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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Mormons, Gays and Polygamy (Page 6)

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Author Topic: Mormons, Gays and Polygamy
Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
Today, they have spoken out strongly against such treatment.
I don't doubt your sincerity, but as for myself I'm not going to give them credit for 'strongly speaking out' when it comes at the tail end of a massive PR and legal butt-kicking. Good for them for (finally) having unequivocal official opposition to this sort of behavior, but I find myself unable to forget that they're supposed to be well *ahead* of the curve, not behind it.
Well that's nice. So now it's not enough that an institution seeks to make amends and do what's right. The fact they weren't ahead of some perceived curve necessitates our not actually forgiving them ever ever ever.

Don't be disingenuous. His point is that coming in behind the curve is a sign that it takes *being* behind the curve to make you act. That is, the tail end of the PR butt-kicking previous mentioned was what made the church say anything- not the fact that it was right to do so. And if you only act when you *are* behind the curve, it indicates that you aren't actually doing what is right *because* it is right, but because you *have* to.

And he's right not to trust actions that are so motivated. And neither should you. And it surprises me that you do.

quote:
edit: Look I get that you feel like the church is just doing what it needs to to stay relevant. But if that's true, where is the political pressure in the other direction? Why isn't the leadership of the church at least leaning towards the political sensibilities of those in Utah?
Come now. The 3 million residents of Utah, who are decreasingly identifying themselves as Mormons, constitute a small part of the political and economic aspirations of the church.

And where are the political pressures in the other direction is the question you're asking? How did we get here in the first place?

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BlackBlade
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Orincoro:
quote:
Don't be disingenuous. His point is that coming in behind the curve is a sign that it takes *being* behind the curve to make you act.
That's a fundamental mechanism for change, realizing that you are falling behind, and making adjustments to catch up. As for staying ahead of the curve, the youngest Apostle was born in 1952, the oldest 1922. The average age of the current apostles is 77. As far as being ahead of the curve, they have all had successful careers in their vocations, none of them are divorced, criminal activity, or ethics violations. None of them have been the cause of controversy in the church. They've all successfully raised children, they are all very kind men. I'd say that's way ahead of the curve in many respects.

Politically sure, they can't all be called progressives, but I'd be very surprised if I did not hold views that were backwards at that age.

quote:
Come now. The 3 million residents of Utah, who are decreasingly identifying themselves as Mormons, constitute a small part of the political and economic aspirations of the church.

And where are the political pressures in the other direction is the question you're asking? How did we get here in the first place?

Get where? Sure on gay marriage we appear way too conservative, but on immigration the church has been outspokenly for kindness to illegal immigrants, including amnesty, and having good efficient immigration laws. They don't discuss abortion or gun rights, isolationism, terrorism, entitlements, big government, etc. Just never. In the past topics of that nature have been routinely addressed, but not today.

I haven't seen publications, blog posts, or anything of that nature about the brethren betraying values because of their recent adjustment in attitude to gay marriage. I've seen numerous liberal Mormons write passionately about that topic. Not one Conservative one.

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Dogbreath
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MrSquicky:

I used to volunteer at a shelter/school called Resource Inc. (I have no idea who thought that would be a sensible name) for homeless children and teenagers who had no where else to go. An appallingly large percentage of those children had been kicked out of their Mormon homes for "rebellion" of some sort, mostly homosexuality. They weren't the only kids there, but they were the only ones from middle class backgrounds - a lot of the other kids had parents in jail, or killed by gang violence, or had been passed from foster home to foster home until the ball got dropped at some point. The Mormons were the only people who abandoned their own children like that - even the IFB people and Evangelicals (who I've discussed in another thread) would send their unwanted children to special camps or boarding schools instead of just kicking them out on the street.

And honestly, that's the big problem with the LDS church, and something that makes it hard for me to participate in these threads and remain civil, due to the large number of broken people I know who have had their lives destroyed by their Mormon families. (see my other posts in this thread) Mormonism is a religion that, in practice, considers caring for one's own children to be secondary to making sure that one isn't "corrupted" by having children who won't or can't follow it's teachings.

And I really wish people like BlackBlade, who are (understandably) so eager to defend and support their Church against all criticism, or at least equivocate it's misdeeds and say "but it does more good than bad!", could just stop and put themselves in the shoes of a 17 year old living on the streets of Indianapolis, prostituting himself to make enough money to get by. Or a brilliant 16 year old girl with a photographic memory who read the Bible in 2 days when it was the only reading material in her jail cell, and spoke like a dictionary, who could by all rights be getting ready for college but instead is just trying to stay out of Juvie and get enough food to feed herself. Or a Marine who has to live a complete lie every time he visits his family, because he's so terrified that if they find out who he really is, they'll disown him. I wish they could see how cowardly and disingenuous their Church appears, and how it has looked for the entirety of it's existence, with things like having the Almighty suddenly "change his mind" about allowing blacks to be priests once it would no longer be controversial in any way.

It's easy to write these sorts of things off as statistical anomalies or "Mormons are humans too, and prone to sin" (somehow "sinning" in this regard ridiculously more than other people in their society) or say "well, the Church doesn't officially condone this", because it keeps you from coming to the conclusion that there is something fundamentally wrong and broken about the LDS Church, that it's teachings destroy families and ruin lives, and that it's creates family and community environments that squelch integrity, kindness, mercy and tolerance, and promote dishonesty, hypocrisy and forces those who wish to be accepted to live dishonorable and compromised lives.

I realize this post will probably be removed, and I don't have the heart or the patience to get involved in this thread again. But if you read this before that happens: it's OK to be outraged and appalled by these sorts of things, because they are outrageous and appalling. Any civilized human ought to have the same reaction. Also, read this short story. It sums up my views on the morality of this situation pretty well - there's simply nothing good the Church does that can ameliorate or whitewash this abominable practice.

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Anthonie
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quote:
Originally posted by MrSquicky:
I wasn't really aware that it was an accepted practice among LDS households to throw your teenagers out of the house if they are gay. I can't imagine how you can justify that, especially if you are supposed to value family extremely highly, have a direct line to God, and a built in spiritual immorality detector. I mean, how do you pray to God about that and not have him respond "What the %$& is wrong with you? No, of course you don't do that." But LDS were doing it anyway.

