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Gay Mormon Records Reactions To His Coming Out
March 3, 2013 8:14 AM   Subscribe

This Gay Mormon Spent 1 Year Recording His Friends Reacting To Him Coming Out. (SLYT). He's rather chipper, considering his church says he can't get married or have sex...
posted by shivohum (93 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
This guy sounds like the page from 30 Rock.
posted by dfriedman at 8:20 AM on March 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


The character limit had a rather unfortunate effect on your title.
posted by yoink at 8:22 AM on March 3, 2013 [15 favorites]


..g out.

Titles and their 72 character limit strike again.
posted by Mezentian at 8:22 AM on March 3, 2013


Frankly the only thing I'm surprised about is the lack of negative reactions. But, maybe that's just because people were put on the spot in front of cameras.
posted by rebent at 8:26 AM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


at 1:49, not only is he talking to Lucy Lu, but there's a really weird dude doing a boobs+butt pose in the background.
posted by Strass at 8:26 AM on March 3, 2013


"Unfortunate effect"? Surely you mean "awesome effect"!
posted by chairface at 8:27 AM on March 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


but there's a really weird dude doing a boobs+butt pose

We call that the Greater Spined Liefield.
posted by Mezentian at 8:28 AM on March 3, 2013 [8 favorites]


His personality tends to make people think he is joking and the fact that they are on camera affects their reactions.
posted by michellenoel at 8:37 AM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


The absence of older men in his video is pretty conspicuous.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:43 AM on March 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


[Changed link to Youtube direct link - also, for future reference, the italicized part of the post was a quote from the site previously linked to, it's not from OP.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:44 AM on March 3, 2013


This guy seems pretty neat, coming out in not only Chinese but also sign language!
posted by Blasdelb at 8:46 AM on March 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


I'd be more worried about coming out as a Mormon.
posted by Callicvol at 8:47 AM on March 3, 2013 [8 favorites]


Jimmy! Let's pretend this is the green!

Jimmy! If being gay is "a bummer" you are doing it wrong!

Jimmy! Your buddy Richard is gay but doesn't know it! Get on that!

Jimmy! If you find that your beliefs cause you to assume that you are unlovable, or at least unable to access romantic and sexual love, and unable to find someone with whom to grow old and possibly raise children, then please consider re-evaluating those beliefs, and their origins, and their possibly flawed supporting arguments, and continue this friendly dialogue with those of us who have arrived at different beliefs and decided that we are Lovable. Because holy shit does my heart go out to you.
posted by Sfving at 8:54 AM on March 3, 2013 [44 favorites]


Jimmy! Your buddy Richard is gay but doesn't know it! Get on that!

OK so I wasn't the only one thinking that.
posted by Strass at 8:57 AM on March 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


Awesome on many levels. Now just get rid of that strange sci-fi dogma that is keeping you from
being truly alive and stopping you from being able to love another human on all levels, and you're golden.
posted by gcbv at 9:05 AM on March 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's probably just me, but between Angels in America and Orson Scott Card, my culturally-informed perception of Mormons is pretty much "usually gay"...
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:05 AM on March 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


So he's not going to be joining "Club Unicorn" anytime soon?
posted by fontophilic at 9:20 AM on March 3, 2013


> Frankly the only thing I'm surprised about is the lack of negative reactions

He probably chose carefully who he told, and how, and who got included in the video. He wants to show coming out as a gay Mormon as a positive thing. There are some people who seem a bit disturbed, more than just surprised.

Or maybe he just has a lot of groovy friends and family.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:22 AM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Love and understanding and empathy... and what about if he meets someone he wants to be with?

Maybe I don't understand because I'm not cut out for celibacy, but the "love the sinner, hate the sin" line seems to just translate into making people lonely and unhappy for no good reason.

As for the issue of sex outside marriage: that is so easily solved with marriage equality.
posted by jb at 9:22 AM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Note to self: Mormons can have hot moms, and spend their evenings getting massages from young women before you go off "on mission."
posted by anothermug at 9:26 AM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe I don't understand because I'm not cut out for celibacy, but the "love the sinner, hate the sin" line seems to just translate into making people lonely and unhappy for no good reason.

I think "love the sinner; hate the sin" is mostly used to let people a) keep their bigotry and b) still think of themselves as "not-bigots."

I'm not saying that was the original intent, but it's how it plays most of the time I see it.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:29 AM on March 3, 2013 [13 favorites]


Uh. He was getting a massage from his mom. That was his brother.
posted by fontophilic at 9:29 AM on March 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Almost all of those reactions seemed pretty negative to me- lots of grossed out faces hidden by a smile and incredulous laugh. I'm glad he seems to have an upbeat perspective but I worry he's overestimating the approval/support from his peers.
posted by joan_holloway at 9:32 AM on March 3, 2013 [9 favorites]


Maybe that was part of why he filmed it -- to keep the reactions to smiles and awkward laughs.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:47 AM on March 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


This makes me really sad, actually, that anyone would prioritize what one religion said they should be over who they actually are.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:49 AM on March 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think it's interesting that - maybe it's a generational thing, teenagers who have always had digital video and youtube around during their high school years? - his impulse to make a scary, intimate moment less scary was to record it and make it public.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:52 AM on March 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


