Return to Learning Center Affirmation Logo
"The Abominable and Detestable
Crime Against Nature":

A Brief History of Homosexuality and Mormonism, 1840-1980
1996

By Rocky O'Donovan

At the outset of this essay, I feel it is imperative that readers should be aware of my agenda since I do not subscribe to the theory of academic objectivity on any level. First of all, I am Gay, which for me means that I participate spiritually, politically, intellectually, and socially in a community of men-loving-men.[1] Second, I must emphasize that while academically trained as a historian, that is not a role with which I am comfortable. Rather, I consider myself a social activist, theorist, and poet. Third, I was raised a Mormon, went on a mission, and married in the Salt Lake Temple, but due to the overwhelming homophobia and heterosexism[2] encountered in the Mormon Church, I came to realize that for me, the only viable solution was to explore spirituality on my own path. I was later officially excommunicated for my very vocal and visible stance in opposing the church's oppression of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual people. Fourth, I am a liberationist. I do not seek "equal rights" for my people. I do not desire equal access to power. Rather, I actively explore different paradigms in which we can all move away from and forget "power relationships."

In this essay, I attempt to analyze how Mormon leaders have confronted and tried to eradicate first sodomy and later, homosexuality - and conversely, how Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Mormons have responded to their religion. In doing so, it became apparent to me that Mormon women found that the intensity of female homosociality[3] available in Mormon structures created a space in which they could explore passionate, romantic relationships with each other. At the same time, I have uncovered some of the problematics of male homosociality - especially its power to arbitrarily defend or exile those men accused of entering into erotic activities with other men. During the early 1840's Mormon founder Joseph Smith deified heterosexuality when he introduced the doctrine of a Father and Mother in Heaven - a divine, actively heterosexual couple paradigmatic of earthly sexual relationships. As Mormon bishop T. Eugene Shoemaker recently posited: "the celestial abode of God is heterosexually formed."[4] Smith also eternalized heterosexuality by extended opposite-sex marriages (heterogamy) into "time and all eternity" and multiplied heterosexuality through polygamy. Historian Richard S. Van Wagoner explains that Smith's "emphasis on procreation became the basis for the Mormon concept of humanity's progress to divinity. All of Smith's...doctrinal innovations fell into place around this new teaching. Smith explained that God was an exalted [heterosexual] man and that mortal existence was a testing ground for men to begin to progress toward exalted godhood. Salvation became a family affair revolving around a husband whose plural wives and children were sealed to him for eternity under the 'new and everlasting covenant'." [5]

Polygamy thus bound together all of Mormon theology and cosmology, while simultaneously defining early Mormon sexuality and setting Mormons off as a "peculiar people" - a separate and elite community of believers and practicants. This separatism, which the sexual deviance of polygamy created, was a highly effective means for the Mormons to gain social and political power. However, while practicing their own sexual perversion (i.e. polygamy), Mormons disavowed other sexual perversities (such as sodomy) - especially if by doing so persecution could be deflected from themselves onto others.

I believe that the Mormon temple ceremony offers a useful metaphor for exposing the ambiguities and problems inherent in Mormon sexualities. Briefly, in the "endowment ceremony" (so called because Mormons believe that they become "endowed with power from on high") Mormons in good standing engage in a ritualistic, audience-participation drama portraying the creation of the world, scenes from the Garden of Eden, the fall of Adam and Eve into mortality, Jesus' atonement, and humanity's re-entrance into the "Celestial Kingdom" of God, learning the passwords, tokens, and special handshakes in order to get past the guardians of the Celestial Kingdom. For most of the ritual, men are literally cross-dressed in a rather feminine, pleated, dress-like robe, slippers, bonnet, bows, sash, and apron; and women are dressed as brides: white gown, pleated robe, slippers, bows, sash, veil, and apron. During the entire ritual, men and women sit separate into two distinct, homosocial groups. However, the female homosociality of the endowment ceremony is only temporary, for every woman must ultimately break off from her all-female group at the climax of the ritual, step up to the veil and embrace a man who represents god standing on the other side of the veil through large slits cut into the veil itself.[6] Thus women's world is fractured while their sexuality is ultimately funnelled through men. However, men's homosociality is only confirmed when they physically embrace other men (again, representing "god"), and intimately whisper into "god's ear" the following pledge of eternal procreativity: "power in the priesthood be upon me and upon my posterity through all generations of time and throughout all eternity" (emphasis is mine). This, with but a sheer veil separating the two men. Patriarchy, at its core, is homosocial - and by that I mean that it is a society of men whose power and privilege exist solely at the expense of the authenticity of femaleness. In a patriarchy, and especially a religious patriarchy like Mormonism, men constantly have social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual and political intercourse exclusively with other men. But sexual intercourse between men in the patriarchy is not allowed. In a world where sex is constructed to be power, men are internally and externally unable to f**k anyone equal to themselves. That temple veil, no matter how thin, must remain intact, unrent. Any man who dares rend that veil, bursting that thin male hymen is exiled, excommunicated, stripped of priesthood authority and membership in the Kingdom of (the white, heterosexual male) God.

"The Sisterhood of the Loving": Mormon Polygamy, Sorority & Lesbian Desire

In feminist Adrienne Rich's ground-breaking 1980 essay "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence" she describes her theory of a "lesbian continuum" on which she believes all women exist, whether they identify themselves as Lesbian or not. This continuum is "a range - through each woman's life and throughout history - of woman-identified experience, not simply the fact that a woman has had or consciously desired genital sexual experience with another woman." For Rich, this Lesbianism easily encompasses many more forms of emotional "intensity between and among women, including the sharing of a rich inner life, the bonding against male tyranny, the giving and receiving of practical and political support."[7] This intense female bonding (or homosociality) was present in the parameters of Mormon polygamy. While some critics see polygamy as a form of male tyranny over women, I find that many Mormon women subversively reconstructed polygamy as a means of escaping male domination on many other levels, in what I call heroic acts of Lesbian resistance.

The potential for female homosocial relationships is found among the polygamous "sister-wives" of Milford Shipp.[8] His first wife, Ellis Reynolds Shipp, earned a medical degree at the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1878. This was possible only because her sister-wives cared for her three children in Utah while she was studying back east, pooling their resources to pay her tuition. Her sister-wives also wrote her encouraging letters, while she described those of her husband as "harsh," "bitter and sharp." When Dr. Shipp returned to Salt Lake City, she set up a thriving medical practice and made enough money to send her other sister-wives through medical college or midwifery training. Indeed, her biographer claims that her sister-wives' "role in ensuring Ellis's professional advancement stands as a moving testimony to the close relationships possible among Mormon plural wives."[9]

Milford Shipp was almost entirely uninvolved in the lives of his wives. He gave them important marital status and fathered their children. Otherwise, "in polygamy the wives and children learned to fend for themselves."[10] Dr. Shipp recorded in her private journal, "How beautiful to contemplate the picture of a family where each one works for the interest, advancement, and well-being of all. Unity is strength."[11] Given that her husband only nominally participated in the lives of these women, I believe this quote must be interpreted in the context of Rich's Lesbian continuum. Even more to the point is Ellis' statement, also from her journal, about "how pure and heavenly is the relationship of sisters in the holy order of polygamy." That these women not only shared a husband, but also surnames, lives, hopes, education, political views, economic status, child-rearing, etc., indicates a depth of homosocial and homophilic intercourse typifying the "Lesbian" relationships (in Adrienne Rich's definition) of Victorian Mormonism.

Despite the fact that Joseph Smith deified, eternalized, and pluralized heterosexuality through polygamy and temple ritual, early Mormon women found that their bodies, sensuality, and desires were neither tamed nor contained by obedience to the institution of polygamy. I believe that many women found creative, unique, and intensely meaningful ways to confess and express their desire for other women.

Feminist historian, Dr. Carol Lasser, has documented that Victorian women in America, in order to formalize "Romantic Friendships" with other women, sometimes married brothers, becoming sisters-in-law and sharing a surname. She theorizes that marrying brothers "deepened their intimacy, extending it in new directions, further complicating the intricate balance of emotional and material ties, and perhaps offering a symbolic consummation of their passion" for each other.[12] Interestingly, Mormon women had the unique ability to take this even one step further - by marrying the same man, and thus becoming sister-wives. The unique arrangements of Mormon polygamous households provided a potential medium for Lesbian expression among women who could easily (albeit covertly) eroticize each other's bodies through the gaze of their shared husband.

