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Love One Another: A Discussion on Same-Sex Attraction
December 7, 2012 9:20 AM   Subscribe

"The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters."
The Mormon Church has launched a new initiative that encourages compassion towards the LGBT community.
posted by dephlogisticated (171 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Just so long as you don't do any gay stuff.
posted by theodolite at 9:23 AM on December 7, 2012 [40 favorites]


You're not a sinner so long as you subvert your compelling biological reality, says the Mormon Church, expecting rounds of applause.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 9:23 AM on December 7, 2012 [65 favorites]


Sounds like Catholic boilerplate. Makes about as much sense here.
posted by cthuljew at 9:23 AM on December 7, 2012 [9 favorites]


It's only been a month since the election, but that rumbling sound? Yeah, it's the Overton Window headed back our way, just a bit.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:24 AM on December 7, 2012 [21 favorites]


Blow me, Mormon church. Unless you're a guy, then don't do that, for it would be a sin.
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:25 AM on December 7, 2012 [16 favorites]


One step forward, two steps back.
posted by anaximander at 9:25 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fuck them for Prop 8.
posted by andoatnp at 9:25 AM on December 7, 2012 [27 favorites]


100% PR, 0% Genuine Compassion. Fuck them.
posted by Aquaman at 9:26 AM on December 7, 2012 [29 favorites]


The only compassion I need is for them to keep their religion out of my public policy and laws.
posted by rtha at 9:28 AM on December 7, 2012 [52 favorites]


It should be noted that trans* people are not included in the initiative, nor is being trans a sexual orientation. This is LGB.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:28 AM on December 7, 2012 [10 favorites]


Oh, look, they discovered "Love the sinner, hate the sin"

From the mormonsandgays website:
"No one fully knows the root causes of same-sex attraction."

Nobody fully knows the root causes of opposite-sex attraction, either. When did you decide to be straight?
posted by rmd1023 at 9:30 AM on December 7, 2012 [44 favorites]


Ok ok so I've been pretty strident about the LDS Church in the past but how about this, progressive Mormons: Fix this. Change this. Homosexuality is not a sin.

If, at any level, you believe homosexuality is not moral then you are not progressive at all. And by all means don't go fuck yourself, since that, too, is sinful!
posted by basicchannel at 9:30 AM on December 7, 2012 [7 favorites]


it's super-weird that in 2012 people still believe in something called "sin", but a public policy promoting "compassion", even if condescending, is still better than a public policy implicitly approving violence or shunning.
posted by facetious at 9:31 AM on December 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


"The experience of attraction to Mormonism is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, people of compassion reach out to all children, including our Mormon and Christian brothers and sisters."
FTFT


Hey look it's easy!!!!
posted by edgeways at 9:31 AM on December 7, 2012 [10 favorites]


Thirty years ago I might have applauded the church for at least not being openly hateful against LGB people, but this is not good enough by half in 2012. We're far beyond the point that you can still excuse a stance like this out of religion.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:32 AM on December 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Compassion, yes. But, somehow, I doubt that includes equal rights, like marriage. Hate the sin, but love the sinner, y'know.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:33 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, the more ridiculous and reactionary the Mormon church is, the more people there will be who will say fuck that noise, so there's that.
posted by orange swan at 9:33 AM on December 7, 2012


And here's the sales pitch:
We believe that with an eternal perspective, a person’s attraction to the same sex can be addressed and borne as a mortal test. It should not be viewed as a permanent condition. An eternal perspective beyond the immediacy of this life’s challenges offers hope. Though some people, including those resisting same-sex attraction, may not have the opportunity to marry a person of the opposite sex in this life, a just God will provide them with ample opportunity to do so in the next. We can all live life in the full context of who we are, which is much broader than sexual attraction.
"God condemned you to a life of either celibacy or sinning, but he totes won't do it twice in a row!"
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:34 AM on December 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Remember when religion was about something other than micromanaging sex and reproduction?
I don't.
posted by Galaxor Nebulon at 9:35 AM on December 7, 2012 [12 favorites]


Sod off, LDS Church.
posted by Sassenach at 9:36 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry, this isn't compassion; this is just prettier wrapping paper on the same old judgmental crap. If you want to be compassionate, you extend understanding and acceptance of people different to you.
posted by never used baby shoes at 9:43 AM on December 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Aight, I understand why a lot of people here aren't thrilled with the Mormon Church's approach, here. Cause their messaging and their angle is, all in all, still pretty wack.

But they're talking about gay people.

And if this means that one less queer Mormon kid is kicked out of their house by their parents, if it means that one less queer Mormon kid has to live on the streets, if it means that one less queer Mormon kid commits suicide because the Mormon Church is saying that queer people are people who deserve compassion - despite the NO SHIT SHERLOCK element of that, it is a step up for a lot of Mormon communities.

And it's worth it. Despite the wack parts. So, GOOD.
posted by entropone at 9:45 AM on December 7, 2012 [32 favorites]


Its all a misunderstanding anyway, according to Cracked.

I have heard other christians use the same argument - you can be gay but not do any gay stuff. So I said, what about fantasising, and they said no, as God knows our hearts (who the hell fantasises with their heart?). Seriously.

"And it's worth it. Despite the wack parts. So, GOOD."
posted by entropone

No it isn't. The parents will just be observing the child to ensure no gay stuff happens, so they can remain safe in their belief that their child is sanctified by Gods grace.
posted by marienbad at 9:49 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


People are free to live their lives as they see fit, and according to their own philosophy. This includes the freedom to acknowledge your same-sex attraction, find it contrary to your philosophical system, and avoid engaging in behaviors which contradict that philosophy.

The Mormon Church is admitting the logical truth that people do not choose their sexual orientation (which doesn't mean that they concede it is biological and immutable). And they are maintaining their belief that God prefers people do not engage in homosexual behavior.

You're free to mock them if you like, but we are talking about people choosing how to live their own lives here. And if a person chooses their deeply felt religious philosophy instead of my secular atheistic cynicism, and therefore rules out gay sex, so what?

Let them be.
posted by General Tonic at 9:50 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


As someone who gets a parental letter every year or two detailing how I'm going to hell, I'm having a hard time giving a crap. Really, this is more progressive than many religions, and they're on the losing end of a fight.

Either way, cheap way to make front page, and not very interesting.
posted by thelastcamel at 9:52 AM on December 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


entropone: And it's worth it. Despite the wack parts. So, GOOD.

No. Demonstrably NOT good.

But they're talking about gay people.

So are the Catholics -- and I don't know of any evidence that the Catholic teaching that homosexuality is an "intrinsically disordered state" (as opposed to a flat-out instance of, say, demonic possession) has resulted in any larger compassion toward gay people by the Church; in fact, perhaps the opposite.

As Pope Benedict wrote when he was still Cardinal Ratzinger, "Special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not." Special concern is not compassion. Special concern is concern trolling masking hatred and bigotry. Period.

General Tonic: Let them be.

I'll let them be when they let me be. Fuck that noise.
posted by blucevalo at 9:54 AM on December 7, 2012 [23 favorites]


When did you decide to be straight?

For many men the answer seems to be right about here.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:56 AM on December 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


but we are talking about people choosing how to live their own lives here.

No, we're talking about a demonstrably bigoted organization launching a highly structured PR campaign to whitewash their hate, presumably in order to firewall the backlash of popular opinion against their abhorrent views.

Which they show very little indication of changing. I reiterate: FUCK THEM.
posted by Aquaman at 10:00 AM on December 7, 2012 [19 favorites]


The only compassion I need is for them to keep their religion out of my public policy and laws.

Great! And you keep your moral and ethical beliefs out of public policy too! And then we'll decide what laws to pass on what normative basis?
posted by Jahaza at 10:00 AM on December 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think I told this story before, but whatever:

around the time of the Prop 8 fracas I registered on a Mormon forum for expectant parents. I have some familiarity with a lot of the LDS family values pitch, because back at the radio station in college we would take their creepy promos and play them into our mixes in brief snatches as eerie samples to be looped over noise records and etc.

So I'm on this board and I'm talking to all these Mormon moms to be, and the mods are getting nervous. And I start getting responses to various points that are drifting from the party line, because I'm describing the torment that gay couples go through in being denied family rights, and by virtue of their programming--and possibly their pregnancy--these people, when engaged as individuals, express an almost reflexive empathy towards anyone who really urgently feels the need to have a family.

So I point out that if their concern is really their church being forced to marry people it doesn't want to (the party line) then maybe we should just get the state out of the marriage business entirely. You throw away "marriage" and "domestic partnership" as distinct terms of law, and replace both with "civil union." "Husband" "wife" are to be read as "marital partner" in interpreting statutes, and that language is used going forward. Then "marriage" becomes a religious matter and churches can choose what they want to do in that regard. Possibly leading to schism, which is fine by me and historically how religions work.

A lot of the members said they thought that was a fine idea. It played into their libertarian inclinations--get the government out of the "marriage" part of my union with my partner, and let it attend to the "civil" aspects. If that also worked for LGBT people and progressive interests, so much the better. They really did believe that creating more families couldn't be bad whatever their shortcomings from a religious perspective--again, likely in no small part because LDS teachings pound home the centrality of family above all else.

After a few responses like that the mods panicked, closed and deleted the thread, and banned my account.