He seems remarkably happy to suppress his natural desires for the rest of his life for the sake of a 19th century snake oil salesman's invisible tablets. I'm glad nobody in the video excommunicated him on the spot (so far as I got into the video) but this feels bad.
posted by cmoj at 10:00 AM on March 3, 2013 [13 favorites]


He is young, he is just coming to terms with this himself, there is still a lot to sort out. We all thought things when we were 19 that have turned out not to be realistic.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:05 AM on March 3, 2013 [17 favorites]


Ehhhhhh... I guess good for him on some level, but the whole "PSA to other gay Mormons" aspect is kind of disturbing. "Hey guys, as long as you accept your second class status, it's all good! You should accept your second class status!"
posted by Flunkie at 10:23 AM on March 3, 2013 [17 favorites]


He is young, he is just coming to terms with this himself, there is still a lot to sort out. We all thought things when we were 19 that have turned out not to be realistic.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:05 PM on March 3 [5 favorites +] [!]


Sure thing, but the YouTube video is a dangerous overreach. To a YOUNGER Mormon who doesn't have the perspective of years who might be watching this and struggling to figure out what to do, presenting suppressing your being in favor of a made up religion is horrible. IMHO.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:36 AM on March 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Once you acknowledge something exists, and that it's attached to people you know and love and hang out with, its only a matter of time before you start accepting it. There's a lot less distance between "I'm gay but I'm never going to do anything about it" and "I'm gay all the time." than there is between "I'm gay but I'm never going to do anything about it" and "I'm 100% straight and disapprove of the gay "lifestyle" like you do". If this is what passes for Mormon subversiveness, I feel like we should pat it on the head and feed it a cookie.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:49 AM on March 3, 2013 [8 favorites]


I agree the PSA aspect is sort of ugh, and I also agree that the church's stance is not remotely ok or something that should be advocated to young people.

I guess I have the feeling about this that I have about teen girls who make videos about Purity and waiting until marriage -- yeah, that's a wrong worldview, but they are kids and stuck growing up in a church/social place that is harmful for them (at least in this one aspect if nothing else)... so I am not moved to land on them personally too hard.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:54 AM on March 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


He seems remarkably happy to suppress his natural desires for the rest of his life for the sake of a 19th century snake oil salesman's invisible tablets.

Yeah, that's going to work out.

What he should do is a video where he asks older gay men who were religious how long that lasted.
posted by lumpenprole at 11:00 AM on March 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


LobsterMitten, to me, the difference is that nobody is going to kill themselves over the idea of waiting until marriage to have sex.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:01 AM on March 3, 2013


He is young, he is just coming to terms with this himself, there is still a lot to sort out. We all thought things when we were 19 that have turned out not to be realistic.

This isn't ideal but it is progress that the formerly unspeakable is now speakable. It is the beginning of something. For all its bizarrity, it took the Roman Catholic faith 2000 years to arrive to this point; the Mormon church managed it in under 150.

I'm watching his sister's Mormons Believe videos. They are sweet-intentioned and might demystify a litlte, but I don't think they can really satisfy the critics of the belief system.
posted by Miko at 11:20 AM on March 3, 2013


roomthreeseventeen, actually there are several pretty depressing narratives of straight mormon "spinsters" who missed the boat on getting married while younger and are celibate and likely to be that way for the rest of their lives.

I think what is going to be the best for the mental health of those involved is being true to yourself, which this kid is doing, and his friends and family seem to be supporting him, at least superficially if not wholly.

I won't dismiss the incremental for not being the perfect.
posted by fontophilic at 11:24 AM on March 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


I hope my son never comes out as a Mormon.
posted by Kale Slayer at 11:33 AM on March 3, 2013 [8 favorites]


This had me in tears. He's a smart, sweet kid who already has a strong commitment to diversity. He is just off his mission. He took an enormous amount of courage, and his message about coming out to himself first was vital. The churches commitment to community, both the interior community of the family, and the larger one of ward, means that to come out is to position oneself at an oblique angle to one's entire history. That he is willing to do so, is a huge step. That he is queer and loves the church, and is working out w/i a context of the Proclamation of the Family, and the "eternal" perspective of the family--that he is no longer willing to accept the isolation of the church, and demanding some place at the table, is this huge big clusterbomb of awesome. Not every kid grows up to want to burn the motherfucker down, and that needs to be respected.
posted by PinkMoose at 11:53 AM on March 3, 2013 [13 favorites]


It always makes me sad when people come out as LGBT and stay with their church.

Christianity, in its holy texts and through history, has been pretty unambiguous about its stance on non-heterosexuality. Sure, you can cherry-pick parts of the Bible and say that those parts override the really hateful parts, but then you're not being honest. You're still part of a religion that, in its holy texts, says you're an abomination.

It's like watching someone who's been in a violent relationship keep going back to their abuser.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:55 AM on March 3, 2013 [16 favorites]


It always makes me sad when people come out as LGBT and stay with their church.

