008: Carolyn – How the Church is Missing Out by Not Being More Supportive of Homosexuals

Carolyn discusses how the LDS Church is potentially missing out by not being more supportive and welcoming of homosexuals in their congregations.

15 comments for “008: Carolyn – How the Church is Missing Out by Not Being More Supportive of Homosexuals

  1. August 7, 2008 at 7:39 am

    Well said, Carolyn. What a great site. You know, if you or any friends will be in the Irvine area on August 14th, we’ve got an invitation for you.

    The Irvine PR company that runs the “Yes on 8” media campaign is holding an Open House on:

    Thursday, August 14th, 2008
    5:30 p.m – 8:30 p.m.

    2020 Main Street
    Irvine, CA 92614

    All those opposed to Prop 8 are invited to attend and/or rally at 2020 Main on August 14th.

    Details here:

    http://www.pamshouseblend.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=6364

    Or here:

    http://www.calitics.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=6587

    And here:

    http://chinoblanco.blogspot.com/

    Cheers,

    Chino

  2. John
    August 14, 2008 at 2:26 am

    I am LDS. While I cannot speak for the Church nor all its members, I know (and believe) that you are not considered “a bad person” for being homosexual. I don’t consider friends who don’t believe the Word of Wisdom to be bad either-and the same is true for those who engage in fornication, adultery, etc. What this all comes down to and what hasn’t been clearly portrayed in these videos is that God has asked us to do somethings and not to do others. If you are obedient He blesses you (and from personal experience, I know that I am blessed even when I am not on the right path). Homosexuality is simply a matter a matter not doing something that we have been asked not to do.

    Another point that I would like to bring up is that I have met several people throughout my life that for some reason or another have never been able to marry (although all have wanted to). For these same members, they have been left with similar options as homosexual latter-day saints. They, too, probably won’t (and some who have passed away-haven’t) find/found the intimacy of love. They will never have the closeness to another person. Undoubtedly they will still have sexual desires and are asked by the doctrines of the Church not to act on them outside of marriage.

    Basically my points in this comment are that 1) homosexuals are obviously not “bad’ people, and 2) there are MANY different struggles that people face which are similar in several aspects to what homosexual latter-day saints (and who succeed).

    Not easy, but worth it.

  3. Carolyn Ball
    September 1, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Hi John,

    How great that you can express your feelings regarding this matter. I think it is wonderful.

    We do get blessings by obeying the Lord. My life is full of blessings and I thank God for them everyday.

    Interesting that you compare fornication with being gay/lesbian. You can fornicate and not be excommunicated. So, I think there is some inequality. Being gay/lesbian is not about sex.

    I wish people could undertsand that and not equate a loving and supportive relationship to sex. I imagine that sex is not the biggest part of your marriage. Not comfortable to talk about is it? Yet, that is all people talk about when referring to gay and lesbian people.

    I hope that people like you and those who care enough to listen can understand the difference.

    Carolyn

  4. Carolyn Ball
    September 1, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    Hi Chino,

    I sure do wish that I could have come to your party. I don’t live near you or I WOULD have been there. Keep up the great work!!!!

    Carolyn

  5. Cami
    September 11, 2008 at 12:50 am

    Carolyn,

    Thanks for sharing your story. Your gifts are missed by the church and your influence profound. Wish you were still serving in capacities within the church and its educational system. You changed lives, including mine.

    Go with me back to 1989.
    You were my sign language instructor and I loved you and your love for life, fun, and learning. I was with you during those first “SIlent Weekend” retreats and you instilled in me a love of ASL and a desire to understand all people and respect the uniqueness of each individual. I have since pursued a career in Deaf Education and am grateful for your influence.

    It seems too that we shared other “Silences” as well. You did set off my “gaydar” back then – smile! I am sure we were both still trying to figure ourselves out but spirits recognize spirits. Anyway, I just married my partner of eleven years and although I am happier than I have ever been, I share the sadness and complications that come with the loss of the church. May we both continue to be blessed with understanding and peace.

    I would love to reconnect with you. Our paths were meant to cross at the ASLTA conference in Vegas — I saw your name as a presenter and was so excited to see you but you had to cancel and were not there. Now I go in search of like minded Californians and Mormons against prop. 8 and here you are. My gaydar was right! God is good and his workings crazy and mysterious — I am smiling ear to ear.

    Love your courage and spirit — thanks for everything!

    Cami

  6. Carolyn
    September 14, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Cami,

    I would love to re-connect with you. What a wonderful story and you warmed my heart. You can email me at Dunga1969@aol.com.

    I look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Carolyn

  7. September 23, 2008 at 10:32 am

    Thanks for speaking out, Carolyn. I apologize for not speaking out about discrimination earlier.

    The tragedy of Mormon authoritarianism is that the people who care most about the Church and the gospel are most likely to get hurt by it.

    Although I had a strong testimony, I always realized that the Church is a human institution and focused on the gospel. It is really about being a good neighbor and you don’t need an organization to be a good neighbor.

    I hope that you can find some new meaning in your life. I am glad that you are living a fulfilled life with your partner.