In Utah in 2011 (the latest official report I could find), 29% of homeless youth identify as LGBT, which may be a bit higher than the national average, but seems in the same ball park. Nationwide, the LGBT youth homeless rate is highly disproportionate to the overall percentage of youth who identify as LGBT (around 3%).
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Samprimary
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quote:
It's easy to write these sorts of things off as statistical anomalies
Okay, this post is going to be pretty candid.

I've mentioned before that my understanding of the LDS church comes primarily from two groups who had about equal time in my life for a while and who describe it through their own experiences: people actively in the church, and people who are no longer part of the church and are otherwise kind and gentle souls who were actively and agonizingly screwed over by LDS culture.

For some, it was because they were gay. And yes, the experience of growing up gay in a mormon household is an overwhelmingly wretched and terrifying thing. One that often requires remaining closeted as a matter of practical necessity; mormon society is horrible to outed or openly gay kids ó mormons should not even pretend otherwise or claim that this isn't really the case; it's insulting.

For others, their criminal deviant trespass against their peers could be as simple as being a child in a single-parent family, for which they would be constantly tortured and maligned. Or it could have been one of a hundred little things here and there; there's so many ways this ends up happening, too ó a smorgasboard of little things which make you not the 'right kind' of mormon. A deviance, a way in which you are different or have stepped out of line. Universally among all of them, they're apostates because their lives were made miserable by acts endemic to mormon culture.

Does this turn me into anti-LDS in general? Does it become my full judgment of the church? No; these are tendencies we're talking about that are fairly pronounced in any conservative culture, hardly some unique habit of a bizarre and fairly recent offshoot of Christianity. I also contrast it against the ideal and recognize in all fairness what the LDS claims in terms of whether or not it officially supports this behavior. What ends up being concerning is the straightforward and automatic erasure of these experiences, which are reflexively produced by the faithful whenever the subject comes up. I practically only ever hear "That's not how we really are" and how unfair it is to include these people's stories in painting a picture of what mormon culture often is in practice. It is their expectation, whether they realize it or not, that to not be allowed to engage in this erasure is persecution of some form. To be confronted with this criticism is troubling, something which they ought to shield themselves from, to keep it censored out.

(This place's legacy rules could serve as an example of that; I've read all of the administrative rulings and clarifications on the subject of blaspheming, and I can tell you straightforwardly that the law of the land dictates that this post is expressly improper and I know I am absolutely not allowed to make it. On most specifically Mormon boards, it would be erased quite matter of factly even where analogous criticism of other religious culture would absolutely get a pass.)

The complex that is generated around this expectation towards erasure is supremely fascinating but also ó once you come to understand the kindness for which mormons wish to be known ó profoundly disappointing. It hinders or superficializes progress towards the ideals that it claims for itself.

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Dogbreath
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Sam: You put it far more calmly, eloquently, and rationally than I did, and I want to say I appreciate your post a lot.

For Mormons who feel I'm attacking your Church (due to the intensity of my post): please understand that I'm not attacking your religion itself, nor to I not understand or appreciate all the good that is done because of the organizational structure in place. As Sam said, the things I'm attacking are present in quite a few other conservative communities (religious or otherwise), including one I'm nominally part of, and the conservative community I'm actively part of (the U.S. military) is chock full of all sorts of problems of it's own. The thing I'm so opposed to is that Mormons seem to be universally predisposed to deny, equivocate, downplay, or evade anything negative that occurs due to their church's teaching, which means any discussion being had about those things is almost entirely about them trying to weasel out of the Church or the associated culture and teachings being in any way responsible.

This is incredibly disheartening to see, especially when this sort of dishonesty is coming from forum members I otherwise hold a lot of respect for. It's also disheartening because I know this sort of "erasure" as Sam puts it is the biggest thing impeding progress being made.

The organization I belong to used to discriminate against gays. Me, and many other straight service members wrote our commanding officers, our congressmen, wore purple shirts, marched in parades, and loudly and vocally spoke out against this injustice and in the defense of those who were damaged because of it. We put our careers and reputations in danger rather than be passively compliant with it. And we got the law changed. I remember once meeting a Marine who told me "it's not that big of a deal - they only use DADT to get rid of the gays that they have other reasons for getting rid of now" and feeling incredibly disgusted by his moral cowardice. And yet this sort of attitude is the norm among Mormons - even those who support a more liberal attitude towards homosexuality.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
That's a fundamental mechanism for change, realizing that you are falling behind, and making adjustments to catch up. As for staying ahead of the curve, the youngest Apostle was born in 1952, the oldest 1922. The average age of the current apostles is 77. As far as being ahead of the curve, they have all had successful careers in their vocations, none of them are divorced, criminal activity, or ethics violations. None of them have been the cause of controversy in the church. They've all successfully raised children, they are all very kind men. I'd say that's way ahead of the curve in many respects.

And yet they are behind it in this one. How ready you are to make character arguments in favor of these people- again, I don't get why.

quote:
Sure on gay marriage we appear way too conservative, but on immigration the church has been outspokenly for kindness to illegal immigrants, including amnesty, and having good efficient immigration laws. They don't discuss abortion or gun rights, isolationism, terrorism, entitlements, big government, etc. Just never. In the past topics of that nature have been routinely addressed, but not today.
Don't give me that, please. Of course they discuss these things. They are not in the public limelight for doing so- but the church has teachings and things to say about all of these things. And while I am sanguine that it is not a unified, solitary message about any of them, don't act like LDS leaders don't have opinions or express them freely.

