Monday, November 7, 2011

Circling the Wagons

I just found out about the Circling the Wagons conference this last weekend and I'm sad I didn't know about it in time. I'm not really plugged in to the gay-and-Mormon blogosphere, which I generally think is a good thing. I follow a few people here and there, but generally, I like my solitude when it comes to gay men.  I don't have a very good track record of managing relationships with them.  However, I was feeling that isolation today when I realized I missed what could have been a good experience. 

Circling the Wagons is a large-scale conference held in Salt Lake City for gay and lesbian Latter-Day Saints and members of other faiths, or even for those reaching out to either the religious or the gay, or both. I'm sure there's a lot of agenda going on, probably a lot of agenda that might be damaging to my spirituality, but there was one speaker I'd have loved to hear: Bishop Kevin Kloosterman. 

Bishop Kloosterman spoke in the Sunday morning interfaith worship service on the subject of finding peace within.  He spoke on the homophobia in the world at large, calling it "an atrocity" that LGBTQ people of any faith had to deal with any manner of persecution. 

In a clarifying interview with Joanna Brooks, Bishop Kloosterman outlines his quest for knowledge about the whys and wherefores behind homosexuality, especially as it relates to members of the Church.  Having been a bishop for a few years, he felt prompted to learn more about the nature of the battle, even though he'd never encountered it in his life, either with himself, family members, friends, or even members of his ward. (That surprised me.  I honestly thought that every ward had at least one.)  In any case, this came to a boiling point for him recently when Salt Lake experienced three hate crimes directed at homosexuals in a short time.  The bishop explains that it was no longer time to be a Levite, so he started getting more active in the gay Mormon community.

He further clarifies his statements made at the conference, saying that he upholds the standard that the Church has planted regarding homosexuality.

"The way the Tribune reports it takes my words out of context. I was not criticizing the Church. In fact, I felt and feel like we needed to support the leadership of the Church in their movements forward with our gay brothers and sisters."

I appreciate that sentiment.  I admit that in times of weakness I think that the Church is outdated and that homosexuality within the membership will be to the 21st century what being black was to the 20th century.  However, at my core, I believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ as it is revealed today to church leaders.  I also believe that things will work out in their own time and season, and while I'm not positive what form that they'll take, I still believe it.  So I appreciate that Bishop Kloosterman acknowledges both the struggle and the strides the leadership is taking towards spreading a gospel of love, while still upholding the standards of the Church. 

In any case, I don't regret not going to the conference too much, especially since this was the first Sunday in a very long time that I didn't leave my ward feeling hopeless.  It's good I stayed home, but I will definitely be Celestial-TiVoing Bishop Kloosterman's talk when I get to the other side.


  1. i wish i would have known about this. we should go together next year!

  2. Right? I need to start hanging out with more gay people or liberals so I can hear about stuff like this!


Be nice, mmmmkay? I allow anonymous comments, but not anonymous (or even attributed) douchebaggery. The Gay Mormon Pioneer's tolerance for hate and venom are incredibly low, but his love of communication and debate are high, so have an opinion, but be kind and gentle when you share it.

Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...