Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Homosexuality and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

My 15 seconds of fame came a couple of years ago when I discovered that my blog is referenced in a Wikipedia entry titled Homosexuality and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Since I do get occasional hits on my blog via that link, I have gone back to read it a few times. The article has changed dramatically over time. I'm not sure I can put my finger on it - but the article has always bothered me some. I just get the sense that most of the people contributing to the article are not family and really don't understand homosexuality as much as they think they do.

Anyway, the article lists several people as prominent individuals within the gay Mormon community. I'm just curious how these people measure up in the collective opinion of the Mormon queerosphere.

So, I've added a poll - whom do you feel deserves to be listed as a prominent individual within the gay Mormon community. It's a multi-choice poll - so, choose all of the individuals you feel are deserving of this honor (if we can call it that). You can reference the article for a brief bio of who these people are if you are not familar with the name.

21 comments:

El Genio said...

There is no mention of Carol Lynn Pearson, who IMO should definitely be on that list.

The Wikipedia article fails to mention that Michael Glatze has since had his records removed from the church. I always thought his story was somewhat bizarre.

TGD said...

Would this only be for those that would still be on the church's records? Or those that were Mormon at one time?

I think of the screen writer C. Jay Cox who wrote and directed the gay Mormon film Latter Days.

I am Landmark said...

That Wiki article reads like an Ensign article. Unbiased and neutral it is not. For example, I didn't see this tidbit mentioned:

By May 1946 Joseph F. [Smith, Church Patriarch] was incapacitated with a back injury.... [snip] His illness continued into the summer, but in July the hierarchy was stunned to learn that Patriarch Joseph F. Smith was homosexual. Publicly they cited ‘ill health’ as reason for his resignation and released him at October 1946 conference.

Or this item:

Evan Stephens (1854-1930), director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and author of many church hymns never married. However, he maintained intense friendships with several young men who lived with him and were his traveling companions at different times.

The Wiki seems like the classic example of presenting only those facets of Mormon history that fulfill the organization's objectives.

Duck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Abelard Enigma said...

There is no mention of Carol Lynn Pearson

I agree that Carol Lynn Pearson is prominent in the gay Mormon community. Who else do we think should be included in this list? What about her daughter Emily? What about Fred and Marilyn Matis? How about Ronald Schow? Is there anybody in our own little corner of the gay Mormon community deserving of such recognition - like, perhaps, Scott and Sarah?

Michael Glatze has since had his records removed from the church

Do you have a source for that information? Cause, if true, he definitely needs to be removed from the list of prominent gay Mormon's. In fact, he should be included in a list of infamous gay Mormon's as he has probably done more to hurt the gay Mormon cause.

Would this only be for those that would still be on the church's records?

It's for whoever we, collectively, believe are prominent gay Mormon's. Although, IMOHO, I don't think current church membership is required - but it should be someone who still identifies with their Mormon roots. Somebody who has totally left the church behind may be prominent and gay - but not necessarily a prominent gay Mormon.

classic example of presenting only those facets of Mormon history that fulfill the organization's objectives.

Perhaps the Mormon queerosphere needs to take a more active role in keeping this wiki article more fair and balanced.

I am stunned ...

No, thank you for pointing out my error. I've deleted my original comment and have included it again in this comment (sans certain information)

Anonymous said...

I took the poll... Dustin Lance Black is, obviously, high on the celebrity list right now.

I think Bruce Bastian is a prominent gay mormon cause I have homophobic relatives in Utah who know all about him.

Stuart Matis is high on my list 'cause I lived in his stake when he was driven to his death (yes, that's what I said).

But I think that C. Jay Cox needs to be in that list.

And Carol Lynn Pearson should be honorable mention... she would be #1 except that she isn't gay.

Duck said...

You are a pal, Enigma. I was not trying to point out any error, just concerned about what you posted for their sake. :) Thank you!

Abelard Enigma said...

I think Bruce Bastian is a prominent gay mormon cause I have homophobic relatives in Utah who know all about him.

But, other than making a big donation to the "No on 8" campaign - has he done anything to affect the gay Mormon community?

she would be #1 except that she isn't gay.

A dictionary definition of "prominent" is leading, important, or well-known; so, does one have to be gay in order to be prominent in the gay Mormon community?

Scott said...

does one have to be gay in order to be prominent in the gay Mormon community?...

I wondered that too.

All of the people currently listed are gay (or ex-gay, I suppose).

