Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Here's the headline that ran in the progressive magazine Mother Jones:
Mormon Church Abandons Its Crusade Against Gay Marriage
Prop. 8 backlash has led the Latter Day Saints to soften their treatment of LGBT church members.
—By Stephanie Mencimer

And a month later, more of the same, this time reporting the views of LDS church-watcher Fred Karger:

"...and lost a considerable number of members who were unhappy with its involvement..."
"On April 6, during the LDS's annual conference, Boyd Packer, who is next in line to assume the church's top leadership post, warned, 'We need to be careful of the tolerance trend trap, so that we do not get swallowed up in it. The permissiveness afforded by the weakening of the laws of the land to tolerate and legalize immorality does not reduce the serious spiritual consequence that is the result from a violation of God's law of Chastity'."
"...the Huffington Post reported that a scant 16 Utah residents (a rough proxy for Mormons) had donated a collective total of $1,264 to four state ballot committees fighting same-sex marriage bills."
"Wolfson is cautiously optimistic. He thinks it's too soon to know whether the LDS church has unilaterally withdrawn from the marriage fight or whether this is just a temporary cease-fire: 'In 2012, part of their tactical reason for pulling back was to avoid any muddying the waters for Romney. That was a higher priority for them than even attacking gay people'."
How the Mormons Ensured Victory for Gay Marriage
-By Stephanie Mencimer

Frankly, this is all wishful thinking. Fred Karger is not an expert on the Mormon Church, and should not be considered an expert on its internal workings. His claim that the church "suffered such a black eye" is nonsense to true believers, and his assertion that the church "lost so many members" and "really had no choice" is nothing short of nonsense. (Mormonism remains one of the world's fastest-growing religions, even post-2008.)

Karger points to an apology by someone who is not an Elder of the LDS Church. But a non-official apology meant to placate LGBT Mormons means nothing. The Web site mormonsandgays.org states right at the top that same-sex attraction is not a sin, but acting on it is -- in other words, nothing changes. Just more of the old "love the sinner, hate the sin" crapola.

The San Francisco State University Family Acceptance Project booklet for LDS families still counsels them to consider homosexuality a sin, still tells them to "love the sinner, hate the sin", and argues that "accepting the sinner but hating the sin" is but a subterfuge to 1) keep kids in the LDS faith, and 2) help parents undermine homosexuality in their child as he/she "struggles" to overcome it. The booklet urges LDS congregations not to reject or expel LGBT people -- but only because this allows the church to "love" and "encourage" them to abandon homosexuality. Furthermore, the booklet quotes LDS Elder Dallin H. Oaks that homosexuality is nothing more than "susceptibilities or inclinations" -- not an immutable orientation.

The Mother Jones article goes out of its way to highlight the fact that gay person Mitch Mayne was elected a leader in his stake (the basic organizational unit of the LDS Church) -- but then buries the fact that he was only able to do so AFTER he broke up with his longtime partner and declared himself celibate for life. It buries the fact that noncelibate LGBT members are still excluded from physically worshipping in the church's sacred spaces and its most important ceremonies.

One might characterize the much-ballyhooed Mormon effort to reduce LGBT youth homelessness in Salt Lake City as nothing more than a publicity ploy: It was embarrassing, it undermined the LDS assertion that "family is everything", and it showed the church's heartlessness.

Jim Dabakis -- a FORMER Mormon, out-of-the-closet homosexual, and current head of the Utah Democratic Party -- says that the changes are permanent. Well, we'll have to see, won't we? As an ex-LDS, gay person, and co-founder of the Utah Pride Center, he'd have to say that, wouldn't he? He's desperate to keep LDS and government funding for the homeless youth initiative flowing. Why would he admit that the relationship is tenuous and hesitant? That'd shut off the money spigot for good. Dabakis also makes unsubstantiated claims about the lack of Mormon money flowing to anti-gay marriage initiatives. In fact, the LDS Church learned its lesson: Hide the flow of money, don't stop it. Let the National Organization for Marriage collect the money, not the LDS Church. Keep the hate-stream flowing, just not through the LDS pulpit.

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