Tuesday, July 1, 2008


This is one of the saddest articles I've read in a long time.

Two of the statements contained in this article are the following, made by twenty four year old, David Nielson, who is discussing his hopes for a meeting of "Affirmation," a group of at least 2,000 LGBT people, with the President of the LDS Church:

"This meeting is past-due. ... but if we want them to cease persecuting us ... then we have to come to them and show them that we are as God intended." "I have to generate my own welcomeness," he admitted.

"If I didn't know this is the true church, I would have left a long time ago."

I learned a long time ago that you can't save people from themselves! No amount of logic or rational discourse is going to convince someone to change what "we perceive" to be destructive habits and behaviors. As irrational as someone's behavior may seem to us, on some deep level continuing in that behavior meets certain needs that that person, until further notice, is not willing to give up.

David's last statement shows that he has bought into the fallacy that he belongs to "the true church," which would be just as fallacious if a Methodist, a Presbyterian, an Episcopalian, or any other person affiliated with any denomination said the same thing. In fact, without belaboring the point, the LDS Church is diametrically opposed to many doctrines held by Orthodox Christianity since the era of the early Church fathers, not the least of which are its views of God having once been a man, and their rejection of monotheism.

However, I want to concentrate on the first statement that David is quoted as having said. "...if we want them to cease persecuting us...then we have to come to them and show them that we are as God intended." Now, how is anyone going to accomplish that task? Moreover, why would an oppressed person want to be accepted by his or her oppressor in the first place? Why would the oppressed seek to remain in the arms and in the control of his oppressor? Only a prisoner would accept the oppression visited upon him or her by his or her captor!

The article states, "There are so many aspects of the church that he loves—the music, emphasis on education, a chance to serve and share one's talents with others—that he accepts the discomfort."

When the David's of the LDS Church, just like the other David's residing in most all congregations of the institutional Church, say they are remaining in these oppressive, discriminatory institutions, because they seemingly love the music, and who provide all kinds of other rationalizations for remaining in the arms of their oppressor, and remaining in the demeaning capacity of a supplicant worshipping at the feet of a sadist, we are not necessarily to believe them.

Anyone with a sense of dignity and self-worth will flee anyone or any religious institution that doesn't respect his or her humanity, and doesn't afford him or her full equality with others in that religious institution! To do otherwise is a pathetic display of masochism that can only serve to further repress and alienate that person, further drive that person to even greater depths of despair and disappointment, all the while conferring credibility on that oppressor who, in turn, therefore views him/her/itself free to maintain that culture of oppression that is also visited upon others.

To believe that one can make changes from within such repressive institutions, and feel that "if we want them to cease persecuting us...then we have to come to them and show them that we are as God intended," bespeaks a mind set that is ripe for further indoctrination into shame and self-loathing that is bound to increasingly harm one's mental and even physical health; confers credibility and legitimacy on that oppressor that is certainly not deserved.

Since when does the oppressed have to justify his or her existence by seeking the approval from his or her oppressor? This mind-set is not at all unlike the abused spouse thinking that if he or she was only "nicer" or "more agreeable," or "a better person," her or his abuser will stop abusing them.

Doesn't it ever occur to people like David that when a person or institution abuses you, they abuse you because they are abusive, and there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop that abuse? All of your pathetic excuses for seeking to appease your oppressor merely serve to put you into a position of vulnerability to further oppression and self-condemnation and self-abnegation.

The only thing that will stop that abuse is the threat to stop the flow of money coming into that institution's coffers and/or the threat to remove its legal status in secular society! Notice two such instances in regard to the LDS Church: the seeming change of its stand on polygamy; its allowing in 1978 African Americans to become priests within its organization.

What was deemed "a new revelation from God" was coincidental with civil rights and civil liberties bestowed on African Americans in civil society, as its formal forfeit of polygamy was contingent on the veritable threat of its losing its right to exist in the U.S. Only a very naive person would think that "sweet reason" or the appeal to "the milk of human kindness" of one's oppressor will have that oppressor forfeit that power over people who are gullible and/or masochistic enough to keep enduring such abuse; sadistic enough to allow such abuse of others to go unchallenged and uncondemned.

Emotionally healthy people will flee oppressive relationships and institutions, and won't even bother to look back! To do otherwise further damages the person; seeks to create a dialogue where there is no level playing field; bespeaks such low self-esteem that further exposes the person to increased vulnerability to persecution; forfeits the opportunity of that person to have healthy relationships that are pursued with dignity and with an inherent sense of self-worth.

No one deserves to be treated with a lack of respect! No one should put him/herself in a position of supplication to an abuser! No one should be naive enough to believe that any one institution comprises "the true Church." Any institution that makes such a claim has already forfeited its right to make that claim!

God is far greater than any institution! Perhaps when the David's of the world come to recognize this fact, they will flee oppressive institutions and find that no one is to be his or her Judge but God!

And it is not at all honoring to God to remain in a relationship or institution that requires a person to renounce his or her God-given authenticity and very humanity, and that oppresses any of God's children!
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