Indeed at least one Mormon woman went so far as to request that her husband marry polygamously after she fell in love with another woman, so that the two women could openly live together. Sarah Louisa Bouton married Joseph Felt in 1866 as his first wife but according to a 1919 biography, around 1874, Louie (the masculinized nickname she preferred) met and "fell in love with" a young woman in her local LDS congregation named Alma Elizabeth (Lizzie) Mineer.[13] After discovering her intense passion for Lizzie Mineer, a childless Louie encouraged Joseph to marry the young woman as a plural wife, explaining "that some day they would be privileged to share their happiness with some little ones." Joseph married Lizzie Mineer in 1876. But Lizzie's new responsibilities of bearing and raising children evidently proved too great a strain for her and Louie's relationship. Five years later Louie Felt fell in love with "another beautiful Latter-day Saint girl" named Lizzie Liddell, and again Joseph obligingly married her for Louie's sake. Thus Louie "opened her home and shared her love" with this second Lizzie.[14] In 1883, 33 year old Louie Felt met 19 year old May Anderson, and they also fell in love. This time, however, May did not marry Joseph Felt. In 1889 May moved in with Louie, and Joseph permanently moved out of the house Louie had built and bought on her own.[15] Thus began one of the most intense, stable, and productive love relationships in turn-of-the-century Mormonism. These two women lived together for almost 40 years, and together presided over three of Mormonism's most significant institutions: the General Primary Association (for Mormon children), the Children's Friend (a magazine for young Mormons), and the Primary Children's Hospital.[16] Louie and May were fairly open about the romantic and passionate aspects of their relationship, as reported in their biographies published in several early issues of the LDS Children's Friend. According to their recent biographer, Felt and Anderson's relationship was a "symbiotic partnership with each compensating for the weaknesses and complementing the strengths of the other." The 1919 Children's Friend biography more bluntly declared that "the friendship which had started when Sister Felt and [May Anderson] met...ripened into love. Those who watched their devotion to each other declare that there never were more ardent lovers than these two." The same biography also calls the beginning of their relationship a "time of love feasting," and makes it clear that the two women shared the same bed.[17] Twice in the Children's Friend, Anderson and Felt were referred to as "the David and Jonathan" of the Primary, which, the magazine explained, was a common appellation for the women. For centuries, the biblical characters David and Jonathan have been signifiers of male-male desire and eroticism, because it was written that their love for each other "surpassed the love of women."[18] That two women were described as David and Jonathan simultaneously masculinizes their love and firmly encodes it in a homoerotic context.

While polygamy was instigated by Mormon men (but subsequently appropriated by their wives as a powerful source for homosociality), the women themselves created structures and discourses of sorority which allowed Lesbian expression. The all-female Relief Society and Young Ladies' Mutual Improvement Association, as well as other early expressions of Mormon feminism, are all examples of female homosocial enclaves within the larger, male-dominated structures of power. In the papers of Mormon Lesbian poet Kate Thomas is the clipping of a poem which appears to have been printed in the Young Women's Journal at the turn of the century. The poem, written by Sarah E. Pearson and entitled "Sister to Sister," beautifully describes the intensity of homosocial sorority that Pearson encountered "in the sunlight of the Gospel of Christ." For Pearson, Mormonism did not divide women against each other, but made of them sisters, and

"congenial, life-long friends with like, true aims to bind us;
With a glimpse of a tender heart shown in compassionate feeling
The bleeding scars from the smart of death's pangs half revealing;
The comradeship of the true, the sisterhood of the loving;
The voice of my heart to you and the cry my soul is giving.[19]

Lillie T. Freeze, a fifty-year veteran of both the Young Ladies' Mutual Improvement Association and Primary general boards, recalled in 1928 that "through these [all-female] agencies the women were seeking 'the life more abundant,' desiring to bless and comfort each other and to cultivate the longing for higher things than the social pleasures of the day could afford," again recalling Adrienne Rich's definition of the Lesbian continuum.[20] While Louie B. Felt and May Anderson of the Primary apparently had no troubles reconciling their passionate relationship and their religion, other early Mormon women found it more difficult. For example, Kate Thomas, a prolific, turn-of-the-century Mormon playwright and poet, withdrew somewhat from Mormonism while exploring her attraction to other women. Thomas, who never married, left Utah for New York City and Europe in 1901 but still maintained contact with Mormonism by writing lessons and poetry for the Relief Society and Young Ladies' manuals and magazines while on her extended absences. However, some of her poetry of that same period reflects a growing disaffection with Mormonism.

At the age of nineteen Thomas began keeping a private journal of what she called her "love poetry" while attending courses in Salt Lake City at the LDS Business College. This journal consists almost entirely of love poems written to other women. When she moved to Greenwich Village in New York City in 1901 (already a homosexual mecca), she explored not only Lesbian desire, but also religious and spiritual traditions as diverse as Catholicism and Buddhism. Thomas also became an outspoken peace activist, anarchist, supporter of the very controversial League of Nations, and practitioner of Yoga.[21]

While having difficulties with her religion, it is clear that Thomas was able to reconcile her sexuality with her spirituality.

This morning how I wished that I might be
Just long enough to write one heart-felt rhyme
To one so near that she seems a part of me.
But were I all the bards that ever sung
Turned into one transcendent immortelle
It seems to me I still would lack the tongue
To say how long I'd love her or how well!
Fall on her daily doubled o'er and o'er
When world on world and worlds again shall roll
God grant that we two shall still stand soul to soul![22]

In other poems written around the same time, I believe she used the word "gay" as a double entendre to mean both happiness and same-sex desire. The following short poem is an example:

A scarlet West;
An East merged into eventide.
A brown plain
And by my side
The one - the one in all the world
I love the best!
Last night's gay mask -
The outward wildness and the inward ache
I cast off forever; from her lips I take joy never-ceasing.
Brown plain and her kiss
Are all I ask.[23]

The word "gay" was used to describe same-sex male desire in the United States as early as 1868.[24] Five years after Thomas wrote this poem, American writer Gertrude Stein wrote "Miss Furr and Miss Skeen" in which she repeatedly used the word "gay" to signify same-sex female desire.[25] I suspect that Kate Thomas discovered this underground meaning while she was living in Greenwich Village and used it throughout her poetry. That it meant homosexual desire to her is supported by the fact that the only time she used the word "gay" outside of poems written to other women, was in a poem about "Gay Narcissus," who has traditionally signified same-sex (especially male) desire.[26] Another lengthy poem entitled "A Gay Musician" is about Kate's love for a woman named Illa. The following is a brief passage:

That dear white hand within my own I took
"Illa," I whispered, "May I keep it so?"
My eager blood my anxious cheek forsook
Fearing my love that loved me might say no....
She raised her eyes. There looking I beheld
The Sound of Music through the eyes of love.[27]

One historian commented that in this poem "the poet is speaking in the voice of one female to another...and as in many others in the journal, makes clear the sensuality of fantasy and desire."[28]

Cornelia (Cora) Kasius was another Mormon Lesbian who left Utah for New York City, for education, "economic security and career advancement", as well as being able to explore her sexuality away from the opprobrium of the church. A prominent social worker from Ogden, Utah, Kasius was assistant general secretary to the LDS Relief Society as early as 1923. According to her nephew, Peter Kasius, Cora Kasius

"dropped all pretense of having any affiliation with the Mormon Church after a year of being the editor of the LDS Relief Society Magazine in 1922-23. She left S[alt] L[ake] C[ity] at that time for Washington DC for a year of child welfare work, primarily at an institution for delinquent youth. In 1924 she returned to S[alt] L[ake] C[ity] and...had her first experience as a family social worker."[29]

 In 1928 she moved to New York to attend the New York School of Social Work, and where she "lived for several years in a highly respected woman's residence in midtown on the West Side".[30] By 1930 she was on the faculty of Barnard College and by 1945, Ms. Kasius also served on the faculties of New York University, Colombia University, and New York School of Social Work. At the end of World War II, Kasius was appointed "Welfare Liaison Officer" to aid in the rehabilitation of Holland after its destruction during World War II. She also put in 17 years of service with the Family Service Association of America as its publications editor and in 1964 she was honored by the National Conference on Social Welfare for her leadership in the field of social work for several decades. In the late 1950s, she moved to a Grammercy Park apartment where she resided until her death in l984.[31]

These women found avenues for exploring passion between women within official Mormon structures such as the Relief Society. Thus it comes as no surprise that the most radical discourse of Mormon sorority, that of early Mormon feminism, also created vital space in which women could desire other women romantically and sexually. Historian of Mormon feminism, Maxine Hanks, has recovered one of the most important documents relating to Lesbianism in Victorian America: what appears to be the earliest published statement on Lesbianism written by a feminist. In the 1860's Mormon women began publishing an ecclesiastically sanctioned feminist periodical called the Woman's Exponent. The 15 April 1873 issue reprinted from a New York paper an article by the pseudonymous "Fanny Fern," tellingly entitled "Women Lovers."[32] The essay comments on the then current fashion of "smashing" without actually using the term.[33] Smashing involved passionate, sometimes sexual, friendships between women before the turn of the century. To clarify the possibly confusing wording of the document, I should explain that two kinds of "women lovers" are being described: the innocent, victimized pursuer (called Araminta) and the manipulative, passive-aggressive pursued woman (called "the other party" as well as the "conquering 'she'"). The complete text of this brief but remarkable article follows:

