Earlier this week I was caught up in an online conversation that has taken me a day to digest. On a thread discussing the trauma experienced by LGBT people and youth in the Mormon community, I had brought up Elder and Sister Nelson’s talks on Sunday. The backlash that was offered at first stunned me. But upon reflection, that backlash defines Mormonism today.

The question has been raised, how do the parents of LGBT children arrive at the moral decision to require celibacy and/or kick their child out of their home? I am not going to rehash the talks, but focus on the revealing nature of the responses in that thread to illustrate.

(1) Response 1 – Lots of things could be perceived in such a way so that one would commit suicide. There was a chef who committed suicide because someone asked for a doggy bag.

This statement totally disregards that our words can wound and lead others to suicide. And the comparison is so completely demeaning. It dismisses a legitimate situation with a ridiculous situation because the writer deems the plight of LGBT people as ridiculous.

(2) Feeling like one can’t say anything because it might hurt someone’s feelings is also ridiculous.

So requiring ourselves to be educated and responsible for our own words is ridiculous.

(3) She’s an esteemed religious leader’s wife, not the leader herself.

Well, I guess her words have no value since she is only an apostles wife. Pretty square with modern Mormonism.

(4) And where did she define an impossibility as possible?

It doesn’t matter if sexual orientation can’t be changed, it is what God requires. This mentality is killing another generation of beautiful Mormon youth.

(5) There are lots of ways to interpret what she said. And as I said, people will commit suicide over ANYTHING. (emphasis was the authors)

This is modern Mormonism. We are right and it doesn’t matter what damage our words cause, because we are right. Despite that the fruit of the spirit or our actions defines the tree from which it came.

(6) And were they homeless because ground rules were set that they didn’t want to live by and/or for behaviours they were actually doing or are they homeless because they were actually kicked out for being gay?

Victim blaming. And it is the LGBT Mormon youth’s fault that they are kicked out of their homes. The Church is right, therefore the apostle is right, therefore the parents were morally right and therefore the children who are out on the street were deceived by ‘servants of Satan.’

This is how a Mormon parent of LGBT youth arrives at having no moral responsibility and clean hands for the devastation and trauma experienced by their LGBT child.

TOM MONTGOMERY has been writing on the intersection of LDS and LGBT issues since 2012. He was an active member of the LDS Church until 2016. His journey covers going door-to-door in support of Prop 8 in California to having a great love for the LGBT Mormon community. He says that his single qualification to be in this esteemed company of authors is the privilege of being the father of a wonderful gay son. This has been a very spiritual journey. His greatest priority is being 100% supportive of the health and well-being of LGBT Mormon youth and adults in or out of Mormonism. Tom has written articles for Rational Faiths (http://rationalfaiths.com/author/thomas-montgomery/) and No More Strangers (http://www.nomorestrangers.org/grace/).

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