Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Come Out To Your Ward

Here's George again. I would love to be there when he does this. Very powerful:


31 comments:

that girl said...

i appreciate that you posted this video. i hope the best for George. so i have a question for you that i'm curious about your thoughts on. i have been reading your blog on and off, so apologies if you've already covered this somewhere else.

i think, well, no, i believe that some people are born gay. just like some people are born with brown eyes or perfectly straight teeth or something like that. it's physical, chemical, etc. and that is who they are, and i feel like gay Mormons are looking forward to having a very frank discussion with God some day that will go something like, "so, like, what the freak? what gives? explain please." i am totally behind the legitimately gays who want families, want to be treated equal, want to live a happy life.

however, i also believe that some people were not born gay and that at some point in their life, they made a concious decision to switch gears and be gay. it is these folks that kind of upset me with the whole Prop 8 thing and gay rights in general. is there anyone else out there who agrees with me? do i even make a valid point? in my mind, i'm thinking, you are not truly gay, you just made a lifestyle decision. what if you change your mind again? i just don't have the time or patience to deal with that. just grow up and deal with the consequences.

what are your thoughts, Lisa?

Lisa said...

I've had the same thoughts, actually. I wonder how many people out there "choose" to be gay.

The gay community will tell you that any person who "chooses" both sides is simply bisexual. Then you have to define bisexual--are people just getting together to get together and 'be sexy' or because of actual attraction? And is that a problem (beyond the issue of fornication)?

I don't know how to answer that yet. I don't think it should be a problem and I'll admit I'm coming to terms with my own preconceived notions. I think sexuality is an extremely important aspect of who we are and exploring it is equally important. Being stupid about it is not the way to go, i.e. sleeping around.

There's a really fine line to walk on between exploring your sexuality in a healthy manner and going about it promiscuously for the sake of "getting it out of your system." I believe self control is healthy, but oppression is not.

I also tend to believe that sexuality is a spectrum, that is a person can be 100% straight TO 100% gay. I have nothing to back that up other than my own feelings and those of friends.

The thing is some people will always be too scared to talk about it which will make this question more difficult to tackle. But as sexuality makes such a prominent part of who we are, we need to be honest about it. We owe it to ourselves and our kids.

Some people who "switch teams" will switch again. It happens. I don't know enough about it to say one way or another, but once i look past what I've been taught all these years, even pre-LDS, I can't help but think gay people are just people. I do love the guy-girl arrangement but I do not think for one second a girl-girl or guy-guy arrangement is bad at all if its serious and committed. Many straight relationships are anything but serious and committed, and they are just as, if not moreso, destructive to society and the human psyche of the children involved than gay unions are.

Make sense?

Thanks so much for commenting. Good to see you :)

[kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊] said...

If someone who is bisexual, pansexual, or who identifies with another term entirely changes their sexual habits, I don't see how that's anyone else's business.

That someone will be in a gay relationship and then follow that with a hetero relationship doesn't seem to me to be any different than a man who has a relationship with more than one woman, perhaps even having more than one marriage. Either the gender of your partner matters or it doesn't. The idea that everyone has to be sorted into neat little categories of "gay" and "straight" and/or should "just make up their mind" or "grow up and deal with the consequences" is one that belies the fluidity of human experience, and the fact that all these categories are social constructs and aren't inherently real outside of our own minds.

Matt Brinton said...

Yes George, I'm sure that disregarding Heavenly Fathers council will make the LDS faith a better people. I think he meant to say a politically correct people.
And to say that a "loving Heavenly Father made me this way", so it must be right is just plain silly.
God made alcoholics, pedophiles and lazy people too, so it must be ok right?

I dont get why gays are so persistent in wanting to change a religions beliefs. A government I can understand, but the LDS church, are you for real?

What a sad and useless idea this George has. It will only infuriate and divide people more on this issue.

I taught a lesson last week in our priest quourm on political issues and Gay issues. I believe marriage should be left to religions and not the government. I also shared my view that regardless of religion and God, science proves homosexuality wrong. We have natural instincts. Believe it or not, reproduction is one of them, and well you guessed it, those parts just don't fit together.

Lisa, you say this would be very powerful. In what way? In that a gay is trying to change what Heavenly Father has told us?

Urban Koda said...

