Monday, March 24, 2008

The Pitfalls of Mormon Gay Pride

I still wonder about the wisdom of feeling like you need to tell everyone. I mean I do feel in some ways you are just asking to be labeled. I understand the need to tell close friends and those you want to seek out for support, but if this is beginning to sound like some people want to organize their own little gay pride parades within their wards.

At some point we are just going to have to admit that if we act on our urges it is a sin. Let me repeat it, acting on homosexuality is a sin. Accept it. No we aren't sinners for having those urges. But if we insist on clinging to the labels and demand to be respected for it I think its rather the same as those people who are demanding they be recognized for being gay and who feel its something to be have pride in.

Do people who struggle with other sins have pride in those struggles? No! I'm not saying we should think we a good or bad people because of it it, I'm just saying that we are people, like everyone else and its time we stop trying to let ourselves be defined by it. Are we going to live the rest of our lives allowing our struggles to be what defines our relationship with Heavenly Father? If we serve missions? If we get married? If we stay faithful to the church? And yes if we inhariet the Celestial Kingdom.

Should be stop talking about the evils of drinking because their are recovering alcoholics in the quorum? How about smoking or drug use? Maybe there is a closet chain smoker or pothead that we may offend. Should we not discuss the evils of porn because there are a few guys who are battling an addiction to it? Should we not discuss the evils of divorce because there is a member of the quorum who is going through one. Should we not talk about the evils of abortion and same gender marriage because it is viewed as a political topic and shouldn't be discussed in church because we may offend someone who tends to support the more liberal political parties? It is possible to become so over sensitized that any priesthood lesson on any topic will offend someone so perhaps we should just avoid church all together to avoid being offended.

And yes we do need to be more sensitive and more loving and more understanding. And we need to teach that we love the sinner not the sin, but as people grow and mature in the gospel so does their capacity for that. Sometimes what may come off as homophobia on the part of that sweet sister who says those insensitive words is just the by product of her trying to avoid something that is wicked and that at the same time she has had no real personal expirence with. Maybe she has only seen the stereotypes on TV who knows, she just knows that the Lord wants her to avoid it.

There are some people who no matter what won't understand. For whatever reason. I don't want to become the "gay member of the quorum" or every time a question about homosexuality arises I get called on. I also don't want to be the source of people not feeling like they can speak their minds or feel they have to treat me with kid gloves.

I think we need to enter into all things with wisdom. And no we can't let our fears guide us. But at the same time we need to use some common sense here. This is something that we do need to overcome and control or it can lead us to apostatize and leave the church. This isn't something we should have pride in. No its not something we should be ashamed of and if we have never acted out or if we have and have repented or even if we haven't but feel the urge to do so and are working to that its something we should be working to not let control us. Its something we should control. But its not who we are unless we let it be.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Some of the things you write seem to fail to make the distinction between same-gender attraction and what you classify as sin. Same-gender attraction is indeed a unique condition that is mostly incomparable to anything else faced by church members.

For some people, there's a tremendous relief in opening up to others in a wholesale fashion. "Why aren't you married?" Do they really want to know? I applaud men and women who feel they can be honest in answering that question if they want to.

Same-gender attraction within the LDS church also comes with its own subculture—one that you, yourself, are a part of at the moment with your involvement in social groups and online forums.

What other temptation within the church has that? I can't think of any, save it be alcoholism or drug abuse, but those afflictions and help group affilitations are often after-the-fact situations wherein the tempted person has already performed the action and is attempting to correct it. For many men and women here, the "sin" part you speak of hasn't even occurred yet.

I'm fine with people attempting to clarify, seek understanding and open up to those around them as they see appropriate. This is already occurring in discussions with priesthood leaders, in LDS-oriented groups, and elsewhere.

The more we encourage people to stay bottled up, the more we're taking a step backwards in my opinion, back to the days when husbands conducted illicit affairs and men and women feared speaking to the bishop about things troubling them.

Why not encourage more openness rather than discourage it?

Honestly, I'm baffled by this post, and I'd like to hear a follow-up with more specific examples of why people opening up is a bad thing in your view.

A CROW'S VIEW said...

As a general rule I don't normally post anonymous comments to my blogs. But I thought this one was worthy of reading.

I don't object to people being honest. I don't object to people be open and yes I do believe that people need to be honest to themselves.

What I object to is basking in it. Celebrating it. Making it part of your identity. I think this is exactly what Elder Oaks warned us about. I don't think we should ever want to be identified by what are struggles are anymore then a handicapped person wants to be defined by their disabilities.

I want to be judged by who I am not what I'm afflicted by. I don't want to be known as "the gay one" or the one with SGA. I want to be known for myself. If someone knows of my struggles great, but I don't want that to be the filter that people always see me through.

I think when we do that we run the risk of becoming the one tune person. I think we brand ourselves and we are always thought of as "that one guy." I don't want to be prejudged. I want to be taken for who I am.

Peter said...

It's interesting that you bring the word of wisdom into the picture. Breaking the word of wisdom is a sin. Drinking coffee, therefore, is a sin.

Would you look down on proud coffee drinkers? Would you tell an avid Starbucks customer to stop broadcasting their sin? If they had a Starbucks bumpersticker, would it make you uncomfortable.

Let's face it, the thing that makes this particular sin so disturbing to so called righteous Mormons is that it is about sex. You don't want people broadcasting gayness because it means they are having extra-marital sex, and that just makes you uncomfortable.

As far as I'm concerned, its ok to be proud about something that you love. I love being gay. I am proud of my homosexuality. I am ashamed to have Church that isn't proud with me.

A CROW'S VIEW said...

It's almost of no real value to comment on this one.

