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Mormon Homophobia, part 3891 27 July 2007

Posted by Todd in Commentary, Gender, Homosexuality, Mormonism/LDS Church, Sexuality.
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According to the Deseret News, the Mormon church has released a new pamphlet about so-called “same-gender attraction.” The church’s choice of awkward phrasing notwithstanding, the pamphlet rehashes the standard anti-gay but cloaked in love language as usual. The argument is thus (see if you can follow along):

1) you cannot achieve salvation unless you have an “eternal family” which requires a heterosexual marriage

2) god may never tell us why some people have strong “same-gender attraction”, but we know it’s bad, so don’t ever give in to it

3) if you live a good life (i.e., and never have gay sex), god will reward you in the next life

4) our bodies are sacred, therefore we must only have sex in a monogamous (the irony still escapes the church’s PR machine) heterosexual marriages

5) sexual desire does not justify acting on the behavior, which is immoral. Sex is evil. I mean sacred. Yes, sex is sacred. Don’t do it. It’s immoral.

6) giving in to “same-gender attraction” gives only an illusion of happiness; real happiness comes from self-control (read: denial and deprivation); the urge for “same-gender physical contact” will diminish when real emotional needs are met (because sexual contact is not a real need).

7) if you have a strong testimony of the Gospel (mormonspeak for witness or knowledge), then you will not act on your “same-gender attraction”

8 ) so you see, the Mormon church treats all its members the same, because heterosexuals aren’t allowed to have sex until they’re married either! God really does love us all!

9) if you are “same-gender attracted,” you should stop worrying about it, because it’s beyond your control at the moment; instead you should focus on things that matter, like working for the Mormon church or reading your scriptures or serving the needy

10) grow a good garden: you see, this is an analogy, where our lives are like a garden; if we grow good things, we’ll have a good garden; so it is with our lives. If you are “same-gender attracted”, then you should dive into church service and cultivate friendships with people who do not “flaunt” their homosexuality, but keep it hidden away in shame. If you meet people who are openly homosexual, run from them, er, dig them out of your garden. Homosexuals are like weeds in your garden.

11) Just to be safe, do not under any circumstances develop a close friendship with someone of the same-gender, because Satan will tempt you to make it sexual, and nothing could be worse than having sex with someone of the same-gender whom you love

12) pornography is bad. child molestation is bad.

13) remember, if you suffer from “same-gender attraction,” as long as you never act on it or openly display it or flaunt it like a homosexual weed, you can be a full member of the church! See! We love you! Our geriatric Fuhrer has told us so in bland and banal terms in a great and spacious building during our world wide conference wherein we say the same bland and banal platitudes vetted by our Department of Information Clensing and broadcast throughout all the world because god gave us technology so that we could spread. See? God loves you despite your same-gender attraction!

14) As you struggle to live a lie by remaining in the Mormon closet, be sure not to burden other people with your pain and depression and problems, least of all your priesthood leaders. Instead, it is your own responsibility to suffer in silence alone with the Lord. We love you!

15) God has his arms open to all his children, even to weeds like you. Our Geriatric Fuhrer has even said that we sympathize with you, you so-called homosexual!I don’t even have the strength to comment.

It’s so exhausting to read this drivel and to even begin to contemplate the effects this is having on young gay people around the world in the Mormon church. How can they not see the horrible emotional and psychological damage this does to people who have done nothing wrong. I’m not posting the link to the pamphlet because I don’t want to be linked to the church’s website, but you can follow the link from the Deseret News article.

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Comments

1. chloe - 27 July 2007

Don’t ask, don’t tell. It is all so disappointing.

2. Hellmut - 27 July 2007

I share your frustration, Chloe, but don’t ask, don’t tell would be progress in Mormonism.

3. Hellmut - 27 July 2007

There will be more and more married gays. Apparently, the PR machine has not figured that out yet. Eventually, they will be in a tight spot where they either have to tolerate the love life of married gays or they will have to excommunicate married couples for having sex.

If the bigotry were not so destructive to so many people, the stupidity of the PR machine would deserve loud laughter.

4. iwonder - 28 July 2007

If the bigotry were not so destructive to so many people, the stupidity of the PR machine would deserve loud laughter.

don’t ask, don’t tell would be progress in Mormonism

Unfortunately, you’re right. Right now it’s “don’t tell us about what you think or feel, and we’ll ask you whatever we please, and then tell you what we want you to say. ”

Oh, and by the way, I forgot, I’m not actually gay. I suffer from same-gender attractions. How tragic!