My take-away was there is middle ground to be found with individual LDS members, but not with the LDS church. Its agenda with Prop 8 was defending the legal ascendancy of heterosexual marriage, not the religious rights of its members as they seem to think.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:01 AM on December 7, 2012 [15 favorites]


Oh, boy. "Compassion".
posted by Legomancer at 10:03 AM on December 7, 2012


. . . a demonstrably bigoted organization launching a highly structured PR campaign to whitewash their institutionalized hate, presumably in order to firewall the backlash of popular opinion against their abhorrent views.

Wow. You win the cynicism prize.

I'm confident that there are many Mormons gay and straight who are genuinely struggling with this issue, who do want to show love and compassion for their gay children and friends in the church, and who are greeting this moderation of position with relief.
posted by General Tonic at 10:07 AM on December 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Between the religious and the GOP, "compassion" is now one of those words that makes me want to take a shower, which is sad, because I'm a pretty big fan of the original concept, before it became, "good news! You're welcome to be exactly like me!"
posted by Navelgazer at 10:07 AM on December 7, 2012 [11 favorites]


My understanding from queer people who live in or near Mormon communities is that in this instance, the Church is showing leadership - it's doing more, better, than a lot of its members. And it shows real progress from what it's done in the recent past.

Yes, this website lives in a tension between "a little bit better" and "in no fucking way good enough."

But calling it a decent step doesn't mean you have to settle for it.
posted by entropone at 10:09 AM on December 7, 2012 [8 favorites]


You're free to mock them if you like, but we are talking about people choosing how to live their own lives here. And if a person chooses their deeply felt religious philosophy instead of my secular atheistic cynicism, and therefore rules out gay sex, so what?

Let them be.


I'll let individual Mormons be whatever the hell makes them happy. Go, them.

I will not let the institution be. It's delighted to give money to legal and public policy efforts that support only its particular brand of religion, regardless of how many not-their-religion people would be subject to those laws and policies. No, I will not let that be, no matter how much they whitewash it with fake compassion.
posted by rtha at 10:11 AM on December 7, 2012 [28 favorites]


I just wrapped up a 66 comment long internet fight with some Mormon friends of friends on Facebook. I've seen the pain, the division, and the fallout of the Mormon church's "compassion" up close and in person. Year after year, families are split up and people hurt themselves because of this "you're OK as a gay so long as you don't act on it" stance. The church is entitled to believe what it wants to. But I've seen this before, and it's an act. The church will still berate gays in their annual conference, will still ship kids off to Evergreen to self hate, and lead their membership in the same ways. Thankfully society is going to drag them, kicking and screaming, into the harsh reality one day.
posted by msbutah at 10:13 AM on December 7, 2012 [7 favorites]


Let them be.

How about they let the rest of us be, once for a God damn change.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:13 AM on December 7, 2012 [11 favorites]


Although I share in the distaste for this branch of the Abrahamic tradition, I am grateful for any steps forward, though it may not be at the speed I desire.

It may also be due to public pressure; or because it's bad PR; or because there are gay Mormons who have revealed themselves in the system and remain faithful to the institution. I don't know.

But the Mormon church can change it's teachings upon the direct revelation to their leader. But the roots of institutional change are rarely simply, "Oh my God - I was morally and ethically wrong for hundreds of years."

Institutions do not often change by fiat. Nor would we always want that, either, for usually immediate, quick, and rapid change is the vision of a tyrant.

As far as the reference to gay men in the Catholic Church, the institution is, by and large, a monosexual organization that is privately tolerant and publicly hostile. One could argue that the largest religious organization in the world is run primarily by gay men.
posted by john wilkins at 10:13 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


It is good that some decent civil-minded Mormon individuals will be more able to express their compassion more openly. It is also good that the central LDS Church institution is being slightly less evil than usual. Good news all round.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:21 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


So I point out that if their concern is really their church being forced to marry people it doesn't want to (the party line) then maybe we should just get the state out of the marriage business entirely. You throw away "marriage" and "domestic partnership" as distinct terms of law, and replace both with "civil union." "Husband" "wife" are to be read as "marital partner" in interpreting statutes, and that language is used going forward. Then "marriage" becomes a religious matter and churches can choose what they want to do in that regard. Possibly leading to schism, which is fine by me and historically how religions work.

Same with ending/scaling down the drug wars and reforming America's prison systems, this is one of those libertarian-esque proposals that seems like a fine idea but is unfortunately hamstrung by making too much sense, going against entrenched political interests and social norms that are firmly in place because of inertia.

With something like this, the state gets to claim plausible deniability and neutrality over the whole matter. That is, until fundamentalist Mormon sects and hardline Muslim groups forge an unlikely coalition with free love groups and start agitating for plural civil unions. And then the state would really get dragged in because suddenly you'd have to deal with all of those pesky tax and other considerations that current marriage-related laws are supposed to handle, except now with different numbers than two.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:22 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Great! And you keep your moral and ethical beliefs out of public policy too! And then we'll decide what laws to pass on what normative basis?

How about on the basis of the norms of human rights, equality, decency, and respect, like most halfway rational legal systems? Or is that too complicated?
posted by blucevalo at 10:24 AM on December 7, 2012 [25 favorites]


msbutah,

The most interesting/horrifying thing about your conversation is the way that people still say being gay is a choice...but then I realized that they were using "gay" to mean something like "to pursue gay relationships".

In other words: if you are "same-sex attracted*" (ugh), but don't act on it, then congrats! You're not gay.

*And in one FB thread, I understand WHY conservative religious groups created the term "same-sex attraction" to use instead of "gay".
posted by subversiveasset at 10:24 AM on December 7, 2012


How about on the basis of the norms of human rights, equality, decency, and respect, like most halfway rational legal systems? Or is that too complicated?

Yes.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:25 AM on December 7, 2012


And then we'll decide what laws to pass on what normative basis?

Secular values that may coincide with particular religious perspectives but that are not limited to one or more religious perspectives. Defining and debating these values isn't an easy process, as the messy history of Establishment Clause jurisprudence indicates, but it has served us far better than governments that enforce religious laws.
posted by audi alteram partem at 10:25 AM on December 7, 2012 [11 favorites]


Yeah, it always amazes me to hear people make arguments like "Denying people civil rights on the basis of religion is exactly the same as allowing people civil rights on the basis of humanity! They are exactly equivalent!" No, seriously, they are not. It's like that whole "why don't you tolerate intolerance?" canard.
posted by KathrynT at 10:27 AM on December 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


Wow. You win the cynicism prize.

Thanks. Does the prize still count if the basis for it is true?

Let's be clear: this is not about individual mormons, as you keep trying to assert, it's about the actions of the LDS Church, which are utterly and indefensibly despicable.
posted by Aquaman at 10:28 AM on December 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


You're free to mock them if you like, but we are talking about people choosing how to live their own lives here. And if a person chooses their deeply felt religious philosophy instead of my secular atheistic cynicism, and therefore rules out gay sex, so what?

Let them be.


We're not talking about people choosing how to live their own lives. We're talking about people who have repeatedly, consistently, and proudly done their level best to intrude upon the sexual, romantic, and legal affairs of people who have no interest whatsoever in their deeply felt religious philosophy. The Mormon Church has made it very clear that they have no intention of letting non-Mormons be; they have chosen to seek to dictate the laws that apply to all Americans, Mormon and otherwise.

Therefore, I will not let them be. I will repeatedly, consistently, and proudly oppose their attempts to impose their theological bullshit upon the rest of the country, and I will decry their small-minded attempts to make people feel bad about their love.
posted by Tomorrowful at 10:28 AM on December 7, 2012 [40 favorites]


I just wrapped up a 66 comment long internet fight

There is so much cognitive dissonance and downright ignorance in that thread - and I'm only a dozen or so comments into it - that I don't even.

Wow.
posted by rtha at 10:29 AM on December 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


fundamentalist Mormon sects and hardline Muslim groups forge an unlikely coalition with free love groups and start agitating for plural civil unions....And then the state would really get dragged in because suddenly you'd have to deal with all of those pesky tax and other considerations that current marriage-related laws are supposed to handle, except now with different numbers than two.

Well, they'd try, I suppose. But the statutes currently on the books that void bigamous marriages would still apply. On first impression, I don't see why any already rejected rationale for overturning them would be improved by the above proposal.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:29 AM on December 7, 2012


And if this means that one less queer Mormon kid is kicked out of their house by their parents, if it means that one less queer Mormon kid has to live on the streets, if it means that one less queer Mormon kid commits suicide because the Mormon Church is saying that queer people are people who deserve compassion - despite the NO SHIT SHERLOCK element of that, it is a step up for a lot of Mormon communities.

It may also mean that there's more gay Mormon kids shipped off to Degayifying Boot Camp to be subjected to what basically boils down to torture.
posted by elizardbits at 10:30 AM on December 7, 2012 [12 favorites]


Wow. You win the cynicism prize.

It's not cynical to point out that fake compassion is indeed fake, or that this is an organization that is actively fighting against people's human rights.
posted by Forktine at 10:31 AM on December 7, 2012 [11 favorites]


It's okay to be Mormon, as long as you never act on your Mormon feelings.
posted by ColdChef at 10:32 AM on December 7, 2012 [8 favorites]


So if being homosexual isn't the sin - the homo sex is - then why be against gay marriage? Marriage is a public commitment between two people; sexless marriages are still valid (hell, there's a whole genus of generally unfunny jokes on the topic). So, if the gay sex is the sin, and marriage does not necessitate sex, the Mormon church should be perfectly fine with gay marriage.