Something tells me that young Matt is new around here...

Hope all went well for George today. I think my ward would likely have hauled him outside and hung him - but then again, they pretty much did that to me for pulling a visual aid out of my jacket pocket during a sacrament talk.

Chris and Annalee Waddell said...

For goodness sake, this is so incredibly simple. God forbids homosexuality. He also commanded us to love everyone. It is not impossible for those two ideas to exist in the same heart/mind and I believe it's common.

[kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊] said...

@Matt
It's sad that you think it is ok to be so brazenly homophobic. And it's even sadder that you allow your church to tell you what to think and how to view the world.

You're sorely misinformed if you think science "proves homosexuality [to be] wrong". In fact, science proves the exact opposite, in more ways that I can enumerate here.

What a sad and useless idea this George has. It will only infuriate and divide people more on this issue.

It will divide those who can be compassionate and tolerant regardless of their religious belief from those who hate and are bigoted and use their religion to justify it.

The point of what George and many people like him are doing is that so in time, people like you will be less and less common in the church, and eventually the institutionalised discrimination and abuse will end.

Also, the "parts" fit together just fine, even in gay sex. You'll just have to trust me on that one. Or if you really want, I can explain it to you in great detail :)

[kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊] said...

@Chris and/or Annalee (are you one person?)

Please, explain what you mean. How do you treat people who are gay? How do you show them you love them, while believing that your god forbids homosexuality.

(Which is by the way, a ridiculous assertion. It's like saying your god forbids being black or having blue eyes).

Chris and Annalee Waddell said...

Re: [kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊]

"How do you show them you love them, while believing that your god forbids homosexuality."

Ya, I'll address that. A couple years ago my cousin left his wife and four kids because, as he explained, he couldn't live a lie anymore. He had served a mission, and made covenants (covenants I tell you!) to God and this woman. Then, he broke all of his sacred promises and did something I think is wrong. Yet, I feel love for him. I admire his talents, his warmth, and I genuinely enjoy his company. I smile when I see him, I ask him how he is, and I genuinely mean it and care. That's how I treat him. As for other gay people I know, it's something akin to that but of course I don't have a familial connection to strengthen the relationship. It's the same way I treat all other people, respectfully.

I would counter, how do you treat people who disagree with your concept of what is right. Oh wait, we might be able to discern that from this...

"...a ridiculous assertion":

It's not ridiculous to assert that God forbids homosexuality. It's true. We all have our stuff. I was born with a temper but I still have to abide God's law.

Thanks!

[kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊] said...

My point is you may think your god forbids homosexual sex or romance, or other actions, but it makes no logical sense (but then again, I am talking about religion), to say he forbids homosexuality. It obviously exists. If he forbade it, why would it exist? You might claim he forbids acting on it, but to say he forbids homosexuality really doesn't make any sense. I'm saying this is a logical impossibility, hence why I called it "ridiculous".

As for how I treat people I disagree with, I argue with them, I try to show how my views are more realistic, logical, and indicative of reality, and if I find that their argument is better supported than mine, then I adopt a new belief.

I think most Mormons (and other religionists) are badly misled and often brainwashed, and aren't very open to examining their beliefs and checking them against the available evidence, and I think that's very dangerous.

What I really want to know is if you think gay people should have equal rights, if we are human being too, or something less in your eyes. I.e., how far does that respect carry?

I have to also say that I feel very badly for your friend and his family, but I wouldn't put all the blame on him. Imagine growing up gay in a society that puts so much pressure and importance on heterosexual marriage. He may have felt he didn't have a choice, and indeed it's quite possible he was told to get married, despite the fact that he is gay. The church certainly deserves some of the blame for cultivating a culture where gay people cannot be themselves and are forced to hide and lie in order to be accepted and validated. I was in that life for a long time myself, so I understand why someone would get married, despite being gay, and I applaud him for having the strength to finally come out and be who he is. It's certainly painful for people on both sides, and it is a situation that is avoidable, if only the church would stop trying to force everyone into unrealistic and harmful heteronormative roles.

Vanessa said...

