More than a year ago I posed this question: What would missionaries say to a gay couple if they knocked on their door and they were interested in their message?
I am still curious about this because I think it reveals a lot about the future of the Mormon Church. Gay families exist, and they will continue to exist. As they are viewed with increasing normalcy, how will the Mormons deal with the fact that excluding them is unfavorable and looks bad? How will they treat this large pool of untapped potential converts? Will they even want to convert these families?
In my googling I stumbled across a blog that invites everyone to listen to the missionaries the next time they stop at your door. I posed my question to them. For clarity and potency sake, I did speak as if I was already married, when I will actually not be married until June (but I have been with Michael for 2 1/2 years, and June is so close!).
Are you as surprised as I am by the response? He is basically telling me that I would not only have to get divorced, but that I would want to get divorced! And though he calls it a “great sacrifice” he also refers to it as “frustrating.” Furthermore, he expects me to seek out and invite the missionaries over knowing that if they do come over and I do like what they say I will have to get divorced. Frustrating is an understatement.
I realize that this is just one man’s response/opinion, and that it doesn’t reflect the Church or the missionaries as a whole. In fact, I think his response does not represent what would happen at all. I used to be a missionary, and while I was on my mission I never had to determine what I would do in this scenario because every gay person whose door I knocked sent me packing, but if I had stumbled across a gay family, I would not have taught them. They couldn’t join the Church as a family, and therefore they couldn’t be considered “progressing investigators,” and so I wouldn’t have taught them, and I doubt many missionaries would. This is consistent with history. I pointed out in my original post that it is not an entirely new scenario. What did missionaries do prior to 1978 when they knocked on the door of black families? Nothing. They just excused themselves and knocked on the next door. I suspect that is what would happen today as well.
Maybe it was unfair of me to pose this question on his blog disingenuously, but my curiosity was sincere. I think the ease and flippancy with which he responds–lacking any sort of sympathy or understanding of how painful and traumatic divorce is–actually tells us as gay people that we have failed to help Mormons like him understand our relationships. Divorce is messy, gay or straight! Custody battles, division of assets, not to mention emotional history and scarring … He would never have said that so easily if he was counseling a man to leave his wife for conversion sake, which means he doesn’t understand that my relationship with Michael is just as significant, deep, and beautiful as a straight one would be. That is what really makes me the most sad coming away from this. How can we as a community really show the LDS people that our relationships are meaningful? How can I express the seriousness with which I take my marriage vows? Because until they see all of that, they won’t understand why we are valid, and why they can’t just write us off.