Christianity, in its holy texts and through history, has been pretty unambiguous about its stance on non-heterosexuality. Sure, you can cherry-pick parts of the Bible and say that those parts override the really hateful parts, but then you're not being honest. You're still part of a religion that, in its holy texts, says you're an abomination.


Sorry, but this is dumb. It's like a third grader's understanding of religion. There's a lot of room in Christianity to understand the Bible as an artefact of when it was written, even if there's universal(?) agreement that it's divinely inspired in some way. It doesn't have to be the Literal Absolutely True Word of God and, funnily enough, we could be here a while naming denominations that are welcoming of people who aren't straight. If Christians spent all their time doing absolutely everything the Bible said, they'd never do anything because a) the Bible's contradictory in places and b) they'd spend all their time arguing about translation.
posted by hoyland at 12:04 PM on March 3, 2013 [22 favorites]


My over/under on LGBT acceptance in the Mormon Church is 50 years. I think there might be a schism over it, and it'll come slower than people want/deserve, but I think as an American church, and with the freedom to marry unquestionably coming, it'll adapt rather than die.
posted by klangklangston at 12:10 PM on March 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


I saw this and was going to post it as an interesting and fun video from a brave kid. (For the title I was going to use "Not even boobs?".) As I had jumped to the middle of the vid I figured I should watch the whole thing before posting, and got very sad when I saw him say that he'll be celibate forever. It reminded me very much of the Club Unicorn guy, and I wondered if that example influenced him.

Are Mormons constructing a model for homosexuality outside of the church, which involves openness and acceptance, but requires permanent abstinence? That's so depressing to contemplate. "My brothers and sisters, leave your cruel masters in the cotton fields! That time is over. We're all house slaves now!"
posted by benito.strauss at 12:13 PM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think it will be considerably less than 30 years. I hope I'm not wrong. The church's revisions of its official scriptures this week underscore the church's willingness to reexamine important issues and to eventually address them, even if the movement is slow and is not all that apparent to outsiders.
posted by The World Famous at 12:14 PM on March 3, 2013


Let's hope he ends up like this guy. He seems tough and smart. I would bet he does.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:22 PM on March 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


The video makes me want to be cross with the kid for his awkward attempt to reconcile something genuinely integral about himself with something he believes to be integral, but then I have to remember that young people, even relatively clever ones, tend to love the romance of such impossible reconciliations.

In my emerging queerness, I found the word "gay" to be a grossly inadequate descriptor for the great cosmological significance of my newly embraced sexual intent and became obsessed with the pursuit of a more precise nomenclature. To this end, I attempted to come out to my child psychologist with the rather literary declaration that I had come to the conclusion that it was time for me to throw in my lot with those of Uranian disposition.

This resulted in a distinct roll of the eyes, a sigh, and a reply of "pardon?" from my long-exasperated counselor, followed by a quick rifling through of a dusty tome for reference and a smirk.

"Oh my, Joe. So if I understand you, you're telling me you think you're gay, right?"

"I would hate to reduce the concept to such a vulgar term, but I do prefer the company of men."

"Well, indubitably."

Coming out in the midst of a year-long fit of anglophilia wasn't a pretty thing, despite my importantly earnest belief that I could insulate myself from the pain of the process with a cultivated linguistic and behavioral foppishness. I can only quietly rejoice, in retrospect, that I did not have access to instant video distribution with worldwide coverage at the time, which limited the epidemic of confusion, rolled eyes, and bemused sighs to a spotty region crossing two Maryland counties.

It all seems so big to us at that age, and both was and wasn't, in its way. It all seems like it just can't be made to make sense, until some little momentary flush of the energy of wild youth makes a little false connection in the neural net that makes us believe we've finally managed to string it all together, so we'll be okay, and for a bright, shiny moment, we can be heroes, just for one day.

You just have to hope for a soft spot when you finally fall.

I thought about that kid I was not long ago when I realized a girl I was flirting with was starting to bark up a wrong tree that I had planted myself, with the flirting and grossly overdone masculine drag.

"Oh, crap—did I forget to mention I'm into dudes?" at the vaguest hint of a suggestion of a semi-intimate dinner that could possibly be approximately assumed to be a date.

My teen self would have literally turned up his erudite potato nose.

"Did you actually say you're into 'dudes' just then? Heaven forfend. What has become of your bearing and decorum? And it goes without saying that you're dressed like a plumber most of the time. Going for the E.M Forster ideal, or Quentin's great dark man, methinks?"

Oh, heaven forfend.
posted by sonascope at 12:28 PM on March 3, 2013 [27 favorites]


While some gay Mormons still marry someone of the opposite sex, I do not see myself doing this. I will remain celibate and do not plan to marry.

This reeks of post-Prop 8 message control/propaganda. Still, I wish him luck in growing up and out of his self-imposed chains.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:44 PM on March 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


Can somebody with a better perspective answer this question: isn't the Mormon faith based on the teachings of Christ, with some additional stuff added on in the Book of Mormon that was found buried in New York?