Women Lovers
Perhaps you do not know it, but there are women who fall in love with each other. Woe be to the unfortunate she, who does the courting! All the cursedness of ingenuity peculiar to the sex is employed by "the other party" in tormenting her. She will flirt with women by the score who are brighter and handsomer than her victim. She will call on them oftener. She will praise their best bonnets and go into ecstasies over their dresses. She will write them more pink notes [love letters], and wear their 'tin-types,' [photos] and when despair has culminated, and sore-hearted Araminta takes to her bed in consequence, then only will this conquering 'she' step off her pedestal to pick up her dead and wounded. But then, women must keep their hand in. Practice makes perfect.[34]

This significant article colors the women of the Exponent, and indeed of the entire early Mormon feminist movement, a distinct shade of lavender. As Mormon historian D. Michael Quinn explains, Louise L. Greene's decision, as editor of the Woman's Exponent, to reprint this brief essay "indicates her assumption that 'Women Lovers' was of interest to Mormon women."[35] The language is very casual but calculated. The author merely warns women to be careful when loving other women - not to be victimized by exploitive and destructive women. The closing statement "practice makes perfect" indicates that Lesbian desire is complete and perfect in and of itself, and is not a precursor to heterosexuality.

Sodomy, Faggotry, and Heterosexual Panic in Early Mormonism

One of the most dramatic events in the history of Mormonism and homosexuality occurred in the 1840s. John C. Bennett, a recent convert to Mormonism, arrived in Nauvoo, Illinois (then LDS headquarters), and immediately began his rise to ecclesiastical prominence.[36] Within months of arriving, he became a chief advisor to Joseph Smith. After Sidney Rigdon's refusal to allow his daughter to marry Smith polygamously, Bennett was given the title of Assistant President to the Church, placing him above either Smith's first counselor Rigdon or church patriarch, Hyrum Smith. Bennett also became chancellor of the University of Nauvoo, mayor of Nauvoo, and a general in the Nauvoo Legion. But Bennett had a mysterious past, for he had risen to prominent positions in other cities, other social circles, only to be cast out and forced to move on. Rumors of Bennett's past began to circulate in Nauvoo. Men were sent by Joseph Smith to other towns where Bennett had lived, and they returned with sober news: Bennett had a long history as a "homo-libertine," according to Mormon historian Sam Taylor.[37] When the news broke in the leading councils of the church, Bennett drank some poison in what appears to have been a carefully planned attempt at suicide. Being a physician, he would have known exactly how much to take to get sick but not to kill himself. This sham suicide attempt brought forgiveness and sympathy from both Joseph Smith and the church at large.

Soon, however, more rumors circulated of Bennett's current practices in Nauvoo: that he was courting several women simultaneously, that he had performed abortions on various Mormon women, that he frequented "the brothel on the hill," and that he was giving out high-ranking positions in the Nauvoo Legion for sexual favors with men under his command. Rumors of sodomy even reached non-Mormons. The anti-Mormon Reverend W. M. King accused Nauvoo of being "as perfect a sink of debauchery and every species of abomination as ever was in Sodom and Nineveh." Sam Taylor felt that Bennett's "sexual antics" with men of the Nauvoo Legion cast aspersions of sodomy on "hell knows how many revered pioneers."[38] However, another Mormon historian, T. Edgar Lyon, thought that Bennett could not have been homosexual since he was also accused of seducing women. "From my limited knowledge of homosexuals," Lyon wrote, "it seems to be out of character of the man [Bennett] to be so deeply involved with girls and women in town and at the same time practicing homosexuality."[39]

As Sam Taylor speculated, Joseph Smith could overlook just about anything but disloyalty. And Bennett turned disloyal, publicly espousing plural marriage, arguably Mormonism's best kept secret during these years. Taylor also felt that Smith dared not use accusations of sodomy against Bennett for fear of destroying the reputations of the young men whom Bennett had seduced, as well as not wanting the public to know that their "prophet, seer, and revelator" had put a sodomite in such a high position. Instead, Smith claimed that Bennett had tried to enlist the Nauvoo Legion to assassinate Smith during one of their musters. After this alleged plot "failed," Bennett was publicly humiliated and privately threatened, then given the chance to recant. Fearing for his life, he signed a statement saying that Smith had never taught or practiced polygamy, and left Nauvoo in May 1842. He was immediately released as Assistant President, excommunicated from the church, and lost his university chancellery and mayorship. But Bennett went on to write one of Mormonism's most scathing exposes, The History of the Saints.

Then in July 1842, Joseph's brother, William Smith, editor of a Mormon newspaper in Nauvoo, The Wasp, tried to silence Bennett's accusations by sarcastically writing that Bennett only saw Joseph Smith as "a great philanthropist as long as Bennett could practice adultery, fornication, and - we were going to say, (Buggery,) without being exposed."[40] Two years later a slander suit brought against Joseph Smith by Francis Higbee implied that he and his brother, Chauncey Higbee, had been sexually involved with Bennett through the Nauvoo Legion, where Higbee had been a colonel. During Higbee's slander suit, Brigham Young testified that he had "told Dr. Bennett that one charge against him was leading young men into difficulty - he admitted it. If he had let young men and women alone it would have been better for him." Hyrum Smith also testified that Higbee had been "seduced" by Bennett. Other testimony indicated that Bennett "led the youth that he had influence over to tread in his unhallowed steps." Although deleted in the printed version, the original ecclesiastical notes indicate that in addition to charges of sex with women, other testimony about Bennett was deleted from the official minutes as being "too indelicate for the public eye and ear," an allusion to the "unspeakable crime" of sodomy.[41]

Accusations of buggery or sodomy, (and later of homosexuality), have been used throughout European and American history in religious and/or political attacks to malign one's opponent. Bennett was vilified publicly as a bugger because he publicly admitted that Mormon leaders were practicing polygamy. This is an important factor in our understanding Mormon sexuality and Mormon heterosexual panic, as I call it. As stated earlier, Joseph Smith had just begun to deify heterosexuality with his doctrine of the Father and Mother in Heaven. Mormons found themselves in the ironic position of having to protect this deification, eternalization, and multiplication of heterosexuality by exposing Bennett's acts of buggery with men. This is not the only time accusations of homosexuality, whether true or not, were used by Mormons in their political battles.

In 1886, Mormon leaders used homosexual accusations to politically destroy the character of one of their own elite. Thomas Taylor, the wealthy polygamous bishop of the Salt Lake 14th Ward, was excommunicated for masturbating with several young men in Southern Utah. Behind this accusation, however, lay years of conflict between Thomas Taylor and the church leaders. Twenty years earlier, Taylor had loaned the church $15,000 to help emigrate a group of Mormon converts from Europe to Utah, with the understanding that the church would later repay him. Brigham Young neglected to pay the sum back, and when Young died Taylor went to John Taylor (no relation) for the payment owed him. However, the new Mormon president judged Thomas Taylor's claim to be invalid and asserted that Taylor had secured the money illegally in the first place. Thomas called this accusation libelous and through adjudication won payment of the money owed him. Then, not surprisingly, came the accusations from Richard Williams of Parowan, brothers Simeon W. Simkins and William W. Simkins of Cedar City, and a fourth, unnamed teenager who alleged that Thomas Taylor had on several occasions slept with them and during the night had used their hands to masturbate him.[42] Taylor was immediately disfellowshipped from the church, and news of the proceedings reached the columns of the anti-Mormon Salt Lake Tribune. The Tribune went so far as to accuse Taylor of being "guilty of a horrible and beastly sin" and interestingly reiterated that he was "a polygamist." In another editorial the Tribune asked if Taylor should be "prosecuted in the courts? Or is there no law against sodomy, either, in this most lawless of Territories."[43] Here the anti-Mormon Tribune identifies Taylor's "beastly sin" as sodomy (which same-sex masturbation technically was not) and then obliquely compares sodomy to the "lawlessness" of Mormon polygamy.[44] In a letter to church president John Taylor on September 22, 1886, Thomas confessed his "sins" and asked to be reinstated into full fellowship with the church:

I am sending consent today for my [first] wife to obtain a divorce, she never has appreciated the addition of [other] wives to my family, and now I have sinned, her patience is exhausted, and I fear for my children. I am ashamed to think that I have been so weak and I feel to cry God be merciful to me, and I want my brethren to be merciful to me[.] I want to be humble and live so that I can purify my thoughts and words and actions...Oh, help me to come back to [God's] favor. I expect to have offended you greatly[.] I humbly ask your forgiveness. I am suffering terribly. My nerves are unstrung[.] I have such throbbings of the heart, and headache[s]. I cannot sit still, nor sleep, when I doze off to sleep, I wake and see before me ["]excommunicated["], and my wife suffers almost if not quite as much as bad, and I feel for her because it is my doing and I ought to be alone the sufferer, and I will try to endure. I do not want to apostatize[.] I want to return to my allegiance to God and his work and I pray you to grant me this favor as soon as you can in righteousness, and I will try to live so as to be worthy of so great a favor.[45]
Despite this plea for forgiveness, none was forthcoming, for Thomas Taylor had committed two unspeakable crimes: he had challenged a church president, and he had dared to desire other men.

