Saturday, February 12, 2011

Thou shalt not be gay

I attended the priesthood leadership session of our stake conference Saturday a week ago.  Our stake president began his talk by relating a discussion he had with his teenage son about the one answer that can be given for any question in seminary - no matter what the topic, you can always give this answer.  He then shared the following little ditty
Read your scriptures
Learn to pray
Go to church
And don't be gay

This is, of course, nothing new - I just never heard it put to rhyme before.  Needless to say, there were chuckles throughout the room.  I wondered if those around me noticed my stoic look - dumbfounded at what I just heard.

The main point of his talk was the need to get back to basics.  He went on to talk further about the first 3 lines in this ditty - thankfully never again mentioning the last line.

Since then, this little ditty has been going around and around in my mind - wondering just how much truth there is in it - truth in the sense that this is what is considered "basic doctrine" in the LDS faith.

Elder Boyd K. Packer once spoke of the The Unwritten Order of Things - stuff you won't read in any church handbook, but things we all just "know" - such as men wearing white shirts to church meetings.  I think "Don't be gay" is another of these unwritten principals in the LDS church.  Something that is never really said explicitly in official communications - but, nonetheless, something that everyone in the church just knows to be true.

I feel like I should be offended by the comments made by my stake president - instead I feel sadness, and I have an inkling of what I imagine the savior might have felt on the cross when he said "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."  My heart especially goes out to those young men and women who may be struggling with their own sexual identity and who are subjected to this sort of ridicule in a setting that is supposed to be 'safe'.

I expect my stake president probably felt that a priesthood leadership meeting was a safe environment in which to share his little ditty - certainly there wouldn't be any of those types of people in the room.  If only I weren't such a big coward and had the courage to say something to him.

Church leaders can bloviate all they want about how being gay in and of itself is not a sin - only when we act on our gay feelings do we sin.  And everyone can nod their head in agreement - because we all 'know' of the unspoken commandment:  "thou shalt not be gay."

So, in a return to basics - I guess I fail miserably at the "don't be gay" part.  Haven't really been all that great in the scripture reading and praying either - but I go to church!  1 out of 4 isn't that bad ... is it?  Yeah me!