In Which My Opinion of Mitch Mayne Improves

September 1, 2011 | 56 comments
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Every once in awhile, I read or hear something that just zings. It someone manages to encapsulate in “the little narrow prison[,] almost as it were total darkness of paper, pen, and ink” the love that Jesus Christ has for us. I read something today that managed that; it concerns Mitch Mayne, a gay member of the Church in California who was recently called as an executive secretary.

“Jason Harris-Boundy, Mayne’s friend . . . hear[d] Mayne giving his introductory remarks in his new San Francisco ward. After that meeting, he overheard Mayne telling an attendee, ‘Look, if you want to change your life, we are super-excited to help you do that. If you just want us to love you and care for you as a brother, we are super-excited to do that, too.'”

While I have some concerns over what he presented and how he presented it on his website, this quote (assuming it is accurate, blahblahblah) suggests to me that he Gets It.

56 Responses to In Which My Opinion of Mitch Mayne Improves

  1. James on September 1, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    How many friends and family of gay members of the church would be ecstatic if members of their congregations put forth this attitude regarding their gay loved ones. We would most likely have some of our greatest members back at church. His bishop and stake president said that gay members are welcome at church and that they should be there wherever they are at in the church and in their lives. Just because we do not have all of the answers on this topic does not give us the right to not be treating our gay and lesbian members better.

  2. Ray on September 2, 2011 at 12:15 am

    Great quote.

    One of my former Stake Presidents asked once what it would take to have 50% of those attending all of our meetings be non-members, without compromising what we believe to be important doctrine. It is a great question, and it really made us stop and think about the things we do and say that we don’t need to do and say.

    Loving people for who they are and not just for who we want them to be (mistakenly, in many cases) is probably the first step, imo. Not categorizing sin in order to exclude from basic fellowship and really recognizing that all of us are unworthy sinners is the second.

    It seems like Bro. Mayne really does get it with regard to those two things.

  3. @UtMormonDemoGuy on September 2, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Julie: Great story. Great quote. I think what many in the Church struggle with is how to show love and acceptance of the individual without being perceived as accepting some idea that is contrary to Church teaching and, unfortunately Church culture. This story is a good reminder that we should be concerned much more about the former than about the latter.

    I also love this teaching of President Uchtdorf: What attribute should define us as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
    Let us be known as a people who love God with all our heart, soul, and mind and who love our neighbor as ourselves. When we understand and practice these two great commandments in our families, in our wards and branches, in our nations, and in our daily lives, we will begin to understand what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus the Christ.

  4. chris on September 2, 2011 at 10:53 am

    First, I want to point out, this comment is not directed at Br. Mitch, but just some thoughts in general.

    This post and the issue of SSA, etc. have at the heart of it the problem, which I don’t think anyone has a very good solution for. The problem as I see it is, what does the church do with people who are interested in some of the fruits of the church, but either do not accept or are not interested in the saving ordinances – or in doing those things the church considers you unworthy of doing to participate in or receive efficacy from those saving ordinances.

    The simple and difficult answer is off course, to “love them”. But what do you actually do institutionally with people or groups in the above category?

    It seems to me, on one hand if you focus on the various doctrines combined with repentance and “sin no more”, you end up excluding many who don’t want to be told they are “wrong” to believe or practice XYZ. On the other hand, if you focus on just loving and accepting them, you don’t provide any institutional impetus for “improving” ones life at best and run the risk of watering down or disregarding doctrine at worst. Maybe on an individual level, it’s ok to let things slide, but surely on an institutional level over the course of generations you seem to be laying the groundwork for a large(r) schism or apostasy.

    I hope there is a middle ground somewhere.

  5. Lucy on September 2, 2011 at 11:27 am

    A couple of questions for the gallery: What does it mean, to love God with all our heart, soul and mind? Why is this the first great commandment?

  6. Kristine on September 2, 2011 at 11:32 am

    I’m just not buying the “if I’m nice to a gay person, I’m showing approval of them and abdicating my duty to defend church doctrine.” We’re nice to sinners ALL THE TIME. We don’t worry about being nice to the ward gossip, or the guy who emotionally abuses his wife. We’re nice to alcoholics and smokers. We go to ridiculous (and occasionally illegal) lengths to not embarrass accused child molesters. The idea that showing basic human kindness and warmth to a gay person might somehow give them the mistaken impression that we don’t actually find their sexual orientation repugnant is weak cover for a particularly nasty and self-righteous sort of homophobia.

  7. @UtMormonDemoGuy on September 2, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Kristine: I don’t buy it either, but I know some members of the Church do worry about it. This may be because making the “doctrine” of the family fit with the (apparent) reality of same gender attraction is really complicated. Same gender attraction really is difficult to equate with alcoholism or selfishness or even adultery in this way.

    One big part of the upside of the Mitch Mayne development is that a lot of members of the Church will see that, setting aside his sexual orientation, he is a pretty normal guy. I think exposure is critical, because you will never love someone you do not know.

  8. chris on September 2, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Kristine,
    Who is arguing for not being nice to anyone?