Oh wait, that would require logic, not "faith". (When your faith gets in the way of the rights of me or mine, you can just go ahead and faith yourself.)
posted by notsnot at 10:36 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


sexless marriages are still valid

Actually not true. Until the marriage is consummated, it's not valid in the eyes of most churches.
posted by KathrynT at 10:37 AM on December 7, 2012


"a just God will provide them with ample opportunity to do so in the next. "

A "just god" is one hell of an assumption, based on what I see in the world around me.
posted by notsnot at 10:38 AM on December 7, 2012 [12 favorites]


I try to be careful not to get on people's cases when they're moving in the right direction, even if they're coming from a place that I think is terrible.

I know Mormons and ex-Mormons, both, who are gay. I have an idea of what one of them went through when he came out, and I saw another go through years and years in the closet for fear of losing all of his family and friends.

Is the new Mormon position 'good', to my mind? No, it's a pile of garbage. But it's a pile of garbage that stinks a significant amount less than it used to, and for that I salute them in this change of stance. This will make people's lives better.
posted by gurple at 10:38 AM on December 7, 2012


Great! And you keep your moral and ethical beliefs out of public policy too! And then we'll decide what laws to pass on what normative basis?

How about common sense? Basic human rights? Do you really need religion to tell you "Don't be a dick to other people"?
posted by xedrik at 10:41 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


"This will make people's lives better."
posted by gurple

No it won't. They are saying that if you are gay you should repress your perfectly natural sexual feelings for another human being. How does that help anyone?
posted by marienbad at 10:41 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


No it won't. They are saying that if you are gay you should repress your perfectly natural sexual feelings for another human being. How does that help anyone?

Because they used to also say that you should change your sexuality and marry someone of the opposite sex. And now they're encouraging their members to be compassionate towards their gay friends and family, which, believe me, is not how it's been done traditionally, at least in Utah.

Read me again if you think I'm supporting this stance in a vacuum. I'm not. I'm saying it's improvement.
posted by gurple at 10:44 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm so FUCKING SICK AND TIRED of this. No, it won't make people's lives better. No, it won't stop gay kids from getting kicked out of the house. No, it won't eliminate nasty, prejudicial behavior from Mormons. It won't give people a sense of relief, it won't give parents a better understanding of their gay child. No, it doesn't make the LDS church more compassionate, or understanding or more anything. It's useless propaganda, it's bullshit and stop defending it or half admiring it. There is no SIN. SIN is a made up, useless artifice designed to shame and humiliate other human beings. There are CRIMES, which hurt people and property. IF YOU CHOOSE TO FUCK SOMEONE, AND THEY CHOOSE TO FUCK YOU BACK, it's not a crime, either.
posted by Kokopuff at 10:45 AM on December 7, 2012 [15 favorites]


You're free to mock them if you like, but we are talking about people choosing how to live their own lives here. And if a person chooses their deeply felt religious philosophy instead of my secular atheistic cynicism, and therefore rules out gay sex, so what?

Let them be.
posted by General Tonic


I get what you're trying to say, but I disagree with this:
"...we are talking about people choosing how to live their own lives here."

No, we're really not. We're talking about how people want others to live their lives. They're not just peacefully minding their own business, and just have opinions that just happens to conflict with mine and others, they're actively trying to make me feel bad about who I am and lobbying to prevent my LGB(T) American friends from having the right to marry, adopt, inherit property from their partners, etc.
posted by 1000monkeys at 10:45 AM on December 7, 2012 [9 favorites]


Let them be.

Yeah...except that as an institution the Mormon position is still that a certain sub-set of humanity should be denied the basic human right of sexual expression and through doctrine and dogma actively attempts to prevent certain people from experiencing their own sexuality.

Sex is as human and natural as going to the bathroom or eating...and is clearly expressed in many ways both culturally and individually. So long as you are not using it to hurt or traumatize another person, and are experiencing it consensually - no other human being has a right to tell you what to do with it.

When the Mormons, and by extension Religion in general (Christianity, Judaism, Islam and all the others), reforms so as to stop operating with an aim to deny and control natural and benign human impulses...then maybe we can let them be. Until then religious institutions will remain forever targets.
posted by jnnla at 10:49 AM on December 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


I would be more impressed, for example, if the church even made a couple of changes.

1) from top down, it is decreed (e.g., church handbook of instructions) that no one in a gay relationship is to be excommunicated. Maybe that doesn't allow someone to have a temple recommend (baby steps), but no excommunications/deprivation from teaching/etc.,

2) from top down, it is decreed that kicking your gay kid out of the house will lose you your temple recommend (improper dealings with your fellow man), and possibly disciplinary action.
posted by subversiveasset at 10:49 AM on December 7, 2012 [13 favorites]


I don't see where the real new position here is, in this. All I see is a new and incredibly misguided evangelism outreach with the same old bad ideas, that probably isn't targeted so much towards gay people as straight people who are more socially progressive and might otherwise be responsive to the church's message. "We aren't as evil towards the people you like as you thought!" Except they are.

I just don't really buy that this doesn't still boil down to "our ideal is for you as a gay person to get better and marry a straight person". I don't think the official church position ever was so hostile as to involve, like, pitchforks and torches, was it? I mean, the behavior might have been terrible, but the official position of other Christian fundamentalists short of the WBC has always been more like, "We love you, and loving you means we want you to go to heaven no matter how miserable it makes you on earth." This doesn't seem any more loving than that.
posted by gracedissolved at 10:50 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


100% PR, 0% Genuine Compassion. Fuck them.

To a 'T" that describes Mitt Romney: "100% PR, 0% Genuine Compassion. Fuck him."
posted by ericb at 10:50 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


"...we are talking about people choosing how to live their own lives here."


I forgot to mention, this comment would be valid if they were simply choosing not to have gay sex themselves, on an individual basis, because of whatever reason. However, they are telling other people not to have gay sex and that it is bad, and trying to control other's lives by lobbying politicians, etc. That is not "choosing how to live their own lives" and I can't understand how anybody could see it that way.
posted by 1000monkeys at 10:53 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


how about this, progressive Mormons: Fix this. Change this.

Agreed. We're working on it. Thanks.
posted by The World Famous at 10:54 AM on December 7, 2012 [17 favorites]


Look, I get it. Jump all over the Mormon church, for their attitude and their coercion and their backwards views. Jump on them for the suffering it causes. Jump on them because they get involved in politics.

But don't jump on them for this change. This change isn't bad, the starting place is bad. They're mellowing slightly. If that act brings them new members and good press, maybe they'll mellow some more. That's one good thing about the Mormon church -- they can change their doctrine any time they want. They've got a living prophet.
posted by gurple at 10:56 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think people are jumping on it because it isn't a change at all...it's just a more PC way of saying what they've always believed, or paying lip service to that whole oops, we forgot about that love thy neighbour stuff...it's an attempt to reconcile their bigotry with their scripture.
posted by 1000monkeys at 10:58 AM on December 7, 2012 [7 favorites]


There is no SIN. SIN is a made up, useless artifice designed to shame and humiliate other human beings.

I don't get how it's an "artifice". To an atheist, it's a set of morality created by humans to use on other humans. To the believer it's going against God's will.

To put it another way. There's a voice in a person's head that says for them not to do something. A believer thinks that voice is supernatural. An atheist would think it's just their own thoughts. IF it's their own thoughts, it doesn't make it artificial, because it springs from their own mind.
posted by FJT at 11:01 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


FJT: they said "SIN" is made up, not morality. Sin has a specific definition:
sin
/sin/
Noun
An immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.

So, to anybody who doesn't believe in religion, sin is, indeed, an artifice.
posted by 1000monkeys at 11:03 AM on December 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


The World Famous: Thank you!
posted by rmd1023 at 11:04 AM on December 7, 2012


This is an organisation that only stopped formal discrimination against blacks in 1978. They aren't even out of my scum list for that, even before we get to prop 8 etc.
posted by jaduncan at 11:08 AM on December 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


I think people are jumping on it because it isn't a change at all.

Precisely. Those of you telling us to be happy because the LDS church is changing, albeit slowly: you are the target of this PR campaign.

The attitudes this paid advertisement is trying to change are yours, with respect to the church, not the church's with respect to the LGBT community.
posted by Aquaman at 11:08 AM on December 7, 2012 [18 favorites]


Precisely. Those of you telling us to be happy because the LDS church is changing, albeit slowly: you are the target of this PR campaign.

Yes. Fortunately, since we're not complete idiots, we recognize that and we're still working on change.

The attitudes this paid advertisement are trying to change are yours, with respect to the church, not the church's with respect to the LGBT community.

Yep. But, again, we're not complete idiots, so it won't work.
posted by The World Famous at 11:11 AM on December 7, 2012 [9 favorites]


"compassion", even if condescending, is still better than a public policy implicitly approving violence or shunning

"Compassion" that amounts to "you will never have a sexual relationship, sorry, sucks to be you" is not really distinguishable from shunning or, in many cases, violence.

I agree that the Mormons are allowed to tell Mormons whatever they please; where it gets annoying is when they tell non-Mormons that they should be legally obligated to follow Mormon rules. As they did when they paid all that money for Prop. 8.
posted by Fnarf at 11:11 AM on December 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


so it won't work.

