OK, who all is going to the Sunstone Symposium this year?

Sunstone

Of course we can read the nearly final program, but — if you’re presenting — please feel free to tell us a few enticing words about your presentation.

Note: Mr. Deity will be there!!

(Also, feel free to tell me what you think of the ad on page 40. 😉 .)

28 thoughts on “OK, who all is going to the Sunstone Symposium this year?

  1. Not me, unfortunately. I am interested in the John Whitmer Historical Association meeting in September – even though that is much, much closer geographically, it’s still unlikely that I will be able to make it.

    Too many gatherings, so little money and time. I look forward to my kids getting older so I’ll have more opportunities for conferences like this.

  2. I’ll be presenting in Session 332: The Gay Mormon Literature Project (page 37). For me, money/time is also an issue, so I’m only able to attend a few days of the conference.

    My presentation will compare the themes/reception of my novel Ockham’s Razor to Jonathan Langford’s No Going Back. (Soon, Langford has told me that he will post a review of my novel of A Motley Vision, which will perhaps be the closest to a “mainstream Mormon” reading of my novel that will ever happen.) The first part of my presentation will focus on his novel, and its various receptions: roughly, orthodox, mainstream, liberal, and what these different readings mean about the politics of representing homosexuality in Mormonism at this time. The second part concerning my novel will be more thematic and less reception, since the reception for mine has been more limited.

    I think I have 20 minutes to present. I’m in the throes of putting the presentation together now…

  3. Aerin — You should totally go to the JWHA meeting! You know my mom and my brother (your aunt and cousin) will be there!

    Alan — That sounds like quite a presentation!

    If you’re planning to discuss my review (as part of the liberal/exmo reaction) you should know the rest of the story:

    Langford himself and his publisher contacted me privately to tell me that it was inappropriate to discuss Langford’s qualifications to write such a book. Specifically, they didn’t think it was appropriate to talk about whether or not he is a gay Mormon, writing (at least in part) from his own personal experiences. (Or, if he claims he is not, to talk about how he researched the gay teenage Mormon perspective.)

    IMHO, the culture and mindset that produced a given text is absolutely relevant. And it’s doubly relevant in a work as didactic as Langford’s novel. The whole novel reads like an instruction manual for LDS: How to Love Me for Who I Am — without Encouraging My Homosexuality. Especially the mom character: rather than being a person with an individual perspective, she’s a template for how a loving LDS mom can and should react to the news that her teenage son is gay.

    I was totally and utterly disgusted by Langford’s belief that the question Are you gay? ought to be off-limits when discussing his book. I also think it’s sad that he’s afraid to touch the subject, considering that his book also teaches that one shouldn’t be ashamed to be gay.

    I have to admit, Alan, I’m a little apprehensive about your talk. I have this vague idea that maybe you’ll just be another voice reciting the tale that the publisher has been using as part of the book’s publicity: “Poor Langford, he gets it from all sides! the Orthodox Mormons hate him for writing that being gay isn’t a choice, and the liberals call him a misogynist!”

    I’m probably underestimating you. 😉

    But if you do use my review as evidence for the thesis “Poor Langford just can’t win — everybody picks on him”, then I’d really appreciate it if you’d read my statement above (the one I put in blockquotes, even though I composed the statement myself, just now).

  4. Chanson,

    (Lol @ blockquotes that are composed at the same time as the rest of a comment.)

    My impression is that “everyone picks on Langford” has not translated into book sales; rather, it has translated into a lack of them. This is less about publicity and more about reception, although I suppose it could count as publicity when the publisher talks about it. My impression of Chris Bigelow, though, is that he reflects on his blog about people’s offenses to the book, confused/saddened by orthodox dismissal and annoyed/humored by liberal dismissal rather than spinning it all into: “Buy this book because of how controversial it is.” In sum, the “controversy” falls flat, commercially-speaking. The Mormon voices who think it’s great is what sells the book.

    Bigelow strikes me as a quintessential homophobe that has ironically published a story about a gay Mormon teen. This is interesting as a phenomenon, and he is of course a product of cultural forces, as we all are. But how much can I get into this without coming off as psychoanalyzing an individual? I’m hopeful that my “Mormon and Queer At Crossroads” essay explains more “professionally” why things like this are happening. Calling someone a “homophobe” in Mormon culture just has too much baggage. I can’t make too many assumptions about my Sunstone audience.

