Sunday in Outer Blogness: Gay Family Easter Edition!

I was expecting that this week would be a standard round-up of posts about Easter — but the Supreme Court of the US spared us from this fate!! Particularly, the liminal Mormon part of Facebook exploded with battles over marriage equality. (I’m not linking to all, but if you check out the exmo reddit from earlier this week, you’ll see almost nothing else.) Here are some highlights of the question from blogspace:

I was proud of my son for having posted this, but I was even more proud to see that he had changed his profile picture (above) and that two of my other children had “liked” what he had written. What a precious, priceless gift it is to me to have the love and support of my children!

Like many others across the country, my children’s views of homosexuality have changed because they now know that someone they love is gay. Except in the case of dyed in the wool bigots, I think most people would be hard pressed to maintain their prejudice against members of the LGBT community once they learn that someone they care about is a member of that community.

On framing the question:

I guess the basic issue for me is that the term “genderless marriage” just doesn’t make sense. It reminds me of when people say that gay people are just experiencing “gender confusion.” While I could maybe understand if that were a confusion of gay issues with trans issues (considering in the QUILTBAG or LGBTQIA [so many letters!] umbrella, trans- and gay/lesbian/bisexual are usually included together), but to the contrary, it’s usually not even nuanced enough for that to apply.

…but let me just put this out there. No matter how problematic gender or sex terms might be, with sexual orientations, sex and gender do matter. Being gay isn’t being “confused” about one’s gender. It’s a guy knowing he’s a guy who likes other guys, or a girl knowing she’s a girl who likes other girl.

From straight allies personally invested in marriage:

Then he explained why he supports traditional marriage, between a man and a woman. This is where his opinion offended me, a married mother of two. From what I could surmise, his argument was that society had changed, that marriage was no longer a long term commitment. That many children were being raised in single families without fathers.

Now I can’t explain the causes of poverty, and I can’t speak to parts of the community where fathers don’t take an active role in their children’s lives. But it seems to me that the issue of gay marriage is not related to this at all. The argument is that same sex marriage “cheapens” the marriage brand, and therefore makes fathers unwilling to marry their children’s mothers. Or divorce is easier and children suffer.

Note that a lot of the support for marriage equality is coming from faithful Mormons (despite the consequences) and some opposition from gay people.

It looks like the CoJCoL-dS has turned down the heat on fighting gay marriage, but the old rhetoric is still there, along with its effects on people’s lives.

In related news, women lobbying to pray in General Conference actually worked!! Since women are now keeping the missionary force afloat, can priesthood for women be far behind? Some of the obstacles hard to get past:

I also think it would lead to girls feeling equal to boys and, since girls are superior to boys intellectually and emotionally, boys would quickly feel inferior to their superior priesthood holding counterparts. This feeling of inferiority would only serve to denigrate those boys that may already have low self-esteem to begin with.

Also, since holding the priesthood requires wearing dress slacks, white shirts and ties, and girls would look kind of silly in white shirts and ties (not to mention they are not allowed to wear pants), this would just not work.

If women held the priesthood then that would mean they could give priesthood blessings. I don’t know how women would be able to come up with the same kinds of things that men are able to receive from the spirit when it comes to giving blessings.

…but check out this strategy:

The accepted course of action among most who know such things at the COB is to reduce the APE distribution, and to convert these into Sister Priesthood Units, (Spews), marked with a barcode for limited use in certain markets, as we test this program out.

The limited use would be restricted to calling other SPUs to SPU callings; blessing SPUs for purposes of comfort only (Healings can possibly be introduced in the phase three of the distribution; exorcisms are not currently available, as demons refuse to recognize voices speaking in frequencies higher than non-homosexual-human-males); and possibly passing around napkins during the sacrament. We believe letting them hold open doors would invert the natural order of creation, which God has ordained that Men should hold doors for Women, as in Eden; also, that to give them desks and offices would make the men feel like inferior leaders, and possibly make them impotent.

Sometimes inequality goes the other way, but I’m not totally convinced by this reasoning:

Furthermore, I think that from the point of view of the Church, YW activities tend to be of higher quality than YM activity. This is because the YW program is designed from top to bottom by the Church, focusing specifically on Church goals for youth. The Scouting program, in contrast, is subject to significant input by the Church but ultimately is not structured around Church goals for youth. The result is that a lot of effort gets spent on things that are ultimately peripheral to the mission of the Church. Anyone who wants to understand this contrast should attend a Scout Jamboree and then compare that experience with a Stake Girl’s Camp. Girl’s Camp is, in my opinion, hands down a far better activity from the point of view of Mormon youth.

Of course, while cheering for equality, let’s not forget other types of folks with problems

In book news, Johnny Townsend — that superstar of modern marginal Mormon short fiction — has just released a new collection, including some interesting excerpts! Also pmg reviewed Elders. (Now that the Mormon Alumni Association Books website is reasonably presentable, maybe I’ll go back to reviewing some books…)

And now for Mormon Studies!!! An interesting example of Mormon life-decision-making; one step more righteous than “milk before meat” is sticking with the milk forever; and textual analysis of the BoM.

In the grab bag this week, we have teaching kids about other traditions, mourning lost naps, a hymn, a poem, and a poetic (NSFW) look at Stonehenge Beach.

