26 July 2007

Maketh Me Sick

it may help in life to pause at any time, take a deep breath, and think of adowabol kitties before moving back to reality

The Church has released a new pamphlet about it’s gay members and everyone seems to be positively aflutter with positive energy! I, like most of “us,” appreciate the Church taking time to focus on one of “our” prime issues in life but I’m going to play Bad Cop: this is a bad pamphlet.*

First they say, "Same-gender attractions include deep emotional, social, and physical feelings," which is a huge acknowledgement. Really, it’s a huge statement and entirely true. It’s almost like saying, "There are no known differences between mixed and matching-orientation relationships." Almost.

Then they say, "...many Latter-day Saints, through individual effort, the exercise of faith, and reliance upon the enabling power of the Atonement, overcome same-gender attraction in mortality, others may not be free of this challenge in this life."

That's total BS.

Assuming one person somewhere was made straight by the atonement, and that's a huge assumption, that one person would be statistically irrelevant!

The idea that the Atonement of Christ, Christianity’s defining moment, the pain that drew blood from the pores of the Savior, has cured and will cure "many Latter-day Saints" only serves to deeply wound the thousands upon thousands of people who have tried to change their orientation!

This next one is the Big One. The statement that gets me really riled up:

"You are best served by concentrating on the things you can presently understand and control, not wasting energy or enlarging frustration by worrying about that which God has not yet fully revealed."

Well, dangit, I'm not in charge of receiving revelation for the whole church, am I?!?

The faithful, gay members are leaving the church in droves and those who stay all to often kill themselves. Is this what God wants? Could God possibly want this?

Isn’t it time to ask God the really hard questions, GAs? The questions you may get answers to you may not want to hear. Remember, these questions aren't hard for God.

What the prophet asks the prophet gets answered. Actually, what the prophet asks for he prophet gets.

Nephi sealed the Heavens.
Brother Joseph got the manuscript.
And Brother Kimball got the ban on blacks with the priesthood lifted.

Anything but more of this, "Sorry, we don't know" stuff.

*And so we’re clear, this isn’t a matter of “not going far enough.” No, no. The Church isn’t making any strides at all. It’s the same old “Sorry, we can’t help you. Try to trudge along with the rest of the congregation” with a little less “Hit fags. After all, Somebody had to do it.”


good tune


Foxx said...

Thanks for beating me to the Bad Cop on this. There's so much that I find right and wrong about this pamphlet that I don't know where to start or how to pick it apart without sounding like I'm a total ape-crazy apostate with no brains. :D

But yeah, I agree. This pamphlet is a nice gesture, but it's got more bad than good.

Mr. Fob said...

What the prophet asks the prophet gets answered. Actually, what the prophet asks for he prophet gets.

Nephi sealed the Heavens.
Brother Joseph got the manuscript.
And Brother Kimball got the ban on blacks with the priesthood lifted.

Anything but more of this, "Sorry, we don't know" stuff.

This sums up very well the frustrations I had with all this while I was a believing Mormon and for quite a while thereafter.

Scot said...

From watching the LDS church for a long while on this topic, I absolutely understand the frustration, particularly when you’ve watched people self-destruct in reaction to those who feel they’re handing down tough love. Don’t let it make you too sick, though.

What’s harmful in such ideas, sure, has been harmful for centuries and it's hurt many, but the small steps are steps, nonetheless. It’s clear the leadership isn’t in a steady state here, and with each small step, thankfully, they’ve been destabilizing the scaffolding around the old ethics of being gay and LDS; it was much more simple when gay meant to the LDS what it meant a decade ago. The old ethics, like many others in human past, can’t stand, and they will be self corrected. I can’t help but see a trajectory towards the right solution, and a breaking point for that scaffolding, one that will be realized as it was with other issues, even if it takes a generation (or two ;-)).

MoHoHawaii said...

I also read this pamphlet and my analysis was similar to yours, especially about how unrealistic it is to hope for a change of orientation. The Church should know better by now on this one. I think it's just being influenced by party line of the larger evangelical community. Also, I think the pamphlet reads as if it were written by bureaucrats, not the guys in power. It has a fairly weak tone (the same tone as a lesson manual, as opposed to a conference talk).

Scot's view, that things will get better long term, is right on, but this doesn't help those of us today.

Does the Church really want to keep losing its faithful gay members? It's a big loss, since gay folks add a lot of spirit, creativity and humanity to the body of saints. The Church is poorer without its gay tribe.

J G-W said...

You are spot on about the statement that "many overcome same-gender attraction" through "individual effort, the exercise of faith, and reliance upon the enabling power of the Atonement." This is an inaccurate, hurtful, even damaging statement.

But for what it's worth, here are my two very meager cents about whatever hopes we may have that the prophet might someday seek and receive a revelation on this topic.

Here's a relevant quote from Declaration 2 of the Doctrine and Covenants:

"...witnessing the faithfulness of those from whom the priesthood has been withheld, we have pleaded long and earnestly in behalf of these, our faithful brethren."

