Monday, April 9, 2012

It gets better and Mormonism

In dealing with the very high rates of homosexual suicide there is a movement called "It gets better" aimed at convincing kids not to take drastic action.  Generally the videos are aimed at middle to high school aged students.  This is a similar video aimed at BYU students.

 In 2007 BYU stopped expelling gay students and in 2010 they allowed the creation of a gay alliance movement on campus.  The results are, as is obvious from this video, obviously positive.  This is keeping with the broader direction of the church.  In 1998 many officials within the LDS church stopped using "so called gays and lesbians" effectively denying the existence of homosexuals. It appears that more officially the last few years the church has shifted position and no longer considers the homosexual inclination to be a result of sinful behavior, nor even sinful.  

They still encourage people with same sex attraction to enter into heterosexual marriages, with no acknowledgement of how devastating that can be for both parties.  They still, officially and culturally blame homosexuals for homophobia because of their political activities which to me is reminiscent of anti-Semites blaming anti-Semitism on Jewish obnoxiousness.   They support Evergreen International, a "pray away the gay" scam.

So certainly the LDS continues a shameful history of anti-gay activism, but the last decade shows hope are addressing it and making some rather dramatic progress.  Hopefully seeing their children not have to leave the church and instead make videos like the above, is a source of pride of their progress.  For me it is wonderful to see a conservative church, especially one that has consistently focused on encouraging homophobia and anti-gay activities moving in the right direction.


Anonymous said...

This video touched me. I can't imagine how painful it would be to be Mormon and find out you were gay. I am so glad there are signs that the LDS Church is becoming more tolerant.

CD-Host said...

I'm hoping with the last few major bricks falling that this will be the last generation of Americans that ever has to make these sorts of videos. Sure there will still need to be support videos for homosexuals even 30 years from now, but hopefully it will mainly be practical.

I'd love to see a world where kids wouldn't even understand why suicide was on the menu of options, or better yet don't actually believe their elders that it used to be.

Anonymous said...

In Finland one campaign made headlines last year. It was named "Älä alistu" (in English: "do not submit"). Message was that youngsters must not submit to pressure of their surroundings. Very strongly aimed at sexual minorities.

The problem?

Youngsters were told not to submit to these non-biblical beliefs that it's "OK to be gay". Anyone having such feelings should read Bible.
The cornerstone of campaign is video of girl named "Anni" who used to be lesbian but now has a boyfriend.

The campaign got very bad publicity (surprise) and lost the support from organizations that did not want to be publicly seen as part of such campaign. Whether they knew before what campaign was aiming at is unclear.

CD-Host said...

What were the organizations who paid for the campaign? Who was able to pressure them?

Anonymous said...

I had to check the exact story so I won't make mistakes here:
March 21st 2011 Nuotta - Finnish Christian magazine aimed at youngsters - started the "Älä alistu!"(Do not submit!) media campaign on their website.

On March 22nd Finnish news (e.g. MTV3 channel news and afternoon newspapers) had it reported as "new campaign where gays are changed to straight via prayer". It triggered Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (by far largest religion in Finland with 78,2% of population as members) to report that they do not support such campaign.
Now supporters were Finnish Lutheran Evangelical association youth work (Suomen Luterilaisen Evankeliumiyhdistyksen Nuorisotyö), Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Folkmission Youth's World (Suomen Evankelisluterilaisen Kansanlähetyksen Nuorten maailma), Student- and school mission (Opiskelija- ja Koululaislähetys), Yoth work of Finnish Bible School (Suomen Raamattuopiston Nuorisotyö), Luther Foundation of Finland (Suomen Luther-säätiö) and Patmos Missionary Foundation (Patmos Lähetyssäätiö).

As one can guess from names, several of those were receiving funding from the church that said it does not support the campaign. The campaign was not found to be illegal as such, but due to general public being against the campaign, Lutheran Church ended up decreasing the funding pointed to those institutions as well as Finnish government cancelling the youth work support for year 2012 from two of those institutions. Reason was said to be that government financial support is for institutions that try to enhance equality among youngsters.
Campaign itself has "ended the active phase". It seems I was wrong about this part, though: after reading the news on subject it seems the actual original institutions never stepped back from the campaign. But those are known from e.g. being against female priests so it is no surprise they kept their line. But e.g. my wife said she has had enough of the student- and school mission and haven't been participating since.
Overall it surprised me how the common public seemed to feel the campaign was wrong, despite their individual feelings towards homosexuals.

CD-Host said...

I see so these were groups which agencies which directly receive funds from the ELC and the ELC turned off the tap. That's actually a pretty good thing for homosexuals in finland, there's an attempt to organize a fairly mild anti-gay campaign, the public is opposed and the money gets shut off.

I will say this caught my eye "the campaign was not found to be illegal". This sort of stuff always shocks me about European religion / politics. Switching to a related topic , is Scientology legal in Finland. I know in 1990 some people in your equivalent of the Secret Service were forced off the force since they were members of the church of Scientology I'm wondering if a generation later that's still the case.

Anonymous said...

Totally forgot to check back here. :-(
AFAIK no religion has been judged "illegal" in Finland. But you have to understand that if you e.g. write "Wicca" as your religion into any official paper, it won't be accepted as Wicca has not been accepted as registered religious group (they weren't able to provide a description that would not have been too broad to be accepted). There are 58 registered religious groups in Finland, 19 of those Islamic groups located around Finland. On top of that comes two state religions, Lutheran and Orthodox churches.
Scientologists have not been able to gain that status either. Thus - ironically - if you fire someone due to being a scientologist you are not discriminating because of religion nut because of belonging to a non-religious group (which should not be accepted as a reason to fire someone unless there is reason to suspect that group being involved in illegal activities of some sort).

Anonymous said...

Nut -> but. Sorry for typo.