I last blogged about the paradox of being gay and Mormon. Being gay and Mormon makes certain life decisions much more difficult than they are for our heterosexual counterparts.
For example, although the election is long since over, the decision of the LDS church to enter the political fray in California caused quite a stir in the bloggernacle - and a chill through the gay Mormon community. For many, there is no question about their support for the church as they perceive the gay community using this issue to force their deviant lifestyle onto the masses. For some of us, however, it's not so simple - we may be active members, hold temple recommends, even leadership callings; but, we are also in a unique position, because of our own dealing with attractions to those of our same gender. We have greater understanding and empathy for the real underlying reasons behind gay marriage and, therefore, are better able to set aside the political rhetoric.
So, do we follow the prophet? Or do we follow our heart? I don't know about others; but for me, trying to reconcile this dichotomy is becoming a real struggle. The Sunday School answer, of course, is that we should follow the prophet. Unfortunately, simple answers don't always work on complex issues such as this. Having the LDS church jump into this political quagmire has emboldened some members to ramp up their homophobic reactions and comments. We see this in bloggernacle discussions as well as Sacrament, Sunday School, Priesthood, and Relief Society meetings. Following the prophet becomes increasingly difficult when his words and actions cause others to say and do things which make you feel hated and reviled.
For those of us who are not public with our proclivities, following the prophet becomes increasingly difficult when his words and actions cause us to retreat deeper into our closets.
Church should be an uplifting experience; so, following the prophet becomes increasingly difficult when his words and actions exposes us to inappropriate discussions within the context of church meetings; and, puts us in a difficult position deciding whether we should speak up and appear defiant or remain silent, cursing ourselves for not standing up for what is right.
My heart tells me that the church's decision to enter this political battle was wrong; and, I believe it will have long term consequences - which leaves me with a conundrum ...
One of the temple recommend questions says
Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys? Do you sustain members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators? Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local authorities of the Church?I do not support the churches decision to encourage members in California to donate both their time and means in the campaign to help pass a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage; in fact, were I still living in California, I would have been tempted to do just the opposite and donate my time and means to oppose the amendment. At a minimum I would have voted "No".
However, I do support both my local and church leaders in other things. So can I, in good faith, answer "Yes" to the question above? Or, do I need to say "Yes, but ..." and explain my support for gay marriage and my disappointment in the church for getting involved in the politics opposing it? Is 99% support good enough?
Another temple recommend question says
Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?We have gay couples right here in the Mormon queerosphere who are living in committed monogamous same sex relationships and, presumably, are engaging in gay sex - clearly in direct opposition to the teachings of the LDS church. Yet, I affiliate with and support these couples and their families It's not a matter of simply knowing someone who is not living according to LDS church teachings - I approve of their same-sex relationships. I even feel a bit jealous - they are living a life I can only yearn for given the decisions I've made for myself.
So, can I, in good faith, answer "No" to the question above? Or, do I need to say "No, but ..." and explain my relationship with gay couples in the queerosphere?
And, how strong is my conviction? Am I willing to risk foregoing a temple recommend on principal? Or am I so weak as to be willing to lie in the temple recommend interview so as to avoid any such confrontation? Or should I just quietly let my temple recommend expire?
For those of you with temple recommends, are you facing this same conundrum? How are you dealing with it? I have until August 2009 to figure this out.