My point is that the church does, as a church, what is politically expedient for it to do. In this case, change its approach to homosexuals and gay rights (a little). You telling me they are nice to illegals is little comfort, really. Even less so given that you obviously think of these two political issues as equivalent in some way.

quote:
The complex that is generated around this expectation towards erasure is supremely fascinating but also ó once you come to understand the kindness for which mormons wish to be known ó profoundly disappointing. It hinders or superficializes progress towards the ideals that it claims for itself.
this.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
mormon society is horrible to outed or openly gay kids ó mormons should not even pretend otherwise or claim that this isn't really the case; it's insulting.
Who has given the insult? I haven't seen anybody say it hasn't been very trying and extremely difficult for gay people in LDS households. Only that things are getting much better, and in fact you can already see videos and blogs posts by gay Mormons who come out to their family, and experience a wellspring of support. Look for it.

quote:
For others, their criminal deviant trespass against their peers could be as simple as being a child in a single-parent family, for which they would be constantly tortured and maligned. Or it could have been one of a hundred little things here and there; there's so many ways this ends up happening, too ó a smorgasboard of little things which make you not the 'right kind' of mormon. A deviance, a way in which you are different or have stepped out of line. Universally among all of them, they're apostates because their lives were made miserable by acts endemic to mormon culture.

This is not endemic to Mormonism, this is endemic to humanity in general. People in clubs that require obedience to guidelines often see those guidelines as a means until themselves, be they "only formal attire on this cruise line!" to "no eating pork!"

Mormons do run the risk of being same way the Pharisees were to Jesus. Self-righteous, and so caught up in rigidly defining morality that they miss the forest for the trees. I have met plenty of Mormons who are the best specimens of humanity I have ever met.

quote:
What ends up being concerning is the straightforward and automatic erasure of these experiences
What do you mean? Do you mean Mormons want to act like this part of their history never happened?

quote:
I practically only ever hear "That's not how we really are" and how unfair it is to include these people's stories in painting a picture of what mormon culture often is in practice
Who has ever used that phrase? Honestly who? And if they have, it's a weak defense. I prefer "That's not how we should be were we practicing our religion to the fullest."

There's nothing wrong with using experiences to illustrate a point, we all do it. Where we go wrong is to act like even a handful of experiences is somehow informative of the entire group.

I'd really need to better understand what you mean by erasure.

---------

Orincoro:
quote:
And yet they are behind it in this one. How ready you are to make character arguments in favor of these people- again, I don't get why.
We are all freaking light years behind where we could be. We don't even move forward all the time.

A person who is ahead of where you are often looks like they are going the wrong way, even backwards.

quote:
Don't give me that, please. Of course they discuss these things. They are not in the public limelight for doing so- but the church has teachings and things to say about all of these things. And while I am sanguine that it is not a unified, solitary message about any of them, don't act like LDS leaders don't have opinions or express them freely.

No, they really don't. I haven't heard one sermon on the correct size of government, or guns, the word 'abortion' hasn't been used in Conference since 2001.

Yes, the church discusses politics, but there isn't a coherent conservative message in it all.

quote:
My point is that the church does, as a church, what is politically expedient for it to do.
Well that's a loaded term. We believe in being subject to the laws of the land, so doing what is politically expedient is something we are obligated to do hence no longer practicing polygamy. It does not mean we believe things because they are popular. If the church does do things for that reason alone, it's doing it for the wrong ones.
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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by Anthonie:
quote:
Originally posted by MrSquicky:
I wasn't really aware that it was an accepted practice among LDS households to throw your teenagers out of the house if they are gay. I can't imagine how you can justify that, especially if you are supposed to value family extremely highly, have a direct line to God, and a built in spiritual immorality detector. I mean, how do you pray to God about that and not have him respond "What the %$& is wrong with you? No, of course you don't do that." But LDS were doing it anyway.

In Utah in 2011 (the latest official report I could find), 29% of homeless youth identify as LGBT, which may be a bit higher than the national average, but seems in the same ball park. Nationwide, the LGBT youth homeless rate is highly disproportionate to the overall percentage of youth who identify as LGBT (around 3%).
A few factors to consider...

Most homeless youth come from extreme poverty, single parent families, or are orphans. In these situations, sexual orientation has little influence on whether or not they are homeless.

Homosexuality isn't the only reason kids are being put on the street by the their Mormon parents. Other forms of "rebellion" factor into it as well.

That being said...

The last time I was involved in that sort of work was in 2009 when I was still in college. A friend of mine who works as a councilor at a homeless shelter in Chicago specifically designed for LGBT youths (his job is mostly to help them deal with boundaries and establishing healthy relationships - they are frequently preyed on in normal shelters) told me that 43% of the children at his shelter are from Mormon households. In Chicago, not Utah. That was in 2012, I don't know if it's changed in a year. Compare that to Mormons being roughly 2% of the US population.

He's done a lot more formal research on the issue than I have, I can e-mail him and see if he wants to contribute to this discussion or not. He and I talked about it for about an hour last time I saw him - several of the employees at the shelter are LDS and have their own opinions on the matter as well.

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cloark
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quote:
Homeless and LGBT officials said the number of homeless Utah youths is estimated at about 1,000, of which about 300 to 400 are LGBT. Out of those LGBT homeless youths, about 150 to 200 are believed to come from Mormon homes.
Salt Lake Tribune, January 20, 2013

According to a report produced by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life 58% of Utahns self identified as "Mormon". (Utah wiki article)

One short coming of these statistics is probably distinguishing between LGBT teens that are homeless with their families, from those who have been thrown out.

quote:
43% of the children at his shelter are from Mormon households. In Chicago, not Utah. That was in 2012, I don't know if it's changed in a year. Compare that to Mormons being roughly 2% of the US population.
Mormons only make up 0.4% of the population in Illinois. It seems very strange that Mormons would be proportionally represented among homeless LGBT youth in Utah and 100 times over represented in Chicago.
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Anthonie
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quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
The last time I was involved in that sort of work was in 2009 when I was still in college. A friend of mine who works as a councilor at a homeless shelter in Chicago specifically designed for LGBT youths (his job is mostly to help them deal with boundaries and establishing healthy relationships - they are frequently preyed on in normal shelters) told me that 43% of the children at his shelter are from Mormon households. In Chicago, not Utah. That was in 2012, I don't know if it's changed in a year. Compare that to Mormons being roughly 2% of the US population.

