I was Mormon before it was cool.

Who Will Protect the (YA) Children?

I briefly referenced this unfortunate mess back in an earlier post, about a Young Adult novel that was recently denied publication by an LDS publisher because one of the co-authors wanted a reference to his “partner” included in his author’s bio. 

Here is a press release about the issue.

The other author (who is not gay) wrote this on his blog about the situation (emphasis mine):

“I’d like to point out that, yes, I am Mormon. The folks who run Cedar Fort are also Mormon, but this was not a Church decision. I don’t agree with Cedar Fort’s decision. I know legions of Mormons who also do not agree with their decision. Some might, I don’t know. I have never been a fan of blanket statements, so it is my hope that people see that there are LDS peeps in this world - and many other religious and non-religious peeps - with love - not fear - in their hearts.”

I’m glad he pointed out that this decision reflected the weird hang-ups of that particular publishing house, and not the Church at large. The problem with these situations is that the whole Church gets implicated because that’s how most people form opinions; guilt by association. They hear about what one Mormon believes, and then extrapolate for all Mormons. It’s why there’s still mistrust of the Islamic faith just because a few nut job terrorists happened to call themselves Muslim.

Now, I get that there is a lot of apprehension in the Latter-day Saint community about homosexuality. But it seems ridiculous to assume that publishing an author’s bio constitutes tacit endorsement of all aspects of that author’s lifestyle. I’m not even sure what the publishers are suggesting here; that a young adult will see that one of the authors is gay, and then think “Wow, he’s gay? I should really give that whole lifestyle a whirl. It sounds great!”? What I suspect, instead, is that young adults might challenge their preconceived notions about homosexuality, begin to dispel any negative stereotypes they may have inherited from parents raised in a less tolerant time, and begin to see homosexuals as human beings.

Look, the law of chastity is being broken ALL THE TIME in the world. Literally, all the time. I don’t think that the way heterosexuals break it and the way homosexuals break it is qualitatively different. Yet there seems to be be an undue focus on the former, when, frankly, quantitatively we should be much more concerned about the latter.

In my original post on this subject, (and there have been more than one) I linked to the author’s press release after a brief paragraph about Orson Scott Card, who is likewise helping perpetuate the stereotype of Mormons as intolerant homophobic bigots, when, in reality, we are instructed (as President Hinckley taught), “to love [homosexuals] as sons and daughters of God.”

Why is it so hard for some Mormons to reconcile themselves to the fact that homosexuality is not a choice? And that while we disapprove of any violation of the law of chastity, regardless of sexual orientation, it is a fact that some homosexuals (just like most non-LDS heterosexuals) are going to choose to live their lives in the way their sexual preference suggests would bring them the most happiness. We cannot judge them for that. We shouldn’t be judging anybody!

Again, I support the Church’s position on gay marriage. I just think both that position and the Church’s doctrine about homosexuality are widely, tragically misunderstood both outside and within the Church.

Further reading on this blog regarding Mormons and same-sex attraction:

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I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am also, among other things, Canadian. If you've never heard of Mormons, you could do a lot worse than to watch this video. It's ten minutes long, and you'll come out the other end knowing more about Mormons than 90% of the population.

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