Even lay Mormons accused members of their own families of sodomitical practices, ostensibly for political gain. In 1893, Lorenzo Hunsaker went through two ecclesiastical trials in Honeyville, Utah for allegedly having sexual relations with two younger half-brothers. Rudger Clawson, the local LDS Stake President, fortunately left a verbatim account of these trials in his journal. Clawson recorded in 1894 that "One of the most extraordinary cases that ever arose in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was that of Peter and Weldon Hunsaker versus Lorenzo Hunsaker in the Honeyville Ward."[46] He then quotes for the next 150 pages from private conversations, letters, petitions, church court records, and personal testimonials.

Evidently just after October 1893 general conference, Lorenzo Hunsaker told Clawson that recently "Peter and Weldon, his [half-]brothers had circulated a story in that Ward to the effect that [Lorenzo] had been guilty of sucking their penis [sic]...[for] a period of some two or three years....The question, therefore, was what, under the circumstances had best be done." Clawson counseled Lorenzo Hunsaker "that if I were in his place, I should treat the whole affair with silent contempt, and gave as a reason that the charge was so monstrous and ridiculous that he would be degrading himself in the eyes of sensible people to follow it up....My confidence in the purity of Lorenzo's life and faithfulness as a Latter-day Saint," Clawson confided, "was such that I felt it would be an insult to ask him if he were guilty."[47] Had Clawson asked Hunsaker that very question, events might have turned out differently.

Lorenzo Hunsaker did as suggested, ignoring the accusations, and found himself quickly excommunicated by the bishop of the Honeyville Ward. Lorenzo appealed the action to the stake presidency and high council. Eventually, other half-brothers as well as male neighbors added their own accusations of attempted or accomplished oral and anal sex and masturbation with Lorenzo. But as Clawson indicated in his journal, Lorenzo was a Mormon in good standing: a polygamist, a full tithe payer, a temple attender, a high priest, and close friend of local church leaders, while his accusers were known to swear occasionally, miss church services, or drink now and then. Thus the question came down to Lorenzo's piety versus the impiety of some ten accusers. But behind all this lay the issue of the family inheritance.

Abraham Hunsaker, the polygamous patriarch of a family of almost fifty children, had recently died and made it clear that his son Lorenzo was to be the fiscal and spiritual head of the family, even though he was not even close to being the oldest of the sons. After Abraham's death, there had been some petty bickering and power struggles, and the accusations of homosexuality against Lorenzo must be viewed in the context of that power struggle among Abraham Hunsaker's heirs. While Peter, Weldon, and others clearly used their accusations against Lorenzo to erode his familial power and social influence, it seems clear after carefully reading all the testimonies, that Lorenzo Hunsaker was indeed engaging in sexual relations with his half-brothers and perhaps a neighbor or two. However, because of his good standing in the church, Lorenzo won readmission into the church and managed to have Peter and Weldon Hunsaker excommunicated for lying. The other accusers, when faced with similar church action against them, recanted. During this period the local ward structure fell apart as people picked sides. A petition was circulated by the women of the ward, protesting the church's action against Peter and Weldon, but when they presented the petition to Clawson, he curtly replied that the women "could do as they pleased, but if they wished to do right, they would invariably vote to sustain the propositions of the Priesthood."[48] Clawson eventually released all local ward leaders for disobedience and for "humiliating the Priesthood."[49] He then replaced them with men who would follow his counsel, and withheld the sacrament from the ward for several months, as punishment.

For Thomas Taylor, secular judicial proceedings and media attention were minimal, while for Lorenzo Hunsaker, no such exposure occurred at all, indicating that the church maintained carefully controlled responses in both situations. In the case of Taylor, judicial proceedings were brought against him in the form of a grand jury investigation - but that took place several months after his excommunication. The grand jury convened in southern Utah, where it predictably received a minimum of press coverage. Although Taylor's ecclesiastical investigation found enough "evidence" to excommunicate him, the grand jury concluded that "there was no evidence of the crimes he was accused of" and dropped the case.[50] It seems apparent that Mormon leaders wanted to humiliate Thomas Taylor, while avoiding a full-blown scandal that could damage the church's image if all the details, notably Taylor's business dealings with the church, became too well publicized - especially when the eyes of the nation were turned upon Mormonism during these tumultuous years of anti-polygamy sentiment.

The fear of yet another scandal to feed anti-Mormon appetites perhaps helped keep Lorenzo Hunsaker out of both the secular courtroom and the media, as Hunsaker was a good Mormon polygamist like Thomas Taylor.[51] If a male polygamist could be sexually active with other men as well as with women, then perhaps the hierarchy of gender would be blurred when the rigidity of Mormon gender structures was brought into question. Even acknowledgment of homosexual desire among church members was unthinkable. Little profit then would have come from publicizing these cases in open court with the media filing sensationalized reports on an already battered church.

However, Mormon leaders could be merciless when uncovering sodomy in non-Mormons, as occurred when Private Frederick Jones was brought to trial in 1864 for raping a nine year old boy. According to accounts published in the Salt Lake Daily Telegraph and the Daily Union Vedette, in October 1864 Jones, stationed at what is now Fort Douglas, raped a boy named Monk (allegedly at knife-point) in a ravine between downtown Salt Lake City and Fort Douglas. The boy then told his father, who pressed charges against Jones. A week later Jones was in the Salt Lake City jail awaiting trial for sodomy. Although the Jones suit actually deals with violent pedophilia (an adult raping a pre-pubescent child), I have included it in this essay because the judicial response shows that many Utahns could only see that the perpetrator and victim both happened to be male and thus they focused solely on the issue of sodomy. As Gay theorist Daniel Shellabarger recently posited, "the homophobia of the Utah territorial judicial system is exposed in this case. How odd that the molestation or rape of a child was not even the primary question. The issue of sodomy between two males blocked their vision of the real crime."[52]

Jones was initially examined by Justice of the Peace Jeter Clinton, who was also an alderman on the Salt Lake City council, a member of a ward bishopric, and had ties with the secret Mormon Council of the Fifty. Jones pled not guilty. During the hearing a week later, Clinton determined that the "evidence was clear and conclusive against Jones," and the court went into recess to "examine the law on the subject," but then discovered that Utah had no anti-sodomy law. When Jones appeared before Clinton the following afternoon, Clinton was forced to released him. Jones set off for Ft. Douglas but only reached the corner of First South and State Street, where he was assassinated. Although witnesses heard gun shots, saw the flash of pistol fire, and heard the sound of retreating footsteps, no one reported to have actually witnessed the murderer.[53]

Many Mormons felt little sorrow at the murder of Frederick Jones. Albert Carrington, the editor of the Deseret News and future LDS Apostle (who would ironically be excommunicated later for an adulterous affair with his female secretary), editorialized that Jones's murder "should prove a warning to all workers of abominations, for there is always the chance that some one will be impatient of the law's delay in cases so outrageous and abominable."[54] As D. Michael Quinn has pointed out, even Brigham Young responded to the outcome of the Jones trial, writing in November 1864 that Utah lacked an anti-sodomy law at that time because "our legislators, never having contemplated the possibility of such a crime being committed in our borders[,] had made no provision for its punishment."[55] Jones became Mormon society's scapegoat - not only was he a sodomite but was also a "gentile." In essence, he represented everything Mormons feared - federal intervention and challenges to their own sexual perversities. Carrington was unequivocal: Mormons could do nothing but murder Jones, first to cleanse their community of God's judgment on sodomy, and second, to atone for their own feelings of guilt for deviating from Victorian socio-sexual mores.

