Affirmation Goes Public

12 August 2008
This was reported on the news yesterday. I happened to be with some straight friends when it came on and they made some comments that were hurtful to me. I was thinking about coming out to them, but after that, it is not going to happen but maybe I should tell them to help them understand. Thoughts, suggestions, or ideas?

Here is the news report:

Affirmation discussing gay issues without LDS Church
By Sam Penrod and Mary Richards

A group of openly-gay members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke out today after the Church postponed a meeting it had scheduled with them.

Earlier this year, Church President Thomas S. Monson assigned the director of LDS Family Services to hold the meeting, but it was postponed until a new director is hired.

Affirmation leaders say they did not want to wait until next year, and so they communicated their priorities at a morning press conference.

The Church reacted by saying, quote: "It has always been the intent of the Church to engage in an open and honest discussion with Affirmation leaders, to listen to their concerns." So, today's disagreement over the meeting seems to come down to timing.

"We were sent here to this Earth as gay brothers and sisters for a purpose in God's plan," said David Melson, public relations director for Affirmation.

He and other gay members of the Church spoke out about their lifestyle and their faith.

"We believe there is room for us in the gospel. We believe there is a place for us ordained of God in the gospel," said George Cole, director of young adult programs for Affirmation.

Melson says, right now, "gay members do not always feel safe in an LDS Church environment."

While the group is pushing for more acceptance in the LDS faith, they also hope their same-sex relationships will be recognized by the Church. The group wants better training for local Church leaders, affirming statements in the Church's General Conference and, maybe down the road, a change in doctrine.

"We also hope to convey that it isn't natural for a gay person to be celibate their entire lives either. While we do understand the Church's position on that matter, we ask that they recognize the significance or our committed long-term relationships," said Olin Thomas, executive director of Affirmation.

The group, Affirmation, claims gay Mormons are frequently shunned, some to the point they turn to suicide rather than face life as a homosexual.

"Being gay is a biological characteristic. There are physical, biological traits that seem to be the cause of being gay. It is not the fault of good mothers who raise their children in righteousness, and they should not be saddled with any kind of a guilt trip or blame," Melson said.

The group believes statements made by Church leaders in recent years have been positive in accepting gays in the Church. But they don't believe this message is widely accepted by Church members.

"I believe of the biggest gifts that God gave me was to be sent here in this time as a gay man. Being gay in this day and age, you have compassion and empathy for other people who suffer for others who are discriminated against," Melson said.

The Church responded with this statement: "The issues surrounding same-gender attraction deserve careful attention, not public posturing. It appears from Affirmation's actions today that it has opted for a public rather than a private exchange."

There is no word yet if that means the offer by the Church to hold a meeting with Affirmation is now off the table.

Statement issued by Church spokesman Scott Trotter:

"It has always been the intent of the Church to engage in an open and honest discussion with Affirmation leaders to listen to their concerns. When the Church was originally approached by Affirmation, Church officials offered a much earlier meeting date. The meeting was put on hold until August at Affirmation's request. The Church asked for the same courtesy as it hires a new director of Family Services, a position crucial to this conversation.

"The issues surrounding same-gender attraction deserve careful attention, not public posturing. It appears from Affirmation's actions today that it has opted for a public rather than a private exchange."

I agree with a lot of things Affirmation. I think that Church members can be better educated and more accepting of people like all of us so it does not lead to things like depression or suicide. I also believe that we do have a special purpose in life and that is why we have been given our attractions. I do not agree with Affirmation in its desire or hope to change the doctrine of the Church. In my opinion, the Church will never change its stance because there are firm statements from God talking about family and how marriage is only between a man and a woman. Changing the doctrine is also not consistent with the new pamphlet God Loveth His Children.

2 comments:

Michael said...

I was reading an article online about this meeting today as well. I know the church will never change it's stance. But I would hope that they would acknowledge that people are in fact gay. I know that this is who I am. I understand what affirmation is trying to do and I give them props. Was it the best way to handle the situation, I am not sure. But the church does need to know that there are gay and lesbian LDS people. I know that we will never be widely accepted by the church, but I hope that more people would see that things they say are hurtful.

When I was reading this article some of the comments were the most hurtful un-Christlike things I had ever heard or read. And it hurt to think that the comments came from people who profess to be the true believers of Christ. I just have a hard time with that.

A CROW'S VIEW said...

To be honest with you most everything about Affirmation offends me. I don't want them or anyone to think that they represent me or how I feel about the gospel.

I don't think that anything that was said about Affirmation was geared towards you. You aren't anything like these people.

You are trying to be faithful. These people don't have being faithful as their goal, they would rather changing the rules so that its no longer an issue.