Over the weekend, a 22-year-old man opened fire at a Colorado Springs nightclub during a drag performance, leaving five people dead and an entire nation mourning, and seeking answers to what such a person could have radicalized to senseless violence against to guide the LGBTQ community.
Some pointed to his family — the shooter’s grandfather was a Republican member of the California Convention who once compared the Jan. 6 riots in the US Capitol to the American Revolutionary War. Lawmaker Randy Voepel said he has not spoken to his grandson in at least a decade.
Others tried to blame law enforcement failures, questioning both the strength of Colorado’s red flag law and the fact that the shooter was previously known to police.
More, including Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg, cites the positions the modern Republican Party as a means of incitement, having made the LGBTQ community a cornerstone of its rhetoric.
However, a sizable number pointed out that Sagittarius grew up in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — an institution that has long struggled with its legacy of non-acceptance in the LGBTQ community.
“We don’t get to choose,” says Rosemary Card, a Mormon influencer and author of the 2018 book Model Mormon tweeted after shooting. “We have to face it. The church’s anti-LGBTQ rhetoric is influencing members.”
The Church has condemned the shooting – calling the public reflex to condemn an entire religion based on the shooter’s actions problematic.
But LGBTQ advocates were quick to emphasize their own experiences within the church, as well as Mormon leaders’ reluctance to take concrete action to break down the barriers they have erected between the LGBTQ community and their religion.
While members of the LGBTQ community are permitted to remain part of the Mormon community, the LDS Church does not permit same-sex couples to marry or be in a physical relationship, nor are they permitted to receive church ordinances.
In a 2021 speech at Brigham Young University, its President Jeffrey Holland urged followers of the faith to use “a little more musket fire” against those trying to weaken the institution of marriage within the Church, and went wide widespread criticism of religion from those within the church as well as outside.
Before that, BYU’s “code of honor” sparked protests within the Mormon-dominated student body, who saw it as a blemish on an otherwise great institution.
While many agree in the belief that it is unfair to slander an entire religion for the actions of a single man, they also agree that they cannot avoid their own complicity in perpetuating a culture that fundamentally believes that existence of the LGTBQ community is inconsistent with the teachings of their God.
Although recent polls in the HLT owners Deseret News Earlier this year, nearly three-fourths of all Utahns indicated they support marriage equality, but the church itself does not, and has declined to change its teachings to accommodate changing attitudes toward the LGBTQ community.
And throughout their history, queer Mormons within the Church have faced the impossible trade of compromising their religious community for their sense of self, leaving some with a conflicting sense of their religion.
One such person is Celeste Carolin, executive director of Mormon LGBTQ advocacy group Mama Dragons.
Carolin, who grew up in the church and attended BYU in the late 2000s, recounted news week She regularly deals with families who feel torn between their faith and a desire to speak up for their children, putting them in a position where they feel they have no choice but to have theirs to leave the faith community.
She herself was sent to be a dean at the university when she was outed as gay while studying at BYU, while many of the parents she speaks to feel like they accept their child for who they are, almost disagrees the lessons they’ve been taught are lifetimes.
“There has to be some kind of navigation of your beliefs to do that,” she said in an interview. “And I think that’s where the whole system kind of collapses.
“If you ask a mother to say, ‘Okay, here’s my child, who I’ve known my whole life to be exactly who he is,’ and she tells you something about herself that’s different is than what you knew before. .they feel like they have to choose between their child and their whole culture.”
LGBTQ advocates say the church has recognized the need to evolve and to accept and be kind from the generational trauma of persecution that remains at the core of the Mormon religion.
Last week, LDS issued a statement saying it was “grateful for the continued efforts of those working to ensure that the law respecting marriage contains adequate protections for religious liberty while respecting the law and respecting the rights.” of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters”.
While not outright endorsement of gay marriage, the move was seen as a step forward for the conservative institution.
Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah, an LGBTQ advocacy group, credited the church’s influence as a powerful driver in motivating state officials to support the protection of same-sex marriages, a significant departure from their 2015 policy that threatened same-sex partnerships with excommunication.
The church was also instrumental in helping Equality Utah enact LGBTQ-friendly housing and workplace protections within the state.
Most importantly, Williams said the church made a good faith effort to bridge the gap between its communities and advocate progress, recognizing that not denouncing hate would only lead to more.
“We have to be able to recognize progress even if it’s not perfect,” he said. “We have to overcome the extreme political polarization and find a way to live together.
“We have forgotten that pluralism is a foundation of our nation and we need to figure out how to live together despite our differences. If we don’t do that, more violence will break out.”
The church may still not be there.
Sara Burlingame, an LGBTQ advocate in neighboring Wyoming, recalled the lack of a reckoning that took place in her state following the killing of Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student whose killing led to the passage of national hate crime legislation.
She recalled that some in the state at the time claimed that a murder apparently motivated by hate was not representative of the state as a whole, but was nonetheless a product of a culture that outwardly did not accept the LGBTQ community – one, which it can be found not only within LDS but also in other congregations and institutions.
“I just think of how Wyoming was immediately defensive that ‘this isn’t us,’ that these killers aren’t us, that they came out of nowhere because it was so shameful to be so misunderstood instead of doing the hard work.” accomplish that would provide healing,” she said.
“We had to ask how these men went to our schools, prayed in our churches, ate at our dinner tables and didn’t hear a message that said, ‘You can’t kill gay people.’ That’s the question,” she said.
“And when you ask that question, people of faith need to be especially aware of the importance of humility and grace, and not just shut down and be defensive. It’s the only way forward,” she added. “That’s the only way we can get out of this cycle.”
The question now is whether the church is ready to take this step – especially since its core statements have been put to the test again.
“I think these small movements give people a lot of hope,” Carolin said. “But I don’t think they are thinking about the ultimate goal of what we are asking of the LDS Church. It’s all in that doctrine.”
https://www.newsweek.com/colorado-mass-shooting-sparks-debate-about-lgbtq-theology-mormon-latter-day-saints-church-1761531 Filming in Colorado sparks a fiery debate about LGBTQ theology in the Mormon Church