I’m Mormon. I feel no reluctance or shame in making this statement. I’ve been Mormon my entire life, and for the most part it has seen me in good stead.
I’m a raving liberal. I feel no reluctance or shame in making this statement. I can’t say I’ve been liberal about everything my entire life, but I certainly am about most things, and it too sees me in good stead.
Having ‘liberal’ and ‘Mormon’ as identifiers means that since last Friday the 26th of June, my Facebook feed has looked like the Salt Lake Temple is belching rainbows and is searching for a very powerful antacid. I’m pretty selective in whom I follow on my newsfeed, and so I am pleased to state that most of the posts I’ve seen have been predominantly respectful, even in disagreement. I have been much sadder as I have observed in spaces where I don’t control the feed an unpleasant mixture of alarmist fear-mongering (no, Jesus is not so upset about gay marriage that he’s letting it dictate the date of his return – if the Holocaust and its attendant world war didn’t move the meter, gay marriage isn’t either) and arrogant gloating.
The volume on both types of negative reaction has been turned up in the wake of the news(?) that the LDS Church has sent out a letter to bishops and stake presidents to read to members, that for the umpteenth time, states the church’s position regarding same sex marriage. I don’t understand why this was felt to be necessary, and given the text of the letter itself, I don’t see how much good could come of it (unless continued marginalization of certain groups is seen as a good).
All the discussion that I have seen has led me to attempt to identify my own thoughts on the issue of homosexuality – not on gay marriage, I’m unabashedly in favor of it, but that’s because I view it as a ‘people’ issue more than a ‘gay people’ issue. Homosexuality, for me, is a difficult nut to crack. I’m not homosexual and cannot understand it. To be frank and completely honest, I find the notion rather off-putting. As far as how homosexuality fits from a God’s-eye view, I think I have found a pretty solid answer: I don’t know. I’m finding this answer to be surprisingly satisfying. In fact, I have a whole list of questions to which I can respond with great conviction, “I don’t know.” This list includes:
Is homosexuality is experienced by others the same way heterosexuality is experienced by myself?
Is homosexuality nature or nurture or some mixture?
Is homosexuality just a metaphorical cross to bear?
Is homosexuality a choice a person makes that isn’t particularly loaded with moral implication?
Is homosexuality something that will exist post mortem, assuming some form of after-life?
In a way, I’m very relieved that I have a comfortable uncertainty about these issues. It relieves me of the burden of judging others. I am (in the words of an insightful friend) freed to love others unconditionally. Awareness of my uncertainty allows to me to love others as I love myself and I can put myself in another’s shoes and ask ‘How would I want to be treated?’
This then leads to another question, where my answer is far less uncertain:
Is homosexuality in any way part of the calculus in determining whether or not I will offer someone love, friendship and understanding?
Of course not.