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Usa: Gay Man In Mormon Leadership Role


smac97

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An openly gay man has been selected for the first time for a leadership role in a Mormon congregation.

Bishop Don Fletcher of the San Francisco Bay Ward of the Church of Latter-Day Saints asked gay Mormon man Mitch Mayne to serve as a ward executive secretary — coordinating administrative and pastoral functions and participating in executive-level decision-making within the congregation.

After a discussion with local Mormon leaders, Mayne committed to adhere to the same standards of sexual morality expected of heterosexual members of the church, and agreed to serve.

“I love my Heavenly Father, and one of the ways I express that love is through being my genuine self and honouring the way He made me,” Mayne said. “I now have a unique opportunity to focus on helping other people.

“We have so many people on the Church records who are inactive, whose families are still members. Many of them served honourably as Mormon missionaries. Many identify as LGBT.

“As an openly gay priesthood leader, I hope my example also shows that not only do they have a home here but they have a path.

“One of the most heartening things is the straight people … who have written me to say, ‘My wife and I have been praying for greater understanding and light on LGBT issues in the Church for years’.”

In principle, I have no objection to a Latter-day Saint with SSA inclinations serving in church callings. As long as the individual is held to the same standards as anyone else.

However, I do have reservations about this fellow talking to a newspaper and describing himself as an "openly gay priesthood leader." First, I'm not sure ward executive secretary qualifies as a "priesthood leader[ship]" position.

Second, "openly gay priesthood leader" seems to be potentially misleading. I think "openly gay" carries connotations with the general public that are not applicable to this person ("openly gay" seems more or less synonymous with "practicing gay").

Third, a news items that the Church has "selected for the first time [an openly gay man] for a leadership role in a Mormon congregation" seems to be peddling a false hope that the LDS Church is going to start allowing openly practicing homosexuals in priesthood callings. I just don't see that as ever happening.

Finally, I'm not comfortable with the notion that a priesthood calling is intended as a means for an "openly gay" man to "honour" his sexual orientation.

We all know people who have struggled with temptations of one kind or another. Some struggle with substance abuse. Some with marital fidelity or some other form of inappropriate sexual behavior. Some with physical abuse of family members. Some with honesty. Some with laziness. Some with pornography. These are all struggles against the flesh, for "the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other." (Galatians 5:17).

I can't imagine any Latter-day Saint would want to "honour" the temptations he/she struggles against. And yet gay Mormons like Mitch Mayne seem to want to privilege their struggle as somehow being different or better than the struggles faced by others.

Thoughts?

-Smac

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Here:

In principle, I have no objection to a Latter-day Saint with SSA inclinations serving in church callings. As long as the individual is held to the same standards as anyone else.

However, I do have reservations about this fellow talking to a newspaper and describing himself as an "openly gay priesthood leader." First, I'm not sure ward executive secretary qualifies as a "priesthood leader[ship]" position.

Second, "openly gay priesthood leader" seems to be potentially misleading. I think "openly gay" carries connotations with the general public that are not applicable to this person ("openly gay" seems more or less synonymous with "practicing gay").

Third, a news items that the Church has "selected for the first time [an openly gay man] for a leadership role in a Mormon congregation" seems to be peddling a false hope that the LDS Church is going to start allowing openly practicing homosexuals in priesthood callings. I just don't see that as ever happening.

Thoughts?

-Smac

The biggest issue I have is when he says that he has "committed to adhere to the same standards of sexual morality expected of heterosexual members of the church." That sounds like he has agreed to live the Law of Chastity, and I suspect that that is what his Priesthood leaders think he means; but I suspect what it really means is that he considers himself entitled to engage in public kissing/groping sessions with other gay guys, because hey -- unmarried heterosexuals are allowed to do that too, right?

My suspicion could just be based upon me having a nasty suspicious mind; or it could be because that is exactly what homosexualists have argued in the past.

Regards,

Pahoran

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The Church has already responded to it, as of last Friday.

http://newsroom.lds.org/article/role-bloggers-journalists?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LDSNewsRoomTop15+%28RSS%3A+LDS+Newsroom%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

GetReligion.com, a respected blog that critiques and discusses reporting on religion, today covered the importance of inquiry and attribution in religion journalism. Terry Mattingly points to a blog post in a publication called Religion Dispatches that “demonstrates what happens when this process breaks down or, worse, is ignored.”

