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LDS Gay Fear
April 6th, 2009

Fears over gays crashing LDS conference prove false

by Jacob Hodgen

General Conference
Protesters during General Conference at Temple Square

A month or so ago, an alarming e-mail circulated through thousands of Utah inboxes. The letter claimed to be from someone who had inside knowledge from the Salt Lake Police Department and warned that up to 200,000 gay activists were planning on marching to Temple Square during General Conference weekend. It also claimed that the police had already called in the National Guard, because they were anticipating a shortage of officers.

Allegedly, activists were planning to align themselves with "anti-Christ groups" and would likely throw bricks and Molotav Cocktails. In addition to these violent tactics, the e-mail also claimed the protesters were planning on, "ripping up Book of Mormons, having people parade around wearing only temple garments or wearing them in combination with typical homosexual drag queen clothing."

The inflammatory e-mail sparked all manner of spiteful commentary and ignited the flames of fear in many homes across the state. Local websites have lately been flooded with unusually harsh language as anonymous bloggers unleash their rage on each other. One poster on the Tribune's forum writes, "I hope the cops don't turn a blind eye to the homos when they commit illegal acts during their protest as the cops did when the illegal aliens committed crimes during their protest a couple of years back."

General Conference

The letter owes much of its potency to the fact that tensions still run high in Utah over the fallout from Proposition 8. The California proposition passed in November and defined marriage as only between a man and a woman. It was publicly supported and funded in part by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, whose level of contributions has lately been the subject of much scrutiny and several lawsuits.

This e-mail spread quickly throughout both the gay and LDS communities and had many people on edge. However, if you spent any time in downtown Salt Lake this weekend, you know that this warning was a hateful lie.

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In fact, there were no such protests. The only rebellion consisted of the usual sign-waving evangelicals who stood peacefully outside the Conference Center grounds. However, the gay community did have big plans: they rallied together in community service projects for at-risk minorities.

General Conference
Protesting. . . the protesters?

Calling it "General Service Weekend," local activist groups united to hold a series of community service projects that were performed this weekend and will continue through the next. Jacob Whipple is an organizer of the All For One Initiative and an outspoken gay rights advocate. He claims, "We wanted to harness that energy for productive means. We don't feel that there is a need to protest [the LDS Church] further." Overall, seven different service projects were planned, ranging from cleaning and repainting classrooms to constructing ramps for the handicapped and sorting medical supplies for overseas humanitarian relief groups.

Most Utahns both for and against Proposition 8 lauded the decision. Scott Trotter, the official spokesman for the LDS church, wrote that, "Service to others is always a good idea." Official or not, some Mormons still seem to disagree, and the venom continues to flow freely on popular LDS blogs, such as this Deseret News forum poster: "Don't Protest. Don't pretty up the neighborhoods. Concentrate solely on PACKING your U-Haul trailors and downloading a Mapquest to the closest EXIT."

With no shortage of comments such as these, the controversy surrounding Proposition 8 and gay rights in Utah is far from over. The LDS church is currently being investigated in California for making illegal political contributions and a new protest is scheduled at Southern Utah University in response to inviting LDS President Thomas S. Monson to speak during their commencement.

Reader Comments

Commenting on all of it....Well lets see what can I say, I'm Gay or Two spirited is what they call it in my traditional culture; me being from the Cree Tribe in Alberta Canada, yet I'm a full believer in the Book Of Mormon also a member of The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints! and Faithful in what i believe! the problem is non of you understand what it is to know the Gospel, or to live the Gospel whole Heartedly for if you did you wouldn't hate the Faithful who live their lives to serve the Lord and Savior in the best of their abilities! you can all say the most hurtful things you want as if you do know! and to be honest its non of my business what you think and in my teachings I've learned to keep my distants from the Spirit Of Contention, but it did tik me off to hear that My Faith and My LDS Brothers and Sisters are the problems to yours and my CHOICE of life style. I have full support from the Church in ways where to People out there in a worldy world could never comprehend, if they(protestors) could only understand we all Love you no matter what you do to hurt us, say to us, or whether you try to destroy us... Remember I am Gay I have a Lovely Woman who stands by my side in Love and she is not of my faith but she supports me in my journey of Spirituality, we have two adopted Son's who we love as our own and I attend Church every Sunday not lying to any of the members or my leaders they know where and with whom I'm involved with and they Love me just the same as I Love them! This is my Choice to live this life style and always has been I know and they know it, yet I will not disrespect the Lord and pretend as if I'm not sinning and try be Married in the House of the Lord!!!!! only My Father in Heaven will be my judge and if you think I'm wrong be my guest cause i understand the Value for what He intended for this life we all hold.......

Thank you

Felicia Standingontheroad

and yes that is my real last name.....

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