Published Books and Articles
Mormon Journal Explores Gay Issues
Just off the press, the Fall 2000 (33:3) issue of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought contains four gay-related articles, including a piece by Mormon historian D. Michael Quinn that won a special award during Affirmation's 2001 National Conference. The issue is currently for sale through the Dialogue Foundation and through Signature Books.
In "Prelude to the National 'Defense of Marriage' Campaign: Civil Discrimination Against Feared or Despised Minorities" Quinn presents a well-researched retrospect on racist and homophobic attitudes that LDS leaders have adopted over the years, and shows the role of the Mormon Church in opposing the civil rights of minority groups. Speaking of recent statements by LDS leaders condemning racism, Quinn observes that "It takes a peculiar kind of blindness to currently affirm that the majority's historical discrimination against despised racial minorities was ethically and civilly wrong, yet argue that it is now ethically and civilly right to discriminate against the despised minority of homosexuals and transgender persons" (p. 48).
Other articles in the same issue include a response to Quinn by Mormon sociologist Armand Mauss, an essay by former LDS bishop Robert A. Rees, and an interview with leaders of two gay Mormon organizations: Affirmation's former executive director James Kent and Gay LDS Youth founder Aaron Cloward. "I feel that my spiritual journey really began when I came out of the closet," says Kent in the course of his interview. "A prophet can speak to 10 million members of the church, but the Lord can give anyone personal revelation in regard to his or her own life and how to live it. Everyone should know that God's love is unconditional" (p. 128).
Bishop Rees's essay ("'In a Dark Time the Eye Begins to See': Personal Reflections on Homosexuality among the Mormons at the Beginning of a New Millennium") is based on a paper originally presented at a Family Fellowship meeting in February 2000. Bishop Rees includes a candid account of his email exchanges with Stuart Matis, a young returned missionary from California who was at the time agonizing over his homosexuality and disturbed by the Church's involvement with Proposition 22. Unbeknownst to Bishop Rees, Stuart Matis had committed suicide earlier on the same weekend of the Family Fellowship meeting.
"We must be willing to let our voices be heard in defense of our gay brothers and sisters," writes Bishop Rees. "This means, among other things, countering prejudice, working to pass legislation which protects the rights of homosexuals, and helping create a safe place within our schools and communities for those with same-sex attraction" (p. 148).