Monday, October 4, 2010

Protesting Packer's comments

LGBT Community to Protest Packer's Speech
HRC to Mormon Apostle: Your Statements Are Inaccurate and Dangerous

This certainly isn't the first time that people have protested LDS statements or actions around homosexuality. (I participated in one myself some years back when I lived in Salt Lake, joining other mostly silent protesters standing outside Temple Square during General Conference.) But with the caveat that what I'm about to say reflects perceptions that need to be corroborated by research, the rapidly organized protests in response to Packer's General Conference address strike me as representing something new in the history of the Mormon politics of homosexuality. For one thing, I can't think of a situation where people organized so quickly in response to a specific address. For another, I can't recall off the top of my head a time when a national organization like the HRC weighed in on a LDS sermon.

Here's an adaptation of a familiar parable (D&C 101:81-84; cf. Luke 18:1-5) that reflects, at the moment, my feeling about these protests:

There was in a certain city a small group of self-selected, middle-aged to elderly religious leaders who were highly confident that they understood God's will regarding same-sex relationships. They were men who feared only God and had no regard for the contrary opinions of mere mortals.

There was in that same city a number of people—some gay or lesbian, some straight—who were dismayed by what they saw as the insensitivity and prejudice of the religious leaders' pronouncements.

At first they wrote private letters to the religious leaders, courteously and deferentially worded, expressing their dismay and sharing personal stories of pain and heartache that they hoped might move the leaders to empathy.

Then they began to voice their heartache and dismay more publicly at quiet events such as vigils—still avoiding anything that might be construed as an attack on the religious leaders.

Then they wrote petitions calling for reconciliation and healing, and delivered them to church headquarters, carrying carnations and singing hymns about loving one another. The religious leaders didn't read the petitions, of course, but they sent public relations officers to meet the petitioners at the door, smiling politely for the news cameras.

Then the petitioners organized loud, angry protests outside church headquarters and enlisted the help of national LGBT organizations to publicly criticize the religious leaders' statements.

The most stubbornly pious of the religious leaders still didn't give a fig about critics. But some of their colleagues began to murmur, "Doctrine is doctrine; but all this bad p.r. is getting wearisome." And they began to think that it might be a good idea to back off the subject for a while.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Taize service, October

I organized the customary first-Friday service, held two days ago. We had cello and flute accompaniment, in addition to the guitar. These were the scriptural readings.



When the Lord delivered us from captivity,
it seemed like a dream.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter;
on our lips there were songs.

Foreigners said:
“What marvels their God has worked for them!”
What marvels the Lord worked for us indeed!
For this, we were glad.

Deliver us, Lord, from our captivity
like streams rushing forth into a dry land.
Those who now sow their fields in tears
will sing when they reap the harvest.

They go out, they go out, full of tears,
carrying seed for the sowing.
They come back, they come back, full of song,
carrying their sheaves.


1 CORINTHIANS 13:1-8, 13

If I speak in tongues—even the language of angels—
but I do not have love,
my speaking is nothing more than noise.

If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries,
and have faith powerful enough to move mountains,
but I do not have love,
I am nothing.

If I give away all my possessions—
if I hand over my very body to be martyred—
but I do not have love,
I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind.
Love is not envious, or boastful, or arrogant, or rude.
Love does not insist on its own way.
Love is not irritable or resentful.
Love takes no pleasure in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.

Love bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends.
Prophecies? They will come to an end.
Tongues? They will cease.
Knowledge? It will pass away.
But faith, hope, and love—these three go on forever,
and the greatest of the three is love.


JOHN 1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.

The Word was in the beginning with God.
All things came into being through the Word—
without the Word, not one thing came into being.

In the Word, life came into being—
life and light for all people.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness could not overcome it.