This issue is really what was the tipping point in leaving the church. If we can watch someone open up and express the pain and abandonment that he has felt and still use the "God says its wrong" card is beyond me. Can we actually listen to what George is saying without feeling his pain? And what does that say about ourselves if we can't? The reason that I left the church is because it was actually leading me away from a relationship with God....i don't want to believe in a God that would condemn someone for wanting a meaningful, loving relationship....that is not to say that the church is bad for all people. It was bad for me. It made me feel bad about myself. I wish George the best and hope he can find the love that he is looking for...inside or outside of the church.

Matt Brinton said...

Yes, young Matt is new to commenting here (by the way, what is "young" supposed to imply? don't worry, im not offended, just curious), but I have read Lisa's blog for a while.

I love it when I am called homophobic, a bigot, brainwashed or any attempt a discrediting any view in opposition of gays.

There is nothing wrong with any church telling anyone how to believe. If you don't like it don't believe it. It's that simple.

Please give me just a couple of ways science proves homosexuality "right", since you know so many.
You are right, in gay sex the parts do fit together. I wonder why God also made that area so full of disease causing bacteria.

How are gays asking for the church to change it's doctrine going to make less people like me?

Man, come to think of it, the church really is bad! We discriminate against gays, alcoholics, pedophiles, adulterers and smokers. God made all of these so it must be "right", right? We better start an alcoholics campaign to change the church's doctrine on drinking. You said if God made it, it's okay.

I don't get the anti-LDS mentality that if God forbids something I like, it's discrimination. It's just the same with earthly parents. I don't allow my daughter to do whatever she wants because it "makes her feel good", and I still love her while giving her rules.

How can you even ask, "if he forbade it, why would it exist?", and think that is logical?

I will adopt your beliefs when I see they are better supported. In fact a point we can agree on is that I dont feel gays should try to marry straight to "fix" the problem. That practice just results in masking the problem.
I think the Gov't should only recognize civil unions for gay and straight, with all the same leagal advantages as straight couples.

Chris and Annalee Waddell said...

Re: [kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊]

Thank you for having this open dialogue with me. I don't have the opportunity very often to discuss this issue with someone who fundamentally disagrees with me.

(BTW, it was my cousin that left his family). When I say God forbids homosexuality, I mean acting on it. I think that was obvious.

To say that the only truth that exists is that which can be proven empirically is false. But you say it is required for you to consider alternative points of view. I think, then, that you are missing a large part of the truth. Truth that is real. Truth that requires faith.

I don't think Mormons are brainwashed. They have the doctrine available to them, they can make up their own minds about it. In fact, it's expected and inevitable (yours is a perfect example). The culture of mormonism is what exerts pressure. Pressure that even "good" mormons feel compelled to abide. It's not exclusive to gays. And, I don't agree with it because it can lead people to do things that aren't Christlike.

Of course I believe, gay people should have equal rights. I don't consider marriage a right (maybe you could explain to me why you think it is). I think marriage is a social institution instituted through the church. I'm starting to form the opinion that all marriages should be civil unions but not all civil unions should be marriages. I'm still thinking about it though.

Imagine that, a mormon with an open mind!

David said...

Matt, you say that God forbids homosexuality. May I remind you that he used to forbid blacks from having the priesthood? May I remind you that during that time high-ranking church leaders made remarks that were seen by many as racist, and prophesied that God would NEVER allow blacks to have the priesthood? May I remind you that the church used to practice a form of marriage that was outlawed by the government?

Now explain that as you may, none that was never an excuse for hatred. I've seen members of the church say the most horrific things to their friends who confessed their homosexuality. I was ashamed of their behavior, and honestly believe that they were further away from Christ's teachings at that moment than their homosexual friends (who had not even acted on their feelings - and were working with their bishops).

I realize this is an open discussion, but comparing homosexuals to pedophiles is completely out of line. I personally believe that God forbids it myself, but would you take a minute to consider if you yourself are acting in harmony with Christ's teachings when you say things like that?

People who are born with tendencies to pornography and drug abuse because of genetics or their parents struggle through their lives in a personal hell, especially if they grow up in this church. If you put homosexuals in the same class, don't you think they might be suffering loneliness and confusion that only Christ could understand?

Be more kind. I know where you're coming from, but it is better to be permissive than oppressive.

Urban Koda said...

Ah Matt! No offense was meant by the 'young' comment, it's just that you raise the same arguments that have been raised repeatedly on this topic, without providing any additional evidence or support for your arguments.