The Word of Wisdom is only a commandment to those who are faithful members of the church who accept it as such. It was given as commandment with a promise. Yes for those of us who have accepted it drinking coffee is a sin.

Those who haven't accepted it are not held to it. So no Starbucks isn't a wicked institution.

Homosexuality on the other hand is immoral in the eyes of God. It is universal.

But so is pride.

Peter said...

Who commanded the Buddhist not to engage in homosexuality? The Hindu's? The atheist?

Homosexuality is only a sin to those who believe it is wrong. In this case, that is most Christian churches, but in no means is it "universal." In India, it is taboo to eat a cow. It is a violation of all that is holy, and is in every way a sin. If that doesn't apply to me because I do not believe it is wrong, then neither does the mandate to abstain from homosexuality.

Sorry my comments are of no real value to you. You don't have to argue this one if its not worth your time.

A CROW'S VIEW said...

Well according to your blog you are a RM, a BYU student and a "afflicted" member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Acting on homosexual acts would be a sin to anyone who any of the above but especially the latter.

Anonymous said...

I'm interested to hear how you feel about "that one guy" who co-wrote a book about same-gender attraction and opened himself up to become what you seem to define as a Priesthood meeting pariah.

"I don't think we should ever want to be identified by what our struggles are any more than a handicapped person wants to be defined by their disabilities."

Existence is all about limitations, struggles, and things we can't change. Gender, race, birth, physicality--they can all be "struggles." I struggle with being 5'8". Other gymnasts relate to me. What if we form a support group? Heh. The only thing we can change is how we thrive in our own unique circumstances.

How do you feel about the Special Olympics? For that matter, how do you feel about Paul when he says, "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me," (2 Cor. 12:9)?

"Homosexuality on the other hand is immoral in the eyes of God. It is universal.

If we replace the word "homosexuality" with "heterosexuality," does that help you to see why I find this quote to be completely absurd?

Is God upset that boys and girls are going to church dances together? Are they breaking every moral law conceivable? And even if, as I expect you mean, sexual activity is the thing you mean is immoral in the eyes of God, this is not universal. Muslims are just as sure in their convictions that you are evil in the eyes of the universal God because you have broken the universal law of [fill in the blank] that God abhors.

I know you just as wholeheartedly believe it's your role and duty to let people know they are sinners. It feels similar to how Jerry Falwell felt it was his role to castigate Mormons, gay people, Democrats, feminists, as offenders of the universal law of God.

I doubt he won many people with his vinegar. Imagine how much better honey can be.

draco said...

This doesn't necessarily fit with your post, but the whole sacred cow thing that Peter mentioned made me think of this quote:

"Given the wide variety of religious beliefs (e.g., the Muslim belief that women should cover their faces, the Orthodox Jewish belief against working on Saturday, the Hindu belief that cows are sacred and should not be eaten), each of us inevitably violates the religious beliefs of others. But we normally don't view such violations as occasions for moral censure, since we distinguish between beliefs that depend on particular revelations and beliefs that can be justified independently (e.g., that stealing is wrong). Without an independent justification for condemning homosexuality, the best one can say is, 'My religion says so.' But in a society that cherishes religious freedom, that reason alone does not normally provide grounds for moral or legal sanctions. That people still fall back on that reason in discussions of homosexuality suggests that they may not have much of a case otherwise."


-John Corvino

A CROW'S VIEW said...

Anonymous:

It's ironic that you remain anonymous given what you are accusing me of. Why not be open about who you are?

In response to a couple points.

.....If we replace the word "homosexuality" with "heterosexuality," does that help you to see why I find this quote to be completely absurd?.....

Yes the new statement is absurd.

As for the "Priesthood meeting pariah" I think I know who you are referring to and no I don't feel that way.

You seem to have missed the point here. I'm LDS, I sustain the Prophet as the Prophet of God. I believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true and living church restored by a prophet and led by one today. I don't think I've said anything that goes agaisnt anything that they have either said in their teachings or writing.

Elder Oaks and in the new pamplet gives us clear direction about how those of us who struggle with SGA should and shouldn't identify ourselves. If I sustain these men as Prophets, Seers and Revealtors then I sustain their words and I will endever to follow their councils. I can't expect to be happy if I don't because God blesses those who do follow his commandments.

PETER:
If this makes me a mindless sheep then at least I know who my master is and I have faith he will lead me home. I don't think it does. Again I believe that perfect and complete faith isn't blind faith, even if some would like to belittle the faithful for doing or thinking so.

DRACO:
All I can really say is this. My religion is the tool that I believe the Lord uses to rule his kingdom. I refuse to be the type that is faithful only when I believe or agree with it. Its not my religion that says its a sin, if my religion is what I have faith it is, than its MY GOD that says its a sin.

Thank you all for your input. I respect your opinions and I applicate your honesty. Thank you for taking time to comment.

Forester said...

I know what you are trying to say. I think you got a little off track and have been misunderstood as a result. For those of us who are living a straight life, it wouldn't make sense to flaunt our attraction for men or say that we are proud to have these feelings. I've never really understood the whole gay pride thing, but it doesn't bother me that others can identify with it.

I'm not ashamed of being attracted to the same sex, but it is something that I have to work at so that it doesn't destroy my life. I've made the decision to marry and live a straight life, knowing that for me, this is what is right and good. I don't think it is the solution for most gay men, but it is one solution.

I agree that because homosexual behavior is wrong, it's not something to be proud of. I don't know much about gay pride, but I assume that it has something to do with wanting respect and wanting to be accepted by the community. I don't see this as wrong. Everyone deserves respect. We are all equal in God's eyes. It is very sad that we are not equal in everyone's eyes.

Leimomi said...

This is great info to know.