Where are all the Mormons that promised to hate me?
From the age of eleven until I finally accepted myself (publicly) last December as something other than straight, I was promised to be hated by all the Mormons in my life should I ever actually be anything other than straight.
At least I think I was.
I mean, it was that fear of being hated that caused me so much anguish over the years. It was that fear of being hated that caused me to hate myself for so long. It was that fear of being hated that tainted and destroyed so many parts of me. It was that fear of being hated that kept me silent, even to myself. It was that fear of being hated that made me want to end my own life.
At least I think it was.
I fully expected to be hated by so many people when I accepted myself. And everyone I feared would hate me (that I actually knew in real life) was, coincidentally or not, a Mormon.
I live in Utah. Almost my entire family is Mormon. So many of my friends are Mormon. My neighbors are mostly Mormon. That’s just Utah for you.
And it’s no secret that the Mormon church is adamantly against homosexuality. They have pumped millions of dollars into protecting what they consider to be the proper and correct family structure, fighting legislation that would grant equal rights to “other” types of families.
And having once been a Mormon myself, I can tell you that anti-gay doctrine was preached to me my whole life. We’ve already talked about that. It was thrown in my face around every corner I turned. There was fear surrounding it. There was anger. There was never-ending strong words being flung in all directions.
At least I think there was.
But what I feared would happen and what actually happened were as different as pepper and sugar.
I mean, not a single Mormon has been anything but loving and supportive to me. At least to my face. Not a single Mormon has attacked me or criticized me or preached hellfire and damnation to me. At least not to my face.
Where are all the Mormons that promised to hate me?
And it’s not like they’ve all just tolerated my existence since then. They have lovingly embraced me into their lives, even more so than before. They’ve accepted me. All of them. My friends. My family. My neighbors. My community. At least to my face.
The closest thing I had to a problem was an intense two hour talk with my mom. But even then we hugged at the end, and have just loved each other ever since, and more than before.
And all that makes me wonder…
How much of it has been in my head over the years? How much of it was implanted by hearing stories of other people surrounded by other Mormons? How much of it was implanted in my mind from a much less accepting time and a much less tolerant part of my life, when things hadn’t progressed the way they apparently have today?
Just saw this post - I know it was from a little while ago. I'm Mormon, and I have lived in Utah for the last 5 years. I don't think (man, I hope not) you're the exception. And if there are people whose reaction is to hate or preach hellfire at you...well, they've seriously got issues of their own. I think for some people who may have said hurtful things in the past, part of the issue is being inside their bubble and not knowing (or thinking they don't know) anyone "other than straight." (Not that that excuses anything.) My family moved around a lot, and I didn't live in Utah until going to college and getting married. I grew up in and around Portland, San Francisco, and Austin, so maybe that's affected my views on some of these things. When my oldest sister came out as bisexual, and then the sister just older than me as asexual, it was surprising, but not a huge deal. They're major parts of the family and probably my best friends second to my husband. My husband, on the other hand, grew up full-on Utah Mormon, and home-schooled to boot. Much as I love my in-laws, I occasionally roll my eyes about my MIL's (previous) concerns over the fact that some of her children were (gasp) democrats. (She has since been concerned somewhat less about that since my husband talked to her about it.) Before I met my husband, he apparently had had some less-than-kind things to say about other-than-straights. I didn't see much of this first-hand (as he was much less that way by the time we met), and the little I did I called him on early and things got better from there. When he learned that my oldest sister is bi (my other sister hadn't come out yet), he had already known her for a while and absolutely loved her, so for him, that was his first real lesson in knowing and loving someone other-than-straight. So when, a couple years later, his brother told me he's gay, he was able to respond well, and their relationship has actually improved (I think because my husband had some slight resentment from years ago where he thought his brother was trying to steal his girlfriend, resentment which had, understandably, evaporated with this news). The sad part of this is my BIL remembered my husband the way he was years ago, and wasn't sure how he'd respond, so he came out to me and then asked me to tell my husband for him. Upon hearing this, my husband expressed deep shame and regret over how his past actions had affected his brother. When my BIL told his mother, he was prepared to move out of the house. Thankfully, despite my MIL extreme conservativeness, she was shocked and saddened that he was talking about leaving and asked him to please stay.