    Lucy,
    If the second great commandment is “like unto it”, I think the way we show our love for God is to show our love for our fellow man in the same manner which God did and does — as best as we are able. I think it’s important to remember it’s not just to love one another, but to love one another, as I have loved you. This is said with the intent to raise the bar, not lower it (ie make excuses for why someone doesn’t deserve XYZ).

  9. chris on September 2, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Just wanted to also add something else to cover the other bases…

    D&C 59:5
    Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy might, mind, and strength; and in the name of Jesus Christ thou shalt serve him.

    We know how to serve the Lord as taught in by King Benjamin and in by the Lord Matthew 25.

    We also have the other aspect, which includes the above, but again raises the bar, but including even more:

    John 14:15
    If ye love me, keep my commandments.

  10. Lucy on September 2, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Yes, excellent point. That does raise the bar. However, I didn’t ask how do we show our love for God, but what does it mean to love God with all our heart, soul and mind? Or as in D&C, with all thy heart, with all thy might, mind, and strength? I also asked why this is the first commandment?

  11. chris on September 2, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    I like older dictionaries when looking up words. They seem to have better answers.

    Might and strength are connected, so I picked some that aren’t crossovers…

    Strength: capacity for exertion or endurance
    Might: possession of power (connotes righteousness, power in the priesthood)
    Mind: the intellect or rational faculties
    Heart: the inner part, the chief or vital part
    Soul: the immortal element within man

    You could think a lot about each of those terms applied to love… I’m not good with teacher-guess-what-answer-I’m-looking-for games though, so I’ll bow out now :)

  12. Paul on September 2, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    #8 & 4: “On the other hand, if you focus on just loving and accepting them, you don’t provide any institutional impetus for “improving” ones life at best and run the risk of watering down or disregarding doctrine at worst. Maybe on an individual level, it’s ok to let things slide, but surely on an institutional level over the course of generations you seem to be laying the groundwork for a large(r) schism or apostasy.”

    I don’t understand this sentence you typed in #4. Are you saying that by loving the sinner (any sinner!) we cannot help him? That seems a far cry from what the Savior taught. And I hope it’s not true. I am also a sinner who craves the love of my God, my Savior, my congregation and my church family.

    #6 Kristine: Amen.

  13. chris on September 2, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Paul,
    That’s not what was said. The preceding sentence reads, “The simple and difficult answer is off course, to “love them”. But what do you actually do institutionally with people or groups in the above category?”

    That is the church is also an institution, with hierarchy, rules and conditions attached to receiving ordinances. Not loving them is not the point of the question.

    BTW, your last paragraph made me think of 1 Nephi 11:25 and how to receive that love.

    It might relate to that point above. If there are conditions attached to receive certain ordinances (or playing a certain role within church hierarchy) there comes into the question of how these situations are approached. Not loving them is not what I am suggesting.

  14. Julie M. Smith on September 2, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    “But what do you actually do institutionally with people or groups in the above category?”

    If you are their bishop, you carefully assess their worthiness for temple recommends and callings, the same as you would with every single other member of the war.

    If you are not their bishop, you (generic you, nothing personal) have absolutely no business at all considering this. Every single member of your ward sins. The idea that you have some obligation to respond in some way to the (public, political/culture hot potato) sins is anathema to the doctrine of the Church.

    The idea that members of the church need to ostracize gays (working women, divorced people, etc.) in order to make clear to them that we do not tolerate their sins [sic, in some cases] is pernicious nonsense. The idea that a cold shoulder from random ward members will somehow motivate them to repent is insanity.

    Sorry for the strong language, it isn’t really directed at chris who, I think, is asking a common and fair question, but I can’t for the life of me understand how average members of the church think that shunning is appropriate behavior.

    The First Presidency said, “We encourage Church leaders and members to reach out with love and understanding to those struggling with these issues. Many will respond to Christlike love and inspired counsel” (letter, Nov. 14, 1991).” How people could read “Christlike love” as ostracism is beyond me.

  15. Lucy on September 2, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    We are stil evading some essential questions: Why do we crave the love of God? What does it mean to love God, and to love someone as God loves them? Why is the first commandment to love God? Elder Oaks gave an excellent talk on this subject: http://lds.org/general-conference/2009/10/love-and-law?lang=eng&query=love+law, and I also recommend Elder Christofferson’s recent talk on love: http://lds.org/general-conference/2011/04/as-many-as-i-love-i-rebuke-and-chasten?lang=eng . Or as C.S. Lewis once put it:
    “What would really satisfy us would be a God who said of anything we happened to like, “What does it matter so long as they are contented?” We want, in fact, not so much a Father in Heaven as a grandfather in heaven – a senile benevolence who, as they say, “liked to see young people enjoying themselves” and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, “a good time was had by all”.

  16. Jax on September 2, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    If you are not their bishop, you (generic you, nothing personal) have absolutely no business at all considering this.

    Absolutely true!