Religion Dispatches, in writing about a man in California who received a Church calling (lay assignment) and who states he is “openly gay,” implies that the Church’s position on sexuality and morality is somehow evolving and changing. GetReligion’s Mattingly correctly challenges that claim in asking Religion Dispatches to “back that statement up with some on-the-record quotations from people in positions of LDS authority. …Where are the crucial names and titles that make these claims matter? In other words, where is the journalistic infrastructure? Is this article news or opinion?”

In contrast, as GetReligion points out, an article in The Salt Lake Tribune quotes the local stake president (who presides over several congregations in an area similar to a diocese):

“Obviously we are not changing the standards of the church in terms of what you have to do to qualify to go to the temple or hold a church position,” said Roger Carter, Mayne’s LDS stake president. “There is no reason that men and women who have same-sex attraction cannot be participants in our meetings and in our congregations. They should be."

GetReligion points to another line in the Tribune that states, “Though many liberal Mormons and gay activists are heralding Mayne’s appointment, it does not represent any change in LDS policy, which says it is no sin to have gay attraction, only to be sexually active outside the bonds of marriage between a man and a woman.”

In this period that many are calling another “Mormon Moment,” Mattingly correctly asserts, “If people make claims about evolving Mormon doctrines, look for names, titles and clear statements of attribution.”

There is a lot of interest in the Church and a lot being written about it. It's important for the public to distinguish between fact, opinion and personal advocacy.

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It's all smoke and mirrors.

In order to hold the position of Executive Secretary one must qualify for a temple recommend.

Those who are attracted to members of the same sex can hold a temple recommend as long as they pass the recommend interview- just like anyone else.

All the rest is propaganda.

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It's all smoke and mirrors.

In order to hold the position of Executive Secretary one must qualify for a temple recommend.

Those who are attracted to members of the same sex can hold a temple recommend as long as they pass the recommend interview- just like anyone else.

All the rest is propaganda.

I wonder if, say on another planet or culture somewhere, some other factor distracting or detracting from, or destroying the institution of marriage has taken on the honored status that homosexuality has been given in our culture/planet.

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The biggest issue I have is when he says that he has "committed to adhere to the same standards of sexual morality expected of heterosexual members of the church." That sounds like he has agreed to live the Law of Chastity, and I suspect that that is what his Priesthood leaders think he means; but I suspect what it really means is that he considers himself entitled to engage in public kissing/groping sessions with other gay guys, because hey -- unmarried heterosexuals are allowed to do that too, right?

My suspicion could just be based upon me having a nasty suspicious mind; or it could be because that is exactly what homosexualists have argued in the past.

Regards,

Pahoran

What's not to understand. He agreed to abide by the same standard you ask of heterosexuals.

BTW, when did public kissing sessions, and groping become acceptable conduct for heterosexuals in the mormon church. I guess I am a prude, because I find that disgusting.

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The biggest issue I have is when he says that he has "committed to adhere to the same standards of sexual morality expected of heterosexual members of the church." That sounds like he has agreed to live the Law of Chastity, and I suspect that that is what his Priesthood leaders think he means; but I suspect what it really means is that he considers himself entitled to engage in public kissing/groping sessions with other gay guys, because hey -- unmarried heterosexuals are allowed to do that too, right?

My suspicion could just be based upon me having a nasty suspicious mind; or it could be because that is exactly what homosexualists have argued in the past.

Regards,

Pahoran

What is troubling is that such a fuss has been made about a man who has same sex attraction becoming an Executive Secretary.

I am sure this sort of thing happens every day. There is not one of us who does not have to deal with temptations, which, especially for men, are often sexual in nature.

So who started making this a part of the gay agenda?- that would be my question.

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The biggest issue I have is when he says that he has "committed to adhere to the same standards of sexual morality expected of heterosexual members of the church." That sounds like he has agreed to live the Law of Chastity, and I suspect that that is what his Priesthood leaders think he means; but I suspect what it really means is that he considers himself entitled to engage in public kissing/groping sessions with other gay guys, because hey -- unmarried heterosexuals are allowed to do that too, right?

My suspicion could just be based upon me having a nasty suspicious mind; or it could be because that is exactly what homosexualists have argued in the past.