ANYWAY. Long story short, I think for a lot of people, their ignorant comments are, well, ignorant. They think they'll feel a certain way because other-than-straights are so "other" to them. Then they find out that someone they've known and loved for years isn't straight, and for many people (thankfully) that love isn't easily overridden with what they thought they knew and felt about other-than-straights. I think this is true for anyone who is different from ourselves - as long as we remember that they are multi-faceted humans, these things don't need to get in the way of love.
This is an old post but somehow I missed it. I'm a Mormon. I love being a part of the Mormon church. It's mainly because although you do get the odd crazy person who will throw out judgment over the entire ward for one person who may not be "perfectly Mormon", most of the people follow Gods direction to "love everyone, and treat them kindly too".
My sister has recently decided along with her husband and children to stop attending the Mormon church after 32 years of attending. I'm not entirely sure why, but that's really none of my business. She's my sister no matter what she believes and I will love her unconditionally. She was terrified to tell me because she was sure I would hate her, and she was shocked when I said "well, ok...do what you need to do, I love you".
The truth is, even if we view a lifestyle, or a choice, or an issue as a "sin", none of us can say we've never gone against God a time or two. As the saying goes "don't judge me because I sin differently than you". In fact, calling someone's choice a "sin" is a judgment in itself.
I say, do what's right for you as long as you're not hurting anyone or taking away their right to choose.
Your perspective equates with your reality. Simple as that. BUT, what you perceive as reality may not actually be so. Let me explain:
If you are clinically depressed, you will biologically be more adept at recognizing negative input and less adept at recognizing positive input. This is a scientific fact. The opposite is true for the perpetually optimistic person. Therefore, what you believe is true is what your biology is automatically tuned towards, which then becomes your "evidence" for how the world works which results in what you believe to be true.
This confirmation bias is strongest for emotionally charged issues, which this would probably fit.
I would wager that as you have surrounded yourself with more positive, accepting messages; you have yourself become more positive and accepting which then influenced the type of information in the world you attuned yourself towards.
Regardless of how it happened, isn't it great to think good about the world you live in? Feels great to be happy, and guess what - you have evidence for why you should be!
I have been a Mormon all my life, and am very open and accepting of ALL faiths. It is learning and accepting what and how others believe that ground my faith. With that said, I have never lived in Utah or Idaho (well, with the exception of being born in ID and living there until I was 2) Mormons outside of those two states are completely different and more tolerant, accepting and loving than the ones I have encountered from there (some of my family included here). I wasn't raised in an active family, I can count on one hand, the number of times I attended church with my family. Actually, my family members that have left the church, practice and preach more hate and refuse to accept anything, but "straight", ironic really ;)
your strength is inspiring! and your love for you kiddo is astounding! keep up the great posts and being the best dad you can be to that adorable little boy!
I am a fully active Mormon from California. I have grown up around "other than straights" my entire life, who are both members and not members of this church. I have never seen anything but love and acceptance from anyone. I am pretty positive that this is the norm, and that you aren't exception. I think that times have changed since the earlier years of the church. People understand that "other than straight's" aren't any different. I think that the whole world has changed its way of thinking. In the 80's it was still almost taboo to come out! As a whole society we have realized that there is nothing wrong with them, they are not corrupt. They are just people and everyone needs to be loved!!
I left the church almost 20 years ago due to issues I had with doctrine and theology. Sine leaving, I've learned that most, if not all, of my active family members really only love me as far as I'm translated correctly.
I'm an 'active' Mormon but not in Utah. I personally know three 'other than straights' that are publicly so. Two of them decided to leave the church after coming out. One of them is a faithful member of the church and lives a celibate life. I obviously haven't seen every interaction they've had with other Mormons, but I can tell you that I've never seen or heard of any of them being treated with anything other than love and support. I know this can't possibly be everyone's experience, but I have been heartened by the way they've been treated. Hopefully this will become the norm.
Mormons don't hate people, they hate sin. They slather on the love to the ones who fall away in hopes of bringing them back to the fold. I believe that the Mormon church will be just as embarrassed of their opposition to homosexuality as they are about their past opposition to black people holding the priesthood (“Negroes in this life are denied the priesthood; under no circumstances can they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty. The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them.... Negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned...”Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 477 ) and mixing races (“Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so. The nations of the earth have transgressed every law that God has given, they have changed the ordinances and broken every covenant made with the fathers, and they are like a hungry man that dreameth that he eateth, and he awaketh and behold he is empty.” Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 10, p. 110).