Why do you need to be Mormon if you are gay? Couldn't you just accept/follow/be inspired by Christ's teachings without the additional harmful Mormon trappings? It seems like the Mormon community is going to be pretty hostile to you.

If you identify as Mormon, you would need to go on a mission, tithe, support the organization.. is it really Christlike to identify as part of and support a community that would rather you don't exist?
posted by kzin602 at 1:04 PM on March 3, 2013


Jimmy, although I only know Richard from the twenty or so seconds he's on video, I would have thought he would have suspected as well.
posted by Muddler at 1:10 PM on March 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you identify as Mormon, you would need to go on a mission, tithe, support the organization.. is it really Christlike to identify as part of and support a community that would rather you don't exist?

Because the Mormon Church is the ONE true church and none of the other ones have the whole truth. Also, it is hard to leave it if your entire family is apart of the Church.
posted by source.decay at 1:15 PM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


dunkadunc: "Christianity, in its holy texts and through history, has been pretty unambiguous about its stance on non-heterosexuality. Sure, you can cherry-pick parts of the Bible and say that those parts override the really hateful parts, but then you're not being honest. You're still part of a religion that, in its holy texts, says you're an abomination."

I feel like I should point out that what you're doing here is telling those of us who are Christians that you understand our religion much better than we do, and that we're "cherry-picking" and "not being honest" when we say it's possible for us to be queer and also have our faith. That strikes me as extraordinarily presumptuous; perhaps all the Christians you've ever met have been idiots, but that doesn't mean you need to assume we all are. Most of all, I'm not sure what gives you the right to tell people that the things that matter most to them, things they spend their lives contemplating, are stupid and silly and drab because you, who are so much wiser than anyone else, have seen through them instantly and immediately knew more than millions upon millions of people of faith can grasp about things that they themselves focus on most intensely.

I mean, is it so weird to say that maybe it would be a good idea to respect other people enough to assume that they know what they believe and can give a better accounting of it than we can?

I've met people who do the same thing with homosexuality, by the way. "Oh, people can convince themselves that they're gay, but they're just lying to themselves. Homosexuality is a fundamental misunderstanding of what's best for us as humans, so while gay people may say they love each other intimately, it's not really love, it's a delusion." Pardon me for saying so, but I don't think anybody gets to dictate to anyone else what the experience of their life must be like. Faith is similar in this respect; it is fundamentally something that must be lived to be wholly understood.
posted by koeselitz at 1:18 PM on March 3, 2013 [11 favorites]


Mormons...look at 'em go !
posted by nicolin at 1:21 PM on March 3, 2013


"I feel like I should point out that what you're doing here is telling those of us who are Christians that you understand our religion much better than we do, and that we're "cherry-picking" and "not being honest" when we say it's possible for us to be queer and also have our faith."

For persons not engaged in faith the rule set presented by the bible is a more purely intellectual matter subject to interpretation by any and all any such critique of other persons interpretations is perfectly valid discourse.

Your beliefs are a document auxiliary to the primary texts. Your church may utilize auxiliary texts or recognize a different set of texts as canon. If we study your beliefs as we might come up with different results than if we study the statements in a given version of the bible. This sort of discussion and comparison does not intrinsically denigrate you, your faith, or other peoples faith.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 1:55 PM on March 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


koeselitz: "I mean, is it so weird to say that maybe it would be a good idea to respect other people enough to assume that they know what they believe and can give a better accounting of it than we can?"

unfortunately yes it is weird. Especially when it comes to religion. A lot of religious people I know get their religious knowledge through word of mouth. A lot of them also rely on "faith," as if somehow believing something hard enough meant that it is true.

On the other hand, a lot of atheist and agnostic people actually do know a lot about religions.
posted by rebent at 2:05 PM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Christianity, in its holy texts and through history, has been pretty unambiguous about its stance on non-heterosexuality."

I was about to recommend John Boswell's "Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century" as a good read and introduction to places in history where Christianity was not anti-homosexual, but it looks like it hasn't survived time and inspection very well, with a lot of scholars poking a lot of holes in it. None the less, I do remember it being a good read. It might still be useful as a starting point for re-considering the history of Christianity.
posted by benito.strauss at 2:15 PM on March 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


When religious people think about religion they think about Life and Family and Interpersonal Relations and Love and Compassion and Charity, and of their lifetime at church and all the experiences had and shared there and all the people part of their church community experience, and lots of other things as well.

When many non-religious people think about religion they just think of Shitty Civil Rights Record.

Which is to say that each thinks about the part that is so important to them it seems impossible to ignore it, ignoring the other parts.

Very generally speaking of course.
posted by TheRedArmy at 2:20 PM on March 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


And now Youtube thinks I mostly want to watch videos on Mormons, gay Mormons, and people coming out on TV.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:20 PM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


"On the other hand, a lot of atheist and agnostic people actually do know a lot about religions."

If you actually read the results of that survey, there is no barely any difference between Mormons and atheists/agnostics on total 'knowledge of religion', Mormons solidly outperform atheists/agnostics when Knowledge of world religions is removed, and there is absolutely zero contest on the knowledge of Mormonism questions.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:20 PM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


"When many non-religious people think about religion they just think of Shitty Civil Rights Record."