Regards,

Pahoran

Well... him being from San Franscisco. He may be "married". Which means obeying the law of chastity would mean 1 sexual partner. It only says "Legally and Lawfully wed" if the Government which you live under considers it Legal, the church hasn't a choice but to accept that. So techinally he is following the covenant.

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The sin is not in the temptation, ...

And for that I am profoundly grateful. You can't control what you see, but you can control where you look.

It seems obvious that the best way to keep from sinning is to avoid temptation. Of course, it's not always possible (temptations are everywhere), but we can stand in holy places rather than in bars; we can keep our hearts pure rather than wrestling in the mud. That's why the (now superceded) "R-rating" counsel was given: not because no R-rated movie was worth the time and money, but because it gave us a clear, bright line. Now the the film raters have lowered the bar, as a guide, it has no value.

As I have said a thousand times: thankful as I am for repentance, it's a painful process. It's much better not to sin in the first place. (If only I could follow my excellent advice, ...)

Lehi

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Well... him being from San Franscisco. He may be "married". Which means obeying the law of chastity would mean 1 sexual partner. It only says "Legally and Lawfully wed" if the Government which you live under considers it Legal, the church hasn't a choice but to accept that. So techinally he is following the covenant.

"Legally and lawfully" does not necessarily refer to governmental law—God has them, too.

As I recall from the original article, he was "married", but is no longer.

Which makes me wonder why homosexuals want to get "married" in the first place: it only makes them subject to the vaguaries of divorce laws, makes lawyers richer, and, since, on average, they do not stay "married" (such as it is among them) even as long as heterosexual marrieds, they will go through divorce and spend more money than the rest of USmericans {b]on average.

Lehi

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What is troubling is that such a fuss has been made about a man who has same sex attraction becoming an Executive Secretary.

I am sure this sort of thing happens every day. There is not one of us who does not have to deal with temptations, which, especially for men, are often sexual in nature.

The sin is not in the temptation, it is in giving into that temptation.

The significance of this article is (1) that he calls himself gay, not someone that "has same sex attraction" and (2) his bishop is okay with that.

As evident by this thread, most Mormons view homosexuality as an unnatural, abnormal urge/attraction that must be suppressed/controlled.

I predict that in 5 years, this man will still be gay, but he will no longer be a mormon.

Which makes me wonder why homosexuals want to get "married" in the first place: it only makes them subject to the vaguaries of divorce laws, makes lawyers richer, and, since, on average, they do not stay "married" ( such as it is among them ) even as long as heterosexual marrieds, they will go through divorce and spend more money than the rest of USmericans {b]on average.

Lehi

On average? You have divorce rate statistics for same sex couples that marry?

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Just curious, if a gay man was married to another man, can he be sealed to the same man?

No, he would not even be a member of the church if he was married to another man. There is no way for him to ever make it to the temple with his partner that is a complete mockery of our beliefs.
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It only says "Legally and Lawfully wed" if the Government which you live under considers it Legal

I read someone who pointed out the repetition in that phrase if you assume that it means legal in terms of the laws of the land, the government. OTOH, there would be no repetition if the first part---legal---refers to the law of the land and the second part---lawful---refers to the Law of God. Made perfect sense to me.

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What annoyed me about this whole thing was earlier reports that characterized him as being the first openly gay person to be "in a bishopric."

I have always thought it misleading to say that an executive secretary or a ward clerk was "in a bishopric." In my mind, being "in a bishopric" implies that the person is either a bishop or one of the two counselors; otherwise, why not just say he is an executive secretary or ward clerk or assistant ward clerk or whatever? These positions, while being ancillary to the bishopric, do not carry the same authority or ecclesiastical standing as a bishop or his counselors. To say they are "members of a bishopric" strikes me as inflating their roles.

Moreover, I'm skeptical that this guy is the first man with latent homosexual tendencies to have ever been called as an executive secretary or a ward clerk. As has been mentioned, any such man could be found worthy to serve in such positions so long as he does not act on those tendencies. It may well be that there have been others, the difference being they did not choose to trumpet their callings on the Internet.

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What annoyed me about this whole thing was earlier reports that characterized hims as being the first openly gay person to be "in a bishopric."

Why does that annoy you so much? Is it because you are okay with an openly gay serving as an executive secretary, but believe only closeted gays should be allowed to serve "in the bishopric"?