He's done a lot more formal research on the issue than I have, I can e-mail him and see if he wants to contribute to this discussion or not. He and I talked about it for about an hour last time I saw him - several of the employees at the shelter are LDS and have their own opinions on the matter as well.

I'm quite confident the percentage of homeless gay youth in Utah who are LDS is well above 43%, considering the state.

I would love it if your friend who works at the shelter in Chicago would share some input in this discussion! I hope he will.

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Aros
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So much anecdotal evidence. Even when statistics are give, there are people who're "quite confident" that the statistics are wrong.

Here's mine. I was raised in a small town Mormon community on the border of Idaho and Utah. I had NEVER heard of anyone being kicked out of their home for any reason related to church / morality (and it would have gotten out, had it happened -- people gossip).

I moved to California and met my (ex) wife. I was appalled at how many people in their large Catholic family had been kicked out of the family and disowned. I remember thinking that a loving family would NEVER do that.

Sure, there's anecdotal evidence that can demonize Mormons. But I'll eat my hat if it isn't as bad (or worse) for Catholics and some of the Southern Protestant religions.

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Rakeesh
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So...wait. I'm not sure if you're trying to be ironic here. If you are, my bad for missing it but you started with a shot at those touting anecdotal evidence and you concluded by doing exactly that yourself.
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stilesbn
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
So...wait. I'm not sure if you're trying to be ironic here. If you are, my bad for missing it but you started with a shot at those touting anecdotal evidence and you concluded by doing exactly that yourself.

I'm not sure if irony is the best word for it but I think he's pointing out that these anecdotes as a basis for judgement are useless by providing an anecdote that completely contradicts the previously provided ones.

"I'll see your anecdote and raise it one anecdote."

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steven
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quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
I was raised in a small town Mormon community on the border of Idaho and Utah. I had NEVER heard of anyone being kicked out of their home for any reason related to church / morality...

Why would anyone in THAT location and community be stupid enough to reveal their homosexuality?

Did you even know of anyone who was openly gay and Mormon? Somehow, I'm betting NOT.

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Aros
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quote:
Originally posted by steven:
quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
I was raised in a small town Mormon community on the border of Idaho and Utah. I had NEVER heard of anyone being kicked out of their home for any reason related to church / morality...

Why would anyone in THAT location and community be stupid enough to reveal their homosexuality?

Did you even know of anyone who was openly gay and Mormon? Somehow, I'm betting NOT.

There was no one openly gay until about 1998. Since then, it really hasn't been that big of a deal. There are quite a few people in the community who are "out". It's a bit of a novelty, like black people, but it doesn't seem to be much a point for discrimination. I haven't ever really seen discrimination in rural Utah. People who are different are usually treated better, as everyone rushes not to step on each others' toes or hurt someone's feelings.

Most LDS women that I know are either in favor or somewhat supportive of homosexual marriage. LDS men are skewed -- most of the younger men are in support and most older men are against.

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Aros
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
So...wait. I'm not sure if you're trying to be ironic here. If you are, my bad for missing it but you started with a shot at those touting anecdotal evidence and you concluded by doing exactly that yourself.

My point being that every argument here is unbased and unqualified. I'm not really certain why Mormons are being demonized. Based on my time growing up in Utah and traveling with the military, LDS folks are usually MUCH more understanding that most of the more conservative Christian faiths.
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Anthonie
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quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
So much anecdotal evidence. Even when statistics are give, there are people who're "quite confident" that the statistics are wrong.

The Utah study I linked only listed the rate of homeless youth who are gay, but did not mention whether they were LDS. Since it was in Utah, I surmised the percentage who were LDS would be higher than the 43% Dogbreath mentioned in Chicago.

From the SL Tribune article cloark linked, there's a lot of wiggle room of uncertainty for the percentage of gay youth who are LDS, ranging from 37% to 67%. So it's very likely the percentage is higher than 43%, (especially considering that 58% of Utahns Identify as LDS).

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cloark
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The claim that has been made is that it is common practice for LDS families to throw LGBT children out of the house, and that this has happened in large numbers.

If Dogbreath's source is correct, and if it holds for the population of Chicago in general, it would be appalling that 0.4% of the population (the LDS in Illinois) could be generating 43% of the homeless LGBT teens. (To be clear the 43% figure has nothing to do with Utah and shouldn't be compared to roughly 50% number calculated from the SL Tribune article.)

On the other hand, if the numbers from the SL Tribune are accurate, then LDS LGBT teens don't seem to have a higher homelessness rate than the population (of Utah) in general, which would imply that the LDS are no better or worse in this regard.

I suppose it is possible that LDS in Utah are averagely accepting of their LGBT teens, and the LDS in Chicago are much, much, much less tolerant. Another option would be for one (or both) of these data points to be incorrect.

p.s. I can't refer to Dogbreath without feeling like I'm tossing around insults on the playground during recess. It's weird.

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Dogbreath
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Cloark: Chicago, much like Toronto, ends up drawing and keeping many homeless persons from the midwest - who after being kicked out of their homes tend to flee (or get pulled in via hitch hiking) to large cities. There are a number of reasons why this happens, but a large proportion of the homeless in Chicago didn't start being homeless there. So that 43% is *not* a good indication of the state of Illinois, just the midwest in general.

Second, as I mentioned earlier, it's a church run shelter with several LDS employees - it's obviously a more friendly and familiar environment for LDS teens and that skews the numbers upwards as well.

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scifibum
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I think the first thing I'd do as a homeless teenager is try to think of somewhere to go and then go there.

(OK, first I'd cry and mope a lot.)

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
There was no one openly gay until about 1998. Since then, it really hasn't been that big of a deal. There are quite a few people in the community who are "out". It's a bit of a novelty, like black people,

.. what
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
There was no one openly gay until about 1998. Since then, it really hasn't been that big of a deal. There are quite a few people in the community who are "out". It's a bit of a novelty, like black people,

.. what
Utah is called "The Wonder Bread" state because honestly black people are kind of a novelty. Especially in the 70's/80's/and most of the 90's. Today I'd still there are not very many. Brown people we've got aplenty, but there just isn't much of an African American community.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Aros:

]There was no one openly gay until about 1998.

