Wednesday, October 27, 2010

He will yet reveal

Some say the sole purpose of The Family: A Proclamation to the World is to define marriage as between a man and a woman. Not so! Why would the church do that to so many who fall outside that ideal? If only 1% of LDS church members are gay, that's still 138,248 gay Mormons based on the church's 2009 Statistical Report. That would fill to overflowing two facilities the size of LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Yes, the proclamation supports strong families, but not just one kind of strong family. Yes, it says "marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God..." but it does not say that other unions are invalid. 

For example we know that marriages between one man and multiple women are also viable on the other side of the veil. The proclamation does not invalidate polygamous marriages made prior to 1890 or the present-day serial polygamist who is sealed to one wife, and then upon her death is sealed to a second, resulting an eternal polygamist marriage.

The Proclamation on the Family speaks of many ideals. Yes, it certainly is ideal for a man and a woman to marry and rear children. No argument there. But it clearly and directly acknowledges that this ideal is not always attained because of a variety of reasons:

"Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation."

It doesn't say that other circumstances may cause problems but there's nothing that can be done. It says other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. That powerful, inclusive sentence is a loving acknowlegement that the ideals set forth in the proclamation are sometimes unavoidably unavailable to real people in real life.

In 1922 when my grandmother was widowed as a young mother, her parents did not allow her to date after the tragic loss of her young husband. They believed that dating would violate her Temple covenants with her eternal companion. Today she would not be so tightly constrained. Today she would be encouraged to marry a second worthy husband in the Temple, but not for time and all eternity. The doctrine hasn't changed, but the intrepretation of it has. It didn't even require a revelation, just a change in attitude and, perhaps, church policy. Does anyone how if there was an official change or not?

After the 1978 revelation opening the priesthood to worthy black members of the church, Bruce R. McConkie was questioned about his many strident statements against "the Negro." In a speech entitled All Are Alike unto God he said, "Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world. We get our truth and our light line upon line and precept upon precept. We have now had added a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject, and it erases all the darkness and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don’t matter any more."

Elder McConkie thus affirmed the Ninth Article of Faith: "We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God."

Fortunately we won't have to forget or set aside anything in the Proclamation on the Family if and when it is revealed that in addition to traditional marriage being ordained of God, "other circumstances" require individual and church-wide adaptation, and should be handled with as much love, accomodation and support as death or disability.

I believe that someday we will all sing with great fervor and thanksgiving Carol Lynn Pearson and Reid N. Nibley's prophetic Primary song I'll Walk with You:

If you don't walk as most people do, 
Some people walk away from you,
But I won't! I won't!

If you don't talk as most people do
Some people talk and laugh at you,
But I won't! I won't!

I'll walk with you,
I'll talk with you.
That's how I'll show my love for you.

Jesus walked away from none.
He gave his love to ev'ryone.
So I will! I will!

Jesus blessed all he could see,
Then turned and said,
"Come, follow me."
And I will! I will! I will! I will!

I'll walk with you,
I'll talk with you.
That's how I'll show my love for you.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A great time to come out?

It's a great time to come out, right? After all, church members are being urged like never before to be kind and loving to gays and lesbians. How can my fellow brothers and sisters know that I need their love and support as I deal with SGA while sustaining my MOM relationship--oops--if I'm going to come out, I guess I'll also have to try to stop talking in code. I'll have to say I'm dealing with same gender attraction while sustaining my mixed-orientation marriage, but even then, I'll probably get unknowing stares as people ask themselves "What on earth is he talking about? Is this more of this gay lingo? It used to be out in the world, not it's right here in our neighborhood."

What will coming out do to my affectionate relationships with the guys in my High Priests Group? I like the idea that they're talking with me and even occasionally putting a hand on my shoulder or squeezing my knee just because we're brothers and we feel comfortable touching each other. Would I want them to touch me and talk with me to show me increased love and acceptance because I'm struggling with this "terrible burden of being gay" and Mormon? Hmmm, maybe not so much.

How would I feel if I knew that in Ward Council the Relief Society president was saying, "We've got to reach out to Ned and his wife, especially his wife. Think of what she's be going through all those years being married to a gay man, uh, a SSA man, oh no, SGA, that's what we call it right? We need to be sure she gets visiting taught every month, and what are you High Priests going to do with Ned?"

To which the HP group leader confesses, "Well, I'm sorry to say this but some of our older High Priests feel that Ned's really betrayed them. He's always been so kind and sometimes openly affectionate, but now they think he's been coming on to them all these years. When we thought of Ned as straight, of course we accepted him as one of the group, but now that we know that he's turned gay, uh, or he now thinks that he's SSA or SGA, whatever you want to call it, these guys feel like he's been lying to them about who he really is. They don't trust him. To be honest, I don't think we can keep him as an instructor."

To which the Bishop says, "Well maybe we could lovingly call him to coordinate the Saturday morning cleaning of the building. No, that's not going to work, people aren't going to want to be alone in the church with him. We can put him on the prayer rolls of the Temple and we'll pray about calling another instructor so we can release him. He's a great teacher, but this whole gay thing is really making people uncomfortable. If only Ned had kept this to himself, we wouldn't have to be dealing with all this contention."

