www.ambiente.us    DECEMBER | DICIEMBRE 2010

The Empty Sea
by Armando Diaz

Can one be Gay and Mormon at the same time?

In a recent response to an HRC petition the LDS (Mormon) Church responded...in part of it's
major reply.

"The Church recognizes that those of its members who are attracted
to others of the same sex experience deep emotional, social and
physical feelings. The Church distinguishes between feelings or
inclinations on the one hand and behavior on the other. It’s not a sin
to have feelings, only in yielding to temptation.

There is no question that this is difficult, but Church leaders and members are available to
help lift, support and encourage fellow members who wish to follow Church doctrine. Their
struggle is our struggle. Those in the Church who are attracted to someone of the same sex
but stay faithful to the Church’s teachings can be happy during this life and perform
meaningful service in the Church. They can enjoy full fellowship with other Church
members, including attending and serving in temples,
.
.




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and ultimately receive all the blessings afforded to those who live the commandments of
God."
With the above statement from the Mormon leadership, how can one possibly
reconciliate being gay and being Mormon.  The Church's doctrine clearly states yes "we"
love you, however...you cannot partake in the ‘full’ blessings bestowed on non-gay
members, since you choose to NOT follow the Church’s doctrine.
I was Mormon in my own youth.  The follow up from those years and that experience, was
that I became internally encouraged to pave and investigate my own personal spiritual
path.  Personally I couldn’t settle for Heaven not being accessible to me.  But even after
all this time and my own past, I still ask...

How can one be Mormon and gay?
Clay Essig is the administrator behind www.LDSreconciliation.org.  I presented him with
the same question.  Can one be harmoniously Mormon (LDS) and gay/lesbian at the
same time? His answer was intense, passionate, and full of faith.  It

Clay | Congratulations on Ambiente Magazine. It looks like you offer some excellent and
much needed information.  Keep up the great work! Our GLBTI family needs all the help
we can give!

Armando | Well thank you Clay, we greatly appreciate that!  Clay how can one be Mormon
as well as be gay?
Clay | I assure you it is not easy. But I think it is a lot like asking how can someone be
Catholic and Gay, or Jewish or Muslim and Gay, or Jewish and German back in the
1940's, or Black and American before the Civil Rights movement in the 1950's and '60s,
or how can I be a US Citizen and Gay when my own country denies me basic rights of
marriage and family, protections, privileges and equality that all other citizens enjoy?  
We can be Mormon and Gay if we are willing to acknowledge that we currently are (or are
treated like) second class citizens within the Church. Many of us choose to do this out of
devotion to God. Some do it out of devotion to the Mormon Church or the prophet, or out of
devotion or fear of our families, or being kicked out of our families. Some do it out of
tradition or habit. Being LDS for many
.
is a way of life... a lifestyle, not just where we go to Church on Sunday. Its in our blood, our
heart and soul. That is what makes the conflict so profound for many. That is what leads
to so many suicides - when Church leaders, however well intentioned, speak ignorantly
and greatly heighten that profound spiritual, mental and emotional conflict.
I personally believe that the Prophet and Apostles who lead the LDS Church are called of
God, His appointed and authorized servants. But I believe being called by God does not
make a man or woman perfect or infallible even though many people believe such a
great mantle of being a prophet, apostle or Pope makes those servants infallible. A study
of the scriptures gives us many illustrations of the fallibility, imperfection, prejudice and
limited knowledge, understanding or compassion of God's servants. I believe only the
Savior and God are perfect and infallible.  
Since I recognize many of my own imperfections, I am better able to allow God's servants
the same forgiveness, the same right to learn and grow, repent and do better that I hope
for myself. I clearly believe they are VERY wrong on the issues regarding our GLBTI
family. But I believe they are doing the best they can with the very limited understanding
they have of our true, God-given nature as His GLBTI sons and daughters. Just because
they are wrong on this issue, does not mean they are wrong about everything else. Even
though their teachings regarding "homosexuality" or "same-gender attraction" etc. have
caused me and thousands of others tremendous pain, damage and the loss of life
through suicide of far too many others, I still recognize that they have also taught me
many wonderful truths:
It was living their teaching that we can kneel and pray and personally ask God for
guidance, understanding and wisdom, and personally receive answers from God which
helped save me from suicide. It was applying their teaching of the importance of the word
of God found in the scriptures that encouraged me to prayerfully search the scriptures to
see if what religious leaders from many religions said was true - that God condemns
homosexuals and homosexuality. Gratefully I found out for myself that "anti-Gay" religious
teachings about homosexuality are NOT TRUE and are NOT supported by the scriptures.
(See the article "Believing the Words of Jesus Christ".
Ironically it was Elder Boyd K. Packer (who for years and most recently has
.
spoken condemningly of homosexuality) who taught me much about how to recognize
the Holy Ghost and how to learn for myself what is true and from God and what is not.
Without living their teachings that are true, I never would have survived their teachings that
are not true.
As I am sure you know, it is not easy to be GLBT in many places, but we do the best we
can. Many of us choose to stay in those difficult places. We choose to stand up and try to
make a difference for the better; to educate, promote understanding, to help our
"enemies" see that we are people too; we are children of God, we have contributions for
good to make to the world, our communities and our families.  You are doing that with
your magazine. Many of us try to do that within our Church which has caused us so much
pain, with the hope that we can help save other wonderful Mormon youth from suffering
the pain, destruction and death that earlier generations have suffered. That is called
"pioneering". My ancestors were pioneers and I feel like we Gay Latter-day Saints today
must be pioneers to make a hostile wilderness more bearable for those who will follow. I
have done my best to do that and will continue to do so even though I was
excommunicated in May from the LDS Church because of the article I wrote.
Being Mormon and Gay is NOT easy, but both are fundamental parts of who God made
me to be.  I am grateful for that and the amazing though difficult journey it has provided.
I hope that answered some part of your excellent question.

Armando | Thank you so much Clay! Now, is this reconciliation group you represent, still
active and is it national?
Craig | Yes, the group is active but currently there is only a Reconciliation group in the Salt
Lake City, Utah area.

Armando | Are there any other resources you might recommend for gay/lesbian youth
and LDS members in this situation?
Clay | Another great site for resources for Gay LDS, youth or adults is
www.GaysAndTheGospel.org which can give good food for thought in answering any
Mormon specific "anti-gay" related scriptures and doctrines, Currently that info is
contained in the the main article "Believing the Words of Jesus Christ" which we
hope to upload a Spanish version soon. (We have one I just need to have it reviewed by a
couple other Gay Mormons who speak Spanish. That site will be expanding considerably
over the next year.


* I appreciate Clay for taking the time to give me his perspective from his heart, and for
sharing it with us*

Can one be Gay and Mormon at the same time?  In the wake of the eloquent point of view
above, perhaps the harmony of both ultimately depends on the individual.  Perhaps
spirituality and sexuality are both a matter of preference.  Arrogance and animosity
however, are both a matter of choice.  It is of course easier said than done, but this
particular choice is worth a try.

For this writer, humility has not been a matter of choice...but really a matter of
time.                   - Armando Diaz

*The Empty Sea is my own play on words, the origins of which go back to when I was a
teenager.  The brave young men in ties and helmets, armed with scriptures on bicycles,
you know them as the Mormon missionaries. All missionaries are “called to serve” at the
age of 19 (for guys) and 21 (for ladies).  They come from around the world to Provo, UT to
the Missionary Training Center, more commonly known as the “M-T-C”.  




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