From the comments here, I'd say you are about 50% correct.
posted by Aquaman at 11:12 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


The attitudes this paid advertisement is trying to change are yours, with respect to the church, not the church's with respect to the LGBT community.

Look, maybe I'm seeing this a particular way because I grew up in Utah and I saw the attitude toward homosexuality there. It was bad, really bad. And it was bad for religious reasons, on top of cultural reasons.

I don't think that, if the church's official stance back then (in the late 80s and 90s) had been what they're articulating now, it would have been quite so bad. I don't think people I knew would have said some of the things they said, did some of the things they did, if the church's official line had been "Members of the Church who have same-sex attractions, but don’t act on them, can continue to enjoy full fellowship in the church, which includes holding the priesthood, carrying out callings, and attending the temple."

Maybe I'm wrong about that.
posted by gurple at 11:12 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


And you keep your moral and ethical beliefs out of public policy too! And then we'll decide what laws to pass on what normative basis?

On the basis of Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do.

IOW, informed, consenting adults have the right to do whatever they want.

The law is for public matters: property issues, issues of non-consent, of misrepresentation and lying, for public safety standards, regulation of business. The things that go well beyond the oneself and one's partner.

Anyway, the book is free and worth reading. Its author makes a persuasive argument for not allowing the government into one's "bedroom."
posted by five fresh fish at 11:16 AM on December 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


How would you have known whether someone had acted on those attractions or not? Seems ripe for gossip/rumour/slander.
posted by marienbad at 11:16 AM on December 7, 2012


Until the marriage is consummated, it's not valid in the eyes of most churches.

So? What do churches have to do with it? Churches don't validate marriage, counties do. "By the powers that are vested in me" means vested by the government, not the church. All marriages are valid if the signatures on the piece of paper from the court are valid.

And a marriage performed in a church is invalid if the license is improper in some way.

My marriage hasn't been validated by any church at all, and I regard it as perfectly valid as long as Mrs. Fnarf does.
posted by Fnarf at 11:17 AM on December 7, 2012


So, to anybody who doesn't believe in religion, sin is, indeed, an artifice.

I pulled my definition from Wikipedia: In Abrahamic contexts, sin is the act of violating God's will.

And whether or not you believe in the existence of God, someone hold's it in their head that doing something is wrong. Whether it's called "sin" or "shitty behavior", it is contained in between someone's ears. I think there's an implication that by removing God (the "artifice") that these sorts of thoughts will dissolve. I disagree. Being stubborn does not require divine involvement.
posted by FJT at 11:18 AM on December 7, 2012


Given that people are just going to engage in sexual activity in one form or another I kind of see this as the LDS equivalent of DADT, hopefully it takes less than 17 to get beyond it. Perhaps someone should go ahead and have another revelation.
posted by edgeways at 11:18 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


we're still working on change

I want to make explicit that I really value this, and: thank you. I have been on the inside working for change, and I have been on the outside on the barricades, and both have value and can really make a difference.
posted by rtha at 11:20 AM on December 7, 2012 [9 favorites]


Reading the bottom line first and then the quote was like getting a dose of Almost Politically Correct Redneck.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 11:20 AM on December 7, 2012


And WTF has "sin" to do with legal issues? What an absurd, even looney, idea.

The law is based on harm to people and property. Murder is illegal not because it is a "sin" but because it is harm against a non-consenting person. It's against the law because you would hurt them, not because your would endanger your soul!
posted by five fresh fish at 11:21 AM on December 7, 2012 [8 favorites]


Actually not true. Until the marriage is consummated, it's not valid in the eyes of most churches.

I don't know if this is true for "most Churches," but it's not true for the Catholic Church. An unconsummated marriage between baptized persons is considered valid, but can be dissolved for grave reasons. A valid and consummated marriage between baptized persons is considered indissoluble. (An anullment doesn't dissolve a marriage, but is a declaration that a valid marriage never existed, hence the proper name for an anullment: a declaration of nullity.)
posted by Jahaza at 11:23 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just wrapped up a 66 comment long internet fight with some Mormon friends of friends on Facebook.

My favorite from that whole thing is "I have prayed about your ideas and they are wrong therefore I don't accept them."

Okay then.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:23 AM on December 7, 2012 [11 favorites]


The law is based on harm to people and property. Murder is illegal not because it is a "sin" but because it is harm against a non-consenting person. It's against the law because you would hurt them, not because your would endanger your soul!

But what constitutes "harm" is a normative judgment. Murder is relatively unambigious. Other laws are not so obvious.
posted by Jahaza at 11:24 AM on December 7, 2012


Please explain who I harm, and how, when I engage in a consenting sexual relationship with another adult who is also female, and why it is so harmful that it should be outlawed (remember sodomy laws?).
posted by rtha at 11:27 AM on December 7, 2012 [15 favorites]


And WTF has "sin" to do with legal issues? What an absurd, even looney, idea.

Wasn't the idea accepted widely at least a few hundred years ago? Kind of how science was born from the Church, law was also borne from proclamations by priests and those with the mandate of heaven (kings, emperors, etc.)?
posted by FJT at 11:27 AM on December 7, 2012


Kind of how science was born from the Church...

I've heard that line before. I don't really buy it.
</derail>
posted by gurple at 11:33 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've heard that line before. I don't really buy it.

Maybe not THE church, but priestly classes in ancient civilizations often decided planting and harvesting seasons. And those classes used early astronomy to make these sorts of guesses.
posted by FJT at 11:35 AM on December 7, 2012


Okay, so I really wanted to shout "IT'S A TRAP" when I saw this, but really... what more could we expect them to have done? Isn't this the biggest first step that anyone could have reasonably expected the LDS church to take?

It's definitely okay to laud the church by acknowledging that this is a huge step in the right direction, while also adding the caveat that the church also still has a long way to go.

At the very, absolute minimum, this adds a very large and powerful voice against bullying and hate speech (both of which are staggeringly un-Christian, and it's really shocking that more churches haven't made similar proclamations).

Also, let's get this out of the way: The LDS church encourages even its heterosexual members to be repressed about a lot of things. This isn't great, but the recommendations in this document seem to reflect the church's general mindset -- again, without asking them to rethink their entire philosophy, I don't think we could have expected much more out of the church.

Now, I am concerned that this could just be a strawman, or provide a gateway to harmful ex-gay activism. We'll have to wait and see if this comes to fruition, and I really hope that it doesn't.

Also, this could potentially change or even eliminate the church's political activism in this area. The document states a few times that the Church's opinions on homosexuality are religious in nature. Given how thoroughly the Prop 8 defense have been eviscerated in the courts for being unable to produce a rational justification for the discriminatory law, it seems like this campaign will make it even more difficult for any Mormon-backed campaign to withstand scrutiny in court.

The church's lawyers aren't idiots, and I'd be surprised if they allowed these documents to be published if the church were planning to continue lobbying against marriage equality.
posted by schmod at 11:40 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


...priestly classes in ancient civilizations often decided planting and harvesting seasons...

Right -- I understand the argument. My perspective is that the church (broadly broadly speaking) was doing those things in its role as Holder of Power. That is, if it hadn't been for the church, those functions would have been absorbed secularly. Similarly, I don't think we owe a debt to the church for giving us Bach -- dude would have been funded some other way if some other entity had had the deep pockets at his point in history.

</derail, really>
posted by gurple at 11:42 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


You know, I just realized something blindingly obvious and incredibly funny to me:

If churches are going to suddenly be okay with people being gay as long as they don't have gay sex, they should probably just help us get married. Because, well, millions of bad stand up comedians may have been beaten the joke to death but there is some truth to the age-old "eventually, there's less sex in a committed relationship" bit.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:45 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


really? it's not that hard to define harm. You may have to chase down some rabbit holes to cover every eventuality, but it does provide a more even basis to make a judgement on right and wrong then simply saying it was dictated by a being based solely on belief, and is subject to wide sweeping exclusions based on skin tone, region of birth, sexuality, gender, religion...
Laws generally are in place to prevent physical, mental or financial harm, or harm to rights granted. And in nominative egalitarian societies they are suppose to be applied evenly to all classes unless you have specific reason to deny it.

The 'devil' (ha) is in the details, figuring out when harm is justified, or when it is applied unjustly. Many (not all) Mormons feel that that harm to people who are gay, in not recognizing their rights to be treated equally, is justified because of their religious belief. Which has always been a terrible model for justification, and it constantly shocks me that any group that has been persecuted, such as the Mormons, would advocate such a position once they held a modicum of power. What if America was one day a majority of people who believed all Mormons are evil and sub human? and that it was against their religion to allow Mormons to live? That it was a sin to be a Mormon? (substitute any group for Mormon there) Would the self same Mormons now who in 1970 believe people who are black where works of the Devil, or currently, that practicing homosexuality is a sin be all kosher with the idea that they are themselves creatures of evil? Of course not, and of course they are not. But religious justification is a lot more slippery and a lot more inherently changeable then simply saying "Hey you know what? you are not allowed to kill or cause harm to another human being no matter what their gender/skin tone/religion/ -full stop- unless they are trying to actively harm you".