Here's why I sit where I do on the LDS/Gay Debate...

I'm a very happily married heterosexual man with a wife and 5 kids. Since I was about the age of 12 I have been obsessed with women. George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Gerard Butler could all offer themselves to me, and it would hold absolutely no appeal for me. However get an average looking lady to simply walk up to me, and I become putty in her hands.

I would assume you feel the same way about women...

Now imagine being told that your feelings are wrong. That you are not natural. That somehow God hates you for the way you feel.

Welcome to the world of a Gay member of the Church.

I can only imagine it would be pure and utter hell.

Now, watch George's video again from that perspective.

[kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊] said...

When I say God forbids homosexuality, I mean acting on it. I think that was obvious.

Actually it's not at all obvious. There are many people, including many Mormons who believe that homosexuality is a choice, and that people who are gay are able to change their orientation. In fact, growing up I was explicitly taught that and it caused a great deal of harm to me. This is a mentality that was extensively held and taught as doctrine by many general authorities. So I wanted to be clear as to what you were talking about.


To say that the only truth that exists is that which can be proven empirically is false. But you say it is required for you to consider alternative points of view. I think, then, that you are missing a large part of the truth. Truth that is real. Truth that requires faith.

I reject that philosophy as fundamentally false and extremely dangerous. There is no belief or truth that shouldn't be able to stand up to evidence and proof and science and reality and logic, etc. A belief that cannot be verified or that isn't based on facts is one that isn't actually based on anything real. Your faith in Mormonism is totally arbitrary, and is no more based in reality than Catholic, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Scientologist, Jehovah's Witnesses, Baptist, Lutheran, or Jewish faith is. They're all based on easily manipulated feelings. Feelings have been proven to not be reliable sources of information, or bases for decisions or indicators of truth. The selfsame feelings that a Mormon feels when praying, attending church, and reading the Book of Mormon or in the temple are also felt by the Muslim at mosque, praying 5 times daily, or during a pilgrimage to the Kaaba. Religious faith is all the same, regardless of the details or the specific religion.

Faith caused 9-11, it caused the Mountain Meadow's Massacre, it caused the recent murder of abortion doctor George Tiller, it causes hate crimes against gay people. These people have the exact same faith in their beliefs that you have in yours. It has the same basis, and is just as impervious to evidence and logic.

I don't think Mormons are brainwashed. They have the doctrine available to them, they can make up their own minds about it. In fact, it's expected and inevitable (yours is a perfect example). The culture of mormonism is what exerts pressure. Pressure that even "good" mormons feel compelled to abide. It's not exclusive to gays. And, I don't agree with it because it can lead people to do things that aren't Christlike.

I understand that you don't think you or other Mormons are brainwashed. If it makes you feel better, it's a condition that has been shown to exist in most religions, especially extremely authoritarian ones like Mormonism. The culture is admittedly heinous and disgusting to me. But the culture is the result, not the cause. There are some, perhaps quite a few Mormons who are able to think for themselves and who don't follow the church leaders in lock-step. Those who defy their church leaders and support equality for all people.

[kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊] said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
natalie said...

I think the most inappropriate thing about what Matt said is that he uses his position in the church to push for his political and social views, and steps WAY out of doctrinal bounds to do so.

So, so, so inappropriate. When I've served in leadership or teaching positions, I share my personal views very rarely, because I would never want anyone to think they are obligated to believe what I do because they heard it in a formal setting at church. Can you imagine how a closeted gay person sitting in your lesson would have felt? Can you imagine the extreme isolation that would cause? Did you not listen to George's video? Gay Mormons kill themselves because of how they are made to feel.

It really, really irks me that you profess your inappropriate teaching method and vault it as some kind of symbol of your righteousness. Sick. Try that when I'm in the class you're teaching.

[kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊] said...

Of course I believe, gay people should have equal rights. I don't consider marriage a right (maybe you could explain to me why you think it is). I think marriage is a social institution instituted through the church. I'm starting to form the opinion that all marriages should be civil unions but not all civil unions should be marriages. I'm still thinking about it though.

I'm glad that you "of course" believe. Many Mormons don't.

