Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Boyd K and Postmodern Mormonism

I've tried my best to not say too much about good ole Boyd K.  I've posted a few comments on blogs and facebook, but I'm not going to write a post analyzing why his conference talk sucked or give my reactions to it (other than what I just said).  Sociologist David, rather, is pretty interested in other people's reactions.  We all know how it played out:  Utah's gay community protested, national gay rights organizations got involved, some LDS members were confused and bruised, and others came out in support of President Packer.  Pretty nasty things have been said on both sides:  comments like 

I know that God loves us and am grateful He gave us prophets to guide us through these last days when Satan has such a strong hold on the hearts of so many people. I'm grateful to have prophets who can remind us of what's good and right while Satan is fooling people into believing that evil is good and that those who stand up for what's right are hateful and bigoted.


Now, if one insists that they can be Christian and still be gay/lesbian, or that it is acceptable before God because He loves us all and that he allows this practise, then you are sadly misinformed and can hardly call yourself Christi...an as your claim is totally inconsistant with scripture.

are some of the tamer comments to be found at the We Love You President Packer facebook page.  It has touched me personally as well. I've had to deal with statements from one friend such as: 

"I actually hate the whole idea of homosexuality and gays. I just wish it didn't exist, because if it didn't, then I wouldn't have to deal with people thinking I might be gay because I'm still single. They say they hurt no one... well I have a different opinion about it. They have poisoned our entire society. Sorry that is just my opinion. I am sure your gay family and friends are fine people (other than the fact that they are gay), but..."


What the heck? Which GOOD or even just fairly ADEQUATE Mormons said that they felt confused and bruised by Elder Packers comments? Homosexuality being wrong is a fairly basic doctrine if you ask me. And whether they can change their attractions or not, they certainly can't engage in gay behavior and stay in the church...... or are we going to be rewriting the Bible now?

But I also got a letter from a more open minded friend that said:
I am truly devastated by the recent conference address. I follow that particular issue closely and have felt we (as a church) were making some slow headway recently. So when people say that recent comments were nothing new, I think "maybe not ten years ago, but they seem like a step back from where we were headed". While it has been rough for me to reconcile my feelings, I cannot even pretend to understand what you are feeling. But I did want you to know that there are more people out there than you are aware of that support and love you!
Needless to say, it's been a pretty polarizing issue.  Something else that's interesting to me is how gay mormons themselves are reacting to it, and to negativity by the church in general.  Many leave and speak out against the church, some become bitter but stay quiet, and others would rather just leave the church behind as part of a former life.  There is a small but growing group, though, that is staying in the church and wants to try to make changes from the inside.  I used to think that I was the only one that wanted to stay in the church AND be gay, but I'm seeing that I'm not alone anymore.  People from Turner Bitton (hopefully that facebook link works, he gives an excellent message) to David Baker to John Gustav-Wrathall to the amazing Brent Kerby (another facebook link), just to name a few, are building on the Church's official policy of treating gay and lesbian members with love and respect.  The vocal minority inside the church are against people like us, but many members are not.  This gives me hope for the future.  Lately I've been reading alot on the Emerging Church movement in Christianity, which is basically believes that the organizational and institutional church is a thing of the past, and that Christianity is changing as our post-modern society does too.  I believe that the LDS church will have to confront this sooner or later as well.  Leaders such as Elder Marlin Jensen and President Dieter Uchtdorf are maybe taking baby steps in that direction already.  As I wrote to my ignorant friend, "Your hurtful views are increasingly becoming antiquated...the older generation (and you) look on gay people with disgust; our generation probably doesn't like them but tolerates them; but the youth of today don't care one way or the other. To the generation after that, the importance of sexual preference will be on par with eye or hair color. They will look back on us with astonishment just like we look back with astonishment on having different drinking fountains for black people...it's just something we can't fathom, and we wonder how skin color could have mattered so much." I'm glad we have gay Mormons that are staying in the church to help lead this movement.


Neal said...

There are quite a few of us who are "sticking it out" with the Church. The Church is not perfected yet, and will not be until we, as a people, can address these issues as Christ would. Leaving the Church removes any power you may have to change it. I think its much better to fight for change, acceptance and understanding from within.

This battle will be won as individual gay members educate their Bishops, Stake Presidents and other members by their interactions with them and with their Christ-like service. The prejudices built up over many years will not melt away in a day - but they will melt away..

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