Friday, December 21, 2012

Respectful Mormon Stories

I was supposed to participate in a podcast about the Church's new website last night with John Dehlin and Mormon Stories. They sent out an email to let me know the recording has been postponed until next week. I wasn't really sure who else would be participating, but I did notice that Mitch Mayne's name was on the email. He is the openly gay man who serves as the executive secretary in his San Francisco ward.

With regard to the Church's new site, Mitch stated in the Salt Lake Tribune that the church needs to move beyond talk of "feelings of same-sex attraction since being gay is about sexual orientation, which encompasses much more than feelings.... Any time we can use the word ‘gay’ instead of same-sex attraction, I feel hope that we may be emerging from our misguided, primitive history on how we understand what it really means to be an LGBT individual".

I can see why using the term "gay" would be important for someone who identifies as gay, an LGBT individual. However, avoiding the term "same-sex attraction" discounts the feelings of those who prefer not to identify as gay. I do not find my same-sex attraction to be an identity, rather, just a part of who I am. Those feelings have changed dramatically for me over the years. I can say, and feel on a very deep level, that I am grateful I am not in a lesbian relationship and that I have the life I do with my husband and three children. I know I am living the life that God wants me to live, and the life I want to live.

I also realize that everyone's journey is different. I, for one, am glad that the Church uses the term "same-sex attraction" as well as our "gay and lesbian brothers and sisters" on the new website. I see the language as being inclusive and I think that's important.

I'm hoping the podcast won't turn into a big argument with several different points of view being adamantly defended. I'm hoping it will be inclusive and respectful of everyone's different viewpoints. That it can be a discussion that creates greater understanding rather than more contention. After all, there has already been plenty of contention with regard to this topic.

I guess I'll find out next week.

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