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Why does that annoy you so much? Is it because you are okay with an openly gay serving as an executive secretary, but believe only closeted gays should be allowed to serve "in the bishopric"?

For me it has nothing to do with whatever sexual orientation a person claims, going about publicizing a calling one has personally received and being vague about what it exactly is (it certainly is not harder to write or state "executive secretary" and anyone who knows what a "bishopric" is likely to know what role an "executive secretary" plays) so that it appears one is inflating it to make it seem like a bigger deal than it really is just strange.

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Why does that annoy you so much? Is it because you are okay with an openly gay serving as an executive secretary, but believe only closeted gays should be allowed to serve "in the bishopric"?

It annoys me because the message was given inaccurately for sensational effect. It amounted to manipulative spin.

And I don't think ward executive secretaries should be regarded as being "in a bishopric," gay or not.

We don't speak of stake executive secretaries or stake clerks as being in the stake presidency; why regard their counterparts on a ward level as being in the bishopric?

The statement that the man would be participating in "executive level decision making" feeds my impression that the role is being inflated. I've been a ward executive secretary. The function of a man with that calling is essentially to set up appointments for the bishop, make phone calls to remind people about meetings and to take minutes of bishopric and ward council meetings when the clerk can't be there to do it. It's the bishop and his counselors who make decisions, issue callings, do temple recommend interviews, etc.

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It annoys me because the message was given inaccurately for sensational effect. It amounted to manipulative spin.

And I don't think ward executive secretaries should be regarded as being "in a bishopric," gay or not.

We don't speak of stake executive secretaries or stake clerks as being in the stake presidency; why regard their counterparts on a ward level as being in the bishopric?

The statement that the man would be participating in "executive level decision making" feeds my impression that the role is being inflated. I've been a ward executive secretary. The function of a man with that calling is essentially to set up appointments for the bishop, make phone calls to remind people about meetings and to take minutes of bishopric and ward council meetings when the clerk can't be there to do it. It's the bishop and his counselors who make decisions, issue callings, do temple recommend interviews, etc.

There is an official App called "LDS Tools". Under "Callings" it lists Stake Presidency within which you will find President, First Counsellor, Second Counsellor, Executive Secretary, Clerk and Assistant Clerk.

Within Bishopric you will find Bishop, First Counsellor, Second Counsellor, Executive Secretary, Clerk and Assistant Clerk.

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There is an official App called "LDS Tools". Under "Callings" it lists Stake Presidency within which you will find President, First Counsellor, Second Counsellor, Executive Secretary, Clerk and Assistant Clerk.

Within Bishopric you will find Bishop, First Counsellor, Second Counsellor, Executive Secretary, Clerk and Assistant Clerk.

OTOH, the Handbook does not list Executive Secretary under "Bishopric" and IIRC the ES cannot substitute for the Bishop.

Some people do use the term "bishopric" that way, but in this case where the level of the calling is what makes the calling "unique" in the publicizing, it would seem that one should be very clear as to what that level actually is as opposed to casual usage.

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There is an official App called "LDS Tools". Under "Callings" it lists Stake Presidency within which you will find President, First Counsellor, Second Counsellor, Executive Secretary, Clerk and Assistant Clerk.

Within Bishopric you will find Bishop, First Counsellor, Second Counsellor, Executive Secretary, Clerk and Assistant Clerk.

I believe you are drawing a false inference from this.

Here is a snippet from Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood: Basic Manual for Priesthood Holders, Part A:

A ward bishopric consists of three high priests—a bishop and two counselors. The bishop is the presiding high priest and presides over all the members in his ward. In addition, he is the president of the priests quorum and, together with his counselors, is responsible to watch over and nurture the young men and young women in the ward.

As you can see, in neither organizational makeup nor duties, does the term bishopric encompass ancillary positions such as executive secretary or clerk.

Here's the link.

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OTOH, the Handbook does not list Executive Secretary under "Bishopric" and IIRC the ES cannot substitute for the Bishop.

Correct. A man doesn't even have to be a high priest to be an executive secretary or a clerk. He does not issue callings, he does not conduct temple recommend interviews, he does not supervise ward auxiliary organizations, he does not conduct sacrament meetings nor can he preside over them in the absence of a bishop or his counselors.

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