Sorry this SiOB is a day late. Basically, since Easter Monday is a holiday here, I figured there was no harm in procrastinating. So I spent most of the day Easter Sunday working on an elaborate experiment in cooking. I don’t want to go into detail, but it was mostly unsuccessful, except as a learning experience. That is, after this experience, I know exactly how to improve my recipe so it turns out fantastic the next time I have a full day to waste on cooking experiments, which is scheduled for, I dunno, perhaps next Easter…? Maybe I should have tried one of these recipes instead.

I hope you have have had a nice holiday weekend as well!!

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C. L. Hanson is the friendly American ExMormon atheist mom living in Switzerland! See "letters from a broad" and the novel ExMormon for further adventures!!

4 thoughts on “Sunday in Outer Blogness: Gay Family Easter Edition!

  1. @1 Thanks!!

    Halfway off of this week’s topic, what do you think of the opinion piece above about how YW is better than scouting?

    My reaction is basically that it’s easy to say that if you didn’t actually have to participate in the YW program. A friend pointed out recently (and I totally agree) that having the girls set theme/current-“value”-related goals (inspired by a list of suggestions) is counterproductive to learning the value of improving yourself by setting and keeping goals. Instead of encouraging the girls to think seriously about what they want to do in life and how to get there, it encourages a model of goals as pointless busywork.

    The fact that in the boys’ program “a lot of effort gets spent on things that are ultimately peripheral to the mission of the Church” (including leadership skills and self-reliance) is actually a positive thing. OTOH, since scouting is required for boys and forbidden for girls, you naturally get this phenomenon where half the girls wish they could be in scouting, and half the boys wish they didn’t have to…

  2. @chanson – I skimmed the YW article that you posted, and at first I thought it was tongue and cheek.

    From the YW activities I remember, we did lots of things like make hair bows. Maybe making hair bows or learning how to crochet were tied to the values through color (purple or green or what have you). Perhaps they weren’t related at all.

    I liked girls camp, a lot. I learned a lot. Girls camp (in our stake) was very useful. It took place at a boy scout camp. We learned how to make fires, how to tie knots, lifeguard skills, first aid. All were important skills that I have used as an adult. I strongly suspect that 1 – our stake had more money than most (that changed in the 90s) and 2 – some of the leaders wanted to make camp for YW more equitable/useful.

    From what I’ve read, that’s not the case any longer. Some YW camps are not based around practical skills, but spiritual principles. That’s unfortunate, because I really have used that knowledge in my life and think those are important skills overall (first aid, knots, etc.)

    Truth be told, I would have loved to go to Idaho for boy scout camp, like the YM did. I would have loved to get an eagle scout badge (is that heresy)? And yes, there was definitely a lot more money available in the ward budget for the boys than girls.

    In our ward, the YM activities involved the YM playing basketball. There may have been more structure than that, but that’s what most activities devolved into. I also participated in the basketball/volleyball programs, which have also been cut (from what I’ve read).

    So, I have mixed feelings overall. While knitting and some craft work can be good to learn, I think that there are many skills that teens can learn that can help them throughout their lives.

    Goal setting is great – but is best when everyone doesn’t have to have the same goal (get married to returned missionary in the temple). From what I remember – that was supposed to be the goal for me. I don’t think it would have gone over well if my goal was to move to NYC and become a writer.

    There is so much more, so much more to learn and different goals for everyone than marriage. Marriage is fine, but there’s a lot more to adult life.

  3. I skimmed the YW article that you posted, and at first I thought it was tongue and cheek.

    I hadn’t thought of that, but it’s actually quite possible.

    Goal setting is great – but is best when everyone doesn’t have to have the same goal (get married to returned missionary in the temple). From what I remember – that was supposed to be the goal for me. I don’t think it would have gone over well if my goal was to move to NYC and become a writer.

    Exactly. Teaching young people to set goals and work towards them is great! but you don’t teach goal setting by telling the kids: ‘We’ve decided for you that your long-term objective is to marry an RM in the temple and be a homemaker (or whatever), so please set some intermediate goals that will lead you towards the objective we’ve chosen for you.’ You also don’t teach goals by telling kids: ‘Our current theme is “Faith,” so now you need to set a faith-related “goal” that you can complete over the next few weeks so we can sign your Personal Progress booklet that you’ve done it.’ You teach a goal-oriented approach by encouraging kids to think seriously about what they’d really like to accomplish in life, and about what they need to do to get there — regardless of whether their objective is to become a writer in New York or to be a physicist at CERN and/or to be a fantastic mom.

    I liked girls camp, a lot. I learned a lot. Girls camp (in our stake) was very useful. It took place at a boy scout camp. We learned how to make fires, how to tie knots, lifeguard skills, first aid.

    I liked girls camp too. We learned a few useful skills like building a fire (sort of), plus canoeing, and some lifeguard skills and first aid. But in a lot of ways it was kind of just social week in a cabin in a cabin-camping area. We had nothing like the fantastic forest and lake camp experience that the boys got every year at Many Point Scout Camp. Sincerely, there was no comparison. I knew this because my dad was scout master for a while, so we used to go to their family camp every summer for several years.

    But it’s a question of priorities. An experience like Camp Many Point is expensive, and the church can’t afford that sort of thing for all the kids. So it’s convenient to have a simple way of deciding which kids get it, and which don’t.

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