I was reading a report that gay groups in large are planning on protesting outside of General Conference this April. Some of these groups are known to be “out there” even by gay pride parade standards. Clearly knowing anything about Mormon culture would tell you that this won’t work in convincing Mormons to change their minds. Mormons have a deep seated “seige mentatlity” and already feel like martyrs. Any large scale protest only heightens that martyr syndrome. Further, any outlandish, public displays of sodomy and sex acts will only convince Mormons that “it’s us against the world.”
What’s ironic about this situation is the homosexual community feels like martyrs in this situation. They are the ones who feel they’ve been persecuted and have a grievance against the world. I imagine they are thinking is that holding a large protest in Salt Lake City will bring media attention to the LDS church’s role in passing Proposition 8. It may not convince any Mormons to change their mind, but it might convince other people to change their mind about Mormons.
I don’t think the general homosexual population should be judge by those who go over the top any more than I think the Evangelical community should be judged by street preachers at General Conference. But those gay men who like to “show off” their perversity in public got me to ask the question “what are they thinking?” I can’t imagine that they rationally think that dressing up in a giant phallic costume will convince people that homosexuals are normal, mild mannered people who shouldn’t be feared. It communicates the opposite. To some degree, I think it’s an expression of anger toward the rest of society. It’s like they are saying “We’re going to force our lifestyle on you for rejecting us. So take it, take it, take it (middle fingers [an apropos phallic symbol] hoisted high in the sky).”
How both groups handle the situation and the press coverage will be interesting to see. Either way I think the LDS church will be driven further from its mission to the gay community and the gay community will be driven further from its mission the the LDS church. I think this offers a tremendous opportunity for Mormons to shock and suprise the protestors themselves with radical kindness; the kind that turns its cheek when struck, but I think the opportunity will be missed. It’s too great an opportunity to feel persecuted (and therefore the church is true).
As a side note, let me clearly state; protestors showing up at General Conference is NOT persecution. To call it such dishonors any Mormon ever killed or hurt because of their faith.