The following is an excerpt of an article by Jeff Bennion, a member of the Church of Latter-day Saints:
Some time ago, I had lunch with a member of a stake presidency from the northwest. Once he learned that I experienced same-sex attraction, in an attempt to demonstrate his bona fides as an “ally,” he got out his phone and showed me pictures of himself draped in a rainbow flag and attending a Pride march. In his attempt to build a bridge and show that he understood me and advocated for me, he inadvertently demonstrated the opposite, since I don’t identify with the Pride flag and see some deep conflicts in Pride festivities in relation to my own faith and convictions.
That good-hearted member’s attempt to show solidarity with me seems a perfect illustration in miniature of what the good-hearted writers at Church-owned media are doing with many of their LGBT-affirming stories. In the last three months, a flurry of different articles in Deseret Digital Media outlets (owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) have focused on LGBT+ topics and political concerns. The overarching message is clear: hate is still prevalent in the state, what parents (and leaders) keep sharing with their kids is making things harder, and it would be really helpful—the loving, Christlike thing to do, in fact—for Latter-day Saint families to attend Pride festivities and join the cause of LGBT+ celebration.
It certainly doesn’t help that people like me are completely invisible in mainstream news, movies, and TV shows—and hardly ever featured in popular discourse, except by way of critique and ridicule. In the absence of more attention to the real possibility of a vibrant reconciliation between committed discipleship and LGBT+ questions, many believers have embraced the idea that these popular societal currents represent a distillation of God’s higher will. That translates into accepting without question the thesis that the LGBT+ movement is a logical extension of the 1960s’ civil rights efforts, and that the achievement of an (ever-expanding) list of political objectives will lead to improved mental health and personal fulfillment of all LGBT-identifying individuals.
The unique burdens of Pride Month. Many of these people, no doubt, assume Pride Month is a boon to our spirits—and a time we feel especially encouraged. For those seeking to live the gospel, it’s often quite the opposite. It definitely is for me. I never feel more estranged and more unwelcome, in the products I purchase, in the news media I consume, in the streets I walk and drive down than I do during Pride Month. I think this is how many of those who are remaining faithful to the Church feel. And this goes double for those of us who have publicly defended prophetic teachings because we are regularly in the crosshairs of activists who see us as obstacles to their objectives.
It sometimes feels like we are trying so hard at wanting to be seen as loving—and to acquire the social advantages of the same—that we are pushing away some contradictions and inadvertently compromising in some important areas.
Full story at Public Square Magazine.