I’m really happy to hear that kind of response Dan. I think that’s exactly what the site intended and wants members to experience — compassion for those who differ from them. I think the church is trying its best to be inclusive by validating the reality of LGBTQ experience. Moving away from the exclusionary and damaging rhetoric of our past is a good thing. And I really hope that the love and inclusion spoken of in those videos will continue to reshape members perceptions, as well as heal those who identify as LGBTQ and Mormon.
At the same time, my heart bleeds with an honest ache for friends of mine who’ve told me about their counter-experiences with the new site. One friend in particular seems to believe the site is sending a double message. It wants to welcome LGBTQ people, he says, without welcoming LGBTQ relationships, which doesn’t really feel like a true welcome to him. The site does showcase some pretty dramatic exceptions too. On that point another friend related that the site will probably not console the majority of LGBTQ people living in the church, who will continue to feel torn between their community and conscience.
You bring up a really good point: “The question of what God really does and does not condone is at play underneath the tension.” I honestly do not know what God thinks about LGBTQ experience, but if I had to guess I’d say they are a lot more comfortable with it than we are. On top of it, I have yet to hear intelligible reasons for why God would condemn LGBTQ relationships. I know the standard appeals to authority and vague arguments based on natural law, but none of them have ever seemed convincing to me. If you have any resources I’d love for you to send them my way. In any case, thanks for indulging me on this very sensitive subject.