    But why should I ever have to consider it at all from someone? We shouldn’t shun the gay, druggie, porn addict, or liar, nor should we accept their sinful behavior. The druggie, porn addict, and liar are all smart enough not to tell people, except in confession, what it is their are struggling with. I bet it is just as hard to be a member of this church when you are attracted to the same sex as it is when you are attracted to someone of the same sex who you aren’t married to.

    My point is basically this question: would a newly called member of a bishopric who got up and said he struggles with online porn but is not currently active in it, would he get the same praise for helping bring people back into the church who suffer from his particular strain of sin? Why does letting people know what your sins are, but that you are overcoming them, make you praise worthy?

  17. Grant on September 2, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    One way we love God is by learning we are not God and are totally dependent on him for our very breath. We have no authority or responsibility to judge another unless God has given us a small portion of that authority (well, like, as bishop) and then it breaks our hearts.

  18. Paul on September 2, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    #14 Julie: Amen, and amen.

    #13 Chris: as Julie writes, the church has already institutionalized the appropriate response, and there is no difference in that regard among sinners. All of us are accountable first of all to God for our obedience to His commandments. If we wish to partake of ordinances of the gospel or to serve in His kingdom, we submit to a worthiness interview.

    As for the rest of us, we offer love as the Savior taught.

    Your appeal for us to hold to the iron rod to find God’s love is not lost on me. Nor is my gratitude for the grace of Christ who allows me (and all who come to him) through his atoning sacrifice to know the sweetness of repentance.

    #15 Lucy, not sure where you’re headed with your question. Are you suggesting that anything about the OP or the comments suggests that anyone is condoning the breaking of the commandments?

  19. Julie M. Smith on September 2, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Lucy, are you suggesting that we should judge as God judges? I want to respond, but I want to be sure I am reading you right first.

  20. brian larsen on September 2, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Jax @16 I personally think many, many members of our church suffer from the hurt and loneliness that comes from not being able to be honest about their struggles with many sins: anger, weak testimony in any number of areas, personal addictions, same-sex attraction, etc. I, for one, would praise any person who stood up and said, “I know what you are going through, because I have been there – and I know it’s hard.” Yes, I think that is praiseworthy.

    I deeply respect that say, Alma the younger, or Gordon B. Hinckely (the whole wanting to quit his mission thing) admit to their weakness and past sins. I say, bring more of it on. Done in the right way, it can be very welcoming.

    I know nearly nothing about the current story except what is being passed around. But it does raise good questions. I’m glad the discussions are happening.

  21. brian larsen on September 2, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    In the haste of my last post I erroneously wrote ‘with many sins’ but it should read many ‘things.’ I don’t believe struggling with any of the things I wrote is a sin, though acting inappropriately in response to those struggles can lead a person to sin. (I’m trying to write as I babysit; bad move. I have tons of thoughts, but they’ll have to wait.)

  22. Ray on September 2, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    “would a newly called member of a bishopric who got up and said he struggles with online porn but is not currently active in it, would he get the same praise for helping bring people back into the church who suffer from his particular strain of sin?”

    I sure hope so.

    I would MUCH rather hear from someone who is enduring faithfully in the midst of a struggle of any kind than be preached at by someone who only can address the subject academically or analytically. I appreciate someone who tries their best to help without having experienced the struggle, and I don’t want to experience all struggles just so I can understand better – but that’s how we describe Jesus and the Atonement, and I have no problem praising Him for it.

  23. Jax on September 2, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Brian L

    I for one don’t want a member of my bishopric to stand up and tell us that they’ve been addicted to gambling, porn, drugs, etc. or that they too have thoughts about adultery, or beastiality, orvoyeurism of any kind. I just don’t want to know, and thankfully nobody ever feels compelled to talk about those desires. But for some reason I don’t understand, many gay people feel the overwhelmind desire to let others know about it.

    What if his ‘thing’ were his sexual desire toward children? Would you want him in leadership? Wouldn’t it seem weird for someone to come out and say that they have those type of sexual desires? It’s a sexual perversion, just like homosexuality, and a person with those feelings WHO DOES NOT ACT ON THEM (I don’t know how to italicize to add emphasis, I’m not yelling) is just as worthy to hold the priesthood, temple recommends, and callings, as any other man; but why do gays openly talk about their perversion but everyone else has the control not to blather about their ‘sins’?

  24. Al on September 2, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Christians don’t identify themselves by their individual differences but rather by their Oneness with Christ.

  25. Kristine on September 2, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Jax, most people know enough not to publish their idiotic and vicious homophobic vitriol on blogs. I’d prefer not to know about your perversions of the gospel.

  26. Ray on September 2, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Jax, the best discussion of pornography in which I’ve ever been involved included a church leader talking “openly” about his struggle to deal with the porn habit he had as a young adult and how it still affected him decades later. I don’t think I’ll explain to him how perverse his blather was.

    Just so you know, I won’t be responding any more to that line of reasoning.

  27. Jax on September 2, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Kristine said

    most people know enough not to publish their idiotic and vicious homophobic vitriol on blogs.

    Wow. Really? What did I say again?

