The LDS (Mormon) Church, in 2008, was heavily involved in taking away civil rights from gay and lesbian residents of California. Rumors suggest the Church is now taking a grassroots approach to save face. Whether you agree or disagree with the Church’s stance or my analysis of their stance, one thing should be clear: not all Mormons feel the same way about same-sex marriage as The Brethren (e.g., Mormons for Marriage, Mormons for Marriage Equality). In fact, Mormons are mobilizing to march in pride parads across the country, something I doubt leaders of the Church are happy about.
What does this mean for Mormons? Mormons who support same-sex marriage and Mormons with family and friends in same-sex relationships probably don’t have friends and allies in their congregations. Or do they? I appreciated a discussion on this blog on the topic. I’ll preface my thoughts with the fact that I found this blog through a friend who knows the author, and the author doesn’t know that our common friend is gay. She is probably unaware of the (positive) impact this post had on our common friend.
To summarize, the author hesitantly came out as an ally and supporter of marriage equality. For those who aren’t familiar with LDS culture, coming out as a supporter of marriage equality might warrant being tossed into the lion’s den (so to speak). You are automatically a heretic despite any other belief you might hold. For example, here are responses from the comment section from fellow (Christ-like) Mormons:
“Grow up, get off your computer and raise your kids. You’re about as Mormon as Roseanne Barr.”
“Get a grip and stop mixing what you feel with what is Godly or not. That is your opinion, not Christ principles.”
“I read you are LDS. Is this a fact? Are you active?” [That is to say, do you go to church every Sunday]
“[Do you] really have a true testimony of these prophets and apostles[?]” [That is to say, are you really a Mormon like me]
“Mormons are viewing the gay marriage issue as some sort of gateway drug to apostasy”
The interesting thing about these comments to me is that typically what leads people away from participation in church activities is lack of acceptance of those who differ on political issues. So, the people who made these comments are, is some sense, pushing people into inactivity and apostasy. But that’s a different discussion. I’ll continue with the current discussion.
The cool part of this discussion for me was seeing people come out of the woodwork. People in the same congregation as the author, family members, and friends. In a sense, the author gave them permission to speak up and agree.
“I whole heartedly agree and I am in your ward!”
“I am also in your ward. AND feel EXACTLY like Lexi”
“I know if I were to tell my family and friends that I agree with you, it would cause an uproar”
“I agree…well done, Lexi. It is so much easier for us to keep quiet with our unpopular opinions to avoid others disfavor…but you stepped out there. I’m proud of you!”
“I agree with every single word you said here. I bet you will have more and more people find the courage to speak out and agree with you now that you wrote this. You are paving the way for so many.”
What does this mean for the Church? More and more Mormons are questioning The Brethren and their own faith as they try to align their political and religious beliefs. And it seems that the more the Church pushes against marriage equality the more Mormons leave the faith. And it’s not about testimony or lack of faith; it’s about finding a home among Mormons who don’t accept you because you don’t vote like them.
What needs to happen? Share your input.