Monday, April 9, 2012

I Think it's Time...

This was a big week for gay Mormons.

BYU hosted a panel put on by the student group Understanding Same-Gender Attraction wherein members of the openly-gay community at BYU (estimated to number around 1800) answered questions and gave prepared statements on what it's like to be a gay member of the LDS church. Read that article linked; it's pretty fascinating.  I suppose the general overtone of the article is that many avenues are open to gay members. Marriage is a very cautiously advised option, as is celibacy, and there's always the agency to enjoy a same-gender relationship, either with or without partial fellowship within the Church.

Next, the same group made this video for the Trevor Project:

The It Gets Better movement is a project I haven't quite made up my mind about yet.  Obviously, I am absolutely in favor of supporting teens who suppose their only option is suicide or self-harm, and life really does get better.  I love that it engenders awareness about the bullying of homosexuals or other "different" people and seeks to bring the numbers of those bullied down. As a hopefully-faithful member of the LDS church, I shy away from things that normalize and encourage homosexuality, but on the whole, the Trevor Project is doing good things and I appreciate that.

The video that was made by BYU USGA is great. I love the message it shares that we as a gospel culture are capable of becoming more understanding and more loving, which is exactly the message I wanted to send with my guest post at Modern Mormon Men (read it if you haven't!  I'm so proud of it!).  Additionally, it reaches out to members of the church who may be struggling with coming to terms with their sexuality and the seeming contradiction between what feel like natural attractions and what feels like an all-encompassing testimony. I also appreciate that it acknowledges that for the majority of us, it wasn't a choice. And I also am grateful that the video shows the danger in bargaining with God to take away this attraction through over-righteousness and obsessive stifling of the offending thoughts.  That bargaining can burn a person out, and I know from experience.

However, I fear that the video might send mixed messages to the world regarding our church's stance on homosexuality. In the video, none of the students address how they live with or deal with their homosexuality.  It's never mentioned or alluded to, but a reasonable person might make the assumption that these courageous people are living homosexual lifestyles and that the school is okay with that, which obviously isn't (or shouldn't be) the case.  What could have been a great opportunity to tell the world that religious and spiritual fulfillment can be more valuable than physical and emotional fulfillment was instead spent in moral ambiguity.

Another minor concern I have with the video is that it might be glorifying that particular challenge over another's. For example, most drug abusers don't strut around saying that they would love to do lines and smoke bowls and shoot up, but instead are following the path of the Gospel.  I know it's a clunky metaphor and that the video does lots more than highlight the challenges of same-gender attraction, but the argument could be made that the students featured in the video are glorifying their challenges.

Still, I would never be audacious or misinformed enough to call USGA's efforts a waste.  They are highlighting that, in spite of the compelled anonymity in which some of us live, there are so many of us out there and we are doing our best to act on what we know to be true.  I'm so grateful for their efforts and I feel more and more inspired by their courage to do more to reach out to others as best I can.

Sidebar (although it probably deserves its own post): I think I'm going to tell the rest of my family. I have a dad and two brothers who don't know, at least not officially, and I think it's time to let them in on everything.  I'm excited and only a little nervous, which I think is a good sign that it's the right decision, perhaps one that should have been made years ago.


  1. i wondered how you felt about alla that. props about telling your family. so brave :)

  2. Good luck telling the rest of your family!!! You can do it!!

  3. Sending courage your way! I had the same thoughts as I watched the video and I'm glad you mentioned them here.

  4. GREAT post. Love your thoughts on the video.


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.

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