inclusive love proclaimed here,” and the sanctuary features a beautiful stained glass window depicting the Savior peering down upon us with open arms.
At the Supreme Court the day of the Obergefell v. Hodges decision
November 2015 was so destabilizing that I nearly forgot the rest of the year. But the rest of 2015 was by no means uneventful. Beginning with a surprise announcement in January, some of us sensed a subtle shift toward greater openness and acceptance in the church. Near the end of the year, a few unexpected policy changes materialized, signaling a sharp reversal in trajectory that left us disoriented. Here I try to sort out the narrative by reviewing some of the more memorable moments in the LGB conversation from the last year.