I watched the YouTube video titled Spirituality of the Rising LDS Generation Pt1: "Flexibility" - an interview of BYU senior John Kovalenko. In the interview, John said that he hates labels; so, I'll just say that he is 'in the family' (or, in other words, he's one of 'us'). Much can be said about the things in this interview; however, one thing, in particular, stuck with me - he talked about the barrier of silence.
A lot has been written about the recent pamphlet God Loveth His Children (including in my blog). Overall, I think the pamphlet is a good evolutionary step towards where the church needs to be in regards to ministering to the saints who happen to be attracted to other saints of the same gender. But, the underlying message I get when I read the pamphlet is that it’s OK to be gay as long as we: don’t have gay sex, don’t think about gay sex or have other gay thoughts, don’t act gay or exhibit gay attributes, and don’t have gay friends. (Although not explicitly stated in the pamphlet, others would add - and don't use words like 'gay'.) These words may seem familiar because I used them in a comment in Beck's blog and they were further elaborated on in Foxx's blog.
When I heard 'barrier of silence', these words of mine came rushing back - that is the barrier of silence John Kovalenko refers to. In his commentary, Foxx asked the poignant question: Well, if I can’t have sex with a man, can’t think homosexual thoughts, can’t act gay, and can’t have gay friends, what is there left that’s gay about me? Perhaps that is the intent - we are to purge ourselves of every visage of 'gay' from our very being. Recent statements by church authorities have said that the church does not advocate any particular form of therapy. However, isn't this 'purging the gay out of ourselves' essentially the treatment advocated by ex-gay groups like Exodus International?
Some have asked "Short of changing it's doctrine, what else would you have the church do?" I agree that changing the doctrine is an unreasonable expectation; however, questions like these carry with them an underlying arrogance implying that the church has already done everything it can for it's gay members short of changing it's doctrine; so, we should just shut up and live out our lives in silence - and alone.
Mormonism is as much of a culture as it is a religion. What I believe we are witnessing is the dark side of Mormon culture. The, so called, 'gay problem' is viewed as a threat to the Mormon culture - so the mormono-fascists lash out. They tell is that we should avoid the very appearance of evil; and, since 'gay' is evil then we should have nothing to do with it. They tell us we have become ensnared in the devils trap, Some have even suggested that by merely questioning, we are lying in our temple recommend interview when we say that we support our church leaders.
Mormon culture expects us all to fit into a certain mold - when some of us do not fit then we are rebuked to be silent, vilified, even ostracized if we fail to conform. And, it's not just gay Mormon's who feel the wrath of the mormono-fascists. Watch how some members react if a person walks into church with long hair, tattoos covering their arms, and wearing jeans. Anyone who does not make an attempt to fit into that 'perfect Mormon' mold is inherently evil.
The church needs more people John Kovalenko. People unafraid to say "I'm attracted to guys - and that's OK." Unfortunately, some of us are so deeply entrenched in our closets that our cries are too muffled to be heard. It may be up to the rising generation to tear down the barrier of silence that is so deeply ingrained in our Mormon culture and to silence the mormono-fascists. And maybe, just maybe, one day those of us trapped in our closets may feel safe to come out.