Tuesday, July 22, 2014

If this Reddit post from BYU-Idaho is true, then I'm sad

I admit it. I'm a Reddit addict. If there's ever a slow moment at work, I can glance at the front page of Reddit and get a kick out of a cute puppy, funny gif, or random news story.

I feel 'cool' knowing the Reddit lingo such as "TIL" ("Today I Learned...") and "TL;DR" ("Too long; didn't read") and "AMA" ("Ask Me Anything.")  

But a recent posting to the LDS subreddit has me a little worried. Here's the full post. It's written by a student at BYU-Idaho. I've copied and pasted the poster's TL;DR (summary) below:

"I am a member with SSA who meets with a group of other men who have SSA as well, support group. We do not teach anything contrary to the Gospel -- the purpose of the group is to strengthen our commitment to living Gospel standards. The group has been around for a couple of years but with the new stake president and area seventy, we have been told to stop our group, not allowed to meet in any church building in the stake anymore, and effectively told us to "Seek counsel from ecclesiastical leaders, not support groups". But it's hard because most of us have a hard time relating to straight priesthood leaders about our SSA."

If this is all true - then I'm angry. I can't believe the leaders are basically shutting down the gay support group. If you read the post, the student says the sudden uptick with women and the priesthood and gay marriage are the main causes for the shutdown. I feel sorry for the student who made the post and for the rest of the group. They're young, confused and just need some help. It bugs me that they're being told to "seek counsel from ecclesiastical leaders."  Yep, a gay 18-year-old male should talk to his 40-year-old straight & married bishop for guidance. He'll have ALL the answers. (sarcasm)

Now, personally, I'm not the biggest fan of support groups, and I've made that very clear. But as I mentioned above, these kids are young. (I was older when I went looking for help.) This may be the first time they've opened up about their sexuality, and they need that camaraderie with those who share similar experiences. This support group is that first step before they all start to plan out their future. If you checked in with the group's members 10 years from now, I'm sure half are sticking with the celibacy/mixed-orientation marriage route and the other half found a cute boyfriend/partner after graduating. But no matter what they do 10 years from now, they NEED to talk about it NOW. Discuss sexuality and life, all in a SAFE place. And a bunch of church leaders want to take all this away. I don't get it.  

In reading the comments in the Reddit post, other folks have given advice on what to do. I hope something can be done to change the leaders' minds. There are times when I think the church is moving forward when it comes to gay members, but stuff like this just puts us two steps back.