Then I suppose that 'many' non-religious people have a very poor understanding of Civil Rights history, GLORY HALLELUJA
posted by Blasdelb at 2:24 PM on March 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


Matt Oneiros: "For persons not engaged in faith the rule set presented by the bible is a more purely intellectual matter subject to interpretation by any and all any such critique of other persons interpretations is perfectly valid discourse."

I agree, but is it too much to ask that those not engaged in faith at least approach it in a logical and rational way?

"Your beliefs are a document auxiliary to the primary texts. Your church may utilize auxiliary texts or recognize a different set of texts as canon. If we study your beliefs as we might come up with different results than if we study the statements in a given version of the bible. This sort of discussion and comparison does not intrinsically denigrate you, your faith, or other peoples faith."

Sure, but it's still presumptuous to claim that an entire class of people fundamentally misunderstands their beliefs. That doesn't strike me as an easy claim to back up.

rebent: "unfortunately yes it is weird. Especially when it comes to religion. A lot of religious people I know get their religious knowledge through word of mouth. A lot of them also rely on 'faith,' as if somehow believing something hard enough meant that it is true. On the other hand, a lot of atheist and agnostic people actually do know a lot about religions."

Well, there is some stuff I won't get into here because it would be a derail, but suffice it to say that assuming all of this seems like a dangerous and fairly irrational thing to do.

It's one thing to say something like: 'lots of gay Mormons I know seem to be kind of deluding themselves when it comes to how much they can reconcile an anti-gay church message with their identities.' That would be a sensible way to put it, and frankly I have that experience myself. Their lives are their own, and I respect them, but if they can't be genuine and live the lives they want and deserve to get to live, I worry that they will be unhappy.

It is completely different to say something like: 'there is absolutely no way to live as a Christian and a gay person, and anyone who thinks they've found a way is lying to themselves.' That's basically what dunkadunc said above, and that's why I objected. I genuinely don't believe that anti-homosexuality is intrinsic to Christianity, and while I don't think it would be a propos to argue that point here, it's worth saying that there are a lot of us queer Christians who feel the same way. And quite frankly it kind of stupid to tell queer Christians that they're wasting their time. We already get plenty of pushback from people in the Church; why on earth are atheists standing there and saying "yeah, by the way, Ratzinger's right - y'all are just lying to yourselves"? What purpose does that serve? If people believe they've found a way to be Christian and gay, and wholly genuine in both, why on earth are we rejecting that as "dishonest"?

To try to wrap this up and bring it back to the topic of the thread - this kid who's coming out to his friends - I wish him the best. Religion has always been about a tradition that is reinterpreted anew by each generation. I hope that he finds wholeness in reinterpreting the Mormon tradition anew for himself; and I hope he can find a way for him to reconcile the parts of himself without compromising any of them. Love is the only law of Christianity. May his love not be constrained by the laws of humankind, be they ecclesiastical or otherwise.
posted by koeselitz at 2:31 PM on March 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


MetaFilter: erudite potato nose
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:31 PM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Christianity, in its holy texts and through history, has been pretty unambiguous about its stance on non-heterosexuality. Sure, you can cherry-pick parts of the Bible and say that those parts override the really hateful parts, but then you're not being honest. You're still part of a religion that, in its holy texts, says you're an abomination."

I wrote an extended explanation of the biblically Christian argument for the acceptance and embracing of loving homosexual partnerships on metafilter here that includes a bit of context about what abomination actually fucking meant in the language it was written in. One of these days I'll rewrite it without the couple of hasty typos and post it again with some additions but today is not that day as I need to go to bed.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:33 PM on March 3, 2013 [13 favorites]


How did I miss that stupendous comment when you made it, Blasdelb? Thank you a million times. It's fantastic.
posted by koeselitz at 2:36 PM on March 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also, fair warning, zarq figured out that at ~5600 words it was the second longest of 2012
posted by Blasdelb at 2:40 PM on March 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Love is the only law of Christianity."

[Citation provided]
posted by Blasdelb at 2:43 PM on March 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


It always makes me sad when people come out as LGBT and stay with their church.... a religion that, in its holy texts, says you're an abomination.

The US constitution guarantees free speech. And yet, recently, a man was thrown out of the Supreme Court building for wearing clothing carrying the message "Occupy Everything".

Let's put aside that the "abomination" designation by tribal semi-barbarians was tossed-off thousands of years ago. Put aside the questions of intent or accurate translation. The name "Christianity" suggests a religion based on the teachings of Christ. The character presented in the NT was remarkably more open-minded, more compassionate, more non-judgemental than the OT. It's up to those who choose to live by Christ's example to decide why the ancient "abomination" designation remains in their holy book. It is up to us who suffer, even die as a result of that designation to insist: make up your minds.