    We shouldn’t shun the gay, druggie, porn addict, or liar, nor should we accept their sinful behavior.

    Oh, that was it! I said almost the exact same thing as church leaders and almost everyone else on this blog. That was the only statement I made about how gays should be treated or what I think about them. I agreed with Julie M. Smith, the OP author, that I shouldn’t be considering other peoples homosexuality at all unless I am their bishop. For that to happen, they should keep the info to themselves. Do you disagree, should I be making judgements on them? For that I’m an idiotic homophobe? Or…maybe you’re just a bit thin skinned on this topic.

    Let me make my position clear. Gays shouldn’t be shunned. Homosexual acts are unacceptable behavior. Homosexual feelings need to be controlled, just like desires to have multiple partners, look at porn, or rape a poodle should be controlled. Everyone who controls their unholy impulses (sex, drugs, crime, …) should be welcome in the church and be eligible for full benefits of church membership. Nobody should publish their sins in public. Bishops and other authorities are the only people who should make judgements that affect others membership status. If that is vitriolic, I’m okay with that.

  28. Sonny on September 2, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    Jax,

    I don’t think you get it. It is statements like this one of yours that you apparently do not see as objectionable.

    “…but why do gays openly talk about their perversion but everyone else has the control not to blather about their ’sins’”

  29. wreddyornot on September 2, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Jax

    How did you get to earth anyway? Are you cloned? No, seriously, you’re cloned?

    What do you think doctors and other health care providers control the pain of seriously ill and injured persons with.

    You can believe all you want that homosexual acts are unholy. There are plenty of homophobes right on up to the very top who do. Knock yourselves out; your ilk have been doing since time immemorial, but things are changing. Enlightenment and revelation often come very, very slowly. If I were you, I’d worry about my ability to think, to reason, to feel, and to experience the spirit. To love.

    There is not a single person, including you and the prophet, who takes a step into a Church who controls all unholy impulses. Utilizing your rationale nobody would be “eligible,” whatever that means.

  30. Kristine on September 2, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    Jax, I used the adjectives “vicious” and “homophobic” to describe your vitriol. I don’t know you well enough to know if the noun forms you use are apt.

  31. Lucy on September 2, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    Should we judge as God judges? Julie, what do you mean? I’m sincerely trying to understand why this particular person in California has made such a great impact on your life and that of our fellow bloggers. What exactly made this “zing” for you? Respectfully, Lucy.

  32. Julie M. Smith on September 3, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Lucy, I think “great impact on your life” is enormously overstating the case. He spoke two sentences that I thought did a fine job expressing the love that Christ has for us. I wanted to call attention to that, particularly because I had been critical of something else that he had said on another post.

    And, Lucy, my request for clarification relates to your #15–I suspect that what you were stating there is something like this:

    (1) God judges sin.
    (2) We should be like God.
    (3) Therefore, we should judge sin.

    I think this is tremendously wrong-headed, but I am not entirely sure that it is what you were trying to get at in #15 because the comment was not entirely transparent to me, so that is why I asked for clarification.

  33. Jax on September 3, 2011 at 10:29 am

    I didn’t know that saying homosexuals shouldn’t tell everyone they are homosexual was “vitriol”. Would someone mind telling me why it is? You’ve all been too busy making personal attacks to tell me anything.

    I’m not clear on the “your cloned” comment, nor the doctor/patient comment, and how they apply here.

    Julie

    I’m not sure this statement does reflect HOW Christ loves us:

    ‘Look, if you want to change your life, we are super-excited to help you do that. If you just want us to love you and care for you as a brother, we are super-excited to do that, too.’

    It may be how we are supposed to love each other, but not how He loves us. He enacted the Atonement for all because of His love for all, but further manifestations and blessings of His love are not just freely given to all. These scriptures make it clear that God’s and Christ’s love are conditional:

    • “If ye keep my commandments, [then] ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.”

    • “If you keep not my commandments, [then] the love of the Father shall not continue with you.”

    • “If a man love me, [then] he will keep my words: and my Father will love him.”

    • “I love them that love me; and those that seek me … shall find me.”

    • The Lord “loveth those who will have him to be their God.”

    • “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”

  34. Ray on September 3, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Jax:

    “I didn’t know that saying homosexuals shouldn’t tell everyone they are homosexual was “vitriol”. Would someone mind telling me why it is?”

    1) If you will hide your family (if or when you are married and have kids) and not tell anyone you are heterosexual, I think it is fair to ask someone else not to tell anyone he or she is homosexual. If you will never touch your wife or girlfriend in public in any intimate way (including even holding hands), I think it is fair to ask someone else not to do so with a same-sex partner (since simply doing those things is “telling everyone” they are homosexual). I could add more, but what you are asking is impossible as a standard for heterosexuals – so you are asking of homosexuals something that you (and I) can’t and won’t do.

    2) **The LDS Church doesn’t ask that of them.** It asks that they not have homosexual sex, but it doesn’t ask them to not tell people they are homosexual. It’s an incredible double standard that even the Church doesn’t require.