The good thing is that you don't get to decide what is and is not a right. No religion does, and for that I am very grateful. Marriage has been deemed a human right by the UN and a civil right by the US Supreme Court. It's only a matter of time before I will have the right to marry in this country.

Your view that marriage was started by any church is simply incorrect. Marriage as we conceive of it today is a very new concept, and has evolved incredibly over time. We have redefined what "marriage" means almost every generation, and the argument that "marriage" can somehow be a solely religious institution is ludicrous.

Most non-nobles throughout history never married (not as we think of "marriage") and indeed marriage wasn't seen as something for the lower social classes until quite late, which was when it also began as being about love and companionship. For most of it's history, marriage has been about property, political alliances, inheritance, and heirs. Sexual relationships often had nothing to do with marriage, until very recently.

The Catholic church took marriage and made it into a religious rite sometime in the middle ages, but it still wasn't widely something that the serfs and peasants entered in to until much later.

Marriage does have and has ever had a very different definition in every culture. Our western concept of marriage is a combination of many of these, which has been heavily modified to fit our society today. It's vastly different today than it was 30, 50, 100 years ago, etc.

The argument that gays shouldn't be allowed to marry because it's a religious institution is just simply not true. Gays marrying will also in no way affect hetero marriages. It doesn't attack the family, children, or goodness in any way.

Having government issued civil unions for all people, straight or gay is one solution, but I think it's avoiding the issue. Religions don't have and oughtn't ever have the power to tell the government what word it can and cannot use. Especially a word that is not inherently religious. If the gov't were to start "baptising" that would be a different issue, but this is simply civil recognition of equality. Just like discriminating against mixed race marriages was unconstitutional, so is discriminating against gay marriage.

Imagine that, a mormon with an open mind!

I certainly never said that there weren't any, nor that you weren't one. But it is uncommon for any religionist to have a truly open-mind, and to not reject certain ideas without even considering them based on the fact that their faith contradicts that idea, regardless of what evidence there is.

By the way, am I speaking with Chris or Annalee? I assume you're not the same person.

Matt Brinton said...

I'll try to pipe down in my responses. I admit I come across rather heartless in what I say, I truly don't mean it that way. I worked two years with a gay Mormon and I really don't care what two adults do in their own time. I was never mean or said anything disparaging to him, he was a great person, as iI'm sure George, and most other gay people are. That being said, my personal problem with this issue is when people try and tell a religion what can or can't believe. There would be no point to religion if churches cannot dictate their own practices. I really understand that gays, especially in the church must feel alone. I really do feel for them, (I know it may not seem that way). I wouldn't want someone to tell me I can't be straight. Call me brainwashed or whatever, but I believe it is wrong. I think it is just as bad as any other moral transgression. I think where the issue gets more divisive, is that fact that procreation, a gift, and the reason we are able to come here to earth, part of the eternal plan, is void in gay relations. Do I think gays are less in the sight of God? No, thankfully we will all be judged according to our own experiences and knowledge. Jesus had to have experienced the pain gays suffer. He knows our situations, and will plead for all of us.

David, I never once compared gays and pedophiles. I only said God created both, using that argument that is must be right. Thank you for the kind reminder. I do get aggressive.

Urban, I don't believe God hates any gay, nor any sinner. But he can dislike the action.

Natalie, they is quite a bit of politics in the BofM. When i was asked why the church doesn't allow gay marriage,I shared my views on gay issues as solely "My beliefs" and not at all as doctrine. I also shared that God does not hate gays and they are no worse than and other moral transgression. I also conveyed that Mormons tend to be closed mined and that they need to learn for themselves of the teahhing of the church. We have a very open priest quorum and discuss hot topics as they arise. I understand your concern. I never said I am any more righteous than others, that is how you chose to read into it. I truly apologize if that is how it came off.

Urban Koda said...

Matt, with all due respect... Perhaps you could spend some time figuring out this issue for yourself, before trying to explain what you do or don't believe, or what your religion does or doesn't believe.

You and most other members of the love to talk about being open minded and thinking for yourselves, but when it comes down to it, you're just parroting the same propaganda spewed out by leaders of the Church.

I have had these discussions with members of the Church who have taken the time to figure out their beliefs and a few even come out on the same side of the argument as you are right now - but the difference is that when challenged, they don't start contradicting themselves.