There are a lot of great Mormons (TWF is one as far as I can tell... the main members of the band Low are and plenty of others), my best friend is a staunch human rights advocate and a Christian pastor
posted by edgeways at 11:54 AM on December 7, 2012


As a non-Utah Mormon, I've always viewed Utah in general as about 15-20 years behind in most things, whether it's fashion or culture or laws or whatever. Add to that the Mormon church's institutional culture of general intransigence and slow-moving doctrinal, theological, and cultural progression, and that tacks another, say 10 or 15 years on top of the 15-20 you get just by being based in Utah. Maybe I'm not being fair in that view, but sorry, Utah and the Church - that's just the way I've always viewed it, and it will take a lot to change my mind.

So, is this PR campaign a step forward? Well, sort of. It's a step forward in that it's setting forth in detail the position that the church has held doctrinally for a long time and that the church for whatever complicated reasons chose not to state clearly for the record. It's a position from which the church needs to move forward. So in the sense of actual changing views and policies, it's not much of a step forward. But I view it as the important event that happens before the step forward - the first signs that the church is recognizing just where it is currently standing so it might (might) figure out that it needs to take a step forward.

I also think it is significant that this is presented without any allegation or claim of any specific divine revelation on the matter. As with many other things in Mormonism that evolve and progress, the lack of a foundational revelation on the matter makes it much easier for there to be a later policy change or "correction" by divine fiat.

With regard to the church's institutional racism that ended with a purported divine revelation in 1978, it did help that those policies were not instituted as the result of a purported divine revelation, but of cultural practices and beliefs that became doctrines as church leaders brought their own cultural baggage into the doctrine (helped along initially by persecution in Missouri by people who feared that Mormon abolitionists would take over the state's political landscape). In that sense, it was not a case of God "changing his mind," but of church leaders getting it wrong and finally going to God to find out the way to go when their culture and the law finally changed quicker than the church did.

Personally, I think Mormons and Church leaders believe homosexual relations are sinful not because God told them so but because their culture has told them so for all their lives, so that position resonates with them and the idea that God might think otherwise has honestly never occurred to them - or the very idea that God might think otherwise seems sacreligious. I would be shocked if any high-up-the-ladder Mormon leader has ever knelt in prayer to ask God whether or not gay sex is immoral. There's just no way that has ever happened. They take it as a self-evident truth and are basing policy on it without considering the possibility that they're wrong. Doing that is dangerous, and they ought to know better given the church's history.

So I guess I'm watching to see whether this latest step is the Church digging in its heels to try to stop from moving or the Church digging in its feet so it eventually has traction to take a step forward. I think it's going to move forward either way. The question is whether it will be taking a stride or being dragged.

Either way, I and many people like me are trying to take it by the hand and pull forward.
posted by The World Famous at 11:58 AM on December 7, 2012 [13 favorites]


I and many people like me are trying to take it by the hand and pull forward.

Darn it, that's exactly what they just told you not to do!
posted by Fnarf at 12:06 PM on December 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


Unfortunately the videos were DCMA'd off of youtube, but there there was video evidence of the author of the "Six Consequences" memo, Gary Lawrence with his whole "We want negative buzz" shtick. To me it was definitive proof that these men who run this church are hatemongers.

I'm sorry, The World Famous, you can apologize all you want for it, but when it comes down to it, for as progressive as you are trying to be, you don't get to vote on who's leading the church. If you were to bear your testimony about your feelings in this matter, you'd probably have the bishop cut your microphone.
posted by Catblack at 12:06 PM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can't find the bit where they apologize for Prop 8, where they pledge to never strive to take away gay people's rights or try to force political law to make gay people's lives more difficult.

Only acknowledgement that they used to do things differently that I could find is "Unlike in times past, the Church does not necessarily advise those with same-sex attraction to marry those of the opposite sex."

The page has the word "love" plastered all over it, and makes me think of the Die Hard quote: "My wife heard me say I love you a thousand times, but she never once heard me say sorry."
posted by RobotHero at 12:12 PM on December 7, 2012 [16 favorites]


And Pat Robertson speaks out against literal interpretations of creationism. The world is truly ending.
posted by jph at 12:12 PM on December 7, 2012


( Except, of course, when John McClane says he loves me, I believe him. )
posted by RobotHero at 12:14 PM on December 7, 2012


This is not a step in the right direction. Kinder, gentler institutional hatred is still hatred. They haven't announced that they're abandoning their attempts to establish a theocracy. They've announced they'll be more quiet about the abuse they throw at their own people.
posted by moshjosh at 12:20 PM on December 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wow, it's really great that when Jesus came back to life in America, started ministering to native americans, embraced polyamory, and then sent an angel to give golden tablets to Joseph Smith Jr (the script of which could only be deciphered by putting a magic stone in a hat and then shoving one's face in the hat)... well, it's just really great that by that point in time, Jesus had apparently become slightly more accepting of alternative lifestyles. I guess a thousand years can really change a person's outlook, you know?
posted by wolfdreams01 at 12:24 PM on December 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is not a step in the right direction.

Think of it this way. You're in a room with two other people. One of the other people is steadily beating the other. Punch, punch, punch, right in the face. It's savage. It's sickening. But you're restrained, you can't do anything about it except shout.

Then, the person doing the beating stops momentarily, blinks, puts on a big puffy boxing glove, and resumes the beating. Same as before, just slightly softened. Somewhat less harm done.

The beating is bad. Is the glove good?
posted by gurple at 12:25 PM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


In related news, SCOTUS has announced they will hear both the Prop 8 and DOMA (Windsor) cases.
posted by rtha at 12:25 PM on December 7, 2012 [7 favorites]


Then, the person doing the beating stops momentarily, blinks, puts on a big puffy boxing glove, and resumes the beating. Same as before, just slightly softened. Somewhat less harm done.

The beating is bad. Is the glove good?
posted by gurple at 12:25 PM on December 7


Seeing how boxing gloves are mostly useful for protecting your hands while you hit someone harder and longer, this metaphor works for reasons I don't believe you intended.
posted by Benjy at 12:30 PM on December 7, 2012 [17 favorites]


Seeing how boxing gloves are mostly useful for protecting your hands while you hit someone harder and longer, this metaphor works for reasons I don't believe you intended.

Touché. Still, I think that quite a lot of people in this thread are focused on how bad the church's attitude still is. That's not news. The news is the incremental change. Is this a change that helps them keep doing harm while taking less flack? That would be bad if that were all it did.

But I don't think the church could put out this new PR and then turn around and, next month, fund an anti-marriage-equality campaign somewhere. It would be spectacularly bad PR. The Mormon church is nothing if not PR-savvy.
posted by gurple at 12:36 PM on December 7, 2012


>The Mormon church is nothing if not PR-savvy.

That's why I posted the "we want negative buzz" link above, andyou can't imagine how much I would love for you all to see the clip and hear Lawrence's pious Utah drawl when he says it.

This Mormons and Gays site (note it's not Mormons who ARE Gay) is just a calculated pr move from a self-centered cabal. But if it leads to a few less gay mormon teenagers committing suicide, I'm all for it.
posted by Catblack at 12:48 PM on December 7, 2012


General Tonic: . . . a demonstrably bigoted organization launching a highly structured PR campaign to whitewash their institutionalized hate, presumably in order to firewall the backlash of popular opinion against their abhorrent views.

Wow. You win the cynicism prize.

I'm confident that there are many Mormons gay and straight who are genuinely struggling with this issue, who do want to show love and compassion for their gay children and friends in the church, and who are greeting this moderation of position with relief.
And there were black Americans grateful that Massah stopped using the whip, in favor of just selling off misbehaving slaves.

Doesn't make a word of General Tonic's cynicism the least bit untrue. Not a word of it. Not one.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:51 PM on December 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Can we congratulate some progress while asking for more meaningful progress? Can liberals do that anymore?
posted by tripping daisy at 12:57 PM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Not a liberal and haven't ever really been one, so...nope. Lots of people seem to be happy to give them (conditional) props, so....Is it now a requirement that we all agree that it's an unmitigated good?
posted by rtha at 1:03 PM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, it's hella mitigated.
posted by The World Famous at 1:09 PM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can we congratulate some progress while asking for more meaningful progress? Can liberals do that anymore?

If this actually represented real progress, yes, we could do that.
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:12 PM on December 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


Court just took Prop 8!
posted by klangklangston at 1:12 PM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Can we congratulate some progress

This isn't progress. It's PRogress.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:18 PM on December 7, 2012 [10 favorites]


Forgive me if I fail to applaud the leap from "we want to deny you basic rights while we encourage you to live a tortured life of lies and sadness" to "we want to deny you basic rights while we encourage you to live a tortured life of ceilbacy and sadness".
posted by kyrademon at 1:21 PM on December 7, 2012 [7 favorites]


Hey LDS, a way to show 'true compassion' is to make financial contributions (like the millions of dollars you gave to Prop 8, NOM, etc.) to the Human Rights Campaign, the Trevor Project, GLAAD, and The Point Foundation, among others.

That's a start. And I mean millions of dollars to show your "compassion towards the LGBT community" is indeed genuine.

Put your money where your mouth is.

Until then, I see this as a PR stunt made to mask your longstanding history of bigotry.
posted by ericb at 1:25 PM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not a liberal and haven't ever really been one, so...nope. Lots of people seem to be happy to give them (conditional) props, so....Is it now a requirement that we all agree that it's an unmitigated good?

I look at it like this: I know many people who have been told since birth that Gay is not just bad, it's Evil. So when they collectively try in their own interpretation of reality to extend more understanding towards the other side while people inside of their own group threaten them with eternal torment, I think compassion is a good option to pursue to achieve more understanding.

Let's look at one comment from above: "100% PR, 0% Genuine Compassion. Fuck them."

Who's them? Let me concede that the people at the top of the organization are probably running damage control so they don't seem like complete lunatics in 20 years when gay marriage is just called marriage, and the only people left on your side are the depraved fuckheads at Westboro.

There is also another Them. It's the people inside of that organization who are now paying attention to the issue. Isn't it possible that they have real compassion, but due to the worldview they were raised in and don't have much control over (in their own minds) that it's the best they can do with what they have? I don't think berating people who are raised in insular religious communities with hate and snark is going to improve the situation. Sure, there's a time to tell someone to fuck off. But when any small attempt is made to bridge the misunderstanding, you're going to convince a lot more people with reason and appeals for justice than you will with condescension and belittlement.

I think everyone here is interested in justice in the fullest sense of the word, and it would help if we don't go grouping others together and judging them for doing the same thing to other groups. We could end up with something like this:

"I'm glad that some people in the Mormon community may be more accepting of the LGBT community instead of trying to ostracize them or take away their rights through things like Prop 8. But the assholes who are doing it for PR and not out of genuine compassion, fuck them."
posted by tripping daisy at 1:26 PM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Question, is this the Prop 8 thread then? Don't get that deletion at all. That is a major, monumental legal happening today, esp. with both Prop 8 and DOMA being brought forward with the Court.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:35 PM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Prop. 8, it's going to take a lot more than this PR move to undue the damage caused by their money backing Prop Hate.
posted by Jaymzifer at 1:47 PM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Question, is this the Prop 8 thread then? Don't get that deletion at all. That is a major, monumental legal happening today, esp. with both Prop 8 and DOMA being brought forward with the Court.

The Prop 8 and DOMA cases being taken up by SCOTUS is being discussed in the already open FPP from last Friday: "In a private conference this morning, the Supreme Court of the United Stated discussed ten petitions relating to the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8."

The SCOTUS taking up these cases is also being discussed somewhat in the Good news from Washington State FPP, regarding same-sex marriage licenses being distributed in Washington State.

It appears the robust discussion will likely transpire in the SCOTUS/Prop 8/DOMA thread started last week (the one I mention above).

We now have three open threads with different topical focuses: (1) The Mormon Church stance on homosexuality, (2) same-sex marriage in Washington State and (3) SCOTUS and DOMA, Prop 8. Three distinct topics which I suggest warrant focused discussion in each thread.

All important topics on their own
posted by ericb at 1:49 PM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ah, the Book of Mormon Musical:

"Turn it off, like a light switch, there it's gone, my hetero side just won, it's all better now, boys should be with girls that's heavenly fathers plan, so if you feel you'd rather be with a man, TURN IT OFF.

Just pretend your brain is full of tiny boxes, and find the box that's gay and CRUSH IT, OK?"
posted by prodigalsun at 2:24 PM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


As one of the people who replied with a grumpy view of this news, I figured I'd take a moment and clarify -- having been raised in the Catholic church, I've got some experience in differentiating the official positions of a church hierarchy from the positions of, and my opinion of, the actual rank and file making up the church.

I enthusiastically applaud the efforts of the LDS folks who are trying to change things from within, and I appreciate them as allies. But I think this statement - which is from the church hierarchy rather than from any large group of rank and file members - is nothing more than an attempt at pasting a bit of good PR on years of ongoing anti-gay behavior. "We're sorry. Better luck next life," with no change in actual behaviors or policies by the church (like the ones suggested by subversiveasset, for instance) to back up this statement, is not much when weighed against past and current behavior of the church as an official organization.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:25 PM on December 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


iamabroom Doesn't make a word of General Tonic's cynicism the least bit untrue. Not a word of it. Not one.

That's my cynicism. GT was trying to call me out on it.

tripping daisy Who's them?

As you say yourself in your very next sentence: "the people at the top of the organization [...] running damage control so they don't seem like complete lunatics."

This thread isn't about "regular" mormon folks at all, no matter how much a whole lot of commenters would like it to be. It's about the LDS and their organized propaganda campaign.
posted by Aquaman at 2:33 PM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


But when any small attempt is made to bridge the misunderstanding,

This is not that.

It's PR, as you concede. There are already, and have been for some time, regular, ordinary Mormons who have for years been working to change the institution. There are many who have been practicing that compassion within their own families and local communities. I guess maybe there are some who will begin to do so because of this announcement from the top, and who wouldn't have done so without it?

Regardless, I don't owe the institution of the Church of Latter-day Saints jack.
posted by rtha at 2:35 PM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


So now a Mormon who engages in gay sex isn't meant to think, "I am unnatural," but instead, "I am too weak to resist my unnatural desires"?

That seems the kind of improvement that's ... not.
posted by gadge emeritus at 2:36 PM on December 7, 2012 [7 favorites]


Can we congratulate some progress while asking for more meaningful progress? Can liberals do that anymore?

Taking an official position that gays are fine as long as they remain lifelong celibates hardly seems any kind of progress to me. Maybe it would have seemed that way 50 years ago when the only socially acceptable fates for a homosexual in the US were barbaric efforts at pseudo-medical corrective therapy, institutionalization, or suicide. Come to think of it, those fates are still the only acceptable fates for homosexuals in far too many circles.
posted by blucevalo at 2:38 PM on December 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


This thread isn't about "regular" mormon folks at all, no matter how much a whole lot of commenters would like it to be. It's about the LDS and their organized propaganda campaign.

I see your point, but don't you think it's important to be explicit about where your criticism is directed? When I was in a religion and someone said Group Y is stupid, and I went to Group Y meetings every Sunday, I assumed they were talking about the shepherds and the flock.
posted by tripping daisy at 2:40 PM on December 7, 2012


Regardless, I don't owe the institution of the Church of Latter-day Saints jack.

I'm not saying that you do. But if the point is to bridge this divide towards more understanding, there is often a choice between being right and being effective. Religion is a powerful, insular, and addictive drug, and while there is absolute accountability for the individual making those choices, there should also be empathy from the outside for the obstacles they face trying to make their way out of it.
posted by tripping daisy at 2:46 PM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


don't you think it's important to be explicit about where your criticism is directed?

Explicit like four of my last five posts on the topic, all of which attempt to differentiate between "shepherd and flock", as you put it?

The resistance to a distinction between followers and leaders in this discussion is quite interesting.
posted by Aquaman at 2:51 PM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


But if the point is to bridge this divide towards more understanding

But you're talking as if this is the goal of the institution. It isn't. It may be a goal for individual Mormons, and that is a thing I will approach on a case-by-case basis.
posted by rtha at 2:52 PM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, I want to see them walk the walk. Are they going to stop giving money, or encouraging their...stakes (is that the right term for the equivalent of parish or diocese? that's what I mean) to give money, to groups that advocate against legal protections and rights for lgbtq people? Are they going to be explicit that parents should not send their kids to conversion therapy?

I will be over here, not holding my breath.
posted by rtha at 2:56 PM on December 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Just to be clear: This is not a change in the church's doctrines or position on anything. It's just a website explaining what the policies already were. That's all. To the extent that it's a step at all, it's a step only in the sense that it might, maybe, help the church to recognize exactly where it's standing at the moment so it can then think about maybe taking a step forward at some point. But it's not a movement in any sense. It's just a website explaining the church's position. That's all.

Regardless, I don't owe the institution of the Church of Latter-day Saints jack.

Not that you "owe" it anything, but you could at least use the actual name of the church. Maybe including the name "Jesus Christ" will remind someone that they're supposed to actually be following what Jesus Christ taught. And maybe then they'll actually read the Book of Mormon and get to the part where Christ teaches that his doctrine most emphatically and clearly does not include anything about same-sex marriage, attraction, or any of that stuff. Or, you know, don't. Because you don't owe anyone anything.
posted by The World Famous at 3:09 PM on December 7, 2012


Are they going to stop giving money, or encouraging their...stakes (is that the right term for the equivalent of parish or diocese? that's what I mean) to give money, to groups that advocate against legal protections and rights for lgbtq people?

As far as I am aware, they did, in fact, stop encouraging their members to give money to groups that advocate against legal protections and rights for lgbtq people. I haven't heard a word about it since 2008.
posted by The World Famous at 3:11 PM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh! Apologies. I got wrangled up in typo'd cut-and-paste - I did have the full name there but was rearranging things and I guess I accidentally Jesus Christ. It was not meant as a slight.

And? It's not that I "don't owe anyone anything". But I do not feel I owe anything to an institution I have never been a part of that wouldn't have me as a member anyway.
posted by rtha at 3:13 PM on December 7, 2012


Sorry, I just get annoyed that everyone always leaves that out, particularly given the ridiculous "Mormons don't really believe in Christ" nonsense that crops up so often.

I agree that you don't owe anything to the institution (but I'd be shocked if it really wouldn't have you as a member).
posted by The World Famous at 3:18 PM on December 7, 2012


The funny thing is it's possible I'm already on the rolls somewhere, since my dad's side of the family is Mormon (if mostly non-practicing, from what I could tell when I was a kid). My mom wasn't, and I was christened in a Congregational church. Do children of Mormons get...auto-enrolled, as it were? I obviously have no idea how it works! And I can't ask the 'rents because they're not around to ask anymore.
posted by rtha at 3:29 PM on December 7, 2012


Do children of Mormons get...auto-enrolled, as it were?

If a child is born in an active LDS family, they typically are given a blessing in Sacrament Meeting when they are a month or so old. It's not a baptism, and it does not make them members of the church, but a record is made with their family's record to indicate that the family has that child in the family. Mormons don't have baptism until age 8, so that's the youngest that anyone is put on the rolls as a member of the church. If your parents were not active members of the church who were regularly attending church when you were born and who had you receive a blessing in Sacrament Meeting as an infant, there is almost no chance that you are in any church records.

Back on topic, though, I just have to say that I was cautiously optimistic when I saw that the church had created that website, but I was completely let down when I started reading it. It's an important tiny baby step for the church to publicly state that it does not contend that homosexuality is a choice. But that fact should have been so obvious to it for so long that there's really no excuse for that particular realization to make any kind of headlines. There is such a profound lack of introspection on the part of the church leaders on this topic (and others) that it is, indeed, tempting to just be dismissive. Nevertheless, I really do think it will get better.
posted by The World Famous at 3:41 PM on December 7, 2012


Thanks, TWF.

The more I know!
posted by rtha at 3:48 PM on December 7, 2012


Some interesting excerpts from the discussion over at Towleroad:
_______

Wow, this is the same thing the Catholics did when the last Pope was around. Your orientation is not a sin. Just be happy being lonely and celibate. You do not deserve companionship. And I am sure some people will stay with them for these crumbs. Problem is when you have insisted for decades (or centuries) that you have the Divine Truth it is hard to make a reversal based on something shaky like the medical science that orientations do not change.
_______

Cue the media and church apologists claiming the Mormon Church is reaching out to the LGBT community. Instead they are just saying what they always say: God might have made you gay but he is sending you to hell if you act on it. Still hateful and hurtful. No thanks.
_______

I expect the Mormon Church will come around to supporting their gay children, as this church is a morally rigid as 'etch-a-sketch' Romney was.

Just because this church is malleable doe not make it any more legitimate.

South Park did the best satire on the roots/beginnings of this cult.... The members may often be 'good people', but the church is nuts!

_______

1978 - the year of the great revelation regarding African Americans (I doubt there was *anything* concerning tax-exempt status. I think it was sheer greed to get more non-whites invovled, especially outside the US.)

Yes, LDS theology has a certain malleability. That's one reason for "lying for the Lord": it's easier to change your beliefs when you make sure you can't be pinned down. (Sounds like someone we all know!) LDS, however, tries to avoid revelations, because it looks like they are not infallible. Instead, LDS prefers to rely on faulty memory: it hopes problematic beliefs will simply recede into a collective amnesia. That's why intellectuals are frowned on in LDS as they tend to ask too many questions - especially about history. It was one thing to allow African Americans full rights, because not too much had to change. To accept LGBT people, however, would be too massive a shock to LDS's extreme heteronormativity. I recently read that an apostle said there were three groups who were the greatest threat to LDS: intellectuals, gays, and lesbians. (While I'm not convinced the quote is authentic, it certainly rings true.)

I don't like to dump on someone else's religious beliefs, but LDS crossed some sort of line for me quite some time ago.

_______

This is a joke, right? I mean, does the Mormon Church really expect that a blatant PR move aimed squarely and solely at fixing its public image will do anything to offset the damage that they have done? The Mormons did everything in their power to influence the Prop 8 vote in the state of California, including dumping millions of dollars into the campaign to support the proposition. They did so in spite of the tax exempt status granted to them because they are supposedly non-political. Then, when folks began to catch on to where all that money was coming from, they did everything in their power to hide the fact of their involvement. And now they're trying to muster up some compassion? What a crock!

When the LDS decides they'll give an amount to LGBT organizations that's equivalent to what they contributed to the Prop 8 campaign, and throw in the legal costs of the resulting fight to overturn Prop 8 all the way to the Supreme Court, then they might begin to have some credibility. But not until then.
_______

As a gay Mormon I lived for a long time with the cognitive dissonance of knowing myself while trying to believe the Mormon teachings about gay people. It nearly drove me to suicide. I'm out and happy now.

I think the new website is just a PR attempt to slow the loss of church members who are leaving because of the church's stand on gays. These are mostly great people whose own experience is in direct conflict with the teachings of their church. They leave to keep their sanity and integrity.
posted by ericb at 4:06 PM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well God, you really did it this time.
posted by Divine_Wino at 4:38 PM on December 7, 2012


Hey, I have a new t-shirt idea for Spencer's Gifts!

RELIGION IS SO GAY

And then maybe a crude drawing of Joseph with a "what the fuck?" expression:

I TOTALLY DIDN'T GET MY ROCKS OFF ON THIS DEAL



posted by Skot at 5:07 PM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Great! And you keep your moral and ethical beliefs out of public policy too! And then we'll decide what laws to pass on what normative basis?

The practice of religion has very little to do with ethics or morals, which are of course shared by non-religious people. Religious people seem very happy to avoid examining this distinction, and very frequently go as far as claiming these are inextricably linked or even the same thing. Are you intending to do this?
posted by odinsdream at 5:51 PM on December 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


"But what constitutes "harm" is a normative judgment. Murder is relatively unambigious. Other laws are not so obvious."

It's pretty hilarious to see someone so dedicated to religious involvement in politics then retreat to a parodic moral relativism to justify that.

It's a washed-out version of the same "atheists have no morality" claptrap.
posted by klangklangston at 8:40 PM on December 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's pretty hilarious to see someone so dedicated to religious involvement in politics then retreat to a parodic moral relativism to justify that.

Well, when you want to force other people to live based on your religious beliefs it's probably better to avoid explaining your reasoning (which is that you, like, feel like your religion is the right one).
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:30 PM on December 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's pretty hilarious to see someone so dedicated to religious involvement in politics then retreat to a parodic moral relativism to justify that.

There's nothing in my comment about moral relativism. I don't accuse anyone of being relativistic about morals (in fact the opposite), nor do I espouse a relativistic view in the comment. "Unambigious" was perhaps a bad word to use. Better perhaps "uncontroversial," but the point is that lots of legislating involves making moral and ethical judgments, that these moral and ethical judgments are, at least sometimes, and perhaps often, controversial and that arguments are not somehow out of bounds because they happen to be congruent with someone's religious or anti-religious views. This because all rational moral and ethical views are (at least in part) congruent with their holders' religious or anti-religious views. If these views are excluded, there's no basis left on which to legislate.

It's a washed-out version of the same "atheists have no morality" claptrap.

No, it actually has nothing to do with that whatsoever. It's about how all people in a democratic society through their actions enact their view of morality and none of these views are some kind of neutral above the fray view.
posted by Jahaza at 10:05 PM on December 7, 2012


I'd still be interested in seeing you answer my question above, about exactly what specific harm, and to whom, would occur by granting federal recognition of my relationship. You specifically referenced harms that are not so obvious. Since I can't read your mind, I'd appreciate you talking in more detail about what you mean, and how same-sex marriage fits into that.
posted by rtha at 10:12 PM on December 7, 2012 [9 favorites]


Mormons believe Jesus Christ walked in America. I don't think he did. I think that's an absurd notion. In fact, I think it's a little offensive that the institution uses JC's name. It's poor taste to appropriate other story's main characters.

Whilst beefing about the creeps that make institutional policy in religions, let us note the damn Anglicans decided women can't be Bishops or something. WTF, supposedly progressive church?

My hope is that religious people are finally having an epiphany: "Hey, some of this is really bigoted and mean! It can't be right, it doesn't fit the rest of his ideas!"
posted by five fresh fish at 10:16 PM on December 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Jahaza, pls read ANBIYD, I linked to it earlier. It addresses most everything you'll want to argue. It's free.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:21 PM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mormons believe Jesus Christ walked in America. I don't think he did. I think that's an absurd notion. In fact, I think it's a little offensive that the institution uses JC's name. It's poor taste to appropriate other story's main characters.

Wow. I don't even understand that. At all. Are you aware that Mormonism was founded on the premise that it is the restored church of Jesus Christ, restored by Christ himself, and that it is, in fact, the same church that Christ instituted during his mortal ministry, and that Mormonism accepts and reveres the Bible just as much as other Christian religions? Setting aside the question of whether any of those claims are true and whether Christ actually even exists, it is bizarre to me that someone would claim it is offensive for a church that purports to be led and directed by direct and ongoing revelation from Christ himself to use Christ's name in the name of the church. You're aware that the name of the church is, itself, a name directly dictated by Christ himself, right? Again, you don't have to believe that any of those claims are factual, but come on.
posted by The World Famous at 10:43 PM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


To those who are saying this is "progress": how was the church's previous position worse than this?
posted by John Cohen at 10:48 PM on December 7, 2012


I'm trying to imagine how I'd feel if some splinter group of researchers led by some really charismatic guy started publishing papers in some fringe journals about how there was a fifth DNA nucleotide and that you couldn't completely understand genetics without it.

Man, that's a really terrible analogy.
posted by gurple at 10:51 PM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is

The proper response to the above is, of course, "Fuck you for your outrageous disrespect of my fundamental personhood. I see no reason to offer respect to you when you start from such a blatantly insulting position."

