It’s the weekend of General Conference, which means my Facebook is blowing up with quotes from Mormon leaders. I’ll be honest and say that I don’t really miss 10 hours of pajama church every 6 months, and I’m happy with my normal pajama church. Speaking of which, I’m trying to start a new trend, #netflixchurch. It hasn’t taken off yet.
So, General Conference always brings some controversy. There are always the protesters and the anti-protester protesters, the rather timely talks that stir strong emotions both in and out of the church, and other such things that make headlines. I think last April was all about women trying to get into the priesthood session of conference. I get what you’re going for, and I appreciate that. And I think I gladly would have given up my seat in a crowded, dark chapel full of smelly men when I was younger. This years controversy, though, was caused by the gays, and what prompted this entire blog.
So, I guess it’s a thing for gay (former?) Mormons to go to gay bars during conference weekend dressed in missionary clothing and sometimes even wearing sacred Mormon clothing. I get the humor in doing that. I once went to a gay bar on Halloween as a Mormon missionary (right after Book of Mormon Musical came out, so it was also very current!). Whatever. Stuff happens, and nobody really gets too bothered.
Tonight, though, a gay bar in Salt Lake City held a dance party to coincide with General Conference. And they named it something about the missionary position. And I guess you could get free drinks if you wore an authentic missionary name tag or brought some clothing that Mormons consider sacred. And they offered sacrament cup shots and drinks called garment droppers. And they had a naked Angel Moroni statue outside.
Alright, so they took the joke a little too far, and they crossed a few lines. I think it’s one thing when a group of people, on their own, dress up and make light of sacred stuff. To me, I think “Yeah… those people maybe went a little too far, and I’m not too interested in getting to know them because of that”. But when a gay bar (slash, a company that in many ways represents the gay community) hosts an event that clearly crosses some lines (that people who really liked going there have said they won’t be going back because of the event), it doesn’t reflect too well on the gays.
Gays… I get it. The church has condoned some shitty stuff, and has perpetuated some misunderstanding/bigotry/hate/whatever-you-word-you-like. And members of the church have said some shitty things. I was in a priesthood meeting once where I heard someone say “I think all the queers should be lined up and shot”. For real. I get it. For some of us, it can be and has been a poisonous environment.
But come on! How will making fun of things that many of us know are considered sacred help the cause of equality or inclusiveness?! If anything, it’s making us look like jackasses, and is further perpetuating stereotypes that we probably don’t want to be associated with! I mean, really?
On behalf of the gays that want to move forward in a productive and inclusive way, I respectfully request that you guys get your shit together and stop making majority of our community look like heathens.
And to the Mormons, on behalf of the gays that want to move forward in a productive and inclusive way, I’m sorry. This really sucks, and I don’t think it should have gone down the way that it did.
And to both sides, stick with us. There are probably hurt feelings on both sides. I’ve been there, on both sides, and I know. But holding on to those feelings will not help us move forward. Please have the courage to drop the pain, and move forward.
And enjoy your pajama church weekend.