I may be a late-comer to the bandwagon on this issue. I found this just two days ago as I was taking a closer look at Jim Dabakis’ website. And as I read, I knew I could not remain silent. Dabakis is pleading for help because this is an LDS issue, and Dabakis is not LDS. But Dabakis is gay, and I am not. I may not be able to completely understand what a gay person goes through, but I think I can understand what a gay person in the church goes through. Especially here in Utah. And when one member of the church sends anonymous letter of condemnation to another member, there’s a serious problem. This is the third or fourth letter of this kind, and the recipient’s sister explains:
Erik is an active member of the ward. I’m assuming he hasn’t been to church in a couple weeks so the author must have assumed he had left the church. The letter was left on my parents front door in a plain white envelope. My parents as well as Erik live in South Ogden. This is the third or fourth letter left for him. It greatly upsets my parents.
The words I have to describe this horrific letter are inadequate, but let me give it a try. Aside from the vile rhetoric in this letter, there are three glaring problems with the author’s argument:
- If this young man is going to church on a regular basis, then we can safely assume that he is not participating in homosexual behavior. Leviticus 18:22 refers specifically to homosexual behavior, NOT gender orientation. The church does not condemn homosexuality, and sexual orientation is never a factor in considering temple worthiness. Homosexuals can and do serve missions, attend the temple, and hold callings in the ward. At one point in time, I lived in a ward that had a homosexual member of the bishopric. The bishop must be married; it is not a requirement for his counselors.
- Gender orientation is NOT a choice. While there may be some who allow themselves to be convinced that they are homosexual, most can tell you that this was a condition that they were aware of from childhood. It is real. Why it happens is still a matter under exploration. In fact, the author has missed a very important scripture in framing this argument: “For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it” (Matthew 19:12).
- The author of this letter makes the inappropriate assumption that he/she is a Christian. The barbaric rhetoric his letter is far from Christian, it is as black and flthy as the depths of hell, and Satan is loudly applauding the choices of its author. There can be no room for Christianity in this person’s heart. How dare they claim to be a follower of Christ?
- Well, not really a number four, but seriously? Proofread your hate mail before you send it, or it really won’t seem as hateful as you want it: “The effeminate will inherit the Kingdom of God.” Good. I’m set, and Erik probably is, too.
Dabakis respectfully asks “Please no LDS bashing on this one!” I dunno. I think the author of this particular letter does a pretty good job of bashing the church all on their own. No help needed here.
Dabakis is asking for help for the besieged family, and for Erik, the man who is targeted with these nauseating letters. So I am going to give it a try. First of all, Erik needs to know that this sort of bullying behavior has never been sanctioned by the church. It happens all the time though; I have seen it nearly everywhere. The church teaches against it, and It was reiterated in our last general conference:
Erik is not alone:
Erik’s family is not alone:
Erik needs to know that he has done nothing wrong. There are many members of the church who have fallen away over this issue. I know that Erik’s sister is one of them. Others have stayed, and some who have fallen away have come back. The church has created a website to help others understand how LDS beliefs affect gay members. One of my gay friends speaks about his own experience on this website:
My final advice is to go to your bishop. Bring the letters with you. If you don’t get help there, go to your stake president. Don’t stop asking for help and support until you get it. The church should be there for you; it’s part of its mission. Last but not least, ignore these letters, the people responsible for them are writing to their own damnation, and you will be the victor in the end. Stay strong. This is definitely something you can get through, and you and your family will be stronger for it.