I recommend everybody read the book Black and Mormon which contains firsthand accounts of precisely the kind of faithfulness we're talking about here. Black folks showing up at the church and being told point blank they weren't wanted and God would never give them the priesthood. Black folks being ignored, day in and day out, denied home teachers, ostracized, escorted to the door. Women told they couldn't serve missions, even though no sister missionaries held the priesthood. People said and behaved in some lovely ways in those halcyon pre-1978 days.

These good, faithful black brothers and sisters went home, got on their knees, and guess what... The Holy Spirit told them to ignore all that and keep on doing what they knew they should do. Go to Church, read the scriptures, pray, fast, live moral lives, pay their tithing, and in every other way live as faithfully as they possibly could regardless of what they were being told, even by General Authorities.

We're not sure exactly how many black Mormons toughed it out in the days before the Declaration. But it was not none. It was on the order of several thousand. Not many in comparison with a non-black membership of millions. But enough that the brethren finally decided their faithfulness was worth petitioning the Lord about.

Now I’m not saying anybody should go back to the Church in order to change it. Because here’s the God’s honest truth: it might never change on this issue, or it might even change in a direction we don’t like. We simply can’t know in advance. And if you are not going to Church because you have a testimony, because you believe it is what the Lord wants you to do, you are there for the wrong reasons and you won't last.

If you believe that this is just one more abusive institution made by man for the benefit of some at the expense of others, then I’d say your best bet is to stop worrying about what the pamphlets say or what the policies are. Stop wasting precious psychic energy on all that. Go join the nearest Gay Rights Action Committee and start working on legalizing marriage or ending segregation in the military or preventing anti-gay violence; or join the peace movement or the women's rights movement, or do something else that will make this world a better place.

But if you have some spark of testimony in you, now is the time to get on your knees, pray for the Holy Spirit to be with you and give you strength, and then get up, pack your handcart, set your face toward Zion, and start walking. Now is the time when God wants to see what kind of faith we have, not after the revelation.

-L- said...

This post I really enjoyed. You made me remember it, so I thought I would share.

Sorry to interrupt all the crankiness. Please continue.

playasinmar said...

It's a sweet post, L. Did Elder Packer author the pamphlet? I didn't see a name at the end but I've only read it on the Church website.

Switch said...

I didn't read it.

But.. if they're still spouting off about same-sex attractions getting magically "cured" despite all evidence to the contrary, it just reinforces my current opinion:

They don't know what they're talking about.

-L- said...

Playasinmar, your reference to Packer's To the One was what made me think of it. I have no idea whether he was involved in the pamphlet you are discussing now.

Switch, it's not a matter of "all evidence to the contrary". It's a matter of, the only evidence most people will accept is to the contrary. There's a big difference.

Forester said...

The complexities of this subject are astounding. I feel sorry for any church leader seeking guidance on the subject. I'm sure that even the prophets can't fathom the complexities. I also think that thinking that church leaders can simply ask and receive a simple answer to such a complex question is naive. Revelations come with much struggle and wrestling before God and answers come in varying degrees and at various times. I'm sure that many revelations are also withheld from the church and from the public eye simply because the church can't handle the answers.

Yes, it is very disappointing that the answer is that they don't know the why or how of SGA. It's hard when the answers are the basic primary answers to pray, read, ponder, go to church, etc. But in reality, these simple actions can and do create miracles.

Also, although we may never be "cured" of our SGA, who am I to say that someone else has not experienced a change of sexual orientation. I don't believe changing sexual orientation is possible or impossible. I also don't believe that because someone else did it that we all are expected to do the same. We are only expected to do the best we can do, based on what we know and what we have been given.

playasinmar said...

"I'm sure that many revelations are also withheld from the church and from the public eye simply because the church can't handle the answers." -Forester

Forester, if that's the case, I am officially angrier than I ever have been. Ever.

Kengo Biddles said...

Have you considered anger management? You seemed fairly loquacious last night...or was that because of the Wii?

Forester said...

Anger won't do us any good. I don't believe church leaders are trying to hide the truth from us. There's no conspiracy. The church is also not perfect in any way, including its leaders, but they are the best we have in this ugly world. They are good men, with good hearts and good intentions. Murmuring will only make yourself more angry and more unhappy. Don't let it get to you. Hang in there.

Remus said...

Some of the quotes from this pamphlet make me frustrated, and they are the things that have frustrated me about the church for a long time. I've always wanted understanding to come, that we can't control our feelings and that one morning, it'll just **zap** disappear. We just fell like we can't ever fit into the mould.
One of my gay friends sought counseling once and the counselor told him that God had just messed up on him. How damaging is that!
I've always had a lot of frustrations with the church, but i still plug along...
i'll need to read the whole pamphlet, and really evaluate it. One of my good friends in my ward who's on the inside told me about the pamphlet. We'll see what happens in the future...

playasinmar said...

Forester, I agree with everything your new comment says including, "I don't believe church leaders are trying to hide the truth from us. There's no conspiracy."

I never thought it was a conspiracy. You said that.


Thanks for the comment, Remus. I'm all for plugging along. Mormons are nothing if not long-suffering.

The church is changing. It always changes. Who am I to demand it change faster? Why should I get what I want?

Thankfully, things like this pamphlet prove it changes and over time things will get better. It's like what Scot the Cog said, I can’t help but see a trajectory towards the right solution."