Friday, February 11, 2011

A troubling problem...

For the last several days I've been troubled. Because I've been troubled, I've thought of a hundred different ways to write a blog post about the problem. Each time I've begun, I've moved a good hour's work to the recycle bin (hence no posts on my blog for over a week).

Finally, tonight I came to the conclusion that instead of taking a thorough and analytical approach to the problem as is my custom, I would, instead, throw the issue out to the world in simple straightforward terms.

Not too long ago, I shared my "Gay Scripture Study" post with a straight friend of mine. This friend is not homophobic and has been a tremendous support as I made my transition out of the closet and into the open. He read the post, looked at the pictures, and said with an honest tremor in his voice, "Clive, this is obscene, blasphemous. You might get excommunicated for this post."

At first I thought he was kidding, but then quickly realized that he was reacting with a sincere desire to protect me from my impulsive nature by making clear the real potential consequences of publishing my essay.

As I reviewed the scriptures and the accompanying pictures, I saw nothing obscene. There was no more nudity than one might see on a highway billboard. There was no overt sexuality. The pictures were candidly beautiful.

What was it that made the post blasphemous and worthy of Church discipline?

Several days later I mentioned to another straight friend that I was preparing a Gospel Doctrine lesson with a twist. Instead of using the regular lesson manual, I would use the New Testament scriptures for that week as a text, but would prepare the lesson from the perspective of a gay man.

My friend, also gay-friendly and open-minded, responded, "Don’t you think that’s sacrilegious - that you’re pushing things a little too close to the edge?” His tone was serious and his intention was to dissuade. In his mind, I had cross a line than no worthy person would misunderstand.

And yet, I couldn't help but recall that we are admonished to read the scriptures and apply them to our own lives. What would be more helpful for gay men than to study the scriptures from a gay perspective to learn gay truths that actually apply to gay lives?

Needless to say, both of these incidents occurring in less than a week left me hurt and more than a little disturbed.

It seems to me that despite the openness and acceptance of these two wonderful friends, down deep, they still believe homosexuality is innately reprehensible and in and of itself will taint the sanctity of the Restored Gospel if viewed through the same glass.

Now, here is my problem.

If two open-minded,accepting Latter-day Saints harbor such views, what must the rest of the Church think?


  1. Um, I think you already know the answer to that, Clive. I think that what you have witnessed is just how thin the veneer of acceptance is on many members who even *try* to be open-minded and "progressive." Then there is the vast majority who make no pretense to such qualities of broadmindedness and inclusiveness. I believe that there are a number of active members of the Church who really do accept gays as they are and homosexuality as it is, but these constitute a tiny minority. Sad, but true. Particularly sad for you to realize the limitations of friends whom you thought were someplace they obviously aren't.

    Hugs, my friend.

  2. I have often wondered if my blog were to be read by my friends and associates within the church how they would react to it, especially the more understanding and accepting ones. Would I be considered "on the edge" or "blasphemous" and completely "over the edge"? Would my posts with photos of beautiful men be considered "inappropriate" or even "pornographic"?

    That line of open-minded "progressivism" is very thin, and I realize I'm walking on a fine line, particularly in my situation, and that for now, I choose not to cross.

    I feel it is something that many may not be capable of understanding, no matter how tolerant and open-minded they may be, without having experienced it - something a straight person will not ever know, but at best, only try to comprehend.

  3. As you say, you need to be careful. Sad but true. Even when you feel like what you say in church is well received, it is likely being talked about in the leadership councils. If they feel at all threatened they won't hesitate to act so it's something to be prepared for. Best regards.