Sodomy, or "the Crime Against Nature," became illegal in Utah territory on February 18, 1876.[56] It was then obliquely defined as heterosexual and homosexual anal intercourse. As a felony it was punishable by imprisonment for not more than five years. In 1907, the punishment was changed to three to twenty years imprisonment.[57] In 1923, heterosexual and homosexual oral sex was added to the sodomy statute, thus criminalizing most sex acts regardless of the sexual orientation or gender of the persons involved.[58] Sodomy was reduced from a felony to a class B misdemeanor in 1953, while forcible sodomy (oral or anal rape) has remained a felony.[59]

While Mormons reacted with various degrees of intolerance when confronting sodomitical practices of both Mormon and non-Mormon men, there was still room in which many Mormon men could safely (and quite publicly) negotiate passionate and romantic relationships with other men without critical or punitive reactions from Mormon officials. In the 1850's, Mormon converts Luke Carter and William Edwards constructed an intimate relationship with each other without any apparent opprobrium from church leaders. Luke Carter, a 46 year old British Mormon, arrived in Liverpool, England in 1856 to emigrate to Utah with his daughter. Carter had been separated (probably divorced) from his wife for some three years. While in Liverpool, he started a friendship with another recent Mormon convert, William Edwards, an unmarried man of thirty, who was emigrating to Utah with his younger sister in the Martin Company.[60] Once this group had crossed the ocean and ridden the trains to Iowa City, they found themselves at least two months behind schedule. 576 Mormons left Iowa City in poorly constructed handcarts on July 26, 1856, having been promised by a Mormon Apostle that God would keep winter at bay so that they could arrive in Zion safely. Within days, the earliest winter on record set in. Fatigue, cold, malnutrition, snow, and poorly built handcarts took their toll. One of the first adults to die in this tragic journey was William Edwards.

Josiah Rogerson, a fellow immigrant, later published an account of this disastrous event in which one third of the immigrants died. Rogerson describes the intimate friendship between Edwards and Carter when recounting Edwards' tragic death:

William Edwards Dies.
About 10:30 this morning we passed Fort Kearney, and as one of the most singular deaths occurred on our journey at this time, I will give a brief and truthful narration of the incident.named Luke Carter, from the Clitheroe branch [of the church], Yorkshire, England, and William Edwards from Manchester, England, each about 50 to 55 years of age, had pulled a covered cart together from Iowa City, Ia., to this point. They slept in the same tent, cooked and bunked together; but for several days previous unpleasant and cross words had passed between them. Edwards was a tall, loosely built and tender man physically, and Carter more stocky and sturdy. He had favored Edwards by letting the latter pull only what he could in the shafts for some time. This morning he grumbled and complained, still traveling, about being tired, and that he couldn't go any further. Carter retorted: "Come on. Come on. You'll be all right again when we get a bit of dinner at noon." But Edwards kept begging for him to stop the cart and let him lie down and "dee" (die), Carter replying, "Well, get out and die, then."

Died in Harness.
The cart was instantly stopped. Carter raised the shafts of the cart. Edwards walked from under and to the south of the road a couple of rods, laid his body down on the level prairie, and in ten minutes he was a corpse. We waited (a few carts of us) a few minutes longer till the captain came up and closed Edwards's eyes. A light-loaded open cart was unloaded. The body was put thereon, covered with a quilt, and the writer [Rogerson] pulled him to the noon camp, some five or six miles, where we dug his grave and buried him a short distance west of Fort Kearney, Neb.[61]

Several details in this story seem to signify what I have called "faggotry." Both Edwards and Carter were unmarried, which is significant in the context of polygamous Mormonism. Although sexual relations between men in England of that era generally or ideally were inter-class affairs, this one was not, for both converts were from the lower class. However, their relationship was somewhat intergenerational - one was thirty and the other forty-six (not fifty to fifty-five, as the 14 year old Rogerson thought) - and that does have "class" overtones. And they not only shared a handcart and a tent, but they also cooked and "bunk[ed] together." Coincidentally Carter died a short time after Edwards, even though he was the "sturdy" one, perhaps in grief at the loss of his companion. Rogerson, despite these "clues," does not seem surprised at all by their intimate relationship. What is of note to him is that Edwards could will himself to die. Whether Edwards' and Carter's emotional and financial partnership extended to sexual intercourse is ultimately unknown, but the image of two men pulling a handcart together, one nurturing the other, is fascinating, especially in juxtaposition to the traditional heterosexual scenes of Mormon pioneer iconography.

Edwards and Carter however weren't the only Gay pioneers to migrate to Utah before the arrival of the train in 1869. Evan Stephens, Utah's most prominent musical composer as well as the conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir from 1890 to 1916, is consistently rumored to have been "Gay."[62] Beyond oral tradition among the Mormon Gay community, there is much contemporary circumstantial evidence to support this claim. Stephens, born in Wales and migrating with his family to Utah in 1867, never married, which in polygamous Utah was a difficult status to maintain, especially for someone as prominent as Stephens. Instead of marrying, he filled his life with his two great passions: "love of friendship and music." Stephens's friendships always centered on passionate love and desire for other, usually younger, men.

Stephens went so far as to publish his autobiography (which amounts to little more that an account of the development of his desire to passionately bond with other men) in a periodical for Mormon children - without any apparent reprisal from the church. In this lengthy autobiography written in the third person and published in the 1919 Children's Friend, Stephens told Mormon children about his youth while in Willard, Utah, where he discovered music through a local all male ward choir - another instance of homosociality fostering same-sex desire. Stephens recounts that he became

"the pet of the choir. The men among whom he sat seemed to take a delight in loving him. Timidly and blushingly he would be squeezed in between them, and kindly arms generally enfolded him much as if he had been a fair sweetheart of the big brawny young men. Oh, how he loved these men[;] too timid to be demonstrative in return he nevertheless enshrined in his inmost heart the forms and names of Tovey, Jardine, Williams, Jones and Ward.[63]
John J. Ward, the son of the last mentioned man, was the same age as Stephens, and the two young men became friends. However, Evan's and John's friendship developed into something much more profound, as Stephens' autobiography attests. For example, when the entire Mormon community in Willard (except for the Ward family) moved to Malad, Idaho, twenty year old Evan chose to remain with his "chum," John. In this same autobiography, Stephens calls Ward the first of his "life companions" with whom he shared his "home life."[64]

While criticism of polygamy became something of a national past-time during the Victorian era, what I find fascinating about this anti-polygamy rhetoric is how similar it is to anti-Gay and anti-Lesbian rhetoric employed later by the Mormon church and society at large. For example, a non-Mormon living in Nauvoo in the 1840's claimed that polygamy is "a system which, if exposed in its naked deformity, would make the virtuous mind revolt with horror; a system in the exercise of which lays prostrate all the dearest ties in our social relations - the glorious fabric upon which human happiness is based - ministers to the worst passions of our nature and throws us back into the benighted regions of the dark ages." Again in an 1860 debate on the issue of polygamy, one Illinois congressman charged polygamy "to be a crying evil; sapping not only the physical constitution of the people practicing it, dwarfing their physical proportions and emasculating their energies, but at the same time perverting the social virtues, and vitiating the morals of its victims."[65] We need only substitute the word "sodomy" or "homosexuality" to see how Mormons and others took this rhetoric and, in moments of heterosexual panic, deflected it onto Lesbians and Gay men.

During the 1860's and 1870's, federal laws were passed outlawing polygamy. Believing this was an unconstitutional violation of the guarantee of the separation of church and state, Mormon bigamist George Reynolds was selected by the church's First Presidency to be a test case. Reynolds was found guilty of polygamy, and the Mormons appealed the decision all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In January 1879, in the landmark case Reynolds v. the United States the Supreme Court ruled that the anti-polygamy laws were not unconstitutional, for "Laws are made for the government of actions and while they cannot interfere with mere religious beliefs and opinions, they may with practices."[66] This federal judicial decision severely eroded not only the Mormon power base, but that of many other religions afterwards, as well. Ironically, this decision currently keeps pro-Gay religions (like the Unitarian-Universalists, the Religious Society of Friends [Quakers], and the Metropolitan Community Church) from legally performing same-sex (homogamous) marriages today (although many are performed illegally - which is the case in Utah - or extralegally each year across the United States).

In the aftermath of Reynolds v. United States Mormon polygamists were disenfranchised, children by polygamous wives were disinherited, female suffrage in Utah was abolished, the Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was dissolved, and all church properties (including the famed Salt Lake Temple) were confiscated. Bowing to such intense coercion, in 1890 church president Wilford Woodruff issued his "Manifesto," ostensibly ending the practice of polygamy in the Mormon Church (although members of the hierarchy secretly sanctioned its continued practice for many years afterward).[67]

In the middle of this political strife over polygamy, England's most famous sodomite, Oscar Wilde, arrived in Salt Lake City to deliver a lecture at the Salt Lake Opera House on the "Art Decoration: Being the Practical Application of the Aesthetic Theory to Every-Day Home Life and Art Ornamentation."[68] On April 10 1882 Wilde arrived by train from Sacramento and was greeted by a large crowd of the curious. After greeting his well-wishers, he went to the Walker House on Second South and Main Street, where he and his servant scandalously disappeared through the Ladies' entrance. In honor of Wilde being known as the "Sunflower Apostle," his bellboy wore a sunflower in his buttonhole.[69] That afternoon Wilde visited LDS president John Taylor at Taylor's residence, one of the finest mansions in the valley.

