Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Who Is Immoral: A Prophetic Voice Revisited

“Just as it was the church in the South that perpetuated racism so that slavery and white supremacy could have legitimacy, the Christian church has been responsible, more than any other institution, for perpetuating the sin of heterosexism …”*

So wrote Jimmy Creech, a former Methodist minister who has been a pioneer in championing equal rights for members of the LGBT community, primarily within the various denominations of the Christian church in America.   I say “former” because his ministerial license was stripped from him by the United Methodist Church because he conducted holy unions of two same-sex couples.

Back in May, I wrote a post about Jimmy Creech and his new book, Adam’s Gift.   I had the pleasure and honor of meeting him back in April when I was visiting my sister in North Carolina, and I found his book life-changing. 

It was Jimmy Creech who introduced me to the concept that the church was and is immoral for perpetuating bigotry against gays and lesbians, just as the church had been immoral in using the Bible to justify slavery or perpetuate racism and segregation in the South. 

After being silently wounded for decades by my own church’s leaders, accused of being immoral for merely being who I am, the concepts that it was the church itself that is immoral, that it was the church that needed to repent and not necessarily me, had a powerful empowering effect on me, enabling me to burst myself free from the shackles of self-hatred and self-doubt by which I had been bound for so long.

I think every gay and lesbian Mormon needs to hear this message, so I am sharing here a couple of videos of Jimmy talking about who he is, his ministry and his prophetic message of repentance aimed at religious bigots everywhere, whether they be in the pews or in the pulpits. 

In the first video, Jimmy discusses his book and briefly summarizes parts of it.  In the second video, Jimmy talks about his views concerning a United Methodist minister who was recently tried and convicted for conducting same sex unions in defiance of the Church’s Book of Discipline.  I would suggest you start with the second video.  Again, though his comments are made in the context of the United Methodist Church, the concepts he discusses are applicable to all members of the LGBT community and, in particular, resonate with we gay Mormons who have been taught very different concepts of the role of a prophet (discussed in my earlier post) and of morality.

*Heterosexism is defined as a system of attitudes, bias, and discrimination in favor of opposite-sex sexuality and relationships; or more bluntly, discrimination or prejudice by heterosexuals against homosexuals.


  1. There is a young (gay) man in my ward. I was his seminary teacher and then priest quorum advisor (in my more active days in the church) so I happened to be the person he chose to come out to. A few months later he told his parents.

    That was two years ago. This week his mom decided to talk to him about his sexuality for the first time. She had two years to study, learn, pray, ponder, and learn to love this side of her son that had been exposed to her. Two years. So what was her great mother-to-son counsel after that amount of time?

    She told him he just needed to be more "righteous" and he needed to find a girl to marry.

    Sadly, I am not exaggerating nor am I making any of this up. It's a terrible tragedy and it is, in my opinion, hideously immoral.

  2. Thank you, Anonymous, for sharing this story. It brings to mind yesterday's post: another example of the Mormon wall.

  3. I appreciate how Mr. Creech makes reference to prior use of the bible in support of slavery, racism and sexism. I recently heard an individual who was involved with the civil rights movement who was asked if he felt the struggle for gays civil rights was similar to the prior movement for racial equality. He thought that it was similar, except that obtaining civil rights for gays is taking significantly longer.

    I appreciate Mr. Creech’s comments that the bigoted treatment of gays and lesbians is incompatible with the core of Christianity. I also believe that.

    The LDS Church is able to treat gay people in the church this way because gays are often “hidden.” There are gays and lesbians in every ward but most would not speak up against this prejudicial treatment and language because of the fear of outing themselves. There is so much institutionalized shame involved with this, no one wants to be known, and this embarrassment has often been engrained into us.

    When the Church’s treatment becomes especially egregious, it motivates large groups of protesters to march around the temple. And it’s usually not until then that the LDS public relations staff start arguing for civil discourse when in fact, they themselves have been the ones who have thrown the first punch.