Good day friends, and foes! It’s your friendly, former Mormon here to weigh in on the latest church news. This. I'll offer a brief summary—some bullshit about "tolerance" and a "balanced approach" to LGBTQ folks—but I think it’s probably best you read this revelation for yourself. I’m pretty sure I can't do the absurdity justice.
As a reminder: I left the church in 2008 after 15-ish years of card carrying membership in the Mormon Club. You can read that gem of a story here. I appreciate that I’ve given you a lot of homework already so let me just sum it up real quick. I left the church around 2008 following the whole Prop 8 thing. There are a lot of elements about the church I considered offensive, rude, and often just bizarre, but nothing more so than their support of that measure. I took my children, traipsed out the back door and never turned around to see if anyone noticed I was gone.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is not unlike many organized religions. At its helm are a bunch of Old White Guys, who like to say that they love and accept all people, but don't really include all people. It's sort of like saying, I’m not racist, I just don’t like Mexicans. Or, I’m not a homophobe, I just don’t want a gay man in the locker room with me. Because he might look at my butt. And who knows what would happen if I bent over to pick up the soap. Because gay men have nothing better to do than spend their days ogling straight dudes in non-sexual situations.
*I’m going to add a little disclaimer here: I know and love (or at least like) a whole bunch of Mormons: my former in-laws, my friends, my doctor. By and large, Mormons as a community are good people—really good people in fact. It’s the church itself that fails to make sense. They follow the church and its tenets for a number of complicated and not-so-complicated reasons: they can’t see outside it; they are a legacy Mormon (like Joseph Smith was their great great-great-great grandfather); they are too indoctrinated by their parents to dare ask questions; they are afraid of committing social suicide by leaving; they actually believe in it.
Being part of a Church (any church) has waxed and waned in popularity—sort of like kale or coconut oil or Madonna. Sometimes religion and “values” are cool. Sometimes going to church means you wear your love of God (or whoever) like a badge of honor. And then sometimes you don’t want to tell anyone because then they'll know you’re wasting your Sunday (or Saturday or Friday) on your knees, at the altar, etc. etc. etc. Either way and however it goes down, places of worship need money to survive and thrive, and that money comes often in the form of tithing. And that math is pretty simple—fill the pews or no money. How do you fill the pews? Become (or stay) popular.
The thing about staying popular is that sometimes you have to bend your “values” to stay in line with what is now, or is at least becoming, socially accepted. Like ankle boots, high-waisted shorts or the Paleo diet, if you want to stay au currant and relevant— you’ve got to adapt and evolve to the prevailing style of society. Even if those shorts look pretty ridiculous on everyone. Even if they make you look six months pregnant. Even if only eating bacon and nuts makes you miserable and nauseous. Defy the trends and risk being cast from Paradise—from visibility and relevancy.
In October, the Pope (of the Catholic church, if you’re not familiar) said the church would welcome the LGBT community openly. Big news for the Catholics. We love all people! Gay. Lesbian. Transgender. Dudes who wear their wives' underwear. All of you. Why? For the exact reasons that the Mormon church is doing the same.
Because not doing so makes you look like a real jerk these days.
Fun fact: Up until 1978 the Church wouldn’t allow African American men to hold the priesthood—the highest *male* honor. Yes, I said male. Women still can’t hold the priesthood. Because we apparently just can’t handle this great God-given responsibility on top of all the baking and sewing and child-rearing we're already occupied with.
These days black men can join the priesthood however. Because in 1978 these "faithful brethren" asked the Lord for “divine guidance” regarding this matter and what do you know, the Lord finally replied, “A-OK.” Phew. Silly me. Thinking that these institutions might be racist or sexist.
Back to the topic at hand. The Church declares its love and acceptance of the LGBT community. We welcome you with open arms*.
There’s just one teeny tiny itty bitty little catch. You can’t have sex outside the covenant of marriage. Oh whoops wait, you can’t get married if you’re gay because that isn’t ordained. Ohhhh hang on now, I think I just figured this beautiful mind-game out. Just don't have sex! Thanks so much for stopping by. Bye.
Does else feel this stance might be a smidgen hypocritical? "We love you. We welcome you openly.*"
*Unless you want to actually be gay. Then forget about it.
Here’s the thing. Once the Church recognizes gay marriage (which it can’t and won’t) then it has to recognize that gay people can not only hold the aforementioned priesthood (because they are all legit now), but also they can get a temple recommend, and then get temple married (sealed). And then have all The Unordained Sex, which of course would now be The Ordained Sex.
This is a messy business because A. Gay sex is forbidden (because presumably the idea of two men or two women together is just too much for God and all the Old White Guys to handle) and B. All the gay people could go to the temple and they might turn it into a disco, cover it in peonies, make everyone wear Birkenstocks and flannels, or white jeans and rainbows and velour . . . or whatever else that is just too gay. That would all be a dastardly downgrade over the current beveled mirrors and silk pussy willows. We can’t have that now.
The Church says they want to fight for LGBT rights, as long as they can also fight to sustain their own beliefs. I.e. a Mormon physician doesn’t have to artificially inseminate a lesbian couple. Sorry ladies, the only way you’re going to have a baby is if you can procure a penis to have sex with the good old fashioned way. Or you can adopt, unless it’s from a Mormon adoption agency, because they too can reserve the right to turn you away based solely on your gayness.
Again. A tangled thought experiment that looks a lot like . . . bullshit.
If the Church's revelation that they're going to start “loving and accepting” the LGBT community makes you feel warm and fuzzy, like the world is a better, kinder place, just ask any gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgender person in the church how warm and fuzzy they feel.
Let me warn you that you'll be hard-pressed to find one. Because they're—sadly—closeted, or called bullshit too. And left.