You said:

I never once compared gays and pedophiles. I only said God created both, using that argument that is must be right

So you never compared them, you only said that they were like each other and could be argued for, from the same perspective, right?

Can you not see the logical inconsistencies in your statement?

But lets just look at that particular argument for a minute, because its a favorite of "faithful" LDS members to bring up, and only shows their complete and total ignorance...

Are you aware that early members of the Church, used to like to take child brides? Yep, men who claimed to be chosen by God, whom the members still revere as prophets thought nothing of taking a 14 year old girl, telling her that marrying them would bring salvation upon their families (Nothing to do with love either!). And then kept them closeted away in a house, so the general membership of the Church wouldn't know about it - Of course it's totally OK, because "God" told them too.

Or if you want to go with the strict definition of pedophilia - sexual interest in prepubescent children. The problem is, you're comparing a relationship between two consenting members of the same sex with a natural attraction to each other, to a sicko who manipulates and/or assaults children sexually for their own nefarious pleasure.

THAT IS A HUGE DIFFERENCE!

But then again, you didn't compare the two behaviors, you just implied that they were kind of the same...

Urban Koda said...

Or the other favorite argument that homosexual relationships can't be natural, because there is no chance of pro-creation. If that is the only reason you got married (I'm assuming you are, or would one day like to be), I seriously pity your wife (or wife to be).

Marriage is about forming a bond with another human being, and being able to enter into a legal and in the case of a religious marriage, spiritual covenants with each other, to care for one another through thick and thin.

Based on the pro-creation argument, perhaps the Church should immediately nullify the marriages of couples who for whatever reason cannot bare children. Perhaps they could determine which spouse is the "bad" one in the relationship, and thereafter, that person be denied any form of sexual relationship, because they can't have kids, and that isn't natural.

We could probably go down the whole "Birth Control" path right now too if you would like...

We should probably also ban marriages between a couple where the women is past childbearing age as well - If they can't have children, then is their marriage a sin?

You know what we could do... We could let them call it something else - perhaps a "civil union", but as a culture, we should forbid them from any display of affection in public, and then as long as we don't know what they do on their own time "Don't ask, Don't tell", it could be OK - I mean we could tolerate it too a point, and even though God loves them, he will just be seriously upset with them engaging in "immoral" acts, for reasons other than procreation.

I would agree that government really has no place determining who can and who can't be married, but at the same time, support for contracts between people who wish to build lives together, take care of each other, and perhaps even raise the next generation, is not a bad thing. Gay, straight or whatever, encouraging loyalty, fidelity and trust is a good thing!

On a final note... I am 100% behind what George is trying to do, and have been for a couple of years now. The sad thing is that if I were able to meet with him, I would probably still be uncomfortable - why... Years and years of teachings by my parents and Church leaders that gays are bad. Perhaps it was only taught as an opinion or something like that, but it's still done damage.

The task George and other gay members of the Church have ahead of them is almost insurmountable, but I could not be more inspired by his taking it on anyway.

He's more of a man, than you or I will ever be.

annalee said...

Re: [kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊]

It's Annalee...

I have been thinking about what you wrote and although I do not have the time to respond to each comment specifically, I will address a few that come to mind and then make an end. First, my faith is not arbitrary. In saying this you have minimized my experiences and feelings and I'm certain you would not appreciate me telling you your feelings aren't real (especially touching the subject of homosexuality). Secondly, science contradicts itself all the time (climate change, treatment of diseases, etc) so it's not altogether reliable. Yet, we are compelled to make decisions based on the information we have, how we interpret it, and what we feel is right and good and true. Like you, I am grateful that you cannot prescribe my morality. For those actions performed in the name of faith (9/11, etc.): I believe they were motivated by anger and hate and are therefore fundamentally different than my faith in a true and living God who loves his children. I maintain my belief that God forbids homosexual acts, that he requires us to love, respect, and forgive one another, and that we are accountable for our actions. I am certain that you will have the opportunity to marry in this country but my position will remain unchanged and will still be legal and ethical. We disagree, that is clear, but we can be kind and respectful nevertheless.

annalee said...

I completely recognize that George has pain. My heart goes out to him. My heart also goes out to my cousins wife and four kids who are deeply and irrevocably hurt and affected by their husband's/dad's choice to leave them for someone else. There are people suffering on both sides of this issue, neither one can claim exclusive rights of pain. We should all be sensitive to that reality.

