Monday, October 11, 2010

Come On Out!

For National Coming Out Day
Oct. 11, 2010

WORDmeister’s Note: The LDS Church-owned Deseret News weighs in with a Sunday editorial on criticism of Mormon church leader Boyd K. Packer’s condemnation of “the gay lifestyle” at last week’s LDS General Conference.

“Contrary to what some have written in provocative press releases, nothing in President [Boyd K.] Packer’s talk says that ‘violence and/or discrimination against LGBT people is acceptable.’

“This distortion is not only misguided and political, it is dangerous. It frays trust that helps people of goodwill from different perspectives to constructively address the serious problems under consideration. By holding up a caricatured account of people’s spiritual leaders, those in greatest need of pastoral care may be mistakenly alienated from the very people who can compassionately help them get access to professional resources and counseling.

“The challenges facing the families and individuals affected by same-gender attraction are poignant and real. Religion provides a unique perspective on how these challenges can be addressed that has every right to be heard and evaluated on the merits. Indeed, religious organizations provide the vital infrastructure for the economy of care that undergirds our community. For the sake of our youths and the health of our communities, we call for thoughtful and civil dialogue on this and all difficult conversations. That dialogue should respect context, should not prejudge motive and must work to include instead of isolate.”

—Editorial,A call for civility following Apostle Body K. Packer’s address,” The Deseret News Oct. 10, 2010

2,000-3,000 protest for gay rights, The Deseret News, Oct. 7, and The Salt Lake Tribune, Oct. 8
Human Rights Campaign
Sarah Estrella, Why National Coming Out Day matters, no matter who you are
Tufts University celebrates Coming Out Day amid the somber backdrop of recent deaths
The Oklahoma Daily: Open your mind to Coming Out Day
Brenda Cooper: Remembering Woody, Newsweek, 2000

Editor’s Note: Filmmaker Reed Cowan brings his powerful documentary on same-sex marriage and the LDS Church—8: The Mormon Proposition—to Utah State. Free screening and Q&A with the filmmaker. Eccles Conference Center, Oct. 21, 7-10 p.m. See also URL.

Moon Sliver

HELP WANTED! JCOM @ USU is hiring! A search for a new tenure-track faculty member to focus on the teaching of writing. Revolutionary! See job posting at Utah State University HR or email

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  1. Stupid question, Dr. Pease - Has anyone stepped forward and started an online newsgathering organization to compete against the Deseret News?

    It seems to me that it's a two-way street. No, religious leaders must not be caricatured, nor should their views be mischaracterized. However, neither should any other group, including LGBT.

    When any number of people, whether individually or together, refuse to look at facts or acceptance of those facts, then it creates the atmosphere for caricature as well as hate.

    It seems that LDS leaders are looking at LGBT as an "option" or worse, a disease that can be "cured."

    To people like that I have one word: Yuck.

  2. Because of Tyler Clementi's death, LGBT are fighting harder then they ever have before and he is not the only one who has committed suicide and is also gay. My heart goes out to the LGBT community because they deal with so much hate. I understand where Boyd K. Packer is coming from, but he is also closed minded and views this issue through the church's lense. I also feel his speech was harsh and he needs to realize that there are many LDS men and women who are gay and other religions have LGBT people too. If there was a cure or some sort of way for LGBT people not to be who they truly are, I think they would take that cure so they could make their lives easier. But they're born this way... and like all God's children should be treated the same way.

    Romina Nedakovic

  3. This is off-topic from your main post but I wanted to say thanks for the link to Professor Cooper's moving Newsweek column. Hopefully a cure for the illness that has taken so many is getting closer. AIDS Awareness Day is coming up on December 1 along with some awesome opportunities to donate, volunteer, and spread the word.

  4. Also chiming in to comment on Professor Cooper's Newsweek column. My brother Geff was gay too. He was a talented artist and member of the Pirate Gallery in Denver, where we are from. He passed away at age 29. There was pressure to list his cause of death as respiratory failure, but we insisted that his wishes be followed and COD was listed as AIDS. My father insisted Geff was not gay, but it was a "stage" he was going through. My grandmother said that AIDS was punishment from God. Geff was a delightful, talented kid who loved life and art and was accepting of everyone. I miss him so much. We have his artwork hung all over our house. I was pregnant with my daughter when we lost Geff, and I am so sorry that she did not get a chance to know him. A year ago she converted to LDS (her choice and we support her) but I was not quite ready to read her facebook proclamation this morning that she supports Boyd K. Packer. That has hit me kind of hard today. This past week (since Packer's remarks at the General Conference) has been hard for a lot of us. Thank you for this topic.

  5. It frays trust that helps people of goodwill from different perspectives to constructively address the serious problems under consideration.