Bottom line is the church is NOT true and I hate how it makes true believing members feel that they need to feel sorrow for their gay friends and family members. Because of ignorant lies they can never feel truly happy for someone who might find true love with someone of the same sex. For example...
“There is a falsehood that some are born with an attraction to their own kind, with nothing they can do about it. They are just ‘that way’ and can only yield to those desires. That is a malicious and destructive lie. While it is a convincing idea to some, it is of the devil. No one is locked into that kind of life. From our premoral life we were directed into a physical body. There is no mismatching of bodies and spirits. Boys are to become men --masculine, manly men --ultimately to become husbands and fathers. No one is predestined to a perverted use of these powers.” -Apostle Boyd K. Packer, 1976 General Conference, speech entitled “To Young Men Only”
Too many people think that "hate" is the opposite of love, and they have missed it entirely. The opposite of love is indifference. And those people who can't be bothered to stand up for someone who is different, or who can't "get involved" because it requires them to think, to maybe reconsider their religious beliefs are indifferent to me and my struggle. It's too much work, so they' would just rather sit back and do nothing, or worse--- follow the rest of the heard who are voting for "conservative, traditional values."
While you have had a personal experience where there were not Mormons jumping out to "hate you" (and I'm glad that was your experience), I on the other hand have had plenty of experience with family and 'friends' who are happy to be civil and polite to my face, but won't lift a finger to help me fight to have the same rights they have, or worse, they will file affidavits with the court which seethe with anti-gay innuendo and implications simply because they really do think that I'm a sinner who is not deserving of the same rights and protections as they enjoy in this country.
I think it's harder to define the kind of "hate" the person who politely says hello to my face, but writes letters to their Congressmen asking him/her to oppose marriage equality, or to prevent me, a gay person, from spending the night with my partner who I'm prevented from marrying, or who write my Stake president and ask him to please excommunicate me because they know me to be a pervert, or who speak to my children about what a naughty dad they have and they hope they don't turn out like me . . . but of course to my face, they'll be pleasant. That kind of disingenuous, pernicious attitude connotes "hate" for me.
We tell ourselves a story about our lives and our experiences, and that becomes the truth. You told yourself, "Mormons will hate me," and you made it true by that thought. Since we attract what we perceive, our perceptions become real. However, you are wise enough to see that your thoughts weren't lining up with reality. I admire your ability to examine your once-hallowed beliefs, to adjust them and then publicly admit that you were wrong about the Mormons. Bravo Dan.
I think I'm a "double-convert." I'm a convert to the LDS Church of 12 years and counting, and I'm a more recent convert to the cause of LGBT rights and marriage equality.I was raised in the East and now live in SLC. I became friends with an openly gay man in our ward who taught, hands-down, the BEST lessons in Elders Quorum I've received in my years as a Mormon. He poured his heart and soul into his teaching and opened the door to his perspective.
One day, during a lesson on Agency that he wasn't teaching, he brought up how Proposition 8 limited people's Agency and was like Satan's plan in "forcing people to do right." He was shouted down by two in the quorum. It was a painful day that I still remember vividly. I stood by him afterward to try to reason with the others and at least defend his right to say what he was saying.
For those familiar with the Book of Mormon, it turned into an Alma the Elder experience for me (if you're keeping score at home, that makes my gay friend Abinadi — don't worry, he hasn't been burned at the stake).
That day about three years ago started my wheels turning on the issues of same-sex marriage and LGBT rights. I believe my friend was absolutely right in his thoughts about Prop 8 vs. the principle of agency. Long story short, the experience sparked a journey that led to me being a full-blown supporter of LGBT rights and civil marriage equality.
I am a faithful Mormon. I see Mormonism as a "big picture" faith in which reactions that Dan has received should be the norm, and should be genuine, and where judgment and hate have no place. Sadly, opposite reactions are too prevalent in our culture, but your post is very encouraging, Dan. My family and I hope to do our part to ensure that "It Gets Better."