  8. Michelle
    October 11, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    Carolyn-

    I am a 36 year old woman who was raised in a 5th generation LDS active family. I served a mission in Montreal from ’93 to ’95. I graduated with BS and MS degrees in Zoology from BYU. I went to Portland to earn a PhD and ended up coming to terms with being a lesbian. I ended up leaving church, my family, and graduate school between 2002 and 2004.

    I am now in a physical therapy graduate program and feel that my life is back on track, but I spent several years in a tailspin socially, emotionally, and financially.

    It’s wonderful that you do not feel bitterness or resentment toward the church. I feel a massive and endless bitterness. It is my hope that I can free myself from these feelings, but every time I see something or hear something about this issue I get so angry for the lost years and the needless self hatred. How did you escape the bitterness?

    I was also excommunicated by the men in my bishopric. I have never felt so humilited or ignored. How quickly things change. I used to be asked to serve in callings and now I’m not allowed to even pray? That’s so demoralizing and sad. I don’t think people in the church really care at all. All they want is to get their family to heaven safely. Oh well if you can’t make it on your own.

    I no longer can bring myself to believe in any kind of god after believing that god could take this away from me and he really could not. I now realize I could have been praying to a mosquito or a gallon of milk all those years.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    Michelle

  9. Alison
    October 17, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    I feel that there are some given facts about the world – we were all designed to connect and to be close with other people. Our bodies and minds were designed in a way that is meant to be drawn to another persons, and love is the most amazing and most fundamental feeling that we will ever have the privilege to feel.

    Some of the people in the church are in effect asking gay/lesbians to give up love, through no fault of their own. That is a life destroying request.

    Without love, how could the church exist in the first place?
    And as Carolyn quite rightly pointed out, this is definitely not all about sex,which is a way of expressing love. In my marriage to my husband – sex is a tiny part of it, but I don’t know what I would do if someone banned me from expressing my love to him in any kind of way. I’d be heart-broken and would forever feel incomplete.

    I’m confused as to why anybody would think that God would say “No – you aren’t allowed to show your love to anyone.” I don’t think that he thinks that, I really don’t. Why would that make sense? And I would be very interested to hear a different response other than “just show obedience, have faith and don’t question authority.” It’s ok to question things that don’t sit right with you.
    Again- the church wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for an astute young man who needed to ask questions, and went against the grain. Blind faith is a very dangerous dangerous thing and can ultimately lead to pain and sorrow.

    I stopped going to church about 10 years ago, for reasons that are not relevant to this but I still believe it is built on strong foundations and is a beautiful message which if followed the way it was written, is a great way to lead your life.

    But I also believe really strongly that each person, no matter what they believe, what they do, should be accepted and not judged for who they are – not by us anyway! If they are not hurting anyone else with their actions then you don’t need to get involved. Lots of people in the church are not so good at this, and I am sorry to say that is what lets it down for me. It makes me so sad to hear Carolyn’s story and hear that people who are privileged to have been taught the difference between right and wrong and nurtured in the church environment, could hurt her and others in her situation.

    BUT I also think that in time… the acceptance will come. People are frightened of change, and will dig their heels in, but I hope there will be a time that attitudes within the church will begin to change. The church is meant to – and does inspire and help people build their lives up, not tear them apart.

    Thank you for the thought provoking story Carolyn, and I wish you all the luck and LOVE that you deserve.

  10. Jan
    October 27, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Carolyn-
    As an active member of the Church, my heart does go out to you and your situation. I have often wondered what it would be like to live in the shoes of someone with the trial of same-sex attraction. I know we all have our trials in this life, it just seems that your trial is harder to bear than others. The scriptures do say, “Men are that they might have joy.” You must have asked at times, where is the joy?

    I just want to say in defense of the Church, and having been a member for 31years, I have never ever been in any meeting where people or gays are discussed in a derogatory manner at church.

    I am sure that there are times in church where it has happened, but I have never heard it or seen it personally, and I don’t want people who watch these videos to think that it is normal for members of the church to discuss or speak unkindly of people in our meetings.

    I think the reason you missed church so much was because of the good that members of the church do for each other and others in the community. I just wanted to clarify that yes, there are those that probably voice unkindness, but is certainly not the norm.

    Thank you for sharing your story and your feelings.

  11. Rebecca
    October 29, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    Carolyn,

    I am really sorry that you had such a rough time with so many members of the LDS church. I am LDS, and I know that the LDS church does not condone such behavior.

    That being said, I agree with John’s comments. I would also say that it is my understanding that fornication results in disfellowship and excommunication whether it is committed with someone of the same sex or of the opposite sex if those involved refuse to repent and end their relationship.

    Also, I do realize that being gay/lesbian is not simply about sex. I don’t think it is any more likely to be solely about sex than a heterosexual relationship is. Therefore, in making these comments, I hope you realize that I am not accusing you or anyone in such relationships of being shallow in this regard.

  12. Carolyn
    November 1, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    Hello Michelle,

    I understand the hate and bitterness. It is difficult to understand how we could lose the church when we loved it so much.

    My Mom always says, that you cannot hate something or someone so much unless you loved them so much in the first place.”