    In terms of whether the author, Langford, is gay or not, and how this affects the situation–and whether his reaction to the question of his being gay is homophobic: I’m reminded of Barbara Walters interview with Ricky Martin in 2000 where she questioned him about his sexuality, trying to convince him that being “out” is more powerful politically and easier personally than staying “in.” Even if this is true, several years later, she regretted her line of questioning, as it seems to be the case that after that interview, his career flatlined. So, there’s a way in which the closet still translates commercially in terms of both being “out” and even being perceived to be “gay”: they’re one and the same as any heterosexual, feminine man who was called a “faggot” as a kid will tell you. Thus, I feel Langford’s wish to keep his personal life out of it is a valid request, if only for commercial reasons; I certainly disagree with the notion of it being “inappropriate” to discuss how his personal life affects the construction of the narrative. In terms of my presentation, I don’t plan to go into much detail about how my life affected my narrative, so it seems only fair that I not broach the question for Langford.

    (Langford has told me that his review of my novel will show up on A Motley Vision tomorrow, Wed, so I encourage you and everyone to check it out. Since you’ve read my book, I’d be interested in your take on his review.)

  5. Thus, I feel Langfords wish to keep his personal life out of it is a valid request, if only for commercial reasons;

    I can understand him wanting to keep it out for commercial and personal reasons, but I still don’t think it’s a reasonable restriction to place on reviewers and other literary critics. Langford himself doesn’t even believe it — he’s quoted here as complaining about a non-Mormon daring to portray Mormons.

    “Where is this perspective coming from?” (in terms of research and/or personal experience) is an absolutely valid question — especially in a book that so blatantly aims to tell you “Here’s what it feels like to be a gay Mormon teen!” It is natural, obvious, and fair game to ask: “Really? How do you know?”

    If he doesn’t want to be outed for personal reasons, then he should have thought of that before deliberately publicly publishing a book where he demonstrates an intimate knowledge of what it’s like to be a gay Mormon teen — and even more demonstrates a total lack of empathy (to the point of cluelessness) when it comes to portraying the experiences of straight people. If he’s going to complain that I’ve pointed out that that’s in the text, that’s worse than blaming the messenger — it’s blaming the messenger despite the fact that he sent the message himself.

  6. 3 – Yeah, we’ll see if I can make it to the JWHA conference, I would really like to be there.

    As far as personal life, characteristics being fair game for questions or critique of authors (or bloggers!), well…I may write a top level post about my thoughts about that. I think it fits right into Andrew’s current posts about big tent blogs, who can comment or post, what experiences are valid, etc.

  7. Aerin — That’s a good idea! You might want to consider mentioning that ZD post I linked to @5 because it’s another example of people pronouncing on which alternative viewpoints are valid. Following up on my comment on the ZD post, I actually found — published — one example of a gay exmo who found the “Angels in America” portrait of Mormons to be very accurate. This is from Steven H. Lee’s Falling into Life — an excellent book which I’ll be reviewing today or tomorrow:

    Years later, I would watch Meryl Streep play Joe Pitt’s mother in HBO’s version of Angels in America and almost cry watching the similarities between Mrs. Pitt and my mom.

    My dispute with Langford is actually kind of parallel with the ZD post in the following way: Ultimately, I don’t really care if he’s ashamed to admit to being gay. What irks me more is that Langford’s portrait of marriage is so incredibly bitter and resentful. As far as I’m concerned, he doesn’t have a clue what matched-orientation-marriage is like — and he doesn’t have the humility to make an effort to understand any perspective that is different than his own.

    I’ve read a lot of first novels, and his is fairly typical. My main criticism is that he did a great job of portraying his own perspective: (1) gay teen, (2) gay patriarch in a mixed-orientation marriage, (3) his fantasy projection of what a loving LDS mom should do and feel; but he did a crappy job of portraying the (unfamiliar-to-him) perspective of straight people. Especially women, but also men. Worse, he didn’t even try.

    And he responds to my critique by saying “How dare you say I’m gay!? How dare you make assumptions about my perspective based on the perspectives I wrote in the book!?”

    As far as I’m concerned, that’s game over.

  8. In a review from a gay, ex-Mormon student, Langford was assumed to be “a straight male with leadership experience in
    the Church laying claim to a narrative that, frankly, simply isnt his to tell.” Even if this viewpoint demonstrates naivete or unfamiliarity with the psychology of older gay Mormon men or however you want to look at it, it still goes to show that what is an “authentic, gay Mormon story” and who is in a position to tell it, is open to debate. It seems to me that if a reviewer/critic asks “Where does this story come from? Why should we trust you?” those questions should not necessarily have to be answered with “Well, I’m gay, so…” or “I’m not gay, but…” — particularly, since whatever Langford answers, some people don’t find the story “authentic,” regardless. And provided Langford knew this going in, his choice to remain “sexually anonymous” is not necessarily about shame but a question of relevancy.