All the best to you, Dan. I've been a fan of your blog for some time now, and you continue to inspire.
People need to publicly talk about this issue. My mother (from Orem) traveled to Nebraska to help me with my twins when they were 2 weeks old. I had several gay friends come over during that time. She didn't realize they were gay until I told her. She was very uncomfortable about it. It has been 3 years since then and I moved back to Utah Valley 2 1/2 years ago. She has met some gay Mormons and talks to me about her concerns. I have dispelled the myth that pedophiles are gay and had other gender related discussions with her. Being silent to your Mormon families about where you stand on the issue of gay marriage and gender issues will perpetuate the discrimination. I encourage all of you, Mormon or not, to be vocal.
Unfortunately, it looks like they are out there - those Mormons who don't like anyone other than straight. Just saw this news about an anti-gay marriage rally http://www.back2stonewall.com/2013/03/osmond-family-host-anti-gay-marriage-hate-rally-slc-utah.html
Fortunately these are probably few, and will be getting fewer as the older generations die off.
I grew up in Utah, and I am a Mormon. I have many "other than straight" friends, family members, and acquaintances. Beyond just being a "Mormon", it is more to me simply this....Love One Another....period!! I have no right to criticize or judge anyone. We all are who we are, and you are a great journalist, comedian, parent, child, and brother, and a compassionate human being! I haven't lived in the land of Mormons for many, many years. My parents still live there, and as a matter of fact I just had to make a quick trip back, as my 83 yr old Father had a heart attack. I live thousands of miles away, in Texas. I was so relieved and comforted by all of my parent's Mormon & non-Mormon neighbors who will be there when my Brother and I cannot. They are truly good people. As in every other organized religion, there are those who love, and live a Christian life, or Non-Christian life being caring, loving and compassionate individuals, and there are those who feel it is their responsibility to chastise and judge. Such is human life! Carry on as you have been! I truly enjoy your blog and posts.
As a Mormon, I think there was a period in my twenties when I was a judgmental a-hole. I am truly sorry for this. Now I work along side more than few gay men and women and I almost instantly knew I was wrong to be a jerk. I now have good friends who happen to be gay, and they are the same as my straight friends, just people. I'm sorry I didn't accept this sooner. I just hope and pray that Prop 8 doesn't get upheld by the Supreme Court.
This is the thing. It's easy to hate people you don't know. The more people are proud to be who they are here in Utah, the more open and loving the Mormons will be because they will say "hey, gay people aren't so bad, my brother is one/my best friend growing up is one/my awesome neighbor is one". Believe it or not, it is people like you that is making Mormons become more and more loving. Because when you know someone that is something you're afraid of, it becomes much less scary. Guess what, you didn't change. People knew you before they knew you were anything other than straight and they realized that being gay or bi isn't a disease. So thank you for helping my home become a more tolerant place by being bi AND awesome! :D
I live in the heart of Utah, needless to say there are a LOT of Mormons. Some of my very best friends are openly gay, working at Starbucks. When I go in it is truly disgusting to see the back-handed things that people say to them about their sexuality. It's not whether you believe being gay is right or wrong, but it's treating those with different lifestyles like a person and not an animal. I have come to resent these judgmental people because my friends tell me how badly it hurts and that it isn't a joke that homosexuals are treated awfully (not just in Utah either). Look past your own beliefs because really you don't have to believe the same things as someone else to accept them or even just treat them with a little respect!
I have been a "lurker" on your blog for a while now and today when reading this particular post it brought more of smile to my face, i couldn't help but comment. Growing up Mormon (outside of Mormonville, UT thought) I too have been preached to of such things, I do think that outside the bubble it's a little different, at least in my experience. It took me some time away and a little aging to realize that some of the more intense preaching was more of a minorities closed mindedness. I have so many varieties of friends and acquaintances, ex-boyfriends, friends and loved ones that fall in to the "anything other than..." category. I love them all with all my heart and without my judgement, they all bring a little piece of awesomeness to my life. To me there is no, my friend John who is Gay it's just my friend John, period. I am so happy you have had a better than expected experience. I believe that no matter what your belief or your preference God loves you just the same and leave the judging to someone else, not us.