Do you mean no one of your acquaintance? Because in the rest of the world there were lots of openly gay people long before that.
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Rakeesh
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I think perhaps Samprimary's 'what?' remark might not have been so much for the black people (although that qualifier did fall on the ear a bit oddly), but for the 'no one openly gay until about 1998'.

That's kind of like a big old sign to me of something. I'm not sure what it might be, but I can tell you what it's not: a sign of how much people avoid stepping on toes and how little discrimination there is.

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Samprimary
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I am just amazed that that particular combination of words was actually written by a person and now exists anywhere ever. It deserves a sideways glance at dead least.

BUT ANYWAY

quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
mormon society is horrible to outed or openly gay kids ó mormons should not even pretend otherwise or claim that this isn't really the case; it's insulting.
Who has given the insult?
Any LDS member who has claimed, to my face or otherwise, that mormon community has treated gays with kindness and respect and should not be judged negatively for "isolated horror stories" that are "clearly unrepresentative."

quote:
What do you mean? Do you mean Mormons want to act like this part of their history never happened?
"Want to act?" Or "believe?"

"Never happened?" Or "is much better than some would have you think?"

Let's explain what the kind of erasure I'm talking about is.

Whether we are talking a concerted effort on an organized level, or any end product among the rank and file faithful, the effect is the same and is equally present.

It is a tendency to ignore, remove, falsify, minimize, or reexplain the actual experiences and personal testimony of people who experienced the truth of what it is to be gay and living in a Mormon family and community.

When the personal experience is nonconducive to a positive portrayal of mormonism, it is minimized and disregarded and caveats are invented for it when and if it is ever discussed within mormon communities*. When the personal experience is conducive to a positive portrayal of mormonism, it is amplified, given disproportionate attention, and widely pointed to as what people should be looking at if they want the 'real story' about gays and the mormon church.

This happens so profoundly and strongly that I would like to believe that any LDS member can accept that this is a real process that actually happens, whether concerted and purposeful or not. Yet so many are legitimately unaware of or unwilling to accept that yes, this is a thing. The end result is I have well more than one story of being present when an actual person who actually lived the experience of being gay in a mormon family will tell the truth about what happened to them, and an LDS member will respond with a product and a continuation of that erasure: "I'm very sorry that happened to you, but we're not really like that / that's not how it usually happens / i'm sure the resources were available for / you could have found support with / i seriously doubt your stake president actually said that to you / i don't believe that they would actually come to your house and tell your parents that or yell at you / there must have been some other issue at the school / put on honor code probation for being gay, no, no that probably wasn't the real reason why / are you sure those were mormon kids who kicked you until you lost two teeth, that doesn't sound like / what do you mean 'ordered' into conversion therapy, we don't / if your stake actually did that you should have just been able to report them and / etc etc"


*most frequently 'they're ex-mormon members with a bone to pick so they are being overwhelmingly negative and attacking our faith and' or 'their issue was much larger than just being homosexual, there were obviously many other incompatibilities with the church and'

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Aros
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
There was no one openly gay until about 1998. Since then, it really hasn't been that big of a deal. There are quite a few people in the community who are "out". It's a bit of a novelty, like black people,

.. what
You expect that people don't speak openly about their "quirks" in Utah??

Regarding gays: I think it was when Ellen DeGeneres came out. Nobody ever talked about the gay subject. We were in a town where gossip spread like wildfire, and no one ever mentioned homosexuals. Then all of a sudden it was "trendy", girls were kissing at high school dances, and a number of people around town identified themselves.

Is it strange that television was such a contributing factor? In a rural community? I don't think so. Roseanne, Ellen, Married with Children -- these really shaped the way people thought. I'd reckon that Modern Family has done more for the gay marriage cause than anything else in our society. It changed the minds of my mother and two sisters.

Re: black people. Yeah. So? We'd get black families move into town every so often. The kids would instantly be the most popular kids at school. The family would be flooded with missionaries and welcome baskets. Everybody would be tripping over themselves to prove how not-racist they were. And the family would always get creeped out and leave by the end of the school year. Only one kid ever stayed -- they had him on the news quite a few times for his accomplishments in track and field. . . .

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
[People who are different are usually treated better, as everyone rushes not to step on each others' toes or hurt someone's feelings.

"Patronizing," is the expression you are looking for. Which is what people do when they are uncomfortable with someone, but know that it is not acceptable for them to express it, and possibly a failing to have those feelings at all.

What it is not, is honest. Honesty, while painful, would probably be preferred in the end over this kind of behavior. But in order to be honest, and to be seen in the light you would like to be seen in, you would actually have to accept these people. Because you don't, you patronize. That is not surprising, nor is it uncommon- so don't feel that I'm making a deep dig here. It's just the way things are, and a legacy of a church that deeply wants and strives for mainstream appeal, but doesn't have the knack for the acceptance that it wants to build a public image around. It isn't the first, and won't be the last organization to be in such a position.


quote:
Regarding gays: I think it was when Ellen DeGeneres came out. Nobody ever talked about the gay subject. We were in a town where gossip spread like wildfire, and no one ever mentioned homosexuals. Then all of a sudden it was "trendy", girls were kissing at high school dances, and a number of people around town identified themselves.
When people talk disparagingly (or as you do, whether you intend to or not), dismissively, about homosexuality being "trendy," and "newfangled," it betrays a sort of naivetť that would be charming if it weren't insidious.

People were always gay. And girls always wanted to kiss each other at dances, even if they weren't gay. It's something in humor nature that enjoys the titillation of gender transgression (in the case of girls kissing each other, or boys making gay jokes and playing "grab ass"), and it didn't start in the 90s. The public acceptance of these facts accelerated in the 90s, in America; that's all. In the sense that enlightened views of human sexuality are now "trendy," you are right.

