I have mixed feelings about the LDS church’s press conference earlier this week. I’m especially disappointed my home state of Idaho immediately defeated adding LGBT protections to our nondiscrimination bill that was up for vote the next day.
I was excited to hear Elders Christofferson and Oaks agreed to a TribTalk over Google Chat with Jennifer Napier-Pearce from the SL Tribune yesterday. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it. I would say it was 1000x more helpful than the press conference. For someone who sits in her church meetings and regularly hears fellow members comment that no “good Mormon” could ever support gay rights or gay marriage, I was particularly interested if those questions would be addressed. I know there are a lot of Mormons who had negative reactions to the TribTalk, but I want to celebrate the progress I saw:
- They referred to gay marriage laws as being exactly like alcohol laws, it is a law of the land that doesn’t match our standards of belief. This has been my main rationale for supporting the legislation, for those who choose not to believe what I believe, I support them being able to act on their beliefs (like those who drink alcohol).
- Not once in the press conference or the TribTalk were people referred to as same sex attracted. I heard the words gay, lesbian, transgender, and LGBT. That is progress.
- LDS members may have a variety of opinions on the matter, they may support gay marriage and LGBT rights as long as they aren’t publicly advocating against the church.
- Over the next few months the http://www.mormonsandgays.com website will be redone and rolled out. It has been a common complaint that the site was never mentioned or linked from lds.org homepage.
- Elder Oaks addressed an LDS mother who kicked out her LGBT child and wrote a letter to him, he called her to repentance and told her to develop a loving relationship with her child.
- Stated religious leaders will have to compromise and not get every protection that they want, in the same way they hope the other side will compromise to reach an agreeable solution.
- Acknowledged the church used to recommend heterosexual marriage for LGBT saints, and they have discontinued the practice and we will no longer do so. (parents of LGBT take note)
- Admitted they have a lot of work to do in addressing transgender issues, and will address it.
To me this is marked progress even from a year ago. I thought it was of note to see apostles doing interviews over social media, it felt kind of historic. Did you see it? What were your reactions?