    I see what you’re saying about Langford controlling discourse himself, though, in terms of analyzing the non-Mormon portrayal of Angels in America. Is any one person in a position to make a distinction between what is “realistically Mormon” and what is “iconically Mormon”? No, but this doesn’t stop tons of Mormons from playing gatekeeper to “authentic Mormonism” in various arenas. Is this a fundamental lack of humility on the part of many, many Mormons? Or is it simply what is required to maintain coherence of the faith? I’m sure Langford is now much more aware of what it feels like to be on the “outside,” but I doubt this will stop him from gatekeeping himself.

    I have to ask: My novel was a first novel, but did I pass the test of moving outside my own perspective? =D

  9. My novel was a first novel, but did I pass the test of moving outside my own perspective? =D

    Absolutely. For example, your portrait of the mom is leagues ahead of Langford’s.

    In Langford’s book, the mom is nothing more than a vessel of love and concern for her gay son. She doesn’t have a thought or concern in her head besides “How will I deal with my son’s homosexuality? How can I help him?” For example, she goes to PFLAG and immediately dismisses all of the info dealing with supporting gay relationships because her son told her that he’s planning to stay faithful and chaste. As a Mom, I think she’d be at least preparing herself for the possibility that (being a teenager) he may well change his mind, no matter how sincere he is about his faith during the first stages of coming out. Problem is, she doesn’t have her own perspective. She’s a projection.

    In my discussion of Langford’s book, some people protested that the scene where the mom hugs a friend (for comfort over her son’s situation) shows a very loving portrait of the mom character. I disagree. Inasmuch as that scene shows sympathy/love for the mom character, it’s a very narcissistic kind of love; Langford loves her for her overwhelming concern for him.

    In your book, by contrast, I really liked the love-tempered-with-disagreement in the mom/son relationship in your book. For example, Micah asked his mom to write a letter to Brendan, and she wrote points that were alien to Micah’s perspective, but which made sense from her perspective. The mom in your book clearly has her own perspective, like a real person.

  10. Not having read No Going Back, I must, of course, approach the discussion with caution, but I wonder just how germane the author’s sexuality really is.

    Assuming that chanson’s criticism is accurate, the novel has one fleshed-out main character, one fleshed-out minor character, and one fleshed-out relationship between them. All other characters/relationships are neglected and exist only to serve that main character. (Is that a fair summary of your critique, Carol?)

    But does that signify a (closeted) gay author unable to understand heterosexual relationships, or does it signify an inexperienced author who focused too tightly on his main character/relationship and neglected everything else?

    And does it matter? Does finding out which explanation is more correct change anything? In terms of the reader’s experience, the characters/relationships remain one-dimensional in either case. Does it really matter whether the failure is one of “authenticity” or one of “craft”?

  11. In a review from a gay, ex-Mormon student, Langford was assumed to be a straight male with leadership experience in the Church laying claim to a narrative that, frankly, simply isnt his to tell. Even if this viewpoint demonstrates naivete or unfamiliarity with the psychology of older gay Mormon men or however you want to look at it, it still goes to show that what is an authentic, gay Mormon story and who is in a position to tell it, is open to debate.

    I just read that review — quite interesting.

    Personally, I can’t pronounce on the authenticity of the gay voice. Mr. FOB found it totally realistic, though, and I’m willing to take his word for it.

    Still, I suspect you’ve hit on something by mentioning “the psychology of older gay Mormon men”. Just from my knowledge of human nature, I’d say that the philosophy “being gay is a part of me that I can’t change and shouldn’t be ashamed of but marriage is a sacred thing that must be reserved for a man and woman” doesn’t sound like a teenage gay guy with his whole future ahead of him. It sounds more like the perspective of a gay man who was ashamed of being gay when he was younger, and now is heavily invested in convincing himself that marrying a woman was the only right choice.

    That said, I don’t have a horse in that race, so to speak, so I’ll leave the gay Mormons to decide amongst themselves whether they think his portrait is accurate.

