After my last post critiquing North Star I knew I wanted to point readers in a direction that would help. It’s one thing to be a warning voice, it’s another to actually proactively do some good for someone who finds themselves Mormon and gay. The problem is that there are so few resources out there, but there ARE resources.
If you are LDS, gay or have a family member who is, I highly recommend the pamphlet,
The booklet is a product of The Family Acceptance Project,
The only community research, intervention, education and policy initiative that works to decrease major health and related risks for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth, such as suicide, substance abuse, HIV and homelessness – in the context of their families.
Imagine that. They use actual research and education to inform their policies. In other words they consider what actually works in the real world, and what doesn’t, before going to press and spouting off preconceived notions as higher thought.
Contrast that with Ty Mansfield a North Star community member who had this to say regarding the “Supportive Families” booklet:
Those who take their religion seriously also understand the sacred responsibility of nurturing values and identities that are more in harmony with the deeply held spiritual beliefs from which they arise – and they’ll continue to look for guidance primarily from church leaders as opposed to ‘LGBT’ research institutes to help them in that regard.
The fact that there is even a need for a tool like this to help Mormon families love and accept their children indicates that church leadership is wholly inadequate on this issue. What his statement subtly says is that we should disregard facts in favor of the unsubstantiated opinions of men who have no expertise in this subject.
The LDS church produces their own booklets for LGBT individuals and their families. They employ none of the fact-based research and tend to stubbornly stake out doctrinal territory rather than to open compassionate arms and to offer tangible help.
The Family: A Proclamation to the World says the following:
We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.
2010 Church Handbook 2 declares:
Homosexual behavior violates the commandments of God, is contrary to the purposes of human sexuality, and deprives people of the blessings that can be found in family life and in the saving ordinances of the gospel. Those who persist in such behavior or who influence others to do so are subject to Church discipline.
And lastly, God Loveth His Children:
As we follow Heavenly Father’s plan, our bodies, feelings, and desires will be perfected in the next life so that every one of God’s children may find joy in a family consisting of a husband, a wife, and children.
The message is clearly, “Suffer through your imperfection now and maybe in the next life you can be normal like us.”
It’s ironic because the “Supportive Families” pamphlet uses Mormon-speak to help get its message across. There are quotes from General Authorities to lay a foundation for the loving and accepting approach that it advocates and that research confirms. There was definitely involvement by LDS insiders in the “Supportive Families” copy.
I was going to type the following phrase, “this information is directed squarely at families of LGBT youth, so I’m still on the hunt for resources for LGBT fathers and married men” but after rereading the pamphlet I’m convinced that even our families and men like us can benefit from the research.
What we all need to know and learn is that being gay in a straight world is dangerous. If “Men are that they might have joy,” then this pamphlet helps us see that there are ways to discover our own joy for ourselves and ways to nurture joy in those we love.
To me that means that I disassociate myself from dangerous elements, dangerous individuals and dangerous pathways that lead me to believe that I am lesser-than, troubled, challenged, inappropriate or imperfect.
I am not something to be overcome.