Heaven Ain’t Close in a Place Like This: Mormon.org and Maxwell Institute

“Hi, I’m Brandon. I’m a Mormon.”

So begins Mr. Brightside’s somewhat perfunctory Mormon.org profile:

Brandon Flowers is the frontman of the rock band The Killers. In 2010, he also released a solo album entitled Flamingo.

In late 2001, Brandon Flowers responded to an ad that Dave Keuning had placed in a local paper and they formed The Killers.

Since then, Brandon has performed with Bruce Springsteen, U2, Coldplay, Pet Shop Boys, Lady Gaga, Fran Healy (of Travis), Andy Summers (of The Police), New Order, Bright Eyes, and others. Sir Elton John has listed Flowers as one of his top-five heroes.

Brandon’s solo album, Flamingo, charted in the UK on September 12, 2010 at Number 1.

This was Brandon’s fourth consecutive album to reach #1 on the UK charts, including work by The Killers.

Brandon is currently working with The Killers on their new album to be released in early 2012.

…that prompted this tweet from Daniel Embree:

Could Brandon Flowers be our next #gay friendly advocate to the #Mormons? http://mormon.org/brandon @HRC @ChinoBlanco

Whatever the future might hold, for sure, Brandon has already famously got himself one Big Gay Following (easily the biggest of any Mormon profiled at mormon.org).

But it remains to be seen if Brandon will be commenting on his spiffy new page at mormon.org/brandon. I suspect all he agreed to do was a quick video and somebody else posted his profile for him. In fact, just for fun, take a minute to compare his mormon.org profile excerpted above with his Wikipedia page excerpted below:

Brandon Richard Flowers (born June 21, 1981) is an American musician, best known as the frontman of the Las Vegas-based rock band The Killers. He has also released a solo album titled Flamingo.

Brandon Flowers responded to an ad that Dave Keuning had placed in the paper in late 2001 whereupon they became The Killers.

Flowers, himself, has performed with Coldplay, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Pet Shop Boys, Lady Gaga, Fran Healy (of Travis), Andy Summers (of The Police), New Order, Bright Eyes, etc. Sir Elton John has listed Flowers as one of his top-five heroes…

Flamingo charted in the UK on September 12, 2010 at Number 1. It is Flowers’ fourth consecutive album to reach #1 on the UK charts, including work by The Killers.

Sound familiar? It should.

Whoever created Brandon’s mormon.org profile did it by lifting the copy verbatim from his Wikipedia page.

Oops.

Meanwhile, the Maxwell Institute has just published a hit piece taking Laura Compton to task for how she runs her pro-equality Mormons for Marriage website.

Here’s an early response from Brad Carmack.

And here’s my quick response question: I wonder what the Maxwell Institute will have to say about l’affaire Flowers? I’m picturing an entire issue devoted to uncovering how mormon.org became infected by the modern plague of copy pasta plagiarism.

Further reading: David Haglund at Slate:

In 2004, Spin identified Flowers as an ex-Mormon, and he has been candid in the past about his drinking and smoking, activities forbidden for devout members of the Mormon church.

But as the existence of this video suggests, Flowers doesnt see himself as an ex-Mormon, at least not anymore. (If he did, he could have participated in a different video campaign.)

Haglund also mentions and links to a mormon.org profile “by someone who is black, bisexual, and Mormon.” Not for the first time, that profile has now been taken down.

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Chino Blanco

--- We are men of action, lies do not become us. ---

4 thoughts on “Heaven Ain’t Close in a Place Like This: Mormon.org and Maxwell Institute

  1. Whoever created Brandons mormon.org profile did it by lifting the copy verbatim from his Wikipedia page.

    There’s the possibility that Flowers created both the Wikipedia page and the mormon.org profile, but it does seem fishy. Given that some of the pics of him are family-ee, that either adds to the possibility that he did it himself, or to the sinisterness of someone else.

    On the Institute essay, the quotes from Packer pretty much unravel Smith’s argument. Packer categorizes homosexual feelings as an evil affliction — not a neutral affliction (“[Sexual perversion] is not all right. It is wrong! […] When practiced, it is immoral. It is a transgression.”) The author can bold, italicize, underline, highlight, make frilly the word “practice” all he wants, but the quotes make clear that Packer expected gays to spend their lives fighting against themselves, as opposed to acknowledging themselves. People are mad at that kind of thinking and find it broken, and rightfully so.

    Unfortunately, there does seem to be a phenomenon of making sure Packer retains his prophetic authority on the matter — esteemed for his “courage,” not just by Institute types, but by gay Mormons themselves. Even Kimball seems to receive this kind of treatment I’ve seen (for example, Ty Mansfield has described Kimball, if I remember correctly, as “harsh, but realistic”). Almost like if you still feel homosexually tempted even after reading Oaks and Holland, then read the old-school stuff from Packer and Kimball and then you’ll snap back into place. You mentioned Stockholm Syndrome earlier…

  2. Yeah, I think you’re right that it’s about the MI crew showing Boyd they’ve got his back by throwing a pro-equality Mormon under the bus. Thing is, for anyone who ventures out where real Mormons congregate in the wild, it’s pretty obvious what a ridiculous spectacle these Packer sycophants are making of themselves.

    For example, check out the post and comments over on this thread at r/lds:

    Re: Mainstreaming

    I’ve heard Brandon Flowers was denounced from the pulpit for being a bad example to LDS youth in my old ward years ago. Now he’s a flagship “I’m a Mormon” profile.

    I know some church leaders genuinely freaked out about the “I’m a Mormon and I’m Gay” profiles on mormon.org.

    A Bishopric counselor I know was saying, “Fine, you can be a celibate gay member, but what do I do when two teenage guys are holding hands in sacrament meeting? What do I do if they kiss? Does that count as celibate?”

    It’s like the church is leaving these guys [i.e., the local LDS leaders] rather than them leaving the church. Anyone in here feeling any anxiety about this stuff?

    Comment

    Here’s what we need: Some clear messages from Salt Lake about these issues. It will come to a point (really soon, I think) that they can’t keep beating around the bush about it. I think that bishopric member was asking some legitimate questions, silly as they may sound. Why? Because there’s no counsel we can look to to answer those questions.

    That sound you hear is the real-believers wondering out loud about when LDS HQ is gonna finally throw a little further light & knowledge their way, because between Boyd Packer and Brandon Flowers and their local Bishops, what the fuck are they supposed to think/believe? The direction from the top is FUBAR. And now, instead of offering some clarity, Maxwell Institute attacks a reasonable, thoughtful, impressive, faithful member. Oh yeah, that’ll keep the kids in line. *eyeroll*

    Smith’s “Shattered Glass” is so bad that someone from inside MI really ought to step up with a rebuttal. I’ve got a steak dinner at Ruth’s Chris for any one of them that does. Offer good for one month. After that, I’m gonna donate the funds in Maxwell Institute’s name to a deserving exmo project.

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