That night, with the Opera House filled to standing room only, Wilde was visibly disconcerted when he walked out on stage to speak and found an array of young men in the front row, all adorned with enormous sunflowers and lilies, in homage to the controversial British dandy.[70] Obviously he was not expecting such open adoration from provincial Utahns. The Deseret News subsequently criticized his speech for being absurd and unoriginal, among other things. However, one historian believes that the Mormons disapproved of his speech because of the "indecent morals" displayed in his other writings.[71]

In 1895, five years after the Woodruff Manifesto "ended" polygamy, Wilde again entered the public eye in Utah, but this time because of his trial in England for sodomy. Wilde's story made front page head-lines in twenty issues of the Deseret News as if to emphasize the dangers of such deviant practices.[72] Contemporary Gay historian Richard Dellamora has observed that in the late nineteenth century "masculine privilege was sustained by male friendships within institutions like the public schools, the older universities, the clubs, and the professions. Because, however, ˛continuing dominance of bourgeois males also required that they marry and produce offspring, the intensity and sufficiency of male bonding needed to be strictly controlled by homophobic mechanisms" such as public, anti-homosexual scandals - Wilde's trial being a prime example. Dellamora also states that these anti-homosexual scandals in England in the 1890's "provide a point at which gender roles are publicly, even spectacularly, encoded and enforced."[73] This applies as well to the willingness of the to publicize the details of Wilde's trials. The Deseret News could well afford to do so, because Wilde, being a non-Mormon in England, could easily be scandalized as a warning to other sodomites, without "tainting" Mormonism's own image. Because the United States placed so much negative attention on the sexual deviance of Mormon polygamy, Mormons returned the favor to Lesbian and Gay people with the assurance that their perversity was at least heterosexually (and procreatively) centered.

Speaking the Unspeakable: The Later Development of Mormon Homophobic Discourse

Reynolds v. United States dealt a serious blow to the Mormon hierarchy. An 1885 article in the anti-Mormon Salt Lake Tribune explored "a more basic opposition" to polygamy. "The essential principle of Mormonism is not polygamy at all, but the ambition of an ecclesiastical hierarchy to wield sovereignty; to rule the souls and lives of its subjects with absolute authority, unrestrained by any civil power."[74] In other words, what had separated Mormons as a distinct people - the sexual politics of polygamy - had collapsed, severely weakening male religious prerogative. In order to reconstruct its power, the Mormon hierarchy created a power-consolidating institution called "Priesthood Correlation" in 1908. Following the end of polygamy, the dynamic "gifts of the spirit" (speaking and singing in tongues, etc.) were frowned upon and eventually terminated. Women's organizations became auxiliary to the "priesthood." Women were commanded to stop performing healing and blessing rituals, which thereafter were only to be performed by male priesthood holders. To set them off again as being a "peculiar people," Mormons emphasized strict enforcement of the Mormon "health code" (the Word of Wisdom), the development and maintenance of their Welfare Program, and renewed emphasis on the monogamous, heterosexual family as the basic unit of society.

During the early part of the twentieth century, as Mormonism slowly but steadily grew, problematic issues surrounding isolationism versus universalism arose. Confrontation with homosexuality (which was itself becoming more and more publicized) was inevitable. In 1946, it was discovered that Patriarch to the Church, Joseph Fielding Smith III had had sexual relations with a young man named Browning. Church president George Albert Smith, after private conferences with those involved, their families, and the twelve apostles, decided to quietly release Smith from his duties.[75] That October, Smith's name was omitted from the roll of general authorities sustained in general conference. The LDS First Presidency responded by having David O. McKay read a letter allegedly written by Smith himself, acknowledging that his absence was due to "extended illness."[76] Interestingly the former patriarch was neither excommunicated nor disfellowshipped, although he was not allowed to perform any church duties.[77] He was exiled by church order to Hawaii, accompanied by his wife and children. Eleven years later, Smith was reinstated into full participation in the church after he had "confessed to his wife and wrote a full confession to the First Presidency."[78]

In 1950, John Anderson, a music teacher at church-owned Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho, was fired from his position for having sexual relations with several male students. When a Rexburg stake presidency counselor asked President J. Reuben Clark whether the former teacher should face a church court, Clark said no, because "thus far we had done no more than drop them [homosexuals] from positions they held," indicating that church policy at that time did not consider homosexual activity an excommunicable offense.[79]

Two years later, Clark became the first Mormon general authority to use the words "homosexual" and "homosexuality" in public. In a 1952 address entitled "Home, and the Building of Home Life," which he delivered at the General Relief Society Conference, Clark pointed out that with regards to "the person who teaches or condones the crimes for which Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed - we have coined a softer name for them than came from old; we now speak of homosexuality, which it is tragic to say, is found among both sexes....Not without foundation is the contention of some that the homosexuals are today exercising great influence in shaping our art, literature, music, and drama."[80] This was during the "McCarthy era," in which anti-Gay rhetoric almost reached a national hysteria. As will be seen, Mormon attitudes concerning Gays and Lesbians came not by "revelation from God," but by revelation from the popular press.

In 1959 church president David O. McKay assigned Apostles Spencer Kimball and Mark E. Peterson, to help Lesbians and Gays overcome their "homosexual problems."[81] Apparently "quite a number of [Mormon] men were being arrested" at that time for being "'peeping toms,' exhibitionists, homosexuals, and perverts in other areas." [82] That same year Kimball decided that the church needed "an extensive treatise on repentance" and thus began "jotting down scriptures for people to study...[and] developed some lists for recurring problems," including homosexuality. These notes on homosexuality eventually resulted in three major works (as well as numerous minor works or statements): "A Counselling Problem in the Church" (1964); "The Crime Against Nature" chapter of his The Miracle of Forgiveness (1969); and "New Hope for Transgressors" (1970), which was revised and published as both "New Horizons for Homosexuals" (1971) and "A Letter to a Friend" (1978).[84]

The earliest of these three major homophobic texts was originally a speech Kimball gave to a group of LDS psychiatrists, but no text of it survives. A few months later, on July 10, 1964, he gave an almost identical speech to a conference of the LDS church's seminary (high school-level) and Institute (university-level) religion teachers assembled at Brigham Young University (BYU). Although dealing with various problems in Mormon society, the largest portion of "A Counselling Problem in the Church" deals with homosexuality and became the basis for all subsequent homophobic discourse in the Mormon Church.[85]

Kimball culled most of the information from popular tabloids and magazines, such as Life magazine and Medical World News. Anti-Gay articles had appeared in both of these magazines during the month before Kimball's speech.[86] As the historian John D'Emilio documents, "the notion of homosexuality as mental illness was receiving greater dissemination during the early 1960s" and Gay radicals in larger cities like New York, this negative "medical model of homosexuality hung like a millstone around the [homosexual] movement's neck."[87] Both Irving Bieber's 1962 psychoanalytic study Homosexuality and the New York Academy of Medicine's 1964 report, which argued that "homosexuality was an acquired illness susceptible to cure," received extensive negative attitude toward and teachings on homosexuality. (Kimball, for example, echoes the medical model when he writes that disease is curable," and even briefly quotes from the statement made by the New York Academy of Medicine.)[88] While these reports promulgated homophobic views built on "loose reasoning...poor research...[and] examination of non-representative samplings," it broke the media's and church's silence on homosexual issues.[89] Kimball's ideas went on to influence fellow church leaders and hundreds of thousands of followers. Thus Kimball, like Mormon leaders before and since, was affected by mainstream homophobic views, which he then intensified through his ecclesiastical authority. It is also in this speech that Kimball first used the phrase which I take as a title for this essay: "We are told that as far back as Henry the VIII, this vice was referred to as 'THE ABOMINABLE AND DETESTABLE CRIME AGAINST NATURE,' and some of our own statues [sic] have followed that wording."[90]

On January 5, 1965, Kimball again spoke at BYU, this time to students, and condemned homosexuality in "Love versus Lust," later published in BYU Speeches of the Year. This talk drew heavily from his speech of the previous year. The following is a brief quote from the address:

"Good men, wise men, God-fearing men everywhere... denounce the practice as being unworthy of sons of God; and Christ's Church denounces it and condemns it so long as men have bodies which can be defiled. This heinous homosexual sin is of the ages. Many cities and civilizations have gone out of existence because of it. It was tolerated by the Greeks, and found in the baths of corrupt Rome. In Exodus, the law required death for the culprit who committed incest, or the depraved one who had homosexual or other vicious practices.

