Sunday, October 10, 2010

Now I'm Done Believing You

Boyd K. Packer's words have caused me tremendous pain over the years. As a teenager, his rhetoric and false statements about homosexuality caused me to feel alone, isolated, fearful, hateful, shamed, and self-loathing. I believe his statements and the statements of other LDS authorities contributed significantly and directly to my many periods of depression and even suicidal thoughts. There were specific general conference talks that I read or heard from the pulpit that caused me extreme emotional turmoil. After hearing these talks, I would punish myself by imagining myself being violently beaten by baseball bats --all because of attractions I did not choose and could not change. These conference addresses also made it more difficult for me to accept myself and to pursue healthy relationships. Despite many Mormon's protests to the contrary, those kinds of statements (recently repeated by Packer) which indicate that homosexuality is chosen, alterable, and--more than anything--undesirable are dangerous and are not of God.

The fact that those messages are broadcast to millions of people across the globe is beyond unsettling and is what I call spiritual abuse. It is particularly disturbing knowing that young men and women--eleven, twelve, fourteen--are hearing that message and cannot properly understand it. They don't have the capacity to separate the ideas of attractions and behavior--they know only that they are attracted to the same gender and that it is bad. And if God's proclaimed spokesman asks, "Why would God do that to anyone?" imagine what that young person is thinking about himself.

Boyd K. Packer should be called out for his spiritually abusive words, but I have found that getting worked up about it doesn't help me feel better. We cannot control the Mormon Church, but we can control what messages we hear and what messages we share. I believe the best way forward is to try to promote as best we can the message that homosexuality is not wrong and that same sex relationships are healthy and fulfilling. Stop listening to the Mormon authorities. Don't give them attention. Don't spread their message. Instead, lets turn our attention to hope and spread as much of that as we can to as many people as we can.


Craig said...

I'm so sorry you experienced that.

I remember how awful, dirty, and worthless I felt on my mission after reading the talks he gave which were part of our mission packet.

Honestly, I'm pretty much convinced that he's gay himself, and more than anything I feel sorry for him. It seems clear to me that he hates himself, and I feel sorry for him that he grew up in a time that made it impossible for him to ever accept himself for who he is. But that doesn't excuse his actions and words which have directly led to the suicides of countless LBGT Mormons. I know that his teachings were a huge part of my depression and near suicide attempts.

In all this, the one comfort I take is that they're nervous. They respond to the protests against them and recognise that they're in trouble. They are just beginning to realise, I think, that the outside world will not respond to their homophobia, and that also the church is becoming increasing less willing to endure their bigotry and prejudice.

If only they weren't so blinded by their own rhetoric and prejudice that they could see the pain and death they're causing, all for no reason at all.

Alpha Dog said...

Daniel, Elder Packer's statement was not that homosexuality was a sinful choice that could be avoided, but rather that homosexual BEHAVIOR was wrong and unacceptable to the Lord.

You could've remained a member of the Church in good standing, even as an openly homosexual man. Alas, you yielded to the enticement of homosexual behavior. It was your BEHAVIOR, not your INCLINATIONS that separated you from the Church. You can rationalize that your behavior was inevitable or acceptable merely based on the fact that you were born like that. Unfortunately, there's no asterisk stating this in the scriptures.

Nowadays anyone that doesn't accept homosexual SEX as acceptable behavior is branded a homophobe and viciously and hatefully harassed, ironically by the very segment of society that publicly extols the virtues of tolerance and love.

Read this statement released by the Church, and think about how thoughtful, civil and loving the Church is, even in the face of antagonists who bear none of those attributes:

Daniel said...


I did not yield to the enticement of homosexual behavior. I got married. In case you didn't know, it was a responsible, conscious choice that I made and that has brought me more joy and lasting deep fulfillment than I have ever before experienced.

It was not my behavior that separated me from the Church, it was recognizing the harm Church has caused me and many others and choosing to leave.

You would never refer to your marriage or to a friend's marriage as "enticing behavior." If you can't treat me with respect as a married man--talking to me as you would an equal--then please don't read or comment on my blog.

Daniel said...

And, Alpha, my most important point was that Packer made it clear that homosexuality was undesirable--and that does lead to young Mormons hating and hurting themselves. There is nothing more or less desirable about homosexuality, and homosexual people can be just as happy as anyone else wheither they are in a same sex relationship or not.

Packer's speech was wrong and harmful, and it was not of God. Period.

MoHoHawaii said...

I did not yield to the enticement of homosexual behavior. I got married.

BRILLIANT! And so true.