    3) It’s almost impossible in our church to not tell someone you are homosexual, especially if you are an active member, and be honest and open in any real way. If you are a 30-year-old homosexual member, I almost can guarantee someone is going to ask why you aren’t married yet. If you are completely open and honest, you’ll say something like, “The Church won’t allow me to marry the person I love and remain an active member serving as (XYZ calling), so I’m not married.” If you are asked to serve in a calling or asked about a temple recommend, you have to answer that you are living the Law of Chastity – and if you haven’t always lived it, you have to profess that you will from that point on. If your leader asks if you have stopped all sexual relations with her, you have to say, “Well, I’ve stopped all sexual relations with him.” There is no practical way for an active, gay Mormon to continue in the LDS Church without telling people he or she is gay – unless he or she is willing to get married, have kids and hide sexual orientation completely, and that is a horrible option for most people who are gay.

    That, essentially, is what Brother Mayne has done – explained why he is not married and celibate and, thus, able to serve as Executive Secretary in his ward, since he has not hidden his sexual orientation in the past.

    4) You are castigating someone (and, by extension, lots of people) for being honest and open about their lives and feelings. You’re telling them to “just shut up” – when you have no need to shut up about your own sexual orientation because it’s acceptable to everyone.

    That’s why it’s vitriolic and hypocritical. You are asking people to live a lie that you wouldn’t be willing to live if they asked it of you.

  35. Ardis E. Parshall on September 3, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    You’re also putting a special stigma on a particular struggle that you — well, that most of us — don’t put on other types of struggles that are freely announced at church.

    Our inner city ward has a number of people struggling with substance abuse. When a sister announces in Relief Society that she has been sober for six months, we applaud (literally: we clap). When, later, she announces that she has been sober for two months, we applaud again — even though we can all do the math and realize that she slipped back, has not kept the commandments, and, according to Jax, is therefore unworthy of the love of either the Savior or her Relief Society sisters. Or maybe she wasn’t worthy of that love at any point, seeing as how, you know, she wasn’t entirely free from physical appetites even during the period of her sobriety.

    But according to you, Jax, she isn’t supposed to let us know that she has this problem, or ask for our support, or gain strength from our applause at her success, or ask for fellowship even during times when she slips. She’s supposed to keep her situation entirely private and not pollute our righteousness by letting us know that she is no more perfect than the rest of us.

  36. Julie M. Smith on September 3, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Jax, we’re talking about a guy who had a bad reputation because he spent all of his time hanging around with tax collectors and sinners. Don’t tell me that he would fault Brother Mayne for doing no more nor less in this instance than what the First Presidency has told us to do: “We encourage Church leaders and members to reach out with love and understanding to those struggling with these issues.”

  37. Jax on September 3, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Ray,

    Thank you for explaining the insults. That was at least an intelligent response. Let me respond.

    If you will hide your family (if or when you are married and have kids) and not tell anyone you are heterosexual, I think it is fair to ask someone else not to tell anyone he or she is homosexual. If you will never touch your wife or girlfriend in public in any intimate way (including even holding hands), I think it is fair to ask someone else not to do so with a same-sex partner. (since simply doing those things is “telling everyone” they are homosexual). I could add more, but what you are asking is impossible as a standard for heterosexuals – so you are asking of homosexuals something that you (and I) can’t and won’t do.

    It would be a fair suggestion to say all heterosexuals should hide their orientation IF I had said that all homosexuals should. I didn’t though. But if your desire is to be part of an organization that calls it a sin, you shouldn’t go out in public and publish it. I might be in love with someone other than my wife, but I shouldn’t go out in public holding her hand, kissing her, or telling people I’m in love with her, should I? NO! The counsel would be to stay away from her at all costs. I wouldn’t expect any sympathy at all if I let it be known I loved someone other than my spouse. You (and I) don’t hide our conduct because nobody thinks our conduct is inappropriate.

    It’s almost impossible in our church to not tell someone you are homosexual, especially if you are an active member, and be honest and open in any real way. If you are a 30-year-old homosexual member, I almost can guarantee someone is going to ask why you aren’t married yet. If you are completely open and honest, you’ll say something like, “The Church won’t allow me to marry the person I love and remain an active member serving as (XYZ calling), so I’m not married.” If you are asked to serve in a calling or asked about a temple recommend, you have to answer that you are living the Law of Chastity – and if you haven’t always lived it, you have to profess that you will from that point on. If your leader asks if you have stopped all sexual relations with her, you have to say, “Well, I’ve stopped all sexual relations with him.” There is no practical way for an active, gay Mormon to continue in the LDS Church without telling people he or she is gay

    You are right. It would be impossible not to tell SOMEONE, but it is possible not to tell EVERYONE. It would be just as honest to tell the questioner, “I haven’t found the right person yet.” – they might have found someone they love and want to marry, but their desire for active membership means they know it isn’t ‘right’ to do so.