David said...

That's a good point, Annalee - I'm sure I speak for everyone when I see our sympathy is with them.

Ben - arguments over rhetoric aside, your main point is obviously that it's stupid to tell a religion what it should or shouldn't believe. A valid point - but the way George sees it is that there's a contradiction in beliefs. We say our faith is centered in Jesus Christ, but do ever let our gospel hobbies cloud that focus? From the way I've seen most members act about gay marriage, I'd say so. They seem to forget their own dependence on the Atonement, and take it upon themselves to judge. Worse yet, they treat the person as though they have no hope for salvation.

And furthermore, it's not like the Church has never changed. That's why I brought up the priesthood/blacks issue. I'm sure many of the church authorities misinterpreted that Doctrine and made statements that were completely racist and not based on truth at all. But the members who treated those leaders as infallible took it to heart. Prophets aren't infallible, and they're not supposed to be. That's why we're supposed to read and study on our own - so that our testimony is something we personally gained, and not something we heard someone else say.

Lisa said...

How is it powerful?

Are you kidding me?

Not two months ago I had the pleasure of sitting next to George in a few Sunstone lectures. One of them was a basic "what do we do now about Prop 8?" meeting and I broke down in tears.

Gay is inherent. Can a straight person engage in homosexual activities? I guess, but that would lend to the bisexual end more than a straight guy experimenting. I wouldn't know.

It is powerful to me because he's my friend. He gave me my very first LDS authorized KJV Bible. George was in my confirmation circle. George was the one who helped open my heart to the church, one who never ever pushed it on me and never, ever judged me.

I should think I owe him the same and I should think that such people deserve to be heard.

People kill themselves over this inability to reconcile this. Who they are versus who they're "supposed" to be.

They throw in the procreation argument. It's so easy to throw away that one it's laughable.

They say it's against God--but I don't see it. I've expressed why in a few posts here.

They say God has forbade it, but he also "forbade" interracial marriages for a good long time.

They say it's to "protect traditional marriage" and yet not two hundred years ago our church was under the same scrutiny for going against "traditional marriage" through the vein of polygamy.

They say a person's sexuality has nothing to do with who they are as a child of God.

I challenge you to set your own sexuality aside. You are, after all, defining your sexuality by how you live your life and how you challenge others. Sexuality is a problem only as big as we make it, and we've made a big deal out of it. Not just the church, but society. Your sexuality is a HUGE part of who you are. It defines your family, who you're attracted to, how you express that attraction, etc. You don't just marry your best friend. You marry someone you're sexually attracted to.

At least you should.

They say it's about a man and a woman.

Well, not every man wants a woman and not every woman wants a man. George wants a woman about as much as you want a man.

God made George and Craig and many other good people gay. The difference between two mature, consenting gay adults and pedophiles, alcoholics, and lazy people is who they affect and how.

I know the pedophile argument well. I remember thinking I made that up all by myself. I was so proud. But that involves a grown man (generally) and a young, non-consenting girl in sexual activity that will undoubtedly change who she is in a negative fashion.

Lazy people can become industrious. Gay people cannot be made straight.

Alcoholics can live without beer and cocktails after some therapy. Therapy to make a man straight is laughable and damned abusive.

Seriously now. Put yourself in his place. You're straight and the scriptures and the prophets and the majority of your fellow man thinks you are a problem, a threat to society. Just try it. Imagine the pain. It's hard for me to describe because I'm not there, but if you listen for it, George shows you.

T.J. Shelby said...

Matt, you stay strong in your beliefs. Keep looking in the face of silly "facts" and inconvenient "evidence" and you just stick with tradition.

Heck, you appear to be in a good path to become a general authority one day. Heaven knows they need even more anti-intellectuals in their ranks...

Matt Brinton said...

Lisa,
Thank you for you honest and kind response. Thank you for actually practicing what you preach, you never called me any of the typical anti-gay labels, which in my opinion, adds great credibility to your statements.

While I came off quite harsh in my statements, my overall purpose was and is to say that that George, or anyone for that matter, shouldn't be using sacrament meeting as a place for personal agendas. I understand and do feel bad for George's situation, but it is what it is. He certainly has the right to fight for what he believes in, but again, Testimony meeting is NOT the appropriate place. I get frustrated enough with travelouges and thanktomonies as ways to share testimonies.