In the sense that what people choose to do in expressing themselves sexually is tied to trends, it is in how openly they pursue their interests, and in how society is expected or required to react; not in what defines those interests.

I can assure you, as a straight male, no amount of popular culture ever inspired me to "get with the trend" and try out some trendy homosexual acts. Just not going to happen. I am very comfortable with that fact, and the gay people I know are generally very comfortable with the fact that I am not gay. This is what we call acceptance and understanding. It is that we recognize that people do what they are, and that we accept what they do and who they are when it has no bearing on us- and this acceptance is an acknowledgement that who they are, and what they do, is not a threat to who we are, and what we do.


quote:
Re: black people. Yeah. So? We'd get black families move into town every so often. The kids would instantly be the most popular kids at school. The family would be flooded with missionaries and welcome baskets. Everybody would be tripping over themselves to prove how not-racist they were. And the family would always get creeped out and leave by the end of the school year. Only one kid ever stayed -- they had him on the news quite a few times for his accomplishments in track and field. . . .
But clearly you don't resent that young man or his local fame, because it wasn't *his fault* that because he was black, he was put on a pedestal in front of the whole community. And of course, you remember this not because of jealous feelings, but out of sympathy for the poor young man and the patronizing, sacharine treatment from the locals, who would never have recognized his accomplishments in sports were he not black, and did blacks not receive such special attention from the community. This is not at all fraught with your own personal insecurities.

quote:
I moved to California and met my (ex) wife. I was appalled at how many people in their large Catholic family had been kicked out of the family and disowned. I remember thinking that a loving family would NEVER do that.
And it never occurred to you that you had known families that *would* do that, and that those children would probably move to California?.

[ April 25, 2013, 11:17 AM: Message edited by: Orincoro ]

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Rakeesh
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quote:
Re: black people. Yeah. So? We'd get black families move into town every so often. The kids would instantly be the most popular kids at school. The family would be flooded with missionaries and welcome baskets. Everybody would be tripping over themselves to prove how not-racist they were. And the family would always get creeped out and leave by the end of the school year. Only one kid ever stayed -- they had him on the news quite a few times for his accomplishments in track and field. . . .
Oh, OK, you're trolling.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
There was no one openly gay until about 1998. Since then, it really hasn't been that big of a deal. There are quite a few people in the community who are "out". It's a bit of a novelty, like black people,

.. what
You expect that people don't speak openly about their "quirks" in Utah??

Regarding gays: I think it was when Ellen DeGeneres came out. Nobody ever talked about the gay subject. We were in a town where gossip spread like wildfire, and no one ever mentioned homosexuals. Then all of a sudden it was "trendy", girls were kissing at high school dances, and a number of people around town identified themselves.

Is it strange that television was such a contributing factor? In a rural community? I don't think so. Roseanne, Ellen, Married with Children -- these really shaped the way people thought. I'd reckon that Modern Family has done more for the gay marriage cause than anything else in our society. It changed the minds of my mother and two sisters.

Re: black people. Yeah. So? We'd get black families move into town every so often. The kids would instantly be the most popular kids at school. The family would be flooded with missionaries and welcome baskets. Everybody would be tripping over themselves to prove how not-racist they were. And the family would always get creeped out and leave by the end of the school year. Only one kid ever stayed -- they had him on the news quite a few times for his accomplishments in track and field. . . .

.. wow
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BlackBlade
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Sam: Thanks for the explanation.

quote:
Any LDS member who has claimed, to my face or otherwise, that mormon community has treated gays with kindness and respect and should not be judged negatively for "isolated horror stories" that are "clearly unrepresentative."
No doubt this happens, but who here is invoking such a defense?

quote:
most frequently 'they're ex-mormon members with a bone to pick so they are being overwhelmingly negative and attacking our faith and' or 'their issue was much larger than just being homosexual, there were obviously many other incompatibilities with the church and'
I'd never just discount a person's accounts of what happened to them in the church that lead to their leaving. But it's not super unusual for people who do feel guilty about things they were doing that may have contributed to their leaving the church to instead focus on all the bad people in the church who chased them away, rather than owning up to their own behavior.

edit: Not saying this is the case with any of your friends/acquaintances only that the Mormons who were "dismissing" these ex-mormon's experiences are not necessarily completely wrong.

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Rakeesh
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Yeah, I'm still not sure about whether or not this is intended to be ironic. There are so many cue-phrases and what would ordinarily be considered multiple examples of a faux pas that I'm suspicious.

Either that, or soon Aros will begin telling us stories about respected Jamaican neighbors.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
I'd never just discount a person's accounts of what happened to them in the church that lead to their leaving. But it's not super unusual for people who do feel guilty about things they were doing that may have contributed to their leaving the church to instead focus on all the bad people in the church who chased them away, rather than owning up to their own behavior.

If one was to actually use this as a way of critically reinterpreting a person's account of being gay in a mormon family/community, it would act as an elegant combo that merges the expected examples of "there was probably something else up besides them being gay that caused the problems" and "they just have a bone to pick with the church"

And what would 'owning up to their own behavior' even mean, in that context? Own up to being gay?

I mean I get that yes there are certainly accounts which fit what you are talking about but for the most part this seems like a pitch-perfect, well learned and well internalized mechanism for discounting negative testimony of ex-mormons. Like, almost mechanically so.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
I'd never just discount a person's accounts of what happened to them in the church that lead to their leaving. But it's not super unusual for people who do feel guilty about things they were doing that may have contributed to their leaving the church to instead focus on all the bad people in the church who chased them away, rather than owning up to their own behavior.
I believe you, BlackBlade.

The trouble is that the second sentence is in fact a sort of boilerplate discounting of many/most accounts of people's reasons for having a bone to pick or even leaving the church.

Anyway, the reason I don't find stories such as Dogbreath's difficult to believe at all is because, all my life in varied levels of study and reading, I don't tend to find that when a centralized organization that believes its rules come from a source that's difficult to question or even literally a higher power...when such an organization spends generations telling its believers that there is something fundamentally, hopelessly* wrong with a certain group of people there are two things that can almost always be relied upon: one, that group will be treated quite poorly by the organization; two, well-meaning members of that organization will be among the very last to see it.