5. Hellmut - 1 August 2007

Right now it’s “don’t tell us about what you think or feel, and we’ll ask you whatever we please, and then tell you what we want you to say. ”
That’s really funny and worth its own post, Iwonder.

6. James - 12 June 2008

I would just like to say AS A homosexual Latter-day Saint, or as you would call me “Gay-Mormon”, that you really don’t get it do you?

this whole “don’t ask, don’t tell” stuff is nonsense. I do understand where you are coming from, but you need to understand that you don’t know everything about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, therefore, don’t really understand the “Mormon’s”/MY OWN view on the subject, or even why we have this view.

I don’t say this with the intention of creating angst or negative feelings towards me, or people who share my beliefs, but i say it in the hope that you have the desire to really find out why we have this belief.

I don’t hate my church for having the stance on homosexuality that it does have, because i know that it has been given by God himself, through divine revelation to a Prophet on the earth; Just like Adam, Noah, Moses and Abraham. A prophet who does continue to be directed by Our Father in Heaven and his Son Jesus Christ.
No i was not Brainwashed as a child – i am 21 years old and know all of this because i knelt down on my knees and prayed to God to know if the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Book of Mormon (which is another Testament of Jesus Christ, and is used alongside the Bible, and NOT instead of) were true, and if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, and through the Power of the Holy Ghost (who is a member of the one and living God head, consisting of God the father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost – three separate beings) i received a witness, a feeling of comfort and joy and peace, telling me that these things were true. And they are, it is plain and simple. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints contains the fullness of the Gospel on this earth. I know this to be true, and i know that if you have a true desire to know if these things are true for yourself, because no one can force, brainwash or impinge upon you this knowledge, you too can know this.

Please do not mock, or scorn me for what i have said, as these are sacred things. If you have felt warmth from what you have read, think about it. that is the Spirit of God bearing truth to you.

As a Homosexual Mormon, i would like you to know that i do not feel judged, caged, isolated or restricted from being who i am, but more happy and complete and free. I don’t feel frustrated with my religion, but i do feel frustrated with those who don’t really understand my religion or the beliefs and views that we share.

If you haven;t read the ‘Book of Mormon’ already, i suggest that you do. It is a beautiful book. i know it to be true words of God.
I hope that you would read it, then maybe you wouldn’t feel frustrated and might just understand me :o)

7. Todd O. - 16 June 2008

Dear James,
Just for clarification, I was raised mormon, went on a mission, taught at the MTC for four years, and graduated from BYU. I understand you, brother. I totally understand you.

I’m glad that you’ve found a way to make mormonism work for you in some way. From my perspective, having left over 10 years ago, I can’t help but feel that you are completely twisting yourself up inside to feel “not judged, caged or isolated.” Our efforts to resolve cognitive dissonance make us do incredible damage to ourselves and those around us.

I sincerely hope that you have found peace and comfort within the bounds of Mormonism. But I also sincerely hope that you don’t wake up in 5, 10 or 25 years and realize that you have missed out on a lifetime of love and relationships because of the decision you’re making to continue to believe in Mormonism and adhere to its strictures.

I do not mock you for thinking those things are sacred. But I do reserve the right to criticize the beliefs, practices and consequences that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has on its members, on communities and nations, and my brother on *you*.

The Church is a man-made institution, as are all churches, and it is hurting me and the people I love, and I will continue to fight against its homophobia and exercise of political and financial will in the public sphere.

Take care and feel free to come back and post and engage with me any time.

8. Anna - 22 June 2008

I feel sorry, very sorry for gay youngsters that are members of
that particular church.
By the way, may I recommend the excellent play ‘BASH-LATTER DAY
PLAYS’ by Neil LaBute?
In one of the three acts, some mormons visit Mannhattan, and,
horrified by what they see in Central Park (two men holding hands
and kissing each other) they decide to do a bit of gay-bashing.
An amazing story, which, I am sure, happens a lot in our modern
world, with religious people of all affiliations..I can say THAT without
the need to ‘explain’ sacred texts.
Neil LaBute was ordered not to write any more plays inclunding
a single mormon in them, and his membership to the Mormon Church was cancelled. Mmm, sounds a bit to harsh for such an
excellent writer. I LOVE Labute. And dislike religious fundamentalists, the Fuhrer and Stalin…

9. Louise - 17 July 2008

Great article that thoroughly exposes this horrible hypocrisy whilst still managing to be sharp and funny. Kudos to you!