This is a most unpleasant subject to dwell upon, but I am pressed to speak it boldly so that no student in this University, nor youth in the Church, will ever have any question in his mind as to the illicit and diabolical nature of this perverse program. Again, Lucifer deceives and prompts logic and rationalization which will destroy men and make them servants of Satan forever....Let it never be said that the Church avoided condemning this obnoxious practice nor that it has winked at this abominable sin. And I feel certain that this University will never knowingly enroll an unrepentant person who follows these practices nor tolerate on its campus anyone with these tendencies who fails to repent and put his or her life in order."[91]

After ten years of preparation, Kimball finally published in 1969 his classic treatise on sin and repentance, The Miracle of Forgiveness. In the chapter "The Crime Against Nature," he detailed his absurd theory that masturbation caused homosexuality, which in turn, often led to bestiality. He also claimed that "the sin of homosexuality is equal to or greater than that of fornication or adultery," effectively placing homosexuality next to murder in the Mormon hierarchy of sins. Ironically, this "definitive" statement against homosexuality came out just as the "Gay liberation movement" gained national attention with the watershed "Stonewall Riots" in New York City, beginning on June 27, 1969.

In 1970, the First Presidency sent a letter to the church at large, stating that "homosexuals can be assured that in spite of all they may have heard from other sources, they can overcome and return to normal, happy living."[92] This was but a precursor to the more official (and ecclesiastically binding) First Presidency statement of 1973 which declared that "homosexuality in men and women runs counter to...divine objectives and, therefore, is to be avoided and forsaken." Gays and Lesbians who refused to find their sexuality evil were promised "prompt Church court action."[93] Excommunication to faithful Mormons means eternal exclusion from the "celestial kingdom" - a hell in and of itself.

That same year LDS psychologist of BYU Allen E. Bergin of BYU and Victor L. Brown, Jr., of LDS Social Services, collaborated on the twenty page Homosexuality: Welfare Services Packet I for use in counseling Lesbians and Gay men. The packet indicated that "an essential part of repentance" was to disclose to Church authorities the names of other homosexuals, in order "to help save others." The packet also stated that the Lesbian "needs to learn feminine behavior" while the Gay man "needs to learn...what a manly priesthood leader and father does." It also explained that "excommunication cleanses the Church....There is no place in God's Church for those who persist in vile behavior."[94] Ironically, church leaders concluded that the Packet was so "weakly" written that the church could only use it on a very limited basis.[95]

During the priesthood session of October LDS general conference in 1976 Apostle Boyd K. Packer gave a speech entitled "To Young Men Only," that discussed situations in which young men are "tempted to handle one another, to have contact with one another in unusual ways." He commented that "such practices are perversion....Physical mischief with another man is forbidden." Packer also essentially advocated anti-Gay violence in his speech when he recounted the story of a male missionary who had "floored" his mission companion, apparently for making sexual advances (although it is unclear what exactly happened). Packer told the missionary, "Well, thanks. Somebody had to do it and it wouldn't be well for a General Authority to solve the problem that way." Packer told his audience, "I am not recommending that course [of violence] to you but I am not omitting it. You must protect yourself."[96] This speech was later made into a pamphlet by the same name and distributed worldwide for use in counseling young men.

In the late 1970's, "born again Christians" and Mormons, usually vociferous enemies, found themselves temporarily on friendly terms. National attention was turning toward Gay rights legislation in Florida in 1977, and Anita Bryant's subsequent anti-Gay Christian crusade called "Save Our Children." Barbara B. Smith, general president of the LDS Relief Society, sent a telegram to Bryant, saying, "On behalf of the one million members of the Relief Society...we commend you for your courageous and effective efforts in combatting homosexuality and laws which would legitimize this insidious life style."[97] A month later, Mormon Apostle Mark E. Peterson claimed that "every right-thinking person will sustain Miss Bryant, a prayerful, upright citizen, for her stand," which Peterson hoped would "keep this evil from spreading, by legal acceptance, through our society."[98] That same year, Spencer Kimball, now church president, told reporters that Bryant was "doing a great service" because church leaders feel that "the homosexual program is not a natural and normal way of life."[99]

Also in 1977, Gay Mormons in Los Angeles founded a support group for Gay and Lesbian Mormons. Originally called the "Gay Mormon Underground" (GMU), it soon changed its name to Affirmation. Other GMU chapters were organized in both Salt Lake City and San Francisco within one year.

From July 1977 to July 1979, Apostle Mark E. Peterson wrote six caustic editorials for the Mormon Church News attacking the national Gay rights movement. For Peterson, homosexuality was "a menace to the population at large." According to him, Lesbian and Gay pleas for tolerance and legal recourse for discrimination "should disgust every thinking person."[100] Peterson, like Kimball, drew "expert evidence" for his editorials from popular media sources, such as Newsweek, Time, and the Sacramento Bee newspaper.

Also in 1978, the First Presidency issued a lengthy statement opposing the proposed Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Preying upon the homophobia of church members, this official statement claimed that passage of the ERA would bring about an "encouragement of those who seek a unisex society, an increase in the practice of homosexual and lesbian activities, and other concepts which could alter the natural, God-given relationship of men and women." These and other anti-Gay phobias are reiterated in subsequent anti-ERA propaganda published by the church in 1979 and 1980.[101]

This fear of a "unisex society" lies at the core of Mormon homophobia, for the hierarchy has a vested interest in keeping gender lines firmly drawn. Any blurring of those lines, any weakening of gendered activities, places Mormon men in a locus where they can only lose power and prestige. As the First Presidency wrote in 1991 in an anti-Gay letter to the entire church, "A correct understanding of the divinely appointed roles of men and women will fortify all against sinful practices" such as "homosexual and lesbian behavior."[102]

Mormon men fear the "homosexual within." If church leaders believe that the entire world can "convert" to homosexuality as easily as to Mormonism, then they must include themselves in that conversion. Spencer Kimball, in New Horizons for Homosexuals asked readers to "imagine, if you can, the total race skidding down in this practice...just one generation of gratification of lusts and the end." Furthermore, "where would the world go if such a practice became general? The answer: To the same place other unbridled civilizations have gone."[103] Earlier, Kimball proclaimed that "if the abominable practice became universal it would depopulate the earth in a single generation."[104] Mormon bishop T. Eugene Shoemaker ironically denied the idea that homosexuality is a "crime against nature," going so far as to argue that "homosexuality is wrong, not because it is unnatural, but rather because it is too natural, and unless the human species changes utterly, men and women will continue to choose freely to do evil."[105]

At the same time, Mormon leaders are aware that homosociality (which they participate in) is very closely aligned to homosexuality on the "homo-continuum." LDS therapist Victor L. Brown, Jr. told in 1977 of a "recent case of a man (a bishop?) who with his wife came to Utah to get help in overcoming his homosexuality: there were times when he felt so good, so fond of other men that he wanted to hug them to express it. He was repulsed by any suggestion of sexual involvement, however!" Brown explained to this man that the General Authorities of the church "so hugged each other at [general] conference, sometimes for rather long periods of time, that this was not homosexuality at all!! The man left, and his wife [was] very relieved and enlightened. Six months later [Brown] got a letter from them saying what a tremendous difference it had made to him to realize that these feelings of genuine love and rapport were normal and not homosexual! The man's guilt burden had been totally lifted."[106]

Brown, also addressing the church's awareness of female homosociality, said that "it is fairly common to find women who are turned off by the male society, and who find friendship and companionship from another female, but between the pair there is absolutely no sexual situation at all, just companionship. [The] Church is aware and sensitive to this; the [definition] of homosexuality [in church manuals?] has been 'carefully re-worded' to try to steer around this, the word 'relations' was changed to 'relationships' for this reason." Brown indicated that the "gospel ideal" of the male gender role actually "has many feminine qualities" because a Mormon man "should be tender, loving, gentle, etc., [which] implies femininity." Brown believed that a "male does not give up his masculinity when he behaves this way," and society "must get rid of idea that to be male a male must be aggressive, brutal, pugnacious, possessive."[107]

Private and Public Anti-Homosexual Policies at BYU (1959-1980)

Meanwhile, problems had been brewing at Mormon-owned Brigham Young University because private policies developed during the late 1950's through the 1970's began to receive public criticism both by students and the national press, influenced in part by the rise of the Lesbian and Gay liberation movement. BYU's response to homosexuality is important for several reasons: its large (and surprisingly open) Gay and Lesbian population; its semi-open bureaucracy which has allowed selected important documents concerning homosexuality to surface for the public; and the tension created by religion and academia which provides interesting (and recently, traumatic) dilemmas for the people who work, teach, and study there. Close examination of policies, practices, and attitudes regarding homosexuality at BYU reveals the homophobic mechanisms which were created, reproduced, modified, and sustained (even when unethical and/or illegal) by church and university leaders, sometimes even at the expense of great criticism from external sources. BYU and church administrations have operated behind doors, carefully and deliberately attempting to eradicate "the Queer experience" without even once challenging the supposition that homosexuality (desire and/or practice) might not be an illness, abnormality, sin, or crime at all. Because Mormon apostles comprise BYU's board of trustees (with only one or two exceptions), the attitudes of the church hierarchy directly affected BYU's policies. However, because BYU is also an academic institution where free enquiry is encouraged, at least in principle, the school's policies on homosexuality have changed over the course of time. Thus BYU has in turn influenced the church's position on homosexuality like no other "outside" institution.

