The Iron Rod Doctrine | Deep End | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
Support the Free Press.
Facts matter. Truth matters. Journalism matters.
Salt Lake City Weekly has been Utah's source of independent news and in-depth journalism since 1984.
Donate today to ensure the legacy continues.

News » Deep End

The Iron Rod Doctrine

Changing a label may cure homosexuality.


It may have gone unnoticed by the public at large, but the sermon preached by Brother Keith B. McMullin of the Presiding Bishopric at the recent Evergreen International Conference on curing homosexuality marks a startling departure from orthodox Mormon doctrine.

No longer will the benighted brothers and sisters afflicted with the curse of homosexuality be castigated with such terms as “gay,” “lesbian,” “sissy,” or “light in the loafers.” Instead, as Bishop McMullin announced, those troubled souls are to be known, now and forever, from this time forth, as “children of God,” or variations thereof such as “sons of God,” “daughters of God,” and “fruits in God’s orchard.”

As my good friend and close colleague Brother McMullin (we served for several years together on the Strengthening Church Members Committee and share a passion for German folk dancing) told the Evergreen attendees, “You people suffer from same-sex attraction because you call yourselves homos and lesbos. If you called yourselves sons and daughters of God, you would be less inclined to touch each other’s naughty bits or thumb through wrestling magazines.”

I am not authorized to give a complete, blow-by-blow account of the often rancorous discussions among the Brethren about the new policy on same-sex sinners. But, I can say that there were some very spirited debates, with raised voices and overturned chairs, in the General Authorities’ Lounge on the third floor of the temple.

As is often the case, the Brethren separated into two camps: Iron Rod Saints and Liahonas. The Iron Rod Saints are hard-liners who are repulsed by the very idea that these homo people could in any shape, manner or form be considered children of God, or even fruits in God’s orchard, for that matter. One elderly apostle pointed out rather vociferously that the idea of homo people being children of God was totally at odds with the motto of the church: As man now is, God once was; as God is, man may become.

“Do you mean to tell me,” the apostle thundered, “that God was once a homo? I say unto you, we’re entering upon a very slippery slope if we admit that homos are even human beings, let alone children of god. If we don’t bar all the entrances, before we know it, they will be coming in the back door.”

Many of the other Iron Rodders took issue with the term “children of God” and its corollaries, “son of God” and “daughter of God.” One particular stickler for doctrinal purity argued that, technically, the most accurate description, given the Mormon belief that we will all be gods and goddesses of our own worlds, would be “children of a god,” “son of a god,” and “daughter of a god.”

A long and heated discussion ensued, in which the Liahona faction hypothesized that confusion would be engendered by “son of a god” in particular. “It sounds too much like son of a gun, or worse, son of a bitch,” cautioned a soft-spoken Liahona apostle. “I can envision a reparative therapy session where a homoholic gets to his feet and says to the group, ‘I’m Jared, and I’m a son of a god.’ People might think he’s saying something he isn’t.”

In the end, it was decided by a narrow vote to go ahead and authorize Bishop Keith B. McMullin to make the name change. (Brother McMullin was thought to be the perfect vehicle for the announcement, owing to his impeccable heterosexual credentials—his middle name is Brigham—and his world-class collection of lederhosen, which he began assembling during his mission to Germany.)

Brother McMullin’s appearance at the Evergreen conference is just the first step in the church’s plan of sex salvation. Those homoholics who successfully complete reparative therapy will be given a certificate stating that he or she is now officially a “Child of God.” Next summer, the LDS church will hold its own parade during the popular Gay Pride celebration. It will be called “Children of God Parade” and all participants will wear lederhosen and perform German folk dances.

Still, there are stiff-necked skeptics among us, including Dr. Aldeni Ensernos, the noted sexologist and folk dancing enthusiast. “Turning a gay person straight, or vice versa, is harder than turning water into wine. And all the lederhosen in the world won’t make a bit of difference. The Brethren should put their money where their mouths are: bring in a gay guy at random (no gals allowed!), call him a son of God and make him an apostle. Let’s see how that works out.”