I have to begin this post by letting you know that my life has been managed by the fact that I am a Libra. I walk around with my hands out like the scales, saying “On the one hand there is this–on the other hand there is that.”
It renders me quite paralytic when I stand in the middle of a room and hold something in my hand wondering, “Throw it away? Put it in the box for the thrift store? Might it have historical value? Save it for one of the children? Or maybe one of the great-grandchildren?”
Yes, I know. You want to rip it from my hand and pummel me about the head. So do I. My Libraness gets in my way quite a lot.
But in other ways my Libraness has been a great blessing. It has, for instance, helped me navigate the tension between the LDS Church and homosexuality long enough to assist in making a difference.
I read the comments that readers printed here after my blog of a couple of weeks ago (See “The Tipping Point and the Penny”)–asserting that our church as well as society has passed the tipping point in terms of gay issues, and that in the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard the Lord paid equally those who came early and those who came late–and I found myself agreeing with those who agreed with me–-and also agreeing with those who did not agree with me.
“I think there is such a thing as being too generous…So far, their [LDS general leadership] work has been limited to cleaning up the charred remains of the part of the vineyard they and their predecessors have burned.” I can see that.
“I don’t at all see the church at the tipping point. I was recently excommunicated for being gay. I was told that by being gay I was ruining the good name of the church. Ostracized throughout the community.” I nod my head. Terrible.
“Except that coming late won’t un-dead those that took their life nor remove the heaps of emotional and mental suffering.” No argument here.
“I hope you are right that we have passed the tipping point as a church. But I’m afraid that being a lesbian and living in Utah Valley has taught me otherwise. I can’t come out to anyone but my closest friends. My family relationships are strained. When I told my sister that I was dating a woman she looked at me as if I had just killed a puppy.” I sigh. Absolutely understand.
And yet–we are past the point of no return even though sometimes it does not look like it. There is now enough momentum on the side of shifting attitudes about gay and lesbian people that there is no going back. In society, yes! In the LDS Church, yes!
In my last post I told of watching the second in a three-part series on PBS called “The Abolitionists.” That program ended at a sad place in history, but the narrator said, “The abolitionists–Frederick Douglass–William Lloyd Garrison–Harriet Beecher Stowe–could not know it, but their long struggle had passed the tipping point.”
I watched the last program in the series a couple of days ago, and things got even worse!–a stronger challenge to freeing the slaves–then the civil war! But then–though still with harsh times ahead–freedom!
The narrator spoke: “The abolitionists seemed prophetic. They had bent the arc of history.”
On the subject we are addressing, the arc of history has been bent. We are not home free. But even now a family member who goes to the new website www.mormonsandgays.org will find instruction that if followed would not allow them to look at a lesbian sister in a relationship as if she had “just killed a puppy.”
On the one hand–we have indeed passed the tipping point. Continued and more rapid change is inevitable.
And on the other hand… Usually I am a Libra, but on this one, to quote Tevye in “Fiddler On the Roof,” “…there is no other hand.”
Not on my watch.