*So long as they remain members of that group.

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advice for robots
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An account of that nature is often accompanied with an observation that puts an LDS member on the defensive, to where itís not really about the wronged person anymore but about the church in general. The LDS member is left to explain how the church really isnít this thoroughly corrupt organization that sneers at oppressed classes. Cue all the defensive responses and perhaps the apparent forgetting of the individual at the heart of the matter.

Lest you think Iím saying that excuses any rightly placed blame, I just mean that thatís a natural response when something youíre partial to gets criticized. I think Samp listed every single ham-handed response possible for an LDS member to make when a story of a gay personís terrible treatment by LDS faithful is told. They donít all get used at once, every time. But any one of them can be a weak excuseóand contribute to erasing the real problem. Of course itís not right to just try to weasel out of the responsibility. It should be a call to action, whether you are personally involved or not. But many LDS members really have had no such experience themselves or have had experiences with much different outcomes. Their first reaction may honestly be incredulity and protests that no, the church isnít in fact bad, and that doesnít sound like something LDS members would do.

Iíve been made to feel plenty of times that Iím at fault for some individualís plight simply because Iím a member of the church and sympathetic to its cause. I honestly donít know how to respond to that other than to take it to heart and strive to do better. Iím not going to renounce my membership just as a good faith gesture. Others have, and thatís their choice. For my part, I can promise to take a good hard look at why this is happening in LDS culture and what I can do to help change it. Thanks to many who have kept hammering at this issue, I am definitely more aware that this is a real problem among my fellow LDS members and can adjust how I think and react to similar situations so that I am not ignoring the needs of an individual just to salvage my churchís image. And (hopefully) Iíll continue to be open to learning.

But I still believe my church is basically good with doctrines and practices that are by and large a benefit rather than a detriment to its members.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
I mean I get that yes there are certainly accounts which fit what you are talking about but for the most part this seems like a pitch-perfect, well learned and well internalized mechanism for discounting negative testimony of ex-mormons. Like, almost mechanically so.
That a plausible line of argument can be misused in such a dishonest way does not actually change whether or not the principle is a correct one. It only means we should exercise caution when it is used.

People are notoriously bad at recounting how something went down. They can only recount the stuff their brains happen to hold onto, which generally speaking even if you get past our propensity to remember only the stuff that makes us look good and others look bad, is still woefully incomplete because it's only one person's perspective.

That mean boss who was always out to get you in reality heard you say something spiteful about him when you thought he wasn't around, and felt like you were the one who started the ugly relationship.

A gay person, who in the midst of all their turmoil and introspection forgets how they frequently questioned the church to parents in front of their siblings, instead of discretely in private. Or remembers how God didn't comfort them, but conveniently forgets they weren't saying their prayers or reading the scriptures at that time, two major avenues God uses to communicate with us. How, many straight teenagers get kicked out of their home or run away because they started hating their parents, and being gay was only part of the problem.

We both know there's nothing inherently good about placing excess trust in a victim's version of events. It may be the best version we're going to get, or even essentially true, but it's not actually "the truth".

I have friends who are out of the church now, I have friends who aren't always sure why they are still in the church. I have friends who are firmly in the church who no longer associate with me because they think I'm too shaky. I also have friends who are firmly in the church who feel I help their faith. I've seen the whole gamut of experiences and all of them have good people in them. But we are all still people, with all the flaws and foibles that come with it.

--------

Rakeesh: I don't find Dogbreath's stories difficult to believe at all. I find them entirely plausible, they feel true to me. Or at least they match things I know to be true.

One of the hardest things about being in a religion where you believe in constantly improving is that you are going to encounter good people who just don't want that. Eventually you will be uncomfortable around each other not because you think ill of them, but because you no longer share fundamental values necessary for friendship. It's hard for me to describe, but have you ever seen Basketball Diaries with Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Wahlberg?

Essentially they are four friends who love to play basketball, get into trouble, and do drugs. Their drug use affects their performance on the court and they are threatened with suspension from the team, three of them as a sort of "screw you" to authority quit the team and school. When they look to their fourth friend he just stands silently off to the side and won't join them in their quitting the team. He stays in school, and goes on to live an average decent life, while the rest of them deal with the struggles of addiction and lost opportunities. It's a very good movie. The point is, the friend's refusal to quit the team/school is seen as a betrayal to their brotherhood. But the friend was doing nothing wrong. He just wasn't heading in the same direction.

In my own life there have been people who were very friendly, but they just didn't want to talk about the things I'm passionate about, they didn't share my values, so we parted ways. Nothing ugly about it. We all do that.

The problem is that sometimes that end result is inevitable, but religious people hasten to it with being judgmental and unfeeling, while the person on the way out feels that those still in the religion are ignorant, stupid, and betraying them personally by not feeling the way they do.

The only way to conclude that everybody who leaves Mormonism does so for good reasons is to conclude the entire religion is not actually making people into better people. If that's true, every true person should eventually max out on it, and realize it's holding them back and leave. That's not my experience in the religion, I find people who truly understand the gospel, and seek to apply it properly, while they will screw up and often, will still see net improvement, and turn into people worth emulating.

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Aros
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Wow. Reactions are interesting. As far as I see it, it's all rather simple.

Most of the LDS folk I knew weren't particularly judgmental. Homosexuals may have been hiding in fear of being "tormented", but most people were of a different mind. It was more, "would you look at that -- world's changing every day" type attitude.

Perhaps attitudes in small town Utah were naive. Fact of the matter is simple, though. You all seem to think that people were condescending or patronizing; and it may have appeared that way. Most of us just felt that we had a sense of community. That people might have had a hard time of it, being different. That they might have felt picked on other places. But that they deserved to feel a part of things, to feel included. If a friend is going through a hard time, you give them attention, help them out. I don't see how it was different.

And yes, there are girls (especially in high school) who go all pseudo-gay to make a statement or to tease the boys. I'm not sure why we have raise some flag pole. Oh wait, Orincoro keeps a soapbox in most threads, if they go on long enough.