    The thing I don’t like is that he dishonestly pretends to have an authentic perspective on matched-orientation-marriage. His novel says, in essence:

    Young gay Mormon lad, don’t feel bad that you can’t get married. Take it from me, marriage sucks! Women are spoiled children, and it’s a huge pain in the ass to try to love one. And the worst part is that — no matter how much effort you put into to trying to love them — they’re too ungrateful to appreciate it. Even straight men agree! They’d rather be talking about their feelings with you than with their wives any day. See, I’ve created a (fictional) straight guy to prove it!

    Personally, I don’t want to “defend” marriage, I want to share it with all love-birds, gay, straight, and other. Even if marriage is sometimes work, I think it’s rewarding enough to stand on its own. I imagine you know that this is one of my biggest pet peeves: people who obviously hate being married, and think they’re “defending” marriage by describing it as something that’s so odious that everybody has to just hold their noses and force themselves to tolerate it.

    It seems to me that if a reviewer/critic asks Where does this story come from? Why should we trust you? those questions should not necessarily have to be answered with Well, Im gay, so or Im not gay, but particularly, since whatever Langford answers, some people dont find the story authentic, regardless.

    I agree, essentially. But if people in category X approach you and say that they think your portrait of X is inauthentic, I think it’s more honest (and humble!) to be willing to explain what perspective you came from, and to explain what research you did to construct the unfamiliar perspectives.

    Regarding humility:

    It’s totally obvious from the text that Langford spent a lot of time fantasizing about how the perfect LDS mom would react to the revelation that her son is gay. What could she do (from his perspective) to love him and make this difficult situation easier? I think it shows an extreme lack of humility to just write that fantasy down rather than caring what the experience is actually like from an LDS Mom’s perspective (and doing some research: interviews, reading memoirs, etc.).

    A good author cares whether his characters seem authentic and real, and has the humility to admit that s/he doesn’t know that experience as well as those who have lived it — then does some research and tries to understand that perspective before presuming to portray it.

  12. Assuming that chansons criticism is accurate, the novel has one fleshed-out main character, one fleshed-out minor character, and one fleshed-out relationship between them.

    No, if that were it, it wouldn’t be a problem.

    The problem is that that the character of the bishop’s wife is quite fleshed-out — as is their relationship — in a manner that is extremely problematic. (Go back and read the blockquotes in my review — that’s just the most egregious part, but their whole relationship is like that, and it’s covered in some detail.)

    The mom and her relationship with her gay son are also fleshed out at length. That portrayal is also problematic, but not quite as bad as the sub-plot about Bishop Rick and his wife.

  13. OK, I went back and re-read your review. I think I get it now.

    I guess what’s bothering me is that you seem to be taking a kind of almost Freudian view of Langford’s book, as if everything he writes is necessarily some sort of manifestation of his subconscious mind (and his thus his conscious or unconscious homosexuality). Langford writes a character who has emotionally nurturing relationships with men and an emotionally distant relationship with his wife, so he must therefore be a gay man who has a bad relationship with his wife? That seems like quite a leap to me.

    I see this as a very valid criticism:

    My main criticism is that he did a great job of portraying his own perspective: (1) gay teen, (2) gay patriarch in a mixed-orientation marriage, (3) his fantasy projection of what a loving LDS mom should do and feel; but he did a crappy job of portraying the (unfamiliar-to-him) perspective of straight people. Especially women, but also men. Worse, he didnt even try.

    Except that I don’t see any reason to conclude that it’s “his own perspective.” Maybe it is, but the book is fiction, not autobiography. I’ve read plenty of novels in which there are one or two three-dimensional characters surrounded by others who are only reflections of them, who clearly have no inner life beyond their relationships to the main characters. I’ve never assumed that that has more to do with an author’s psychology than with his/her skill. I don’t see why I should in this case either.

  14. I guess whats bothering me is that you seem to be taking a kind of almost Freudian view of Langfords book, as if everything he writes is necessarily some sort of manifestation of his subconscious mind (and his thus his conscious or unconscious homosexuality).

    Kuri, that’s a valid criticism, and I get that it’s part of why some people complained about my review.

    That said, the book is misogynistic, period. That doesn’t require any kind of psychoanalysis — it’s right there in black-and-white in the text.

    The armchair psychoanalysis comes in when I claim that this book illustrates the connection between misogyny and homophobia. If you’ll forgive the mixed metaphor, I’ve never seen a portrait more dripping with bitter resentment from every brushstroke than Langford’s portrait of Bishop Rick’s wife. Sadly, there exist rotten matched-orientation-marriages that are a whole lot more dysfunctional than the one Langford describes. Still, the specifics of this portrait smell a lot more like mixed-orientation-marriage than the problems of straight-straight marriage, and I think it’s dishonest of him to claim that he’s writing this as a straight man in a matched-orientation-marriage — when that’s not true.