What do you think? Am I being too cynical? Or am I just facing the reality that older members of the church, and those who have become leaders because of their orthodox views, aren't really going to be on board with really loving and accepting gays and lesbians?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Moho Films Win Tops Awards in Mormon Video Contest

It hasn't happened yet. But it could. Who better to make some highly relevant, engaging, and unforgettable videos about gospel principles like: 

  • As I have loved you, love one another
  • Jesus said love everyone, treat them kindly, too
  • Though though deepening trials throng your way

Ok, so those are song titles, but you get the idea. Here's the link to the contest site. Entries are due on the last day of January. Here's a quick idea. How about you use the text of the story of Jonathan and David as the basis of a story, but it is all done with contemporary actors in a typical Mormon home and neighborhood? Just something to get you thinking.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dolls and Darkrooms

Here's my earlier post on this subject 

using same great painting by 
Steve Walker.

As a little boy I didn’t worry what people thought. I liked dolls, purses, makeup, jewelry, sewing and photography. Later I learned that real boys don’t like dolls, purses, makeup and jewelry. I knew that I was a real boy, but I didn’t like the things real boys liked, except photography. So I hid those parts from others and eventually from myself. As a teenager I spent a lot of time processing film and photos in a darkroom. In some ways I’ve lived most of my life in a darkroom.

Now I’m a young senior citizen. More than half of my life is behind me. I’ve hidden from myself and others for so long that I sometimes wonder if I can ever let the real me show. Does he even exist or did I kill him just as surely as if I had driven my VW Beetle into the family garage and closed the door with the engine running. 

A few minutes ago an online acquaintance texted me that he’d been burned by people who weren’t honest about who they are. He asked if I used a pseudonym online. I told him yes. He said “I wish you well” and then a little green bright spot on my computer screen lost its color and turned gray. I wanted to tell him, I’m trying to be me. I really am. But I’ve hidden so long that light hurts my eyes, sun burns my skin, sound hurts my ears and I feel like I’m going to melt and sizzle away like a chip of ice on a hot stove.

Then I hear another voice saying, “Oh come on, stop with all the drama and angst already. You’re a grown up man. Act like one. Get on with your life. Quit living in the past. Stop the pity party. Get over yourself. Life is tough, then you die. Besides, why would our Father in Heaven do that to anyone?"

Then I hear a kinder voice saying, “You really are OK just the way you are. And you are multi-faceted. That’s OK. Diamonds are like that, too.”

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Jonathan and David may yet lead the way

“…the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul…and then Jonathan and David made a covenant because he loved him as his own soul…”   1 Samuel 1-3

What does it mean to have your soul knit to another? It my idealized world, it would be wonderful for this scripture to be cited and explained in the context of God-sanctioned same-sex relationships. If you were to write such a text, what would it say? What has already been written on the subject? What needs to be said from a Moho point of view?

Dear Father in Heaven, Just as you blessed David to love Jonathan and his wife as well, you have blessed me with the gift of bisexuality. Thank you for this gift that has provided me with so many blessings throughout my life. Please help me and guide me to use this gift wisely. This I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Morning Breaks

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” –Romans 8:38-39

I love the idea that God's love is always there operating in our lives even when we don't realize it, just as the sun is always shining even though we can't always see it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?

Young Apostles in the LDS Quorum of the Twelve
silently affirm the warmth of non-sexual, same-sex
affection between friends and colleagues.

I agree with Beck and JGW that this is a provocative question. Elder Boyd K. Packer's talk was not only heard by thousands of faithful LDS members, but reports of it have echoed around the world through FaceBook and the blogosphere. As of a few minutes ago the Salt Lake Tribune's article on the talk with the headline "Apostle: Same-Sex Attraction Can Change" had prompted over 3,100 comments. 
Now, don't get the wrong impression here. I agree that some of Elder Packer's statements--if not put in perspective--could be deadly to some. But I am glad that the topic is generating discussion. I'm glad there's going to be a demonstration in Salt Lake City later this week. Dustin Lance Black, aren't you so glad you made the MILK film? 
So you know where I stand, here's what I wrote on the topic last year in response to a question from Abelard.
...I hope my future will include rejoicing as LDS church continues to refine its attitudes about sexuality. The Family: A Proclamation to the World includes this highly significant sentence: "Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation." 
I find hope in the idea that the church, like individuals, may find it necessary to adapt. One of my greatest sources of hope is the 9th Article of Faith: "We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal and we believe he will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God." 
I reached adulthood before the 1978 revelation that all worthy men could receive the priesthood. The church's former racist policy and teachings were a roadblock to my fully accepting Mormonism. The fact that that roadblock fell is a source of hope that other much-needed changes should and can be made. 
So do I agree with Elder Packer? Not so much. Do I find reason to welcome the discussion he has prompted, yes.