Gay Mormons have it rough maybe I should rethink that title. That winds up sounding kinkier than I intended. But I’m sure it got your attention, which is a good thing because an article I read focused on the fact that gays are treated very unfairly by the Mormon belief system. Elder Boyd K. Packer, one of the top dogs, had said a lot of dismal things about homosexuality in a sermon on Oct. 3, near the time all those boys committed suicide on account of bullying.

Utah’s gay rights activists, some with roots in Mormonism, were quick to draw a connection to their own situation. They say the painful isolation that some gays and lesbian experience can lead to suicide. Anecdotes about the suicides of gay Mormons from Affirmation’s website, posts on the PrideinUtah blog and other sites seem to support the contention.

“It’s an enormous problem, especially in Utah,”said Eric Ethington, who runs the PrideinUtah blog.

Mormon church officials take issue with the characterizations made by gay rights activists.

“It is disappointing when some try to use an emotional issue such as suicide to misrepresent the role of the church in the lives of its members,” said Mormon church spokesperson Kim Farah, in response to Ethington.

But when you have leaders of your church vocally condemning the gay lifestyle, it’s hardly a misrepresentation of your faith to say your faith has problems accepting gays. If your faith can’t do it, then a lot of the followers aren’t going to do it. Even if they would never in their lifetimes physically assault or mentally abuse people they know (or suspect) are gay, they aren’t speaking up and supporting gay rights, either, are they?

In decades past, church leaders had preached that homosexual feelings were a sin and sometimes ordered up prescriptions of vigilant prayer, marriage or reparative therapy to resist or reverse those feelings.

The rhetoric has softened since the 1990s, although the church has remained politically active in campaigns to prevent legalizing gay marriage in California and elsewhere. The church now differentiates between feelings and actions, with disciplinary action or excommunication limited to those engaging in homosexual relationships.

Celibate gays can remain active in church callings and retain full membership, including performing sacred Mormon rites in church temples. Church leaders have counselled the faithful followers to reach out to gay Mormons with compassion and love.

“Their struggle is our struggle,” said Otterson.

But you only want them if they promise never to do anything gay. How is that even remotely considered to be compassionate and loving? It beats the hell out of me why gays would even want to remain with a church, let alone this one.

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