"And love them without hesitation. . . . And literally every Mormon in my life has been incredible in just such loving ways." :C You just started two sentences with the word "And" right there. Don't do that. >.>; //Other than that, it was a nice story! ^-^; Well, not the parts about you being terrified for two decades. The other parts were nice, though. xD
I am a Mormon and I love it! When my older brother came out, I loved him just the same. And I still do love him! Jesus taught us that we shouldn't judge anyone, we should be loving and kind and supportive.
I am glad you made this post. I know that Mormons are scary in theory and nice in practice when it comes to this matter. I played a similar mind game with my Mormon friends for a while and then I realized that I was just a big hypocrite. I shouldn't have been angry at these people because I assume they hate me.
I've come to the conclusion that no religion (or lack thereof) has a monopoly on either assholes or good people. There's always a few of each, and in approximately the same proportions as in the world as a whole.
Although I had never heard the term before I guess one could consider me a Jack Mormon. I still claim Mormonism but for many reasons I've found myself distant from the church, one of those being the church's stance on homosexuality. The doctrine on this issue just doesn't make any since to me. The idea that we should judge people based on antiquated views written in a completely different time, for a completely different culture, with completely different context seems like non-sense. And when comparing it with other church practices it seems even more arbitrary. I find it simply infuriating that the church insist that homosexuals have to be alone for the rest of their lives but heterosexuals can essentially break their temple vows to be sealed to each other for all eternity by getting remarried or in the case of MEN sealed to more than one women in the temple. Apparently God only thinks heterosexuals should have love and companionship SMH. Its things like that that have pushed me away. I can't sit in church and listen to it. I constantly find myself (futilely) biting my tongue when these issues arise. Desperately searching for someone who feels the way I do, only to be greeted with averted eyes. I honestly believe that there are more Mormons like me (at least in Pittsburgh) than not. Ones who feel like I do; who feel like the people who embraced you do. But their silence cuts me. I'm not gay but as an African American woman I know what discrimination feels like and no one chooses to be looked down on. Our silence is an acceptance of the idea that those who are different are somehow lesser, and I can't be a part of it. Yes the church is starting to encourage people to show love to out LGBT brothers and sisters but honestly you cant "other" people and love them at the same time. You can't support preventing them from having the same rights as others and love them at the same time. And you can't essentially call them a mistake or worse a liar (referring to the origins of their sexuality) and love them at the same time. Its like light and dark, they can't occupy the same space. This idea is what makes your "to my face" comments very real. Real love can't exist just on the surface. I think the efforts are a step in the right direction (we all know change is very VERY slow) but we have a ways to go. I don't know if the doctrine will ever actually shift (it did for African Americans so I won't completely rule it out) but with each generation the mind set of the people most certainly will. Our capacity for compassion most certainly will. And I have no doubt that eventually we will move beyond the surface and really feel the love instead of just telling ourselves that we do.
I don't think I've ever had any hate directed toward me because I am attracted to other men. I've seen a mix of reactions. Some try to tell me I need to 'get married' or I need to 'pray and be more spiritual'. Some are understanding, some don't seem to care about, some don't even seem to care about me. For the most part, I find that friendship in the LDS church can be a huge uphill battle. Most of the battle is be trying to overcome my feelings of shyness, abandonment, and bitterness toward the church in general. I definitely need to apply the teachings of love and kindness that the church teaches.
It's nice that everyone is making such an effort to make you feel so loved and accepted. It's kind of the trendy thing to do, let everyone know how openminded and supportive you are by openly accepting the gay members. Some of us have been accepting for a really long time, having made peace with our own loved ones already. Wouldn't it be nicer if we all made that much effort to make everyone feel so loved and accepted. The singles who are constanly being "set up" because surely the only reason they aren't married is because they haven't gone on enough dates. The part member family who never gets to speak in sacrament meeting because couples always speak together. The single parent families whose boys have never gone on a father son camp out. The kid that is bullied by his or her class mates at church. The traditional Mormon family that goes to church every week but still feels like they can't keep their heads above water and just needs to feel needed and loved. I am happy that we have come to a point where we can recognize that being homosexual is not a sin, it's just something some people have to learn to deal with like so many other issues in our lives. I think it is time that we all realized that everyone has things they have to deal with in their lives and we should be loving, supportive, accepting and chritable to all God's children.