    My heart goes out to you and I want you to know that I admire your strength.

    Carolyn

  13. Carolyn
    November 1, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    Alison,

    What a wonderful response! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It is amazing to think that God would want people to not have love.

    I used to believe it, but I don’t any more. I agree with you that change is difficult for many. Your point about how the church started was very effective.

    Thank you so much for your thoughts and feelings.

    Carolyn

  14. Adam
    November 3, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    It was mentioned earlier that fornication being related to gay/lesbian relationships. It is true that you don’t always get excommunicated for fornication but after you’ve been through the temple and made convenants you do get excommunicated. That is the difference. Gay/lesbian relationships aren’t bad solely because of the sex it is the principle of marriage. God married Adam and Eve and the Bible clearly states that homosexuality is a sin just as fornication is a sin. The reason that people equate homosexuality with sex is that is what defines you as a homosexual. Until you act on those impulses, you aren’t a homosexual but when you do, say for example, have sex, then you are one. This is what I understand and I completely agree with what John said in the comment earlier. It is sad that you faced persecution but sadly enough it happens but those people will be held accountable for that and the church isn’t full of perfect people, jsut people that are learning to. Everyone has posted some great comments and made some good points. Remember that God loves everybody and we are all His children.

  15. E
    November 9, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    Carolyn,

    I like John (Aug 14th Comment) am active LDS and not gay, but I have quite a few gay friends, relatives, and contacts in my life. I actually was sent to this site by someone I’ve been having a religious discussion with. I grew up in a “part member family” and would like to think I’m fairly open minded, but I am also strictly religious when it comes to LDS doctrine and practices (we go to the temple weekly, don’t have cable TV., generally won’t watch a movie unless it’s PG or G, etc… yes very extreme). I make a good Pharisee and am working on the charity part.

    I too have personal experience with church courts on sexual matters and it is not fun, but repentance never is (I’m not one who would ever lie to a bishop either). I do not think I would have such a personal knowledge of the atonement and the Savior’s love for me if it weren’t for the repentance process and some of the bishop’s I’ve had.

    I appreciated John’s comments and your response. I am sorry to hear that you felt vilified by church members for being gay. I agree that people do need to be less judgmental and more loving (especially those with the gospel), but I disagree with one of your responses to John. You said that your relationships are not all about sex and that you don’t necessarily get excommunicated for fornication, but you do for being gay. The part I disagree with is that I believe you can be gay in the church; you just can’t have sex (gay or straight) outside of marriage. You could even call yourself gay, but if you never have a sexual relationship, you would not be excommunicated. You can be excommunicated for fornication (I know someone who has), but it depends on the circumstances, how repentant you are, if you’ve been through the temple, etc.

    I have seen how a relationship like this could work. I know two women who are roommates and have been for 10+ years. One might assume they were lesbians because they basically are partners, without the sex. (They would be appalled if you said that to them). They both work at the temple on the same shift. I really don’t think they’ll ever get married unless polygamy was legalized or they married Siamese twins because I don’t think they could bear to part with one another. They have the love and companionship with each other, but can also live active lives in the LDS Church. They also have very active roles in their nieces and nephews lives which I believe fulfills their nurturing desires.

    I know how hard celibacy is. This is probably way more information than you want to know, but I think masturbation is relevant to this discussion. Not doing it is part of being chaste. Sexual desires are good and from God when they are bridled and used properly within the bonds of marriage. My husband and I have been separated for at least half of our marriage because of the military. I had struggled with masturbation from puberty until a couple years ago (including my married life when we were apart). It was one of those issues that made me feel like I was always in the bishop’s office (I’m thinking not many women confess it because of the response I would get). The thing that solved the issue for me was my husband deploying for 15 months and me being called as YW president early into the deployment. I think that’s the main reason the Lord had for me being called to that position because I was released soon after he returned. It was really a stretch for me because I was a new mother and on my own. I felt like I needed the Spirit and couldn’t do anything to harm my communication with the Spirit. I would never smoke because I would never buy cigarettes and that’s how masturbation has become for me… it’s just somewhere I won’t go. I know it’s possible to “overcome the natural man” being chaste and obedient even when our physical desires seem so powerful.

    As far as children not becoming gay because of seeing others who are gay, I agree, but I think it comes down to trying to halt the downward moral shift in our society (and it needs to occur on all levels not just against gay marriage… e.g. getting pornography out of kids hands on the internet. See cp80.org). I don’t have issue with “civil or domestic partnerships” or other laws that give rights to gay couples… Just don’t call it marriage. I have a cousin who is experimenting with being bi-sexual. I really don’t think she would be experimenting if it weren’t a socially acceptable thing to be doing.

    I appreciate your comment about the church being able to have its own rules and standards. That is what I worry about: That the “Gay Pride Parade” people (outspoken extremists) want more rights that I have. I think it’s crazy that no one can discriminate against anything except religious beliefs. (It seems the people with faith-based beliefs are often vilified by the media and the vocal minority… I’m worried about how far that will go).

    Wow, that’s more than I intended to write. God bless.

    E

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *