Love is a Behavior: A Conservative Mormon Reminder to Love our LGBT Community

convention-2I am a Texan, a conservative, a practicing Mormon, and an ally of the LGBT community. Two recent events have unfolded in my peripheral vision that have struck an emotional, intellectual and spiritual chord in me, leaving me both disheartened and heartened.

First, Texas Republicans held their 2014 state convention in Fort Worth, a process that establishes the party’s platform plank by plank. One of those planks will include language that rejects homosexual relationships as legitimate or valuable to society. The plank will also specifically support reparative therapy, an odd inclusion but for California and New Jersey’s recent outlawing of such therapy for minors. The fiscally conservative group, Log Cabin Republicans of Texas (who were denied booth space at the convention), optimistically finds progress in the party’s compromise to drop from the platform the words “homosexuality tears at the fabric of society.” I appreciate their optimism and patience, but feel sorrow over the party’s rejection of the skills, talent, and voting power that could potentially follow once Republicans open their arms to conservative-minded members of the LGBT community. Although supporters of the anti-gay, supposedly “pro-family” plank of the Texas Republican party will argue their stance is a godly one, I find it not only uninspired but judgmental, self-righteous, and crippling to the foundational fiscal messages of conservatism.

The second event that has moved me (this time, positively) was seeing the 400-450 strong delegation of Mormons Building Bridges marching in the Salt Lake City Pride Parade. Families came with their small 10468125_10154172548700234_2745884498499884104_ochildren. Faithful members who have served at all local levels of leadership put their best foot forward in support of love and inclusion. Continue reading “Love is a Behavior: A Conservative Mormon Reminder to Love our LGBT Community”

Seven Little Stories of Me

2-52 Open bookWStory 1: I gained my testimony at the age of 14, was baptized exactly one week before my 17th birthday, and entered Relief Society the Sunday following my 18th birthday. I couldn’t wait to get out of the Young Women organization and its non-stop lessons on what I should wear and who I should date and marry. I chomped at the bit to get into adult classes where intelligent things would be discussed. (Stop laughing.) Continue reading “Seven Little Stories of Me”

The Right and Left of Mormonism; or How Can You Think That Way?

Garran_LDS_Chapel_by_AEastNewsflash: I am a conservative Mormon … with an abundance of friends who are liberal Mormons, thanks largely to my connections in the Mormon literary and academic worlds. A few weeks back, a friend from my ward and I were enjoying an early not-quite-spring-yet afternoon in a north Texas park when I told her just that, that I have many practicing LDS friends who are liberal in their thinking. Hers palms landed on the picnic table. She leaned toward me, and, with her head shaking, said, “See … I don’t get that. How can anyone be faithful LDS and be a Democrat?” Continue reading “The Right and Left of Mormonism; or How Can You Think That Way?”

Mormons and the Bible

bible candlelightYesterday, I had the delightful opportunity to have lunch with a long-time friend, a devout Christian, I haven’t had a chance to talk to (beyond Facebook) for years. As we chatted, I found myself saying that the Mormon faith probably “has more teeth in its mouth” regarding obedience to commandments, and she nodded agreement. At the moment (and certainly afterward), I wondered if, in saying this, I hadn’t fed into misconceptions about Mormonism. Had I reinforced the idea that Mormons think we earn salvation by works, or via compliance to commandments? The question got me thinking about how many ways its possible for Mormons and Christians to miscommunicate. Continue reading “Mormons and the Bible”