Sometimes in the LGBT Mormon sphere there is silence and then there is noise. The last few days have been noisy. A video about the Xian, Becky, and Scott Mackintosh family was added to LDS Church website(s) in multiple places including mormonandgay.org and the lds.org homepage. Bryce Cook of ALL Arizona posted an extensive overview of the gay Mormon conundrum. Apparently, a soon-to-be-released Ensign article suggests same-sex marriage is a counterfeit of opposite-sex marriage. I viewed the Mackintosh video and read Bryce’s paper, but I have not read the Ensign article and do not plan to.
Regarding Bryce’s paper, “What Do We Know of God’s Will For His LGBT Children? An Examination of the LDS Church’s Position on Homosexuality,” I approached it with low expectations, having read any number of arguments in favor of adjusting the LDS Church’s stance on gay people and finding them generally worthy but mostly redundant. This time I was pleasantly surprised. Bryce has described the gay Mormon situation well. Happily for me, he expressed thoughts I have tossed around in my own head but never read elsewhere, and made observations I have never made myself. Among this paper’s most important contributions, to me, are these three points:
1. The church’s plan for gays does not achieve its own intended objective:
“The church argues against same-sex marriage because a gay couple is unable to procreate and propagate the species, yet the church’s prescription of celibacy has the same outcome” (p. 24)
2. A festering folk doctrine needs to be squashed:
“…I feel it is important to address one more doctrinal issue that has been cropping up with more frequency in recent years. It is the unfounded doctrinal speculation that a faithful gay person will be ‘cured’ or changed to heterosexual in the next life” (p. 29)
3. Your feelings about homosexuality are a poor litmus test:
“…if it is nonsensical to interpret childhood feelings about sexual intimacy as evidence of immorality, shouldn’t it also be nonsensical to interpret a heterosexual’s feelings about same-sex intimacy as evidence of immorality?” (p. 36)
These points merit more attention than I will give them here and I would point you to the paper if you’d like to explore further. It is worthwhile.
With these happenings passing through my periphery my attention has been directed elsewhere. My relationship with a dear friend has been under stress. Sparing the details because they are private, the moment has taken me deep into my center to make sense of who we are, what we want, what we’ve done, and what we need. These are big questions and to me in the moment he and I and these questions are what is real.
To that point, a year or two ago in an online group for LGBT Mormons I read a comment that still returns to my mind periodically. At that time a young gay man who tended to be rather vocal about sociopolitical issues shared that a dear family member of his had just passed away and that in that moment that was all that mattered. For him everything else faded away and only life and death and love and pain were real. I hold to that idea when my days start to fill up with minutia that demand attention but lack weight.
To me the weightiest things of all are the soul and love–the soul because it is all we have, and love because it gives the soul substance. I have found few sensations more satisfying than to look inward and to be at peace with what I see. That is worth learning whatever must be learned, changing whatever must be changed, and discarding whatever must be discarded.
Recently a small community garden I know of was abruptly closed by the landowner. The gardeners were given a few days to clean up and move out and in the rush many were forced to leave behind unharvested vegetables and half-grown plants. Those plants are now unwatered and withering on an untended lot inside a locked gate. We each have a garden inside that we must feed. My garden is my life and your garden is yours. Let us tend to those.