If it keeps growing as it ages, religion is a living thing, not a rigid text. When it becomes nothing more than that, it has no claim on living beings whatsoever.
posted by Twang at 2:45 PM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Reading the blog post from the Club Unicorn guy, all I could think was: oh, god, I could never be his wife. What must it be like to be in an intimate relationship with someone who isn't attracted to you? At least he's always been honest with her, but I could never live that way.
posted by jb at 2:50 PM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm mormon. I'm also a cisgendered straight man, married with children. I was born in the church, I went on a mission, got married in the Temple, and go to church every Sunday with my wife and kids. By all accounts we're a very devout and faithful family of "card-carrying" mormons.

I'm also a big obnoxious skeptic, and simply do not believe the majority of the LDS Church's truth claims.

And yet I remain. For mostly irrational, personal reasons; for better or worse this is my tribe.

But I'm lucky because current church policies haven't prohibited me from fully realizing my sexuality. It's far easier for me to live as a mormon skeptic because there are no policies about skeptics not being allowed to marry. There actually aren't even any policies about members who no longer believe (just keep it to yourself, is the common statement). I haven't been prevented from finding someone to love, to be with.

It's going to be a hell of a lot harder for this young man to do the same.

I understand why he's trying, though. For all it's faults and Big Problems, the LDS Church is very often an environment of encouragement, love and community. And if you were raised in it and had mostly positive experiences (which it sounds like he did, for the most part), it would be emotionally difficult to give that up. Sure it makes way more sense for him to move on, but he can't yet. Give another 5-10 years and that will probably change.*

And now for a bit of pedantry: there is actually no official "mormon doctrine" prohibiting same-sex marriage. A close reading of the mormon canon will show that where there is even any discussion of it, the language never specifies man-and-woman only, and in fact is really only adamant on the point of faithfulness and monagamy (oh, the irony, it is thick). There are policies, yes, but policy is not doctrine. The simple fact that most folks ignore, including most mormons, is that in the mormon theology this is basically zero canonical support for anti-gay policies. There's a lot of ambiguity and that ambiguity has been bent into the current practices, but just as Blasdelb is able to make a Christian case for LGBT rights I'm confident I could make a mormon case for them as well.

And the interesting thing about mormonism is that even if there was a clear doctrinal statement about the prohibition of gay marriage (there really isn't), the doctrine itself could be changed very easily, since one of the main principles of the mormon faith is the concept of ongoing revelation, i.e. the ability to modify doctrine whenever is needed. The fact that this hasn't happened since the 1800s is another discussion, but the point is that of all the modern churches the LDS Church could and should be the most flexible on points such as these. The fact that we aren't is something that saddens and frustrates me greatly.

But in case it isn't clear: I neither condone nor excuse the church's position on this topic. I believe it is hateful, evil behavior and I personally do everything I can to promote reforms from within (I can't do much, but I try anyway).

*I have a good friend who was a very devout mormon and is also gay...he made the same choice after his mission to be celibate. Then at about age 30 (9 years after his mission) he met the man he is still with today, 25 years later. Needless to say the church is no longer a part of his life.
posted by Doleful Creature at 3:12 PM on March 3, 2013 [19 favorites]


That's interesting. Out of curiosity (not setting you up for a gotcha or anything), Doleful Creature, do you have any idea what your stance with respect to staying in the church would be if one of your children came out? It seems certain that you wouldn't think they would remain celibate, but at the moment there isn't really any way to be out and in a relationship and in the church right?
posted by gaspode at 3:21 PM on March 3, 2013


I have about teen girls who make videos about Purity and waiting until marriage -- yeah, that's a wrong worldview,

Wrong? Meh. How about not realistic?

Avoiding various STD's is a fine reason for such a worldview - just not a realistic one.
posted by rough ashlar at 3:35 PM on March 3, 2013


Gaspode, I don't know how Doleful Creature would answer the question, but I am a devout (though perhaps unconventional) Mormon and if I were in that situation I would, I think, advise my own child to follow his or her own conscience, to prayerfully seek their own understanding of what they should or should not do in terms of sexual morality, independent of whatever church authorities may say, and act according to their own personal convictions. I hope that my children are independent thinkers, conscientious in their conduct in all aspects of life, honest, kind, and charitable. It is much more important to me that my children be Christ-like in that regard than it is that they measure up to artificial standards set forth by my church or any other organization. If I were gay, I would probably not stay "in the church." I think one of the easiest ways to be miserable is to violate one's own personal moral or ethical code. I think a lot of people in the Mormon church don't realize how miserable they make people by imposing another, artificial moral code on them and making them culturally unwelcome if they don't live up to it. I do see that changing pretty rapidly in the church today, though.
posted by The World Famous at 3:49 PM on March 3, 2013


I don't understand why someone who would not stay in a church if they were the object of its bigotry would stay in that church merely because they are not.
posted by Flunkie at 3:53 PM on March 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


I don't understand why someone who would not stay in a church if they were the object of its bigotry would stay in that church merely because they are not.

"Merely because I am not" is not the reason why I stay in the church. I stay in the church for myriad complex reasons. I hope (and I think my hope is realistic) that the church continues to move in the right direction on this and all other issues. For complex reasons, the church's current position on homosexual relationships is not a deal breaker for my membership, just as the church's many other faults are not.
posted by The World Famous at 4:01 PM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Perhaps I would have been more clear by saying "I don't understand why someone who is not the object of a church's bigotry would stay in that church despite the fact that they know they would leave if they were."