Well, all I can say is my family loved me in the way you described it... up until Prop 8. When I asked my family to NOT participate in spreading the "six lies" of Prop 8, they all felt the "fear" of going against the prophet that you described as a closeted teen...the fear of being hated when you "came out." In the instant you ask all of those "loving" people around you to do something to change the "culture of Mormonism" you will find that they can no longer be of much help, because like gay Mormons, they are afraid of being on the wrong side of the doctrine. After all, when I came out at age 46 and said I finally accepted the fact that I had been "born gay," I was excommunicated for apostacy BEFORE I was ever intimate with a man. And they (your loving friends and family) can never escape THAT discipline. The gay teen suicide rate in Utah will remain 8-times the national average until your loving friends stand up to the "culture of intolerance" that forbids them from "being on your side" while inside the chapel. Your loved ones can only love you, but they CANNOT DEFEND YOU or they will get what I got...a phone call from the stake president.
I think you got it when you said that the church is not the people and the people are not the church.
I am Mormon, have been my whole life, will be my whole life.
Even though the 'church' tells me I should have a problem with homosexuality, I don't believe that Christ would have that attitude. In my mind there's a distinction between the Gospel as Christ restored it and the Church that is run by men.
I'm actually a bit of a fan girl so no problems here. If my son were to tell me he was gay I wouldn't have a problem but I would worry about how he'd be treated by those ultra righteous judgemental members.
I don't want to know what you do in your bedroom and who you do it with, and you shouldn't care about what I do.
Much love and support xo
@JBird I grew up Mormon and left in 1997. You must realize that your liberal interpretation of sin and apostate isn't the doctrine of the church. Your sister is afraid that you will be mad because she was taught to follow authority and if she found a different path to happiness that the salvation of her entire family would be in jeopardy. I think it is great that Mormons are loosely interpreting the scriptures and the admonitions of their leaders. It will make Mormons more Christlike and less and more fun to be around.
@RDT2 I 100% agree that it's God's will that we make our own choices. i don't care if it's right or wrong, it's their choice to make. That's what the war in Heaven was about as taught by the Mormon Church. To not agree is one thing, but to hate them for it is completely out of line. God gave the decree to be fruitful and fill the earth and that decree has been fulfilled. This is but my opinion but I believe it was more important back then for a man and a woman to marry to procreate than it is now. There are so many kids without families that gay couples can give a good loving home. That is my belief and they should be allowed to marry. JUST LIKE POLYGAMY WAS OK AND NOW ISN'T. People of the Government pray too for God to guide them in making the right decisions. With all the hatred among Christians and how they get excited about someone's soul burning in hell to the glory of God, they may not be open to the promptings of The Lord. There are some people that still practice polygamy because they believe that it's still the will of God. I'm going to believe here if Polygamy was for a time, then "one man, one woman" was for a time also, and has now extended to include "one man, one man". One can argue that kids need a mom and dad, but there are so many kids with just a mom or just a dad and that has nothing to do with "other than straight" lifestyles. They'll just have 2 moms or 2 dads instead of 1 mom or 1 dad.
@Jennifer KK The headline made me laugh. "Kids, let's together for an anti-gay marriage hate rally."
@Jennifer KK They should be ashamed to have hate in the name and claim to be the one true Church of Jesus Christ. May God have mercy on their souls.
@MegS78 It's not just with the Mormon faith but christians in general seem to take such offense to sin as if the sin is against them. If someone sins it's against him and his God. Why do you (not you you, but the general you) need to hate him? I just never understood that. If the great war in Heaven was so that people could be free to make their own decision of right and wrong, then why shouldn't they? We may not all be "other than gay", but we all sin. Who are we hate someone because there sin is different from ours? I totally agree with your perspective and I wish more people would see it like that. Someone being gay sins doesn't affect me, IF it was a sin. Why would I even hate someone for it? I just could never wrap my head around how Christians came to take other's sins so personal. God gave us free agency for a reason. We have no right to judge anyone because we do not know their hearts nor do we have all the details. God did say to make righteous judgements but how righteous are your judgements if you do not know what goes on in the heart? Or what goes on in prayer between he and his God?