Natalie,
I would imagine that you would view what George is doing as "so, so, so, innapropriate" as well. Right?

TJ, Thank you for your compliments. I always appreciate the kind words of an open minded person that actually practices what they stand for.
You must hate general conference too. All that hatred (here's my favorite liberal anti mormon word) 'spewed' out every six months. Remember just last april when mormons were told to hate anyone not conforming to the brain washing sessions? And that lesson I just taught on 'hate thy neighbor', that was a good one.
oh how I adore intellectualism!


I have never said that gays are evil, will go to hell, are bad people or anything like it. I have only stated my personal beliefs, not forced on me by any anti-intellectual apostle, prophet, teacher or parent. Gays can do what they want, im just sayin' to tell a religion they are wrong, especially in the middle of their testimony, mass, or any other type of meeting is completely out of line.

Urban Koda said...

While I have no doubt that George would like the Church to change it's policies on homosexual members, it seemed to me that more of what he was trying to achieve with his 'testimony' was helping to change or bring awareness to some of the problems with the Church.

Problems like:

Gay members of the Church being encouraged to marry a member of the opposite sex, resulting in broken families and entire families leaving the Church.

Gay youth being thrown out of their homes, and being forced to turn to drugs and prostitution to survive.

Youth being told it's better to be dead than gay. And then taking their own lives.

These are real problems in the Church. Perhaps they aren't shared openly from the pulpit at General Conference, but they have permeated the membership of the Church.

My own Stake President said that due to my opposition to Prop 8, I was a traitor and an enemy of the Church. He also questioned how any Mormon in good conscience could have voted for Obama - One more strike, and maybe they'll actually kick me out for good.

Perhaps Testimony meeting isn't the most appropriate place to address this, but what other platform is available to try and make a difference.

I would argue that Sacrament meeting should not have been used to promote Prop 8 either - but yet this was done by the leadership of the Church, regardless.

Has anyone heard how it went for George?

Lisa said...

Matt: Point taken. However, I don't think he was up there to change policy. He was up there to bear his testimony as he has it regarding his orientation and how God views it. I would think that would be part of a good testimony bearing, no?

Have you ever read "Soy Made Me Gay"? You may really like his post "I'd Like To Bear My Testimony:" Why I Came Out to My Entire Ward

That entire blog is knock-you-off-your-seat brilliant.

And its from a celebate, active gay member.

Urban: I just asked him on FB. When/if I get an answer I'll let you know. I'm curious as well.

I did post this video at another (more casual) blog of mine elsewhere, and an LDS friend of mine had no idea this sort of thing happened with the gay members of our church--asked to marry women, that they were better off dead, etc.

Those are the people George wants to reach. Those are the people who are blind in their faith. They hear one side of the story and trust in it.

We all follow blindly, but if someone like George is there to open our eyes a bit, isn't that a good thing?

Matt Brinton said...

Lisa, you said, "He was up there to bear his testimony as he has it regarding his orientation and how God views it.I would think that would be part of a good testimony bearing, no?"

No, It's not. Although George isn't the only one that gets that confused. most members go on tangents of all sorts.

A testimony given in testimony meeting is supposed to be a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. Joseph Smith, Book of Mormon, living prophets etc.
Not testimony of sexual orientations. Now if George said that he has a testimony of God's love, and that we need to show love for all mankind, cool, I have no problem there. If he mentions that we need to accept gays in the church, totally different ballgame.

I did check out 'Soy made me gay', thanks for the link. The main difference I noticed between George and S.M.M.G., is that the soy author has a strong testimony of LDS teachings and is committed to living the way the church has asked. George, on the other hand, seems to be lacking a testimony of church teachings, which is fine, but this is where the line is drawn. Members of the church need to accept and truly love George as a child of God. This does not mean that members also must accept his beliefs on homosexuality.

In our P.E.C. meeting last week, I brought up the Family Proclomation (natalie is going to hate me for this). It's teachings are clear, but my point was not to bring up the issue of gays, It was to bring up the principal of charity, which many members of the church lack, my self included.

hope that all makes sense.