Considering that the church's leadership and a vocal portion of its members seem hell-bent on consigning gay and lesbian families to second-class status, reconciliation between the two groups seems doubtful. And, in light of the way gays cultivate the laundry list of wrongs we've sustained at the hands of church leaders, it looks pretty well impossible. ---
For the most part, the LGBT movement is content to regard the LDS Church as one of the final links in a long chain of political opponents. But, for LGBT folks struggling to maintain lifelong Mormon ties, the seemingly insurmountable rift between gays and the church can be painful.
The Foundation for Reconciliation is one group that hasn't given up hope that, despite differing beliefs, gays and church officials might be able to find peace with one another -- or at least agree to a truce.
The group is organizing several events during the weeks leading up to the anniversary of the passage of California's Proposition 8:
- Sunday, Oct. 4: Memorial Service for gay LDS suicide victims, 7:30 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church, 569 S. 1300 East. The service will honor both those who "have taken their own lives because they felt that suicide was the only solution to the conflict of being gay and LDS" and "those who have overcome this conflict and who have found peace and joy in their lives." Actor Will Swenson will appear.
- Tuesday, Oct. 6: Meeting with Gov. Gary Herbert to discuss "concerns about current and proposed state legislation and treatment of the LGBT community."
- Wednesday, Nov. 4: Delivery of a petition to LDS Church leadership. Participants will meet at 11 a.m. at the entrance of the Church Office Building, 50 E. North Temple, for a brief ceremony featuring author Terri Tempest Williams.
Now, I'm certainly not looking for any apology from President Monson. I gave up on thoughts of "reconciliation" the moment I saw how eagerly the church steps in to tear apart blood families when it comes to queer sons like me. (Bitter much? Moi?)
But it looks like these folks are sincere. And they're offering a fine, risk-free opportunity for church officials to come across as humans for once, rather than heartless, despotic homophobes. (Hell, unlike the Common Ground Initiative, the petition doesn't even go so far as to ask church leaders to live up to their own words!)
Gotta say, I'd be surprised if the Herbert meeting results in anything productive. The Guv has made his strident anti-gay beliefs clear. It'll be impressive if he even follows up on the appointment instead of cancelling at the last minute due to some "emergency" or "schedule conflict."
And, given the church's track record, we'll be lucky if that petition ever makes it into the COB. (Odds are 3 to 10 that Terri Tempest Williams gets assaulted by some illiterate church-security thug.)
But you gotta admire the Foundation's quixotic pluckiness. And Sunday's memorial could be both a healing experience for the bereaved and an eye-opener for those who don't yet realize how hurtful church policies are for its LGBT members.
Given the current adversarial climate, it's doubtful we'll see any real reconciliation in the near future. But one day it will come -- and, when it does, it will be due to the tireless efforts of dedicated people like these.