Homosexuality and the Mormon Church
There’s this guy I knew years ago, and haven’t seen for ages. We recently became Facebook friends, and I was interested in finding out what he’s been up to.
While Kevin* never formally came out of the closet, his mannerism led me to believe that he was gay. Extremely gay. Like Jack on Will and Grace gay. I thought he was a great guy, but I know some of our mutual acquaintances were uncomfortable around him–mostly the “manly men” who wrestled in high school. Weird.
When I caught up with Kevin, he told me he was engaged. To a woman. I offered my sincere congratulations, but at the same time, I was a little concerned. Granted, Kevin lives several states away from me, and it’s been eight years since I’ve seen him–people change. I know that I’ve changed since I knew Kevin. But I can’t help worry about his intended. I hope that they both know what they are getting in to.
The thing is, even though I was sure Kevin was gay (I’m still not convinced otherwise), I’m not really surprised that he’s marrying a woman. See, Kevin is Mormon, like me, and the church puts a big emphasis on getting married. We believe that the family is the base unit of society, and, ideally, a family consists of a husband and wife, plus children. Life tends to be difficult for those of us living outside of this family unit.
It isn’t just Kevin–I’ve had a lot of things happen to me lately that have me thinking about gay rights, gay marriage in particular. I’m in an awkward situation–I love my religion, and I understand the stance that Salt Lake has taken on gay marriage, but I’m not sure I agree with it. What it boils down to is simply that I feel like marriage is primarily a religious sacrament (even though I know that many people are married by court officials, rather than pastors or priests) and it’s religion’s job, not the government’s, to tell us who we should or should not marry.
Now, I live not only in Utah, but also in Utah county, and most of the people I know are either Mormon or ex-Mormon. I’ve noticed something rather disturbing about members of the church–the people who I would peg as being gay are usually the most vocally homophobic. I have an ex-coworker, for example, who if I met him on the street of his native California, I would be surprised to learn that the beautiful woman he was with was his wife, and not simply a good friend. We worked together last year, during the Proposition Eight debacle, and it got to the point when I saw him coming in to my office, I’d put my earphones in and turn the music up as loud as I could, because I couldn’t stand to hear his high-pitched, lispey voice talking about how homosexuality was going to destroy society.
Maybe it’s just that my gaydar is broken.
There are those in the church who take the council and advice handed down from Salt Lake City and take it to extremes. We’re not supposed to drink coffee or tea? Then anyone who drinks a caffeinated soda is going to hell! It’s a good idea to have a year’s supply of food stored up in case of emergencies? Well, then I’m going to store two, no five years! AND build a bunker out in the desert. I don’t know how much the rampant homophobia following Proposition Eight had to do with the church releasing a statement decrying discrimination against homosexuals.
Sorry about the link, my intertubes have been clogged lately, and I got frustrated trying to find the statement on the church’s official site.
I really don’t know why this has been on my mind lately, and I debated writing about it on the blog, but I feel better for having done so. I don’t want this to turn into a bigoted hate-filled discussion on either side, so I’m disabling comments. (because, you know, I get so many comments). Please remember that this blog expresses my opinion, and shouldn’t beconfused with the opinion of, well, anybody else–unless I also provide a link to prove that I’m not just pulling other people’s opinion’s out of the air.
*Not his real name.