A few months ago the people at Rational Faith asked me to create a timeline that tracked the issue of homosexuality within Mormonism. I knew it would be a time consuming task but I knew it would be mostly a work of synthesis, meaning the information was already available online and in books, I just had to compile it.
I wrote the post and sent it off last summer and forgot that it would be posted in November. When it when up I realized my citations were not included and I take full responsibility for that. I had created sources in a second document because at the time I made the timeline, I had not decided how I was going to cite sources. I realized when the post went up that I had not resolved that, so I quickly added footnotes and crossed checked the information.
As I say in the intro to the timeline, it is by no means exhaustive. Some of the first comments criticized the timeline for not including more recent developments. To this I said, “This list is more of a survey of events throughout the 20th century, that I, as the author, deemed important. I hope that that is totally obvious. I have not tried to hide anything, I have tried to shed light on events, statements, and political developments that have been forgotten, but that are essential to know.”
To create a list like this I am indebted to a few people. First, Connell O’Donovan and his extensive and thorough research about homosexuality within Mormonism is a treasure. Second, D. Michael Quinn for the same reasons. His books have proven time and time again to be invaluable resources, and finally, Ben Williams for his work in preserving and archiving so much of the Gay Rights movement in Utah. They deserve our gratitude.
The post can be read here
I recently did an interview on Gay.ru. A reporter from the site contacted me and was curious about my connection to Russia and my thoughts about the current situation in Russia regarding the inhumane laws and treatment of LGBT Russians. My connection to Russia is through a homophobic American religion who sent me to the country when I was a deeply closeted young man. I spent 2 and a half years in Russia, speak Russian and have a special place in my heart for Russia.
You can read the interview in Russian here.
For those who don’t speak Russian or want to put it through an online, translator, the text of my interview is below in English. Continue reading →
… by the letters
When I was a little kid, my babysitter was Lora. She lived around the corner from me in Orem and she was 13 years old when I first met her. I was 6 at the time and thought she was so mature and such an adult, not a little kid like me. She knew all the cool music and when she’d come over to babysit she would bring with her the hits of the late 80s. My favorite was Tiffany and the single “I think We’re Alone Now.” I borrowed it from Lora all the time so one Saturday afternoon my mom took me to the record store on State Street and bought me a copy, which I still have, and which is now autographed by Tiffany because a few years ago I met her at Phoenix Pride. Point is – Lora was the coolest person I knew.
When my family moved from Utah to California in 1991, Lora wrote me letters. But being the coolest babysitter and creative, attentive person she is, she didn’t just write a letter. She would create a new alphabet and create a key on a 3×5 index card so I could crack the code. For example the letter A would match a new symbol like +. The letter B was denoted with a !, C with a #, D by an = and so on. Without the index card the letter was impossible to read. A letter from her was an experience because each was a puzzle, written in our own secret language that took me about 20 minutes to decipher. I translated the symbols and then could read her words. I cherished those letters.
Mormon history includes a similar story.
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I journeyed north to my ancestral homeland (on my mom’s side) to Brigham City, Utah on Friday night to attend the open house of the new Brigham City temple.
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In April, a video from the documentary “Far Between” made national news. This video highlighted the struggle of LGBT students who currently attend Mormon owned and operated Brigham Young University (BYU). The purpose of this project and the documentary is to contribute to the dialogue of what it means to be gay and Mormon without “the common temptation to devolve into simplified polemics and instead convey the myriad nuances and complexities that make up the experience of leaning into both aspects of a life simultaneously.”
The BYU video achieved this goal and can be seen on the Far Between website here. Continue reading →