The sentence that introduces the list simply indicates that it's a list of people who are prominent in the gay Mormon community, but it's in the section titled "Homosexual Mormons".

Original Mohomie said...

I don't mean this as a value judgment or disregard, but I firmly dismiss any claim of former members of the church who are long-since inactive to be considered part of the "Mormon" community. They are EX- or POST-Mormons, or areligious theists, or Catholics, or whatever they subscribe to and live by. I really shake my head at the gay ex-mo community's insistence on making their heroes part of the "gay Mormon" community. It seems a little desperate to me.

Such people may be making valuable contributions to awareness and understanding, but they are not LDS, they are not part of the workings of the Church, and they have no claim on the community thereof. They have come to be outside of the church, whether unwillingly or electively so. There is no Mormon ethnicity, so it's not like calling yourself ethnically Jewish. I can somewhat understand someone who believes the church is culturally biased on an issue and who is still technically a member of it on record and who would gladly come back if church policy changed on a particular issue, but even that seems a little emotionally driven to me.

Can anyone really explain this to me on a rational, not emotional, level? I really am interested because it puzzles me how nobody else is questioning having or adding excommunicated former members of the church to such a list rather than making a list of formerly LDS gay rights pioneers.

Scott said...

In my mind Mormon culture is at least somewhat comparable to Jewish ethnicity. It's true that it's not a physical (DNA-based) inheritance, but I think the word "Mormon" has come to mean a lot more than "a member of record of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints".

If the list was titled "Gay Latter-day Saints" then there are several people I would leave off because I think that that term more specifically refers to a member of record.

But I'm not uncomfortable referring to someone from an LDS background who still relates to Mormon culture as "Mormon", even if they're no longer a member of the church (and even it they actively disagree with the church on some issues--within reason).

Original Mohomie said...

So from that perspective, Scott, would you consider Dustin Lance Black to be "Mormon"?

Sean said...

To be honest, I only know two of the people on that list. I fail...

Scott said...

@O-Mo: Referring to him individually, I would probably call him a "former Mormon" (in my mind he probably doesn't fit the "within reason" qualification that I put on a "Mormon's" disagreement with the church)...

But I don't see anything wrong with including him in a list of "influential gay Mormons" (especially if the inclusion came with an indication that he had left the church--as the Wikipedia one does).

Scott said...

... Actually, I just went back and checked the article, and the DLB bit doesn't indicate that he's no longer a member. That probably ought to be corrected.

Most of the people in that list who have left the church are clearly described as having done so.

Scott said...

... or at least a couple of them are (John Cameron, D. Michael Quinn).

Bruce Bastian and Dustin Lance Black are not, nor is Kate Kendell (who, based on the description that is there, I would assume is no longer an active member).

Abelard Enigma said...

I tend to agree with O-MoHo. Just because someone is prominent in the gay community, and who happens to be a former Mormon, doesn't necessarily make them a part of the gay Mormon community.

But, I don't agree that to be part of the gay Mormon community means you have to retain current church membership. I feel it depends on how a person self identifies. Do people like Bruce Bastian or Dustin Lance Black self identify as Mormon? Probably not.

Perhaps, for clarity, there should be two lists: Prominent members of the gay Mormon community (people who self identify as Mormon) and Prominent members of the gay community who are former Mormon's.

MoHoHawaii said...

I'm not Mormon, but I'm *definitely* a gay Mormon.

nerdydoctor said...

"Prominent" in the gay mormon community...really? This is a bit much and this prominent "echelon" is a bit ridiculous.

Abelard Enigma said...

this prominent "echelon" is a bit ridiculous.

That's kinda why I brought it up. I feel like I do a pretty good job of keeping up with what's going on in the gay Mormon community - yet, like Sean, I've not even heard of most of these people who are supposedly prominent members of the gay Mormon community.

I guess that begs the question: What does it mean to be "prominent"? Does it simply mean somebody who is well known? Or should it be people who have done a lot to influence the gay Mormon community?

Daniel said...

"But, other than making a big donation to the "No on 8" campaign - has he done anything to affect the gay Mormon community?"

I don't know of any single individual who has donated more money to the gay rights movement than Bruce Bastian. He also funds and helps put on Utah's Pride Parade every year and other big Pride events in Utah like its annual HRC Gala. He is on the board of directors of the HRC, and his story about being gay and Mormon is included in Carol Lynn Pearson's No More Goodbyes. It was after the time of this post, but Bruce has also produced the film 8: The Mormon Proposition.

I'd say he's done a thing or two for Gay Mormons. :)