  15. “That said, the book is misogynistic, period. That doesnt require any kind of psychoanalysis its right there in black-and-white in the text.”

    I’ll take your word for it. From your quotes and description, that seems to be true.

    “Still, the specifics of this portrait smell a lot more like mixed-orientation-marriage than the problems of straight-straight marriage, and I think its dishonest of him to claim that hes writing this as a straight man in a matched-orientation-marriage when thats not true.”

    I just don’t know about that. Although I admit that the combination with emotionally nurturing male-male relationships is somewhat suggestive, emotional distance and resentment are certainly not rare in marriages, and definitely not limited to mixed-orientation couples.

    So, although I find your theory of the influence of the author’s sexual orientation plausible, I guess there isn’t quite enough evidence for me to accept it yet.

  16. I think personal details about authors are fair game for commentary about their work. For example, Dostoevsky was a devoted religious man. After reading his work, I would not have thought that. Then I toured his home, which had religious icons, was a short distance from his church, etc. Religious icons do not make one religious, but I thought it was an interesting juxtaposition and illuminated his work. Can one appreciate Dostoevsky without knowing that he was religious in his personal life? Yes, of course. But sometimes the background of the author does reveal their perspective, define some of their characters, the dialogue, explain parts of the plot, etc.

    I think it’s absolutely a valid criticism of any novel to say that a character is stereotypical or one-sided.

    And this work is being marketed to faithful LDS as an even-handed or fair book. As an answer to this question, the mixed orientation marriage question. I guess that doesn’t really make a difference. Yet I think it’s always valid to say that the novel (or any novel) doesn’t really tell the whole story for any group of people. It simply can’t.

    #9/11/12 – again, I haven’t read the novel. But I think it is absolutely possible for a mom to be so wrapped up in what she can do for her son, in his choices and how they impact her (instead of focusing on herself…). I think there could be a backstory there (and would be quite an interesting backstory) of what happens when the mom realizes that she’s not in control of her son’s life or his choices.

    As it’s been said often on the bloggernacle, sometimes mormon parents believe that their adult kids and their choices reflect on them (the parents).

    I don’t think it’s analyzing anything to say that it could be an authentic parent character to be in denial about their child, their child’s choices OR to think they are being supportive when they’re really not being supportive. And as we discussed in the other long post about this topic, I think character development, character believability and the probability of the plot is absolutely fair game for any written work.

  17. I think its absolutely a valid criticism of any novel to say that a character is stereotypical or one-sided.

    And this work is being marketed to faithful LDS as an even-handed or fair book.

    Right, that’s the point.

    I think it’s absolutely valid and fair (and an educational experience!) for an author to write from a perspective that s/he hasn’t personally experienced. But you have to make a real effort to understand that perspective. You can’t just write down your projections and prejudices of what you think the other is like and assume that it’s realistic. Show me the evidence that Langford even tried to make such an effort — because it’s not in the text.

  18. But I think it is absolutely possible for a mom to be so wrapped up in what she can do for her son, in his choices and how they impact her (instead of focusing on herself).

    That’s true.

    If this were one character surrounded by other, very different well-rounded portraits of women, then then this one wouldn’t be terribly problematic. The problem is that the other female characters were worse (and all in the same direction that a woman is her devotion to a man). Then the mom was trotted out as proof that the book’s portrayal of women was good, and she doesn’t help that argument.

  19. The armchair psychoanalysis comes in when I claim that this book illustrates the connection between misogyny and homophobia.

    If this is your leaping off point, then it’s tricky because the homophobia in the book is understood by “faithful” Mormons to only be in the harassment the main character receives from his church peers, not the entire book itself. Much of this has to do with the lack of gay representations in Mormon culture generally and what might qualify as a “moral” representation for Mormon consumption. I think Holly put it well after your review when she said:

    the depiction seems simultaneously too honest and not honest enough. Its too honest for comfort among people who have very simplistic ideas about homosexuality, and not honest enough to encourage meaningful change.

    Obviously, Holly’s idea of meaningful change is different than “Mormon mother X” reading the book wondering what to do about her gay son and taking cues from the protagonist’s mother. If you start with the premise of “I don’t know anything about how to deal with a gay son except to love him,” then one is several steps away from seeing the book as homophobic/misogynistic, if ever.