@Eilena Amen! The problem is that one rotten apple tends to spoil the bunch. There are plenty of sweet and kind people both inside and outside of the LDS church.
@TheCottonFloozy This isn't about the extremes: volunteering at the Pride Center versus throwing rocks at "anything other than straight" people. The attitude is wrong concerning both of those ideas because it's wanting everyone to fit into a specific category with no middle ground, and this isn't a one size fits all type of thing.
@AlissaLouiseFreiClifton I totally agree that a lot of people are motivated by the trendiness of being more open minded, but I believe this is a good, solid, first step.
My mom grew up in Los Angeles in the 50s and 60s. Until I was an young adult, I didn't know she was racist. That's because when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s here in Utah it wasn't cool to be a racist. I'm grateful that she never showed that side of herself until I was past the age of being influenced by her, and I didn't get burdened with her prejudices at a young age. So even if the open mindedness currently happening isn't totally genuine, that appearance of open mindedness in the current generation will produce more genuine open mindedness in the next.
I think also the trendy open mindedness will allow people to get to know and interact with LGBT people, which will help dispel a lot of the genuine prejudice underlining the trendy open mindedness.
@Lester Leavitt As I'm sure you probably know, Lester, excommunication is not a punishment, first of all. Secondly, it is done to prevent further spiritual harm to the person being excommunicated (released from covenants, etc.), and is done only if the there is need of it due to grievous sin, or if one plans to sin (or continue sinning) to a great degree. The Church doesn't just excommunicate people for having homosexual feelings. I have those. I haven't been excommunicated.
As far as prop 8, the Church did ask members to oppose it, because that was the right thing to do. Redefining marriage won't make what's wrong right. It's taken a lot of soul searching for me to understand that I was born with these feelings. But not all feelings are meant to be acted upon. I don't have all the answers, but I know that I have peace when I commune with God and try to live according to his wisdom... not mine.
@tamaragordon3 Well stated ! According to the basic teachings of all the Christian faiths, Jesus Christ was a kind person who accepted even the lowest of the low in those days (lepers and prostitutes). He was NEVER described as the type of person who converted people through the use of fear or who lectured people incessantly about the "rules" they needed to follow to gain salvation. The complete hypocrisy of the leaders of nearly all the major Christian denominations is incredible; they claim to strive to be Christ-like, and yet encourage their followers to ostracize people who don't follow their particular flavor of religion. If people choose to follow the teachings of Christ, that is their right, of course. If people choose to gather with like-minded people to practice their religion, good for them. The problem comes when churches try to take their idea of morality and apply it to everyone. Just remember, as long as decent, caring, well-meaning people continue to patronize organized religions that actively preach hatred towards others, those religious leaders WILL NOT change their message. If you truly believe that the leaders who run your church do not represent the values you hold personally, you have four choices; stay and just deal with being a hypocrite, stay and try to effect change from the inside (which is like trying to clean up a flooded basement with a 5 gallon bucket), band together with other like-minded people and start a splinter denomination that more accurately reflects your beliefs, or leave your church altogether. We all need to start treating religion as a part of who somebody is rather than the whole of who somebody is.
@BiMormonDad @Lester Leavitt I'd like to echo By Mormon Dad. I have homosexual feelings. I have never been excommunicated or discipleship for simply having them. Last year, I acted on the feelings a few times and my bishop put me on informal probation. Like BiMormonDad, it wasn't punishment it was simply 'discipline'. Good parents discipline and don't punish their children. Punishment almost implies that the person is bad and need to change. Discipline seems to focus on helping a person adopt healthier behaviors.
That aside, I can see how it was a measure to keep me from bringing myself further spiritual harm for the actions that I had done. It's also helped me realize the gravity of what I did.
@airmetaj . You are missing the point. You should not be put on informal probation just because you loved another man. Loving someone of the same gender is not a behaviour that needs disciplining, no matter how minor the discipline. Acting on those feelings with someone outside of the confinements of a relationship should be the behaviour that should be disciplined.
@BrookeSwallow @airmetaj @BiMormonDad @Lester Leavitt I'm having trouble seeing where you've drawn the 'harm to your spirit in the terms of the Mormon covenents' line. Is that in response to something we've said, or is it your own conclusion based on the topic? Please help me understand where you got that from.