But rest assured I have nothing but respect for any folks who want to move beyond that and engage the bigoted, ignorant asses. Bless you for your patience.
posted by mediareport at 10:53 PM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Understand it as if I were to write a novel about a spy named James Bond, or a trilogy about a brave Hobbit named Frodo. I'd have my ass sued off. Heck, even authorized works cause upset: the sequel to Gone with the Wind, for instance.

On the other hand, the original Christian cults appropriated from a ton of other religions. I suppose turn-about is fair play!
posted by five fresh fish at 11:01 PM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I remember talking with Mormon friends on this issue. They disagreed on whether or not gay sex was capital W wrong but they all agreed on just letting people live their lives. And this was in Utah, so that's a hopeful sign for the future, even if my friends were more liberal by far than the surroundings.

When we talked about gay marriage, they said it would a huge uphill battle for the church to recognize it properly because the theology is so centered on a hetero marriage and the progeny produced. They didn't reject the possibility of a change in the church in the distant future, but they did think it would take a tectonic change because of the required upheaval of the existing theology. Some thought a change of this sort would ultimately be impossible because of the beliefs about marriage which are already set in stone.

From my limited understanding of the theology, I can see how there would be a big adjustment. Eternal temple marriages between a man and wife, rejoined after death, polygamy after death if the man remarries in the temple, entry into the Celestial Kingdom largely dependent upon the temple marriage, etc. Seems like there would be a lot to sort through if they ever accept gay marriage.
posted by honestcoyote at 12:00 AM on December 8, 2012


"There's nothing in my comment about moral relativism. I don't accuse anyone of being relativistic about morals (in fact the opposite), nor do I espouse a relativistic view in the comment. "Unambigious" was perhaps a bad word to use. Better perhaps "uncontroversial," but the point is that lots of legislating involves making moral and ethical judgments, that these moral and ethical judgments are, at least sometimes, and perhaps often, controversial and that arguments are not somehow out of bounds because they happen to be congruent with someone's religious or anti-religious views. This because all rational moral and ethical views are (at least in part) congruent with their holders' religious or anti-religious views. If these views are excluded, there's no basis left on which to legislate."

Your last sentence is your fundamental flaw. Congruence does not prove causation; there are many reasonable pieces of legislation that while congruent to faith teachings do not rely upon faith for justification.

The presumption that religious moral views are equal to areligious moral views is built upon a foundation of extreme relativism, in that it is based on the argument that competing moral arguments are equivalent and subjective. The implicit posit is that without religious views we must throw our hands up and regard all moral arguments as equal, and unresolvable, ergo relativism.

If not, you must argue that some religious views are wrong from their bases. As religious views based on faith are equivalent in objective testing, there must be a non-subjective rationale for privileging one above another (as many are mutaly exclusive). Ergo, minimal weight should be given to faith based justifications for moral codes, and resolutions (especially between competing faiths) must be decided upon merits external to faith. Otherwise, you're privileging one faith over another.

In short, faith is a rotted stair for climbing any argument. Any rational decision should be able to be justified on bases external to faith, and arguing that the congruence to faith-based arguments justified faith as a basis for argumentation is circular.

Faith is a frame, not an argument. I realize that this is anathema to those who justify their jurisprudence with faith, but that's their problem, not mine.

(Faith is a fine basis for personal — not public — policy, and utile as rhetoric, but policy must always contend with spaces in which it's not privileged. Most of the arguments from faith just strike me as extremely lazy and soft, based on the presumption of deference. They coast on the idea that historical precedent justifies them, rather than on their merits absent that tradition.

What one believes is different from what one can prove, and what one believes should always be secondary from what one can prove. Too many theocrats rely one what one believes to elide what one can prove.)

(As a secondary aside, every overreach by theists into the secular realm of policy leads to my circumscribing my faith — every shitty crypto-theocrat argument only leads to me evaluating it and deciding that the atheists are right again. Again and again, "faith" is used by modern Pharisees to justify perverse ends, all the while demanding a privileged position contra common sense.)

To bring this back to the topic at hand — I know that the best way to overcome prejudices, and especially anti-LGBT prejudices, is to create a moment of reflection where someone actually thinks about how their beliefs impact LGBT people they know and love, taking them outside the reflexive prescriptions of faith. Because of that, I think this LDS dictum will likely be positive in the long run, because it's another step toward regarding LGBT people as people. There may be revanchists — analogous to the current Pope — but the Mormons are an American faith more beholden to American norms and will build off of this moment toward an inclusive faith.

Most likely by forcing LGBT people into a beehive of righteous productivity, but hey, there are worse things.
posted by klangklangston at 3:58 AM on December 8, 2012 [10 favorites]


It's my general impression of religions - at least in the US - that liberalization of positions like this is driven from the rank and file, which means the church leaders are almost always on the conservative side of things. So as more individual Mormons change their opinions or start to view it as a family strength thing rather than a perverted sex thing, the path of the church will bend to follow.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:37 AM on December 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


When we talked about gay marriage, they said it would a huge uphill battle for the church to recognize it

I think it's foolish to expect any religious group to accept gay marriage. One might as well expect them to denounce their founding myths.

Separation of church and state goes both ways. Marriage is a civil law agreement. The church ceremony is an option, not a requirement. One has the right to marry. One does not have the right to force a church to perform a ceremony.

It should be enough that religious institutions keep out of issues of civil law. Likewise, as long as a religion isn't engaged in criminal acts, the law should keep out of its ceremonies.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:58 AM on December 8, 2012


I think it's foolish to expect any religious group to accept gay marriage

In the context of this bit of discussion, what's funny is that several religious groups in the U.S. are happy to offer (religious) (gay) marriage to their adherents. When we got married the first time, in 2004, we were standing in the (very long) line at City Hall and got to chatting with a couple of guys in front of us. They'd come up from San Diego, and they'd brought their pastor with them to officiate their marriage. I don't remember - if I ever knew - what denomination they were. Could have been MCC, or UU, or UCC, or Episcopal. They asked us to be their witnesses, and we were happy to do so (and they sent us a lovely flower arrangement a few days later!).

So if some religious people or institutions believe that gay marriage is wrong because God said and the law should reflect that, they need to explain why their particular take on God's word should be the one that civil law reflects, and not that of the UUs or Episcopalians. Again, I will be over here, not holding my breath.
posted by rtha at 7:53 AM on December 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd still be interested in seeing you answer my question above, about exactly what specific harm, and to whom, would occur by granting federal recognition of my relationship. You specifically referenced harms that are not so obvious. Since I can't read your mind, I'd appreciate you talking in more detail about what you mean, and how same-sex marriage fits into that.

Jahaza, please count me in as one hoping to see an answer to this reasonable request. Do gay people cause straight marriages to end in divorce at higher rates? Are gay people worse parents? Etc. Almost all of this has been repudiated time and time again, so some clarity in what you consider harm would be useful to a good faith discussion. I do hope you participate again and I mean that. These are serious issues for a lot of us, as much as for the US as a whole.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:14 AM on December 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'll add my voice to the chorus of those who would love to see an answer to rtha's question. I'm a person of faith whose church has been marrying gay couples for decades, and we've never seen any harm from it.
posted by KathrynT at 9:21 AM on December 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I feel terrible for gay Mormons. This announcement makes it worse; now there's some little fig leaf of decency instead of 100% condescension. Doesn't change how hateful the official religion is to gays and lesbians. Remember; you can't choose not to be gay, but you can choose not to be Mormon.
posted by Nelson at 9:46 AM on December 8, 2012


I think it's foolish to expect any religious group to accept gay marriage.

Evidently, reality is foolish.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:48 AM on December 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'd still be interested in seeing you answer my question above, about exactly what specific harm, and to whom, would occur by granting federal recognition of my relationship. You specifically referenced harms that are not so obvious. Since I can't read your mind, I'd appreciate you talking in more detail about what you mean, and how same-sex marriage fits into that.

This is the question (though this is much better phrased) that I ask regarding the legalization of same-sex marriage. I have yet to receive an answer by anyone opposed to SSM, and I ask it honestly and with an open mind.
posted by Twain Device at 10:49 AM on December 8, 2012


Evidently, reality is foolish.

You misread. I did not say that none will marry gays. I say it's foolish to have expectations of decent behaviour from a religious group. Or, really, any power structure like that. Especially like that.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:35 AM on December 8, 2012


fff, I think the problem is you are using absolutist terms... there are relgious grows who accept marriage equality, and there are relgius groups who exhibit decent behavior. The largest/loudest do not accept marriage equality, and they tend to suck all the oxygen out of the national discourse about relation and SSM. (The local/regional effort to defeat the MN constitutional ballot question this past year was run out of a local Lutheran church)
posted by edgeways at 11:57 AM on December 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Again, I am saying the unreason is on me, not the churches.

I don't think it's right for me/you to pressure the Mormon church to perform certain marriages. We don't pressure them on sectarian law (except where it becomes criminal), they don't pressure us on civil law. That's the separation of church and state.

It's their foot. I think we should let themselves shoot it.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:19 PM on December 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Of course, the Mormon Church had previously launched that much older initiative.
posted by Catblack at 10:26 PM on December 8, 2012


Aquaman: iambroom Doesn't make a word of General Tonic's cynicism the least bit untrue. Not a word of it. Not one.

That's my cynicism. GT was trying to call me out on it.
Apologies.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:28 AM on December 10, 2012


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