Writer sees growing gay acceptance among Mormons

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gerald argetsinger

Gerald Argetsinger gives a talk at the University of Missouri about the increasing number of gay Mormon characters and themes in theater. He is also the editor of an anthology of short works that deal with homosexuality and Mormonism, due out this summer. RNS photo by Kellie Kotraba/Columbia FAVS

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(RNS) Jerry Argetsinger compiled "Latter-Gay Saints: An Anthology of Gay Mormon Fiction." It comes at a time when the LDS church seems more open to discussing the real-life experience of its gay members.

  • Gay Mormons like Jerry have been indoctrinated with self hatred for so long they don’t believe they’re worthy of being treated equally or spending their lives with someone their very nature tells them they should be with. They’re brain trained to believe that would be sinful.

    Whilst offering up yet another deceitful Pro-Mormons and Gays PR fluff piece (A La Josh Weed) is Jerry aware that only 2 months ago his “Church” was a major sponsor of the ‘World Congress of Families’?

    The World Congress of Families was recently banned from holding a conference in London by the British Law Society because of their Anti-Gay agenda.

    As long as this heinous cult continues to fund hate towards the GLBT community people like me will be compelled to point out the hypocrisy.

  • Jerry

    Dave – I would love to sit down and talk to you. I believe we would find much in common. One of the primary purposes of the book is my version of your exact points. The culture of Mormonism, particularly over the past four decades has been to hate gays and more recently to lead the fight against gay rights. But there are some of us who despise that part of our culture. I’ve never hated myself for being gay and many of my life experiences have been pretty typical. I was fortunate to have parents, for example, who without ever letting on that they knew what was going on, welcomed my boy friends into our home with complete knowledge of what was happening on “our sleep overs”. My gay role models are men such as David Leavitt and Paul Monette whose writings taught me how to be a proud gay man without fitting into the stereotypes of the culture. Gay Mormons will never progress beyond the very self-hatred that you describe until they accept their homosexuality and stop beating themselves up for being gay. That’s a primary theme of the book. I love being gay; I also love the spiritual core of my religion. At the same time I hate the homophobic aspects of the Mormon culture and fight against those. I also hate (like Larry Kramer’s example) some of the hedonistic aspects of the gay culture. I am completely aware of the damage the church’s participation in Prop 8 did to community, church and families. But that has also given gay Mormons like me a platform on which we are fighting internally for change. I am aware of Mormons participation in the World Congress of Families and other hate organizations such as the National Organization for Marriage and I work openly within my church to eliminate those heinous parts of our culture. You should point out the hypocrisy. I agree with you completely. But I can also love the good that the Church does in people’s lives, because it is a great force for good. But like all people it can be good and destructive simultaneously because it does include many people who sustain the good and who fight against the bad. I’m proud to be one of those.

  • Jeff Laver

    I’m the Jeff Laver mentioned in this article. Johnny Townsend and I helped Jerry put the book together. I am not a member of the Mormon Church anymore, nor do I share Jerry’s optimism about Mormon acceptance of gay people, or of this book. Jerry knows this, but the three of us made a great team. The book is not a pro-Mormon piece of PR. It gives us twenty-five gay Mormon stories, and shows a wide range of often painful experiences, including alienation and suicide.

  • Jerry,

    Assuming you’re the Jerry in the article?

    Have you ever heard of Stockholm Syndrome?

    Stockholm syndrome, or capture–bonding, is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness.

    Sadly you, your brain and your soul have been captured by this cult since childhood, the fact you served a mission means you’ve been through the ultimate indoctrination (brainwashing) process at the M.T.C. which is virtually (but never absolutely) impossible to recover from. – Until you’re dead it’s never too late.

    If you were to step outside your Mormon Box World and look at the bigger picture of global humanity with just a little sprinkle of common sense you would see what absolute nonsense the Mormon “Church” really is. It’s possible to be a good person without giving 10% of your income to this cult and helping to fund the hate groups I mentioned – Which is what you are actually doing.

    I have other Mormon friends who’re just like you. In their youth they had their cake. Now they’re older they’ve “repented” of their “sins”, returned to ‘good standing’ within the “Church” and are inadvertently helping to burn down the bakery.

    You’re gay but chose to marry a woman believing it the only path to eternal salvation. Had you not been indoctrinated you would have been mentally and emotionally free to fall in love with someone of the same sex as your nature intended. Instead you just used them for sex in your youth and then what? “Repented”?.

    It’s my understanding that Homosexuals in the “church” today have their “church” file annotated permanently. These annotations explicitly ban them from working with youth in any capacity and can only be removed with ‘first presidency’ approval. So it appears the treatment of homosexuals is actually worse now than it was a few years ago. You with your permanently annotated file would not be allowed to work with youth on the pageant for example.

    Like Josh Weed “you people” are given undeserved print space because you help build the facade the “Church’s” PR department are so desperate to display – we love the gays. Meanwhile in the office next door the “Apostles” are planning the next underhanded attack.

    I have no interest whatsoever in “sitting down and talking” with someone peddling your “Cult” as anything other than the ludicrous afterlife insurance policy scam that it is. If you ever step outside the box and see the light, look me up.

  • Hi Jeff,

    “The book is not a pro-Mormon piece of PR”

    That may not be your intention, this article however is exactly the type of PR the Mormon “Church” is peddling.

    Another Gay man happily married with children to a woman.

    See how happy he is. You can do it too if you come back to us with your 10%.

  • Ew

    Is David Sadler a troll?

  • Ew

    Is David Sadler a troll?

  • “Is David Sadler a troll?”
    No, not a troll. I’m a human being with a very strong opinion about a ludicrous scam of a cult which is stealing money from my family under very false pretenses.

    Is Ew a troll?

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  • Jeff Laver

    Hi Dave,
    I have no control over what others say. I can only suggest you judge the book on its merits. It´s very good, if I do say so myself. I think you´ll agree with me once you´ve read it. Please do!

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  • Melanie Good

    I am so very proud of Gerry for coming out. I knew him as a child growing up Mormon in upstate NY. He was one of my all time favorite people! My only wish is he could have lived as a gay man with no one judging him. His wife is a lovely woman, and I know they are great partners. But, having said that, I knew he was gay then… I just thought he didn’t. It breaks my heart that he knew and was forced to surpress his natural feeling to be in a religion. All my love to him and every gay man that should be welcomed in not turned away.