    As for your temple recomment interview, that is an unfair example to use against me. Bishops, SP’s need to know, and I’ve said that. They shouldn’t be telling the whole ward either. The whole ward doesn’t need to know, and it can be kept from them. Otherwise, there would be no need to “come out of the closet”. If you need emotional support, tell a friend or ten. Don’t tell the whole congregation.

    You are castigating someone (and, by extension, lots of people) for being honest and open about their lives and feelings. You’re telling them to “just shut up” – when you have no need to shut up about your own sexual orientation because it’s acceptable to everyone.

    That’s why it’s vitriolic and hypocritical. You are asking people to live a lie that you wouldn’t be willing to live if they asked it of you

    Not just gays I’m saying that to, it is everyone. It isn’t just about sexuality (have you been reading my posts?), it is about all aspects of sin. Don’t tell the public about them. If you still struggle with them, tell the bishop. If you need support, tell as many friends and you need and can trust.

    I’m not hypocritical about this. I do “shut up” about my past sins. I don’t tell people who don’t need to know. I expect the past gambler, pornographer, alcoholic, pimp, abuser, druggie, and adulterer, to do the same. Do you expect to hear about those things from the people in your ward? Why not expect the same from homosexuals? Is their unrighteous sexual desire different from the adulterers in some way that makes it acceptable to disclose?

    The same arguement about me ‘castigating’ them for their feelings would then conclude that NAMBLA should be open and accepted as well, otherwise we are castigating them for being open about their feelings. I especially feel that way for people in leadership positions. Otherwise people WILL say, “well, so-and-so had these problems and is still okay, so I’ll do that same and I’ll be fine too”. They WILL use it to justify their sins. We have a YM whose family we are friends with. Dad is on the High Council. Son has openly said that since Dad didn’t go on a mission and he is okay, then I’m not going either cause I know I can still be okay too. So he is openly disregarding counsel because he knows someone else in leadership did it too. I know others who’ve done it with sexual intercourse and drugs. I’m not saying Br. Mayne shouldn’t be in leadership, I’m just saying his open past will cause others to justify themselves in the sins he has turned away from.

  38. brian larsen on September 3, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Jax, The main problem is that despite your protests, you still claim homosexual feelings to be a sin – which the church has stated is not true. And why not tell the whole congregation? Your response, as is mine, shaped by your attitude. You feel that others, like yourself, would castigate a homosexual if they knew. Is that your projection of what others would do, or a reflection of your own actions? Regardless, the case is still the same, you exhibit the characteristics of a either a homophobe in denial, or a hypocrite (because you think they should be treated the same, but don’t think so, yet). Maybe he feels like he would like to trust the ward and everyone else out there. It’s comments like yours, which make it otherwise. How brave and noble of him to still ask for your understanding, even though you don’t give it. That deserves praise, which is what you’re questioning.

    Your responses, as they tend to, contradict themselves. The main problem being, again, that you are associating sin, where none it apparent.

  39. Mommie Dearest on September 3, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    There are millions of members of the church and an equal number of ways to approach what we expect of other members. Jax has his way, Ray has his, Julie has hers, Ardis, Lucy, Kristine and etc. It’s part of our agency to decide it, but very few of us ever get any authority to apply it to anyone other than ourself. So I decided that the guideline, for myself, is that everyone gets to choose whatever path they can manage to find their way back to their heavenly home, and I would just as soon not hamper their spiritual struggles with my superficial and unnecessary scaffolding of rules about what’s ideal, righteous, and proper.

    And I should add that what little I have seen of Brother Mayne’s approach to serving in his ward is inspiring to me. I hope the Lord blesses him.

  40. Sam Brunson on September 3, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Jax,

    But if your desire is to be part of an organization that calls it a sin, you shouldn’t go out in public and publish it.

    That’s the thing: “it” here is homosexuality, unless I’m misreading your pronouns. The Church not only doesn’t call homosexuality a sin, but it has very publicly repudiated the assertion that homosexuality is a sin. See, e.g., Elder Holland here (pull-quote: “You see, same-gender attraction is not a sin, but acting on those feelings is—just as it would be with heterosexual feelings.”).

    And, while Elder Holland says the sexual orientation is not a person’s only characteristic, he certainly doesn’t say to put sexual orientation into the closet; rather, he says not to focus on it disproportionately.

    Honestly, the fact that Bro. Mayne can acknowledge both his sexual orientation and his desire and willingness to be a participating member of the Church can’t help but give hope to others who are struggling to figure out their place in the Church. It cannot be easy to be a gay in a church that puts so much emphasis on the formation of nuclear family. And not only is Bro. Mayne trying to stay, but he’s trying to show others that there is also a place for them. And I applaud that effort.

  41. Jax on September 3, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    The main problem is that despite your protests, you still claim homosexual feelings to be a sin – which the church has stated is not true

    I went through my posts and don’t think I said that; I think you’ve missed my pronouns a bit. I don’t think homosexual feelings are a sin, but participating in homosexual acts – is. Being attracted to someone other than my wife isn’t, unless I act on it. Being attracted toward farmyard animlas isn’t, unless I act on it. etc. etc. – pick your sexual attraction! Same rules apply to homosexuals as apply to everyone else.

    I’ve gone through the repentence process, and it seems a pertinent part of it is the letting go of past sins. How does telling everyone about them allow that to happen?

    Sam, you did miss the pronoun, which I didn’t make clear. “It” was participation in homosexual acts. Why go out and tell people that you used to practice homosexual acts? Someone who has those feelings but has never acted on them doesn’t have anything to repent about or any reason to “come out” and could very well not tell people at all. The only reason Br. Mayne is different is that he did apparently (I only what’s been said about him here) commit the sin of participating in homosexual acts.

    I never said homosexual feelings were a sin. I said this:

    Gays shouldn’t be shunned. Homosexual acts are unacceptable behavior. Homosexual feelings need to be controlled, just like desires to have multiple partners, look at porn, or rape a poodle should be controlled. Everyone who controls their unholy impulses (sex, drugs, crime, …) should be welcome in the church and be eligible for full benefits of church membership. Nobody should publish their sins in public. Bishops and other authorities are the only people who should make judgements that affect others membership status.

    I said the ACTS were sins and that unholy impulses need to be controlled just like in everyone else. Sounds much like Elder Holland said the same thing – that the act is the sin and that everyone (Heterosexual and Homosexual alike) need to control their unholy impusles, and that anyone who does control them should have full benefits of church membership. Does that sound vitriolic or homophobic? If so, how did it differ from Elder Holland’s quote?

  42. Neal on September 3, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    A few of thoughts from a Mormon homo:

    1. Homosexual feelings are just as natural, authentic and real to me or any other gay person as your heterosexual feelings are to you. Calling them anything other than that (or intimating such) is insulting.

    2. Gay people don’t come out to their Ward members more than they do because of the ignorance and vitriol demonstrated in some of the responses here. The less the bigots know, the better.

    3. This statement drives me crazy: “We encourage Church leaders and members to reach out with love and understanding to those struggling with these issues. ” I don’t struggle with homosexuality, same gender attraction, being gay, or whatever you want to call it. Its a natural part of who I am. The people who struggle are the people around me who don’t seem to “get it”.

    4. The Church asks gay members to lead totally sterile lives. Its more than just keeping the law of chastity – anything considered “gay” will land you in a Church court – holding hands with a member of the same sex, kissing a member of the same sex – any form of intimacy at all is taboo. Heterosexual singles have no such additional restrictions to contend with. Ask yourself – could you endure a life absolutely devoid of intimacy?

    5. The Church is clueless as to how to approach gay people. There is no effort that I can see being put forth to go after “the one” if they are gay (Mitch Mayne is the notable exception here). Most members of the Church are scared @&%$!*# of gay people, and like a Sister in my Ward said just the other Sunday in her Sacrament talk, believe gay people “are the tools of Satan”. Yes, folks, that’s what’s coming over the pulpit in Mormonville. No one in the Bishopric bothered to correct her, either. Any wonder that 90% of gay Mormons leave the Church?

  43. Sonny on September 3, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Jax,

    “I’ve gone through the repentence process, and it seems a pertinent part of it is the letting go of past sins. How does telling everyone about them allow that to happen?”

    It is nice to see you are so concerned about Brother Mayne’s repentance process, but perhaps you should leave it up to him.

  44. wreddyornot on September 3, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Jax,

    You said, “. . . Everyone who controls their unholy impulses (sex, drugs, crime, …) should be welcome in the church and be eligible for full benefits of church membership. . . .” I said, “There is not a single person, including you and the prophet, who takes a step into a Church who controls all unholy impulses.”

    You didn’t disagree with me saying that. Do you? I guess using your rationale we should all just quit going to Church. It is only for those who control them. You didn’t address this in any reply that I can see. I know this isn’t what you meant, is it? Where do you draw the line?

  45. Jax on September 3, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Wreddyornot,

    I actually disagree with you completely, but it is off topic and didn’t respond – which is exactly what happens in these posts. Someone asks 3 or 4 questions and makes a point or two, and others pick out the 1 item they want to address. Have you addressed everything I’ve brought up?

    No one is perfect from birth to death except Christ, he is the only one who went from B to D without commiting sin. That doesn’t mean that the rest of us constantly sin. That means everyone else will commit at least 1 sin in their life time. One, and only one, is all that is needed to differenciate us from the Savior. Once someone has committed that one, or one hundred, nothing stops that person from not committing any more sins in their lifetime. Someone could sin routinely up until they were in the adulthood, then repent completely and live the rest of their life completely sin free and qualify as “not perfect” AND could live the rest of their life completely controlling their unholy impulses 100%. Just because everyone will give in to them at least once, and have given in to them in their past, doesn’t mean that they can’t control them now and for the rest of time. There are people who control their unholy impulses, you just must not be one of them.

  46. Ray on September 3, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    #45 – I’m completely done – and totally repulsed by that sentence.

    I wish Brother Mayne the best.

  47. Julie M. Smith on September 3, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Jax, you’re done. Behave or excuse yourself.

  48. wreddyornot on September 3, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    No, Jax, I didn’t.

    I set forth my postion, however.

    And you are right. I have unholy impulses that I don’t control. I guess, per your logic, we’re all perfect after our last unholy impulse is repented of, whatever that means. Ahhh . . . now that it has passed, I’m feeling good. Or not? Oh, do I have to take the sacrament first? Hold it then, how can I if I can’t go to Church because of it?

  49. Jax on September 3, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Julie,

    How have I not behaved myself? I’ve put forth my position, which sounded much like the Elder Holland quote given by Sam Brunson, and asked questions of others. Pretty typical to all posts I’d say.

  50. Kent Larsen on September 3, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Jax, when you write “There are people who control their unholy impulses, you just must not be one of them” it sure comes across as a personal attack — something not permitted under our comment policy.

  51. Mommie Dearest on September 3, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    I have yet to meet anyone who has even a majority of their unholy impulses under control. That is, if you count all the “little” unholy impulses.

    That’s no reason not to think well of someone, either.

  52. Lucy on September 3, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    Now, if we could only extend the same mercy to our fellow bloggers that we extend to people in far away countries or people in newspapers. I prefer to err on the side of mercy, but without justice, mercy makes no sense. Except for comment #24, this discussion falls far short of the Times and Seasons subtitle: Truth will Prevail. God forgive us all.

  53. Rachel on September 4, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    My husband and I are both members of the Bay Ward, and we were both in church last week. I haven’t read any of the comments, but I did read the article linked in the OP. At least one aspect of that article is false. No one stood up in protest and dragged their adolescent son out. My husband was sitting at the organ, so he had a clear view of the congregation, and I know all the mothers of adolescent sons in the ward, and can’t think of one who would act in such a way.

    Now, having said that, I have every reason to believe that Mitch did say those loving things to a member of the congregation, though I of course didn’t hear him myself.

  54. MoHoHawaii on September 5, 2011 at 6:13 am

    I’m one of those people Brother Mayne wants to welcome. I appreciate his gesture and wish him and his ward and stake leaders well in their outreach efforts.

    As anyone who’s married knows, the relationship with one’s spouse is a durable, loving pair bond. The relationship is a source of joy, comfort and mutual support, and your spouse becomes someone you can’t imagine living without. This is true whether it’s a gay or straight couple.

    Reading this thread reminded me that Mormons often see my life with my partner entirely in sexual terms. I find it very odd. It’s a kind of myopia. How much of your marriage is about sex acts? Could you attend a church that saw your desire to build a life with your spouse in the same terms as a drunken tryst? How would you feel if your ecclesiastical leaders continually urged you to abandon your spouse? It’s a tough sell.

    A reasonable analogy is the treatment of interracial couples 50 years ago by the Church. Now, as then, there are some couples that are not supposed to exist but do. It’s hard to argue chastity in these cases. We’re talking about committed, monogamous relationships that in many cases are legally recognized marital unions.

    I don’t mean to stir controversy with this comment. I understand that there’s a difference in views on this issue. I just wanted to describe how the other side sees it. We exist, and we’d like better relations with our tribe than we currently have. The Oakland stake is taking a step in the right direction.

  55. Velska on September 5, 2011 at 8:25 am

    Just one polite observation: The Greatest Commandment is

    Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

    The second one, “like unto it” is:

    Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

    Note that the first one is from Matthew too, as D&C 59 does not have the “Second one, like unto it” bit.

    I submit that we can love God only by loving his creatures, human included, and no exceptions granted. Actually, when Jesus says, “neighbour”, he presumptively means the human kind.

    The problem is not with that part of it, but with “love”. What is it to “love” someone? We assume too easily that to love someone is to feel warm and fuzzy while thinking of this someone–and at the same time, we assume all too easily that love=having sex (or a desire to do so).

    How often have people said, “but I love [him|her]!” when they didn’t know the first thing about them, other than it was fun to watch the movie together. If they analysed a case about someone else in this situation, they’d be able to say that what they interpreted as “love” was the genes in their body telling them it would probably be to their (the genes’, that is) interest to have sex with the other human (whether of same sex or not; we all seem to have some kind of genetic misprints).

    So what it is to “love” is the question. Sadly, this is such an emotionally wrought question that to answer it, one would need a book to describe all the human mistaking emotional attachment toward someone for something that is to that someone’s advantage. And then the things people want is not always to their advantage–but try and tell it to them!

    To put it shortly, the best we can sometimes do is to refrain from criticism. If someone is doing something that is a sin (assuming we know this), the same always knows this without our butting in (as a Bishop, we might have a duty, though). And if not, there’s nothing to butt in for, so we’ll just let them keep desiring, unless they start desiring us too obviously, which would perhaps necessitate some evasive action.

    Is sex really that big of a deal? It seems to me that most married people want advise concerning their flagging sexual desire (which seems to mean sex does lose its allure once it’s permissible).

  56. Al on September 10, 2011 at 5:29 pm