I guess "Because its bigotry is not a deal breaker for me" is the answer, but it sure doesn't seem like a satisfying one.
posted by Flunkie at 4:09 PM on March 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's probably just me, but between Angels in America and Orson Scott Card, my culturally-informed perception of Mormons is pretty much "usually gay"...

I know this was a joke, so won't beat you up for it. I'm guessing the percentage of gay in mormonism is the the same as the general population. I've worked with a lot of Mormons over the last decade and never met an openly gay one.

This said, I would love to see gay marriage legalized in Utah and have the church open their eyes to gay marriage. Mostly because I want to see a reality show about a lesbian with a bunch of wives. LDS After Dark. And yes, I too kid.

One of the factors that always amazes me about marriage (gay or straight) is that the majority of both groups seem to agree it should be confined to two people. Personally, I could care less what occurs between consenting adults and their religions as long as I am afforded the same. Generally this is why I feel free to make fun of most religions. If yours says I am burning in hell when I die I don't much care if making fun of your god in this life offends you.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:15 PM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I guess "Because its bigotry is not a deal breaker for me" is the answer, but it sure doesn't seem like a satisfying one.

I agree that it's not a satisfying one. I could probably write several books to try to explain it, but I'm on my iPhone and not really feeling like writing a MeFi essay on it at the moment. I'm sorry if that seems like an evasion.
posted by The World Famous at 4:18 PM on March 3, 2013


It's not an evasion that it seems like. It's straightforward.
posted by Flunkie at 4:22 PM on March 3, 2013


thanks, TWF. Again, interesting.
posted by gaspode at 4:23 PM on March 3, 2013


It's not an evasion that it seems like. It's straightforward.

Oh for crying out loud. You want a full explanation of the full breadth and complexity of my personal faith, belief, and practice, then come out to LA and we can have the worst meetup ever where I talk your ear off. I'm happy to discuss it. The last thing Metafilter needs is another thread where The World Famous gets into a multi page discussion about that stuff, particularly if I'm doing it from my stupid phone.
posted by The World Famous at 4:28 PM on March 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


TWF, I think you need whatever the LDS version of "If Hans Küng can stick it out, so can I!" is. As I'm sure you are currently thinking, you've fallen victim to brevity, I think.
posted by hoyland at 4:32 PM on March 3, 2013


他的中文挺不錯。我下次在臺灣看那些白T恤衫黑領帶騎着腳踏車的人就會有不一樣的眼光吧。

His Mandarin's not bad. Next time I'm in Taiwan, I won't look the same way at all those guys in white T-shirts and black ties on bikes.
posted by jiawen at 4:33 PM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


AWKWARD
posted by en forme de poire at 4:39 PM on March 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


[There will be no badgering of The World Famous here. Period. Come on, people. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 4:47 PM on March 3, 2013


"I don't understand why someone who is not the object of a church's bigotry would stay in that church despite the fact that they know they would leave if they were." I could go on all night long. The answer is easy: People are complex. We all make out choices. We're free to do that. Sometimes we might not even like the choices we make. Sometimes there is no choice. People are complex. Few choices are black and white and easy.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:50 PM on March 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yeah I'm pretty much on board with TWF's view if one of my kids came out to me. And to echo the same: reasons for staying in the church despite institutional bigotry are varied and invariably human. It really sincerely is not the black-and-white issue some folks wish it to be.
posted by Doleful Creature at 4:55 PM on March 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I look forward to more videos from him about his inevitable deconversion and new boyfriends.
posted by fontor at 5:09 PM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Right. I was trying to envision a mindset that would stay in a church whose theology I didn't 100% believe in, if said church wholesale rejected my child. Being an ex-Catholic, it's certainly something I've seen before; was just looking for a Mormon take on it :)
posted by gaspode at 5:11 PM on March 3, 2013


Tribalism is the basest human characteristic, and the one that gives me the least hope for the future, whether it's religion, nationalism, proudly consuming one company's products, or whatever. It's baked into us (and I'm sure I'm as guilty of it as the next person).

"My [tribe], right or wrong!" leads to more misery for people and the world they inhabit than anything else. And while groups can change, usually in fits and starts, it's this unreasoning acceptance of the tribe's dogma which makes change difficult and hurts a lot of people in the meantime.
posted by maxwelton at 6:36 PM on March 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


It's interesting to see how different people accomodate the differences between what they believe and what their church says they should believe. Almost all of them (me included) are (were) willing to go through some complicated efforts to reconcile the contradictions because the benefits are real. But you can't juggle cognitive dissonance forever - eventually something has to give and if churches don't realise that then they're in for a rude shock.

I wouldn't be surprised if a Mormon kid who's brave enough to tape reactions to his coming out will find that the gap between who he is and who his church says he must be is too large to be overcome. He's pushing at the boundaries of what his local church members will accept already. Maybe the Mormon church will change because of people like him, but institutional change is a long, laborious and not always progressive process, and life might be too short for him to wait for them to catch up.

