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Thursday, January 6, 2011

A GMB Glossary, Vol. 3:

A Thought

I was reading a fairly mainstream LDS blog called Mormonism Unveiled the other day.  The post titled “Mormon Messages: Elder Dallin C. Oaks Speaks Out On Marriage And Divorce; Divorced Members Are Not ‘Second-Class Saints’” stuck a nerve.  The post quotes extensively from the 2007 General Conference talk mentioned in the title. 

As I read the article highlighting marriage as a requirement for exaltation, and the appropriate reasons for entering and exiting the bonds of matrimony.  The most important point, however, struck me as a rather relatable one for gay and lesbian members of the church.  Something else in the piece caught my attention, though.  Three words:

Second-Class Saint

Jack Mormon (the blogger) used the term to describe a misconception that divorced Mormons are inferior to married Mormons.  I think the term might be useful in the gay Mormon discussion.  Because the greatest form of salvation is tied to marriage and marriage isn’t that perfect, natural fit for gay Mormons, it’s easy for us to feel consigned to a less fulfilling life.  No other term I’ve seen has really described the way the situation sat with me. 

lesbians second hand citizen cartoon gay marriage

Enjoy and feel free to spread it around.

6 comments:

naturgesetz said...

To be consigned to second class (unless you enter into a "marriage of convenience — and would that even count) must hurt.

What are the major differences between first class and second class sainthood?

Mister Curie said...

I imagine the cartoon would be a more accurate portrayal of Mormon thought if it pronounced the lesbian couple first-class sinners, rather than second-class saints.

A Gay Mormon Boy said...

@naturgesetz: It's a very interesting situation, quite distinct to the LDS faith. I borrow the words of Nicole Handy in a NYT Online article on being a single Mormon woman:

[LDS theology] is a system where marriage is not only a commandment, but also one of life’s primary purposes. Turns out, though, that there is no place in that community for a single woman who doesn’t want children.

My only available choice within the church was to wait for my reward in heaven, as Mormon doctrine promises that single members denied marriage, family and sex lives on earth will have them after death. Needless to say, this wasn’t a compelling argument.


The same could be said of men and women who don't marry because of their sexuality. More technically speaking, the highest blessings and highest forms of salvation are reserved for those that form a union with someone of the opposite sex. Man and woman are sealed together for time and all eternity and enjoy salvation together as a family unit.

Those blessings can easily be perceived as unattainable to LGBT Mormons, thus consigning them to lesser forms of salvation in the eternities as well as limited callings and blessings in this life.

@Mister Curie: Good one. Upon first glance, I read that as criticism this morning. Not much sleep for me.

Clive Durham said...

I wonder why everyone uses a traditional hierarchical paradigm when thinking about the eternities, with the gods on top and everyone else falling somewhere below. While this approach to organization was typical in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, it has become in many ways outmoded.

In contrast, I like to think of heaven from a functional perspective, where there are a variety of roles and responsibilities, where we are given opportunities and happiness according to what we are actually willing to receive.

Viewing heaven from a functional perspective eliminates the mistaken theology that one person is better than another, but recognizes that each individual has different talents, abilities and interests.

Just like I don't have interest in being president of the US, a fortune 50 CEO, or a best selling author, I have no interest in procreating with a woman through eternity. I have confidence that the reward with which I'll be blessed in the next life will match my desires, interests and passions and will provide me a fullness of joy.

A Gay Mormon Boy said...

@Clive: Your response really got me thinking. I'd read your goodbye post, but didn't really tie your experiences to my thought. BTW, I shared your thoughts with a friend who needed them recently. We really do need to escape the tendency to think about things so categorically.

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