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Mormons Support Utah Pride Parade


OneFinger
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I never thought I'd live to see this happen. But, in today's Pride Parade in Salt Lake City over 300 straight Mormons marched in support. Read the full story at:

 

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=157&sid=20685656&title=over-300-mormons-join-utah-gay-pride-parade

 

Here's a picture of Grand Marsal, Dustin Lance Black, and the Mormon supporters.

 

http://www.ksl.com/emedia/slc/2499/249920/24992093.jpg?filter=ksl/pgallery

 

And a couple more monumental pictures:

 

http://www.ksl.com/emedia/slc/2499/249920/24992092.jpg?filter=ksl/pgallery

 

 

http://www.ksl.com/emedia/slc/2499/249920/24992070.jpg?filter=ksl/pgallery

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Pushback against unfair characterizations

 

They follow their prophet blindly without question. They are not to think for themselves.

 

 

I do not believe this generalization applies to most Mormons. In my limited experience, Mormons tend to be highly educated and have vigorous disagreements within their faith group about many issues; for example, the LDS Church for many years refused to allow African Americans to be full members of the Church, a stance that provoked a lot of internal disagreement. (Many Mormons serve as missionaries in Africa and other Third World countries, and they tended to disagree with the "official" policy.) In 1978, the chief prophet revoked the race-based exclusion.

 

Why did so many Mormons support Prop 8? Probably the main reason is that the religious identity of many Mormons is tied up to the notion that marriage is a situs of procreative sexuality, a widely held view of marriage that is not consistent with gay marriage. Because Mormons have a larger share of the rich population than most other denominations, this religious tenet was the occasion for a large outpouring of contributions to Prop 8.

 

But again, after Prop 8 passed, there has been a great deal of intelligent disagreement within the Church. Many devout Mormons have challenged the emphasis the Church and some of its members have placed on the exclusion of LGBT couples from civil marriage--and others have emphasized the inclusionary messages of Christ.

 

At BYU, the major Mormon university, there is a gay/straight alliance student group that vigorously disagrees with the Church's position--within the tenets of the faith. More Mormon faithful now agree.

 

It is not only wrong to tag a group with an offensive stereotypical characterization, it is also politically unproductive. Discourse within LDS and other traditionalist religious denominations is one way that gay rights has progressed in the last 5 years.

 

Off of soapbox. (Jeers? Applause? Both?)

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I do not believe this generalization applies to most Mormons. In my limited experience, Mormons tend to be highly educated and have vigorous disagreements within their faith group about many issues; for example, the LDS Church for many years refused to allow African Americans to be full members of the Church, a stance that provoked a lot of internal disagreement. (Many Mormons serve as missionaries in Africa and other Third World countries, and they tended to disagree with the "official" policy.) In 1978, the chief prophet revoked the race-based exclusion.

 

Why did so many Mormons support Prop 8? Probably the main reason is that the religious identity of many Mormons is tied up to the notion that marriage is a situs of procreative sexuality, a widely held view of marriage that is not consistent with gay marriage. Because Mormons have a larger share of the rich population than most other denominations, this religious tenet was the occasion for a large outpouring of contributions to Prop 8.

 

But again, after Prop 8 passed, there has been a great deal of intelligent disagreement within the Church. Many devout Mormons have challenged the emphasis the Church and some of its members have placed on the exclusion of LGBT couples from civil marriage--and others have emphasized the inclusionary messages of Christ.

 

At BYU, the major Mormon university, there is a gay/straight alliance student group that vigorously disagrees with the Church's position--within the tenets of the faith. More Mormon faithful now agree.

 

It is not only wrong to tag a group with an offensive stereotypical characterization, it is also politically unproductive. Discourse within LDS and other traditionalist religious denominations is one way that gay rights has progressed in the last 5 years.

 

Off of soapbox. (Jeers? Applause? Both?)

 

Sadly, stereotypical characterization seems to be popular here

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Rigidly hierarchical churches like the LDS change very slowly, but they are capable of change and the LDS Church has shown in the past that it can, indeed change. It renounced polygamy and ended the second-class status of black people in the Church, both of which were important doctrines in the earlier history of the Church. It's starting to look like some light is beginning to shine on the issue of LGBT people. There seem to have been some tentative outreach efforts by the Church, and just the fact that it's not excommunicating LGBT students at BYU or people like the ones who marched in today's parade suggests that there already have been some internal changes in the Church. We may live to see a more enlightened standpoint on LGBT people by the LDS Church.

 

By the way, in another faith tradition, the Conservative Jewish movement just issued its guidelines for performing same-sex marriages. That means that in American Judaism the vast majority of Jews now accepts marriage equality. Only the Orthodox movement still rejects marriage equality and they are a distinct minority in the American Jewish community. And even Orthodoxy isn't immovable, although I'm not holding my breath for them to change any time soon!

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Mormons Speak Out

 

I recommend this amazing video created by devout Mormon students at BYU who are also lesbian or gay:

 

http://www.youtube.com/user/byuitgetsbetter

 

IMHO this video makes a mockery of stereotypes and generalizations about both Mormons and Gays. Many Mormons are LGBT, and increasing numbers of straight Mormons have compassion for their fellow LDS members.

 

This video also helps gay people understand why LDS money fueled Prop 8, for Mormon faith is, theoretically, strongly contrary to any expression of homosexual feelings. The clash between abstract faith and concrete lives is so vividly displayed in this video.

 

I cried as I listened to these stories.

 

Please keep in mind that these are students who chose to attend BYU and, probably, will graduate from BYU. In turn, I bet BYU has no problem with these students' voicing their stories in this way. Mormons are no more sheeplike than Gays, and I am certain that stories like these are provoking genuine conversations within the LDS Church. (At the end of the video, you can see specific policy changes that BYU has introduced in response to voices like these. And you can be sure that the conversation continues within BYU and within the LDS Church.)

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