    I somewhat get into this in my essay when I talk about “LDS-defined homophobia.” The didacticism of Langford’s story is indicative of how Mormon culture “handles” gayness generally, meaning as something to be “handled.” The same is true of Mormon feminism, although I can’t recall Langford’s female characters enough (I skimmed the book in my reading) to make my own assessment here, although I trust the pattern you’ve laid out, chanson.

  20. If this is your leaping off point, then its tricky because the homophobia in the book is understood by faithful Mormons to only be in the harassment the main character receives from his church peers, not the entire book itself.

    In this context, I’m only talking about the internalized homophobia of believing that gay love is inferior to straight love; the belief that if you’re gay, your love is so offensive to God and man that it’s better for you to remain celibate for life than to fall in love (and marry your true love).

    I know the book also talks about the Mormons treating him like a leper for being gay despite the fact that he’s faithful and not “acting on it”. I’m not really talking about that, though. (BTW, that part is also portrayed in Steven H. Lee’s book.)

    If you start with the premise of I dont know anything about how to deal with a gay son except to love him, then one is several steps away from seeing the book as homophobic/misogynistic, if ever.

    As an instruction manual for LDS moms of gay sons Langford’s book is excellent. Truly. The problem isn’t that her thoughts and behavior towards her son are wrong — they’re not. As a fully human character, however, she fails.

    The problem is that he spends a lot of time on at least three female characters, and none of them are portrayed as full-fledged people with their own independent, interesting point of view. They’re like dogs in his book (some good dogs, some bad dogs…) while the men are (for the most part) portrayed as people.

    although I cant recall Langfords female characters enough (I skimmed the book in my reading) to make my own assessment here

    As a woman, a wife, and a mom, I naturally focused on those parts. 😉

  21. BTW, I get the impression that — because we’ve gotten so sidetracked by the question “Is he gay? Is it OK for him to keep it a secret?” that I haven’t made it clear what I’m actually arguing that the book says. To clarify my point, I’ll spell out for you my complete armchair psychoanalysis of Langford’s novel:

    When I say I’ve read a lot of first novels, I’m not just talking about Alan Willams and Jonathan Langford. I’ve read more unpublished/indie-published/self-published novels than I could possibly name for you off the top of my head. And the thing is that they tend to have a huge element of the author justifying his/her own perspective, and they tend to live somewhere on the spectrum of “this happened to me” and “this is what I wish would have happened.” The more you read of them, the more obvious it becomes. (I think it sometimes makes them more interesting than commercial fiction, which is often just a clever re-working of standard formulas.)

    No Going Back portrays a long-term vicious cycle of marital resentment. He resents the claims she makes on his time and on his emotional life. He puts a very real effort into making the relationship work, and he resents the fact that that’s not good enough for her. She blames their problems on his homosexuality — makes him feel inferior to a “real” man — and that sends him into at tailspin of anger and shame because his beloved church has filled him with that same poison (no matter how much he claims to believe that one shouldn’t be ashamed to be gay).

    Meanwhile, the church teaches him that he is the leader, he is the patriarch, that he is the important one in the family, hence he feels angry and resentful that she would dare look down on her superior. So he writes a portrait to prove to everyone how very awful she is, and how tragic are his noble efforts to put up with her.

    Unfortunately, he has invested so much time and effort — so much of his life, closed so many doors on alternate possibilities — that he doesn’t want to face the possibility that it was all a waste. So works to convince himself that straight marriage (or no marriage) is the only legitimate choice for a gay man. He constructs a (sour grapes) personal fiction about marriage, one where of course “marriage” can only be between a man and a woman, because “marriage” is like the relationship between a guy and his dog. Sure we appreciate the dog’s devotion, but a real human connection is the relationship between two priesthood leaders.

    That’s what I mean when I say that this book illustrates how homophobia and misogyny go hand-in-hand in Mormonism.

    Keep in mind, however, that that’s just what it looks like to me. Hell, I may be wrong. I’ll admit I’m reading between the lines.

    But that’s what you get when you choose to publish a book. You can’t control how people will interpret it no matter how much you’d like to insist that they just accept the surface message at face value.

  22. Ms. Jack — I’d love to! Unfortunately, I’ll still be in Switzerland…

    I wish I could go this year, but I can’t justify the expense of a plane ticket all the way to North America (unless I have some additional reason to make the trip, like I did last year).

    You can meet up with some of the other folks here, though, and tell us how it goes! 😀

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