Of course, I'm an atheist and so the idea of a God-given set of rules that nevertheless changes over time seems odd to me. Which is why I left the Catholic church when the dissonance got too much for me, instead of staying to try to change it to suit my own values. Why not start us off with the right set of rules in the first bloody place, and save a lot of useless suffering?
posted by harriet vane at 8:50 PM on March 3, 2013


Let's hope he ends up like this guy yt . He seems tough and smart. I would bet he does.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:22 PM on March 3


Ha! Agreed. That guy is awesome. What a great and clear perspective on such an awful thing. Just considering the amount of painful and difficult self-reflection it would take to climb out of that well into sunshine and have a sense of humor about it is making me wince.

Look, I'm a straight white 30-something computer programmer with no kids. I've had some ups-and-downs, and certainly a lot of problems growing up, but nothing where I would have to perpetually be in a group seminar being asked why what I am is wrong, continuously, for years, until the other people in the program just started killing themselves.

Sheesh.

As for the video. Good for him. I hope he keeps going with it, but he should absolutely be documenting, and getting traction and support for this.

I won't dismiss the incremental for not being the perfect.
posted by fontophilic at 11:24 AM on March 3

Agreed (loved the way you said it!). Remember, the church didn't even let in black people until 1978. I don't think anyone would argue that the world would be a better place if that hadn't happened.

The couching of this video seems like he is trying to pre-empt that drama and concern, by saying that he'll just be "celibate", which historically has been a problematic solution, politically and religiously.

I reeeealllly can't fault him for that, though. It would reflect very badly on the church, local community and the many "BFFs" that have supported him if a nice kid, loved by millions on youtube, acting to the letter and spirit of the church were mistreated.

In the long run, I hope he gets the chance to figure out whats best for himself, and not how to act to make the people around him more comfortable, I hope nothing bad comes to him because of this, and I wish him the best of luck.

Dude seems smart, good-natured and loving. The fuck it matter if he's gay?
posted by lkc at 9:15 PM on March 3, 2013


It's probably just me, but between Angels in America and Orson Scott Card, my culturally-informed perception of Mormons is pretty much "usually gay"...

Really, I don't understand why more isn't made of the fact that Orson Scott Card seems very, very, very gay (and angry about being gay, and upset that others act out their gayness).

Stop it, Orson. Just stop it.
posted by MoxieProxy at 5:10 PM on March 4, 2013


Really, I don't understand why more isn't made of the fact that Orson Scott Card seems very, very, very gay (and angry about being gay, and upset that others act out their gayness).

Because at this point in the cultural processing of homosexuality, it's considered in very poor taste to speculate about someone else's sexuality. It doesn't matter who he has wet dreams about, and frankly I don't want to know. What matters is what he does that affects other people.
posted by restless_nomad at 6:33 PM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wow, that's actually pretty heartbreaking, to me. Best of lucking going forward, my friend.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 7:56 PM on March 4, 2013


Absolutely - it doesn't really matter where Orson Scott Card gets his interest in homosexuality, or on what he is basing his etiology of homosexuality. I very much doubt one could get a coherent answer out of Card himself on that one.

What matters is that Card is all about the gay. And his embracing and promulgation of a series of wrongheaded ideas about homosexuality, and his advocacy for them, has real consequences for gay men and lesbians.

It also has consequences for the perception of the Church of Latter Day Saints, of course. In my lifetime, I've seen the popular perception of the LDS church go from Those Guys in Undertaker Suits Who Practised Polygamy to Those Guys in Undertaker Suits Who Excluded Black People From Their Lay Priesthood to Those Guys in Undertaker Suits Who Are All About The Gay. None of these perceptions, of course, capture the depth and complexity of LDS faith. Which, honestly, is a problem the church has with its marketing.

So, yeah. When the LDS church pours money into California, a state where 2% of the population are LDS, to fund 50% of the pro-Proposition 8 campaign, people are going to think "wait a minute - why are you guys telling us what marriage ought to mean, given that whole plural marriage megillah?". When Elder Dallin Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles compares the anti-Mormon backlash in California after Proposition 8 was passed to voter intimidation in the 60s in the South, people are going to think "wait a minute - weren't you the guys who operated a color bar well into the 1970s?" And so it is with the NOM, generally considered to be an LDS-funded and LDS-driven organization, and with the foamy utterances of OSC.

They hurt gay men and lesbians, but they also hurt the church, just as it hurts the Roman Catholic church when a senior Roman Catholic priest (possibly under the influence of cognitive impairment) suggests that the real problem is sexually aggressive teenaged boys.

The LDS church itself seems to be trying to get out from under its perception as being not only obsessed with homosexuality but actively homophobic - qv its latest outreach, Mormonsandgays.org, in which Mormons are urged not to cast out or ostracize their gay children. This video, by coincidence or design, is pushing that line.

So, there's an attempt to remarket the LDS church. Having people who are completely haterpants about this stuff, however, and who seem to be speaking ex some sort of cathedra is not a good thing for them.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:08 AM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


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