Saturday, March 29, 2008

I Have Depressed For You

At a high school in American Fork, some staff planned on discussing homosexuality as one of two "serious social problems." Fortunately that part of the discussion was canceled. The fact that it was even considered and planned makes me vomit. Nothing like that would ever have happened at my high school. The reason it was canceled was because it would have promoted "depression and suicide" by giving youth questioning their sexual orientation the message that they were a serious problem to society. That statement is obvious to people outside of Utah, even Latter-day Saints. I couldn't imagine my ward back home supporting such an event at school.

But this got me thinking. If we don't tolerate it at school because it damages self esteem, why do we tolerate it in church? Prophets and church leaders have consistently referred to homosexuality as a serious social problem, especially when addressing the youth or in youth settings. Boyd K. Packer called refers to it as one of the three greatest threats to the Church.

As a twelve year old, I was given a pamphlet that read, "The Lord specifically forbids certain behaviors, including all sexual relations before marriage, petting, sex perversion (such as homosexuality, rape, and incest), masturbation, or preoccupation with sex in thought, speech, or action.

"Homosexual and lesbian activities are sinful and an abomination to the Lord (see Romans 1:26-27, 31 ). Unnatural affections including those toward persons of the same gender are counter to God's eternal plan for his children. You are responsible to make right choices"
(For the Strength of Youth, 1990). This pamphlet was given to all youth ages 12 and up at least on an annual basis. In High School, a newer version of the pamphlet came out that I was asked to memorize. I did memorize it.

Twelve year olds cannot distinguish between "homosexual activities" and the feelings towards those of the same gender they have. To say that homosexuality is an abomination is to tell that twelve year old that he is an abomination. And then you tell him that he is associated with rape and incest, and since he is worried about his sexuality and thinks about it a lot, he is guilty of being "preoccupied." Oh, and he masturbated, so he feels like he's going to hell. And the worst part? "You are responsible to make right choices." You just dumped all of the responsibility for his sexuality on his shoulders. As a twelve year old, I felt responsible for my same gender attractions.

People often tell me that its not the Churches fault that I hated myself because I was gay. The Church didn't make me depressed or suicidal. The fact of the matter is, though, if my High School didn't teach me that I was an abomination, where did I learn it? The media didn't do it. My family didn't really talk to me about it. It was my Church. The Church clearly distributed material to me at a young age that lead to depression and suicidal tendencies. It wasn't until I overcame the false assumptions I had developed from the Church teachings that I was able to love myself.

7 comments:

[kɹeɪ̯g̊] said...

Yes, it is the church. Though the church leaders are afraid or unwilling to admit it, what they have taught and written about homosexuality is the main cause of why gay members become depressed and suicidal - also because they make suicide seem much more attractive, and forgivable than homosexuality.

They church bears the responsibility for teachings young children and teenagers that they are evil, worthless, and God only loves and approves of them if they (somehow) get rid of their homosexual feelings.

This is by far the main thing that has motivated me to leave the church. This kind of disgustingly callous treatment of innocent children cannot possibly be of God, and if it is, then I don't want anything to do with that god.

Potentate said...

I'm sorry for you.

For myself too.

We're so far from perfect . . .

Molly Sue said...

Amen, amen, and again, amen. Yes, it is the religion. The difficulty is being able to question the religion, NOT the individual, which, unfortunately, most are not able to do. They would rather condemn the person than question the imperfect philosophy.

I think that most Christian religion mis-interpret the Romans passage, by the way. If it interests you. I gave Mr. Craig up there a book suggestion, don't know if it helped, but, it might.

Good luck there in Happy Valley. Come on down to phase II when you need to escape... ;)

Leonardo da Vinci said...

Yeah, that's pretty disgusting. The social problem is not homosexuality; rather, it's everyone's attitude toward homosexuality.

I agree with the church arousing a sense of self-hate. People do not hate themselves without some sort of outside influence, and the church is what teaches it. It frustrates children and teens because they can't help it, yet they are unable to connect to others because they don't want to talk about it. And it just gets worse from there; no one is there to tell them it's okay.

draco said...

"We all had delusions in our head
We all had our minds made up for us
We had to believe in something
So we did "

I swear she has a song for everything!

Molly Sue said...

Just saw this on the news last night. One of the lovies from the center was there. I'm glad for that, but the premise made me grouchy. I said an inappropriate word...It starts with 'f'.

Clark said...

There is so much damage and homophobia in the church-- so much of it is built into the communities that it is almost impossible to kill it without killing the mormons themselves.. its truly like a cancer within the spiritual community. The sad thing is that even though the current leaders are so much more open about the fact that they don't have a clue what causes homosexuality or don't have any idea what to do with gay members of the church, they still will not cease to publish homophobic and damaging literature that is still part of the mormon literary canon today-- ie miracle of forgiveness and Packer's To the One. Why are these still in print? What is this the friggin stone age? Anyway, I'm so happy that you see it this way instead of doing what so many choose to do-- look at themselves as the problem. This is the church's challenge for our age.. hopefully they will step up and deal with it. In the meantime we have to save people caught in the gears who are being crushed by the pressure. We have to get them to a safe place where they can take their time and decide how they want to live. I think you are going to help a lot of people-- I'm sure you already are.