A friend of mine made a good observation about similarities between gays and Mormons at his blog Listening to Who I am. He says “…the story of the rise of [San Francisco] as a gay capital of the US should resonate like crazy with Mormons. It’s the story of a people who were rejected by their families and friends, who left home and gathered in one place where they felt like they could more safely be themselves. One of the reasons the Mormon pioneers were persecuted was because people were very uncomfortable with the way early Mormons tried to redefine marriage.”
I suspect, based on a previous conversation on Facebook (above) and dialogue at the Daily Universe several years back (below), that many Mormons are not too keen on the idea that the persecution early Latter-day saints faced is similar to the persecution gays faced. Austin posted this article to which a BYU professor responded:
Maybe we need a different “call for compassion.” …Let’s have compassion on those who have been denigrated, pilloried and belittled for defending traditional marriage. Let’s have compassion on those who have been persecuted for daring to express family values in public. Let’s have compassion on those whose vehicles were vandalized and whose safety was threatened because they voted for Proposition 8 in California. …Let’s have compassion on the Boy Scouts of America whose United Way funds were cut because they would not bow to the sons of Sodom and the gods of Gomorrah. Let’s have compassion for those who are mocked for promoting the Family Proclamation.
Despite earlier evidences that turn me off to what Mormons might say on the subject, I’m still curious to know what Mormons think.
I just recalled a letter to the editor in my local newspaper that hits on this topic. The letter was published in the Herald Journal written by Laloni Stott. The title of the letter is Gays not like early Mormons. Stott argued that early Mormons faced more persecution than gays. To support her claim she posited that opponents of Prop 8 in California retaliated against Mormons:
They were attacked in their cars. Their kids were targeted at their schools.
I contacted her via Facebook for clarification on her points. In regard to persecution Mormons suffered at the hand of opponents of Prop 8, she said:
LDS Ward lists were distributed among antiprop 8 groups. The ward lists contained addresses and phone numbers along with the children in the families and their ages. I am assuming that is how they got the info about the kids at the schools. Many kids were confronted and taunted for their “hateful” religious beliefs by their peers at school.
Phone calls were made to LDS households with hateful diatribe, crude language, etc.
The posters that were put on the lawns of some of the LDS people had graphic sexual pics with profane language.
I had a brother-in-law peacefully gather with some supporters of prop 8 and they held signs up on a corner. They had stuff thrown at them and they were pushed around and spit on by some who got out of their cars. They were also yelled at with some of the grossest language.
As some LDS members left church they had protesters of the LDS church standing at the exits of the parking lot hitting the cars, throwing things, and there was a lot of yucky language describing what they thought of the LDS church and their members…
I have ancestors who gave every last thing up, left their homes, lost family members, lost feet, etc. as they crossed the plains. They were trying to get away from those who were murdering and raping their families. Their homes and buildings were being torched… I do not see ANY similarity.
So what do you think? Can Mormons and gays resonate with one another over the persecution they faced?