Is the Church “True” for LGBTQ+ Mormons?

I’m a bit baffled when people bear their testimony and say they “know the Church is true”. The statement that the Church is true is meaningless to me. The Church is an organization. Certainly it is a unique organization, and even very unique compared to other churches, but the Church cannot be any more true than the United Nations is true, or the US Government is true, or McDonald’s Inc. is true, or the Utah County PTA is true. It’s just an organization, and organizations are not true or untrue.

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I am a Refugee: A Letter from the Camps

Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission – to be of service to them whenever they require it.

St. Francis of Assisi, 1182-1226

 

Today I am not hearing a voice so necessary to the policy conversation. So I am supplying it. I am a November 5th refugee. The November policy instantly created refugees. As refugees we have no privilege in the church, although we used to be dripping in it. As refugees we used to have a home among the saints, although now we are gathered in camps along the outskirts and borders. As refugees we once felt safety in the stakes of Zion but now live with the continual threat of spiritual terrorism.

Like most refugee situations, you never really hear about life in the camps. It is a much more rewarding and universal experience to talk about the conflict that created the refugee in the first place, but not many stop to consider the actual conditions of the refugees born from such conflict. Continue reading

A Faithful Prayer

I know many people who are both faithful believers and empathetic friends to gay Mormons. They see the complexity of the decisions their friends face and wish it were easier. Many of them even understand their gay friends’ lives could be happier, more stable, and even more fulfilling if they were permitted to seek same-sex relationships with the blessing of the Church. But their faith, founded upon real spiritual experiences, leads them to support the Church in its current policies and teachings.

I’m thinking of each of you. Continue reading

Restitution

nurse

By now it seems virtually certain to me that the Mormon Church will eventually bless same-sex romantic relationships. Not everyone agrees, and that’s ok, but for me the “if” question has passed. The “when” and the “how” questions still loom large, but the “what then” question is the one currently poking at me. Continue reading

Ending the “Church vs. Doctrine” Distinction

This last Sunday, I was fortunate to hop on the train to church with a good friend of mine in the ward. As happens with us, the conversation turned to questions of the LDS Church and experiences of people living on the margins. This conversation happened to revolve around our shared disdain towards “Single-Adult” (SA) wards or even “Young Single-Adult” YSA wards. [That subject alone can fill the pages of many a blog post.]

My friend discussed how the Church doesn’t know what to do with single members and puts them in SA wards as if it was a forgotten backroom storage unit. And whether or not you agree with that designation, it made me think:

It’s become the norm in the church to relegate anything undesirable to this amorphous thing called “culture”. As a sociologist, I recognize how awfully nondescript this term can be. A fun project for the future might be analyzing how Mormons use culture and what they think it means. However, I might take a stab at what it might be (although this is notably premature as I have done nothing analytical to arrive at this conclusion-it’s simply a hunch). Continue reading

Today’s Heretics are Tomorrow’s Saints

The dangers I speak of come from the gay-lesbian movement, the feminist movement (both of which are relatively new), and the ever-present challenge from the so-called scholars or intellectuals. Our local leaders must deal with all three of them with ever-increasing frequency. In each case, the members who are hurting have the conviction that the Church somehow is doing something wrong to members or that the Church is not doing enough for them.

Boyd K. Packer, May 18th 1993

It has been 24 years since Boyd K. Packer identified his three dangers of the church. Today we are beyond an “ever increasing frequency” of those who are hurting. We are witnessing a Niagara Falls of those who are hurting and it is morally unfair to villainize gays, women, and intellectuals as the cause.

The time is now to stop blaming the wounded and the weary. Continue reading

Suffering and the Doctrinal Dilemma of Same-Sex Orientation

idiva_things_a_person_suffering_anxiety_disorder_wants_friends_to_know_2_1_980x457On my most recent trip to Utah to visit my children who are living there now with their mother, my 17 year old daughter opened up her feelings to me about the divorce. She said she has been really mad at me, but has been trying to get past it. The divorce has been really hard on her, and she has been feeling something is wrong with her because her parents are divorced. She had a lot of questions for me about when I knew I was gay and about when I was dating women as a young single adult and eventually dated and married her mom. She wanted to know, if I knew I was gay, why did I marry her mother in the first place. Continue reading