On May 21, 1959 BYU president Ernest L. Wilkinson met with the executive committee of trustees. He asked the committee "whether the Dean of Students should send questionnaires to bishops asking whether students had a propensity for stealing or immorality or anything of that kind," effectively breaking the confidentiality of the confessional; and wondered about "the growing problem in our society of homosexuality."[108] Wilkinson recorded that "these two problems interested the Brethren very, very much" and that church president David O. McKay had recently voiced "his view [that] homosexuality was worse than immorality; that it is a filthy and unnatural habit." Wilkinson was instructed that unless homosexual students were "really repentant and immediately began working out their problems," the school "should suspend them." Administrators then wondered if they should record on transcripts that the student had been expelled for homosexuality. The executive committee recommended avoiding the possibility of law suits. Wilkinson was also told to come up with a "better plan to find out from bishops the information requested by the Dean of Students." Although progress on Wilkinson's questionnaire was temporarily halted, he would eventually receive permission to implement it.

On September 12, 1962 Wilkinson met with the school's general counsel, Clyde Sandgren, the new Dean of Students, Elliott Cameron, and apostles Spencer Kimball and Mark Peterson "on the question of homosexuals who might possibly be a part of our student body." They decided that the number of homosexuals on campus was "a very small percentage of the whole" and therefore administrators "ought not to dignify it by meeting with the men or women of the university in a [public setting] but handle each case on its own." They then worked out a cooperative plan whereby Mormon general authorities and other church administrators would give BYU any information they obtained about homosexuality on campus, and BYU would give church administrators information about homosexual church members. They decided "as a general policy that no one will be admitted as a student at the B.Y.U. whom we have convincing evidence is a homosexual."[109]

Apparently BYU was finding more homosexuals on campus than initially anticipated. First, Apostle Spencer Kimball felt compelled to condemn homosexuality in his "Love versus Lust" address to the assembled student body on January 5, 1965. Then in the fall of that year, Ernest L. Wilkinson reversed the decision of 1962 and finally went public with anti-Gay policies during an address to the student body. As part of the speech, Wilkinson indicated that BYU does not intend "to admit to our campus any homosexuals. If any of you have this tendency and have not completely abandoned it, may I suggest that you leave the university immediately after this assembly; and if you will be honest enough to let us know the reason, we will voluntarily refund your tuition. We do not want others on this campus to be contaminated by your presence."[110] By resorting to the metaphor of viral contagion, Wilkinson voiced his own - and presumably others - fear of the "homosexual within."

Finally in 1967 Wilkinson received approval to ask Mormon bishops at BYU to provide the BYU Standard Office with lists of students who were "inactive in the church" or who had confessed to "not living the standards of the church." The numbers of students visiting the Standards Office subsequently rose dramatically. The first year of the new policy, Standards counselled seventy-two students who were "suspected of homosexual activity."[111] The discovery spurred the administration into action in which security files were kept on suspected Gay students, student spying was encouraged,[112], and suspensions/expulsions increased significantly. One student, suspended from the university on suspicion of homosexuality, was taken to court by BYU for trespassing when he was spotted on campus after his suspension.[113] Even prospective teachers at the Language Training Mission on BYU campus had to be interviewed by a general authority, because a "homosexual ring" had seemingly infiltrated the campus. Church leaders wanted to be assured that no Lesbians or Gay men were teaching the missionaries at the language school.[114]

In 1969, the board of trustees ruled that Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual students "would not be admitted or retained at BYU without approval from the General Authorities."[115] Three years later Apostle Marvin J. Ashton was asked by trustees to help further define a clearer policy on homosexuals at BYU because the new president of the university, Dallin Oaks, was concerned about what to do with those students or school personnel who had homosexual desires but were not "overtly" homosexual.[116] Six months later, trustees ruled that those who were not "overt and active homosexuals" could remain at the university's discretion and upon recommendation by the "ecclesiastical leader having jurisdiction over the case." However, those who were "overt and active" would still be automatically expelled unless a general authority recommended otherwise.[117] In early 1978, Gerald Dye, chair of the University Standards office, reported what the "set process" was for "homosexual students referred to Standards" for counseling:

  • They are asked to a personal interview with Standards...to determine the depth or extent of involvement; previous involvement, if any, of offender; does the student understand the seriousness of the matter; if the branch president or bishop [is] aware.
  • The individual's branch president or home bishop is contacted.
  • Standards is to determine if the offense is serious or not
    • a. serious: repetition; anal/oral intercourse.
    • b. less serious: experimential [sic]; mutual masturbation.
  • Action taken.
  • If determined to be serious, the student is expelled.
  • If less serious, the student may remain at BYU on a probationary basis.
  • Standards also acts as an intermediary between the student who remains and counseling service; Students who remain are required to undergo therapy.[118]

Although therapy was required, Dye promised the interviewer that "no student working through Standards will ever undergo aversion therapy." Electric shock and vomiting aversion therapies were nonetheless used in special cases.[119] Gay and Lesbian rights rhetoric finally reached BYU by the 1970's, inducing some students to come out of the closet. In January 1975 BYU administrators sent its security officers to quash a "homosexual ring" on campus. Security officers descended en masse on the Harris Fine Arts Center and took all male drama and ballet students out of their classes to interrogate them in hallways.[120] Some drama students involved in the "Purge of '75" had T-shirts printed up at the BYU bookstore which read sarcastically, "I'm on the list - are you?"

Not all Gay students could respond to this situation with humor however. As the purge continued into 1976, BYU security sent officers and volunteers to Gay bars in Salt Lake City to record the license plate numbers of cars with BYU parking stickers on them. One student who got caught during this purge attempted suicide. When taken to the hospital, medical personnel reported him to BYU security, who in turn informed his bishop and his wife of the situation. In a joint effort between Utah County Sherriff's officers and BYU security during March 1976, fourteen men were arraigned in Pleasant Grove (near BYU) on charges of "lewdness and sodomy" at two freeway rest stops. One of these men shot himself two days after his arrest. During surveillance of these rest stops, officers documented more than 100 men, many of whom were from BYU, who were "believed to engage in homosexual activity" there.[121] Gay journalist and former LDS missionary, Robert McQueen, recounted the stories of five Gay men he had known at BYU who had been caught in the "purge," coerced into aversive therapies, expelled from BYU, exposed by church officials, and excommunicated. Each one of the five tragically killed himself rather than face the oppression and bigotry of family, church, and society.[122]

BYU and church officials grew so alarmed about the homosexual "ring" that in 1976 they established the Institute for Studies in Values and Human Behavior on campus (hereafter Values Institute), with psychology professor Allen Bergin as director.[123] The Values Institute was charged with producing a manuscript "which would set forth significant empirical evidence in support of the Church's position on homosexuality."[124] This book, funded by the church, would be written for a "New York Times type of audience" by Bergin and Victor L. Brown Jr., approved of by at least one general authority, published by a popular eastern press, and made to appear as though it had no ties at all to the church. The resulting book would then be available as "secular evidence" to back up the church's anti-Gay stance.[125]

Other Values Institute goals included: 1) reviewing "the means by which the [homosexual] 'opposition' attempts to indoctrinate our people," 2) explaining "the developmental pattern of LDS book on human behavior after the manner of the Articles of Faith," 4) creating "a political action kit for use of member-citizens in local [anti-Gay?] legislative efforts," 5) preparing other kinds of anti-Gay papers and rebuttals, 6) supporting academic and scientific research that would vindicate the church's homophobic position, and 7) recommending to the First Presidency "specific steps the Church might take in combating homosexuality and other sexual misconduct."[126] Anti-Gay papers and research conducted, sponsored, or supported by the Values Institute included Elizabeth C. James' 1976 Ph.d. dissertation at BYU, Treatment of Homosexuality: A Reanalysis and Synthesis of Outcome Studies," Bergin's 1979 paper, "Bringing the Restoration to the Academic World: Clinical Psychology as a Test Case," Ed D. Lauritzen's 1979 paper, "The Role of the Father in Male Homosexuality," and possibly Max Ford McBride's 1976 doctoral dissertation at BYU entitled "Effect of Visual Stimuli in Electric Aversion Therapy." McBride experimented on fourteen Gay male subjects to determine if using photographs of nude men and women from Playgirl- and Playboy-type magazines was helpful in electric shock therapy.

Ultimately the institute's greatest challenge came from an unexpected quarter: Gay BYU student Cloy Jenkins. About June 1977, after attending an anti-Gay lecture by BYU psychology professor I. Reed Payne (a member of the Values Institute), Jenkins quickly prepared a thoughtful, response to Payne's lecture, calling for a "well reasoned dialogue on these issues." After getting help from two friends in editing his response (now published by Affirmation as a pamphlet entitled Prologue, Jenkins had copies of it mailed to various church officials.[127] Jenkