Thursday, June 9, 2011

Utah Pride: Redux

Basking in the after-glow of an amazing Pride Weekend, I am compelled to share one more post about this truly awesome event. The sense of community and, yes, PRIDE, I felt and feel after having participated in the parade and festival has left me soaring. At the same time, I am humbled by and grateful for the experience.

Utah Pride reinforced in a very real and powerful way what I knew already—that life, especially my life—is good; that being true to myself and to the God who created me brings completion and fulfillment, joy and happiness, satisfaction and peace. After years of merely surviving in a colorless world bound with the chains of fear and self-loathing, I am now thriving in a limitless universe of color and space.

When I think of the path I’ve traveled the last two years, I’m astonished. When I consider the love I feel for those who led me and sometimes carried me along that path, I am overwhelmed.

My life as a gay man is life worth living—every single second of it. It is precious, treasured, a pearl of great price.

In the brilliant light of truth, I now see that my closet never really was a closet. It was a prison, a cell, small dark and fetid, into which I will never return.

I can now sing with every fiber of my soul the words of gratitude that can only be understood with the emancipation of the spirit, "I'm free at last, I'm free at last. Thank God Almighty I'm free at last."

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pride is a time to be PROUD!

This past weekend I attended my first Pride Festival. I was more than a little intimidated at first, expecting the stereotypical lasciviousness and debauchery that usually graces the front page of the Salt Lake Tribune the day after the event (true to its sensationalist instincts, today’s Tribune article about Pride leads with a picture of a hot twink in a Speedo).

Pride turned out to be one of the most affirming, uplifting experiences of my life.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

To young gay men--"It is not good for [a gay] man to be alone."

Yesterday as I was skimming my in-box for an interesting post, I happened on one by Andy, a BYU student struggling to reconcile his faith and his nature.

Andy recounted a recent visit he had had with his elder's quorum president, his desire and commitment to do the right thing, and his overwhelming sense of isolation and loneliness. Specifically, Andy told the EQP that he had confidence there were other gay men in the ward; he just wished he knew who they were so he could meet them, talk to them and perhaps enjoy their support.

The elder's quorum president responded that it was good for Andy to avoid other gay people, that forging his way alone was the right thing to do, and that he admired Andy for his strength to resist.

My heart broke for Andy. Just like so many well-meaning, but misguided leaders of the Church, Andy's EQP believed the best way to help Andy and other gay members of his quorum was to isolate them, keep them away from one another, ensure that they had no contact. This in his mind controls the contagion, keeps it from spreading, and maintains the moral integrity of the Church.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Building a gay Mormon theology: First steps

Joseph Smith received revelation within the context of the culture of his time. This directly impacted the translation of themes and ideology that came from God and subsequently served as the underpinnings of the restored gospel.

For example, the organizational paradigm that drove society during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was that of hierarchy based on a monarchical model. As a result, the primary metaphors and stories used to teach revealed truth centered around movement from bottom to top, with the greatest blessings reserved for those who climb the pyramid the best. Hence, the celestial kingdom is at the top of the "reward" pyramid while the telestial kingdom is at the bottom. The prophet is at the top of the "authority" pyramid followed closely by other General Authorities, stake presidents and then bishops. Women, who hold no priesthood, are at the bottom.