It's a strange world where people mistake love for hate and condescension. But maybe that's why so many people are off-put by the Mormon faith. Maybe they just aren't used to friendly inclusion.

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kmbboots
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Aros, why do you think that homosexuals would have been "hiding in fear" in your town more than in others if there was no more to fear there? If it was such a loving accepting place, why were people more afraid to come out than they were in other places?
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Most of the LDS folk I knew weren't particularly judgmental. Homosexuals may have been hiding in fear of being "tormented", but most people were of a different mind. It was more, "would you look at that -- world's changing every day" type attitude.
Goodness, yes, this is certainly the common story homosexuals have about being open in a conservative religious and political community...wait. They weren't open. Why on Earth would that be? In such an environment of 'friendly inclusion'? Or was the example of Degeneres such a huge wellspring? In any event, how on Earth would you know? You said there weren't any you knew of prior. Even within the anecdotal examples you were just scorning, this fails to serve as a prop for your point.

Oh, and please do by all means, tell us more about *Orincoro's* mounting of the soapbox.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
Most of the LDS folk I knew weren't particularly judgmental. Homosexuals may have been hiding in fear of being "tormented", but most people were of a different mind. It was more, "would you look at that -- world's changing every day" type attitude.

Your own apprehension of homosexuality and its place in society is indicative of this *not* being the case where you are from. But that comes along with the lack of awareness you are exhibiting.
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Samprimary
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Let me make sure I have Aros' town (according to Aros) straight

- There were no people who were openly gay until about 1998
- These gay people ultimately had no reason to hide being gay
- Then Ellen Degeneres made gay trendy, and girls started being trensdbians
- Being gay then spontaneously just wasn't a big deal, bam, just like that
- Gay people just became a novelty, like being black or a girl being "pseudo-gay" to tease boys
- Black people being a novelty made them all leave
- One black person stayed and is on tv for being athletic or something
- Something of this experience testifies to how Modern Family probably did more for the gays than any other discrete element of things advancing gay rights

i just

i don't even

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Aros
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Where do you get that I'm apprehensive?
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Aros
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Sam,

I'm plainly oversimplifying and using mild hyperbole to indicate that it's an inclusive, non-judgmental community. That I never really knew hatred or bigotry until I joined the military.

Yes, it was a simple, naive attitude. It is still a simple, naive town.

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Rakeesh
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Because if you didn't know it, as a part of the 'simple, naive' community, it wasn't there I suppose the reasoning goes?

Where were the gay people in that community prior to 1998? Why was it they were so careful to remain in the closet, if the community was so inclusive and friendly? Or is it just that the cultural shift was so abrupt and meteoric?

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Aros
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I'm not certain. I was a teenager at the time, so I probably wasn't privy to everything. And as such, I'd assume my impressions didn't necessarily represent those of the whole community.

There was a marked cultural shift about that time, however.

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kmbboots
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I am considerably older than you are. I also grew up in a small town. I knew gay people before I know about sex.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
I'm not certain. I was a teenager at the time, so I probably wasn't privy to everything. And as such, I'd assume my impressions didn't necessarily represent those of the whole community.

And yet you don't make this assumption when it comes to the attitude of the community towards the (soon to immigrate?) homosexuals...why?

Yes, there was a marked cultural shift. From what, exactly, is the question? 'Friendly inclusion' with respect to openly homosexual people? Piffle. Why was the cultural shift even necessary if that was already the status quo? How would it even be called a cultural shift?

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Aros
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Rakeesh,

Are you saying that there wasn't a cultural shift in the late nineties, largely in part to gay storylines on television (Roseanne) and several prominent celebrities coming out, Rosie O'Donnell and Ellen among them?

Perhaps it was only I that was naive. There had never really been a dialogue at school or in my community prior to this. Maybe it was just the fact that it coincided with my latter teenage years.

Are you arguing that the media hasn't been one of the largest factors in the cultural shift toward acceptance of homosexual behavior within our culture? Or that there isn't a shifting level of acceptance? Or that my community wasn't friendly? I'm not really certain, as I seem to be the only one putting myself "out there", so to speak.

It's easy for everyone else to argue that everyone is evil and holier than thou.

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Rakeesh
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Evil? And anyway, you've certainly been holier than thou yourself, so that complaint is about as reasonable as your dig at Orincoro for soapboxing. This is a topic about which people feel strongly, and such things are there for pretty much all of us. You could save yourself some time by stopping the pretense of being above it.

No, I'm not saying there wasn't a cultural shift. I'm saying there was a cultural shift, but since that shift has been one to the current status quo where it is swiftly (in terms of such changes) becoming, not has already become, taboo to object to someone being gay my original question still stands: what was the starting point of this cultural shift?

Right now in polite society it is almost at the point where intolerance of homosexuality is a no-no. It's certainly not there yet. So if it required a serious cultural shift to get to this point...well. At this point it's a question I've asked at least four times.

Another question I've asked at least once: how would you know your community wasn't friendly towards homosexuals? According to you, no one was willing to be openly homosexual in your community prior to this cultural shift! So either there were literally no homosexuals in your community prior to then, or there were and they weren't open for some reason. What line can be drawn from 'friendly and inclusive' towards 'homosexuals present but none openly gay' that makes sense?

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SenojRetep
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I haven't followed this discussion closely, but if you're wondering about the shift in public attitudes toward homosexuality, it's been tracked for years by the General Social Survey. This chart from a post at MonkeyCage is about comparing attitudes toward sexual taboos over time. The post itself is focused on the increase in disapproval of adultery, but I think the trend in attitudes toward homosexuality is more interesting. It experienced a slight upward trend from 1970-1990, peaking with appr. 75% of the population saying homosexuality is immoral. It then hits a significant inflection point and begins rapidly going down, until in 2010 only about 45% of the population believe it's immoral.

When I first saw this I speculated on what could have caused the change. The best I could come up with was the emergence of the red ribbon campaign for AIDS awareness (which began in 1991), particularly its embrace by prominent celebrities.

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