<>

That was just awesome.

10. Luke - 16 October 2009

Todd, I appreciate your beliefs and perspectives on the Mormon church’s publications, but you are spreading misinformation when you portray them falsely. Mormon beliefs are nuanced, and when you present them without nuance (i.e. overly simplified), you present them falsely. To have meaningful dialogue on the issue of gay marriage, we need to know what each side REALLY believes. I will clarify point by point on your numbered list.

1) First of all, “salvation” in Mormon doctrine is not the same as in mainline Christianity. According to Mormonism, ALL people (married or not) who do not “deny the Holy Ghost” will live forever in a paradise beyond imagination, and NOT live with the devil forever, as in mainline Christianity’s concept of hell. You ought to know that most of your readers don’t understand that, and without that understanding, the Mormons and their God seem much more cruel to the outsider. That Mormons believe the highest salvation cannot be enjoyed without heterosexual marriage is true; however, an important caveat here is that the marriage does not have to happen in this life. Indeed, Church leaders DO NOT advocate gay members to enter heterosexual marriages in this life.

2) God will eventually tell us, but perhaps not until after we die. That’s also when we’ll find out why countless of innocent people had to suffer anything, from common colds to genocide.

3)True, and not just gay sex, but any pre- or extra-marital sex.

4) Sex within the bonds of heterosexual matrimony is not sinful, but rather a sacred act within its sacred context (marriage). There is no irony here: it would include polygamous heterosexual marriage here if such were the current practice of the Church. But since it’s not the current practice, but is CURRENTLY contrary to the will of God for polygamy to be PRESENTLY practiced, the only God-sanctioned sexual relations PRESENTLY occur in heterosexual monogamous marriages. That’s what the Mormons really believe.

5) Sex IS sacred. Trifling with sacred things is immoral. The only proper setting for sex is within the bonds of heterosexual marriage, which was instituted by God in the Garden of Eden. So sex-outside-of-marriage is immoral, not sex itself. Sex itself is not evil, but to treat sacred things lightly, or in a manner contrary to God’s commandments, IS evil, as you put it.

6) You are correct that Mormons believe self-denial of unclean things leads to greater self-respect, among other benefits. You are also correct in that Mormons do not believe sexual drives are the same as biological or even social NEEDS. History abounds in examples of men and women who have led admirable, fulfilling lives without sex.

I would like to add a personal thought here, which is not Church doctrine insofar as I know, but also is not refuted by Church doctrine, again insofar as I know. I would direct you to Matthew 19:12, wherein Christ, speaking on marriage (verse 10), says “For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” Eunuchs were not only castrated men, as is evident in His description of the earliest eunuchs. So what could He be referring to? Celibates, perhaps? If so, who would those celibates be? Well, from the womb, there are people who are physically unable to copulate. In Christ’s time, there were men who “were made eunuchs of men” via castration for various reasons. It is the third category that is most intriguing. Who are those who have CHOSEN to be celibate “for the kingdom of heaven’s sake”? I think it possible that He was including here the homosexuals who would practice abstinence because the gospel and the kingdom of heaven require it.

7 – 15) In these items you are less factual and go more on opinion, so I won’t go through these clarifying fact from half-truth. However, if anyone would like further discussion of these items, I’d be happy to share what I know and what I think.

I appreciate the integrity displayed by your posting this.

11. Zebra - 18 July 2010

I think the concept is simple, one does not reserve the right to restrict other’s of any action that does not impose upon anyone unwilling.
You may, by all rights use your free speech to “bash” homosexuals, but you haveto understand that this turns you into a target of other’s free speech, and if you use your religion to make such claims, it turns your religion into a target too. You, despite claiming to be holy, righteous and your views, as hateful as they may be, sacred, are NOT above criticism, and neither is your god or religion.
I seriously don’t care if you have a problem with me being gay, but if you say anything against me, I’ll obviously say something against you.
But since mormon’s usually justify their claims implying that we are all god’s children and so that what god(according to them) sais is an undeniable truth, I’ll use my god given free will and agency to not give a shit.

12. bkyu - 20 July 2010

Zebra,

Your use of 2nd person “you” in your post makes it unclear whom you are addressing (since English doesn’t retain a useful 3rd person neutral).

If you are addressing me and my post specifically, you have severely misunderstood my post. If, however, you mean “one”, then I whole-heartedly agree with you.


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