Monday, August 22, 2011

Weekly Guest Blogger: Jeff Morgan

Jeff Morgan grew up in the land of Logan, Utah. You will see from his entry that he has some things to say about lifestyles of, well you will just have to read it.

"Sometimes, the Closet is the Safest Place to Be"

What does it mean you drive through downtown Salt Lake in early summer and all you can see is rainbows, colorful balloons, topless men and women, and drag queens?  Salt Lake City Pride Festival is going on.
I was in Salt Lake while this happened, and while I didn’t participate in any of the activities, it gave me a lot to think about.  I think seeing it all kind of re-enforced my thoughts that gays are kind of crazy.

Here’s the thing:  They want social change, right?  They want equal rights?  I don’t know if they realize this or not, but they aren’t impressing anyone when they hold their yearly festival that is supposed to be family friendly and supposed to raise awareness of LGBT issues, but they walk around in their underwear (sometimes placed on their head like a 5-year old) or dressed as a Las Vegas showgirl (generally men doing this).  How can anyone take them seriously at their protests and rallies when at all of their other public appearances, they are dressed like slutty clowns?

Watch the beginning of this to see what I mean:

Another thing I don’t think they realize:  Putting down the dominant cultures beliefs is not going to help create change.  We all know what I’m talking about.  The LDS church.  

I understand some gays are angry with the church.  They feel as though they’ve been lied to.  They don’t like the role the church played in Prop 8, and continue to play in other LGBT politics.  They are angry that some of their family members abandoned them when they came out, and the reason behind the abandonment has to do with religious beliefs.  I understand.  I really do.

That being said, the church and its members don’t like being put down and made fun of and told they are wrong any more than the gays like being called faggots or queers, or being told they aren’t born that way and they just aren’t faithful enough to change; that if they really wanted to, they could overcome it.
The only way social change will really occur is to be understanding.  Everyone needs to be more understanding.  For social change to occur in Utah, the church and the gays need to be more understanding of each other (and if I might say so, I feel that the church is trying harder to be more understanding than the gays).  The church has a stance on homosexuality that cannot be fundamentally changed because it is based on the doctrines of eternal marriage.  Eternal marriage, according to LDS teachings, is essential because it allows a husband and wife to become like God in the next life and part of that is eternal procreation.  This can’t physiologically happen between members of the same sex.  It’s an unchanging doctrine of the LDS church.  

The gays feel shunned from the church.  Many of them have found happiness in the church to some degree, but as they came out, they became alienated.  Many of them tried to fight it for years, only to sink into utter depression.  Out of desperation, they chose to live a life of “sin”: trying to find love with someone they can be with for the rest of their lives.  They were continually rejected by members of the church and members of society.  They were pushed so far that they grew to hate the church that helped raise them.
The church/members see gays as vile sinners (committing the sin next to murder) that are living a filthy lifestyle filled with illicit sex, drinking, and Lady GaGa.  Gays see Mormons as uptight, narrow-minded religious zealots that are out to get them.  I think these thoughts are true to a degree, but only because these groups have decided it would be this way.  If both groups can shift their thoughts to a more understanding point of view, I believe social change will occur.  If the church can really look at how its actions have caused so much hurt and heartache to the LGBT community, learn from that, and move forward in a direction of understanding (ie. No more political involvement, teaching members to love everyone regardless of lifestyle changes, etc.), the LGBT community will be more willing to work with them.  Conversely, if the LGBT community will be forgiving, loving, and helpful to the LDS church and its members, remembering that the church has an unchanging doctrine on homosexuality and that they meant no harm in their actions, they will feel less resistance from the LDS community.  

I really do believe this.  I won’t be surprised if people disagree with me.  I don’t really care though.  I think it will probably make some people angry, even.  If this were to go anywhere and get any attention, I could see some LGBT individuals getting upset and saying that I don’t understand their position.  To them, I would like to say this:  I understand.  I was raised LDS.  I’m an openly gay man.  I want social and political change.  I just believe that if that is going to happen, we have to stop this stupid mudslinging game.  Let’s all put the past in the past, move into the future, and treat each other with dignity.
Oh, and one more thing.  Stop acting crazy.  Both sides.


  1. I think things are changing on all sides. It was amazing to see how last year the Church invited a group of prominent LGBT leaders as special guests at the Christmas fireside. And my observation is that by and large the movers & shakers in the Utah LGBT community are now friendly to the Church. For instance, last Saturday at the Equality Utah Allies Dinner, I don't recall anything negative being said about the Church; in fact, Jim Dabakis mentioned the quiet conversations that he and others have had with the Church, and the Church's support of nondiscrimination ordinances, and in a very kind way he praised and honored the Church, triggering an enthusiastic applause from the 1600+ attendees. That was really a healing and emotional moment, to be at an LGBT event of this size and to see that happen.

    Yes, there's a long way to go for the healing to be complete, but I think we shouldn't underestimate the progress which has been made in the last couple years.

  2. Some really good points mentioned. One in particular that I had never thought of before is the point of becoming as God. Yes we all know that is church doctrine, but it's amazing how I haven't thought about that as a reason for the church to be opposed to same-sex marriage. And i support that. I support the church for sticking to their guns. And Yes I am a gay man.

  3. Jeff, thanks for sharing your opinion. I'm interested in this topic too. Please know I am asking this completely seriously; in what ways to you think gays act 'crazy' with regard to the church? How can GLTB address/approach the church is a helpful way? You mention 'not mudslingling'. But besides things not to do, what do you suggest they do exactly, be specific. What proscriptive things do you suggest. Otherwise, you position, while good natured, seems just quixotic and not really a pathway forward.

  4. @Anonymous #2 - Good question! I really hadn't thought about that. I guess I've merely thought about the problem as I see it and not necessarily how to solve it. Possibly that will be what my next guest posting will be.

  5. I have a semi-answer to Anon#2's Q, Jeffy. I am just trying to work out the wording-- mind if I try?

  6. This is an open forum for discussions beyond our realm of understanding, David. Feel free to post your thoughts.

  7. You are always invited to speak in my behalf, Davy.