Originally posted at Doves & Serpents as a guest blogger.
As a gay Mormon, I consistently struggle with the Church’s stance against homosexuality. Prior to December 6, 2012, the Church took an ardent position, based on the revelations of the late President Gordon B. Hinckley, that homosexuality was a “choice” and that an individual could suppress this “choice” and choose a life that was pleasing to God. This has affected hundreds of thousands of LGBT Mormons throughout the world who have been forced to live in relative obscurity, suppressing their innermost feelings and damaging themselves psychologically.
The Church’s teachings have directly required LGBT Mormons to suppress their innermost thoughts and desires and have consistently marginalized us to be less than who we are. As of December 6, 2012, the Church is now encouraging members to love one another and include themselves in dialogue regarding same-sex attractions (SSAs).
The “ordained” terminology that the Church has forced upon us is asinine. With a disturbing promotion of their own ideology, the Church abandons us with their first steps toward inclusion by refusing to use the moniker “LGBT” which has identified the community since the beginning of gay rights movements in the United States. The use of SSA instead of LGBT marginalizes the community and invalidates it by using a different set of words entirely for the purpose of making an effort to denigrate the life that we live.
The Church released a new website called “Love One Another”. This website, located at mormonsandgays.org, illuminates the Church’s conflicting position on homosexuality and how the Church seeks to embrace its LGBT church members. The issue that it does not highlight is the fact that the Church continues to disfellowship, excommunicate and downright humiliate its LGBT members as a facet of its everyday being. It also fails to acknowledge one of its core questions before baptism into the church, “Have you ever been in a homosexual relationship?”
If the Church is truly seeking full inclusion of LGBT members, it will stop denigrating the community. It will stop embarrassing its faithful members through humiliation and disfellowshipping. It will stop asking if a potential candidate has been in a homosexual relationship prior to becoming a member. It will support LGBT members with every ounce of its being and it will stop requiring members to seek counseling for their same-sex attractions.
In an effort to help change the Church, I will participate in dialogue, as I have for the past few months. I will help change the face of the Church and I will help mold it into what an “inclusive” church should look like. I hope that, despite our setbacks, the Church will truly listen to its LGBT members and begin to loosen the reins that it has proverbially set upon our backs for decades. I hope that it will continue to see that we are people, too, and that we deserve not to be marginalized, but to be loved, just as anyone else does. I hope that one day, we will all be able to set ourselves in temple and seal our children and our marriages before God. I hope that the Church will see that God made me just as He made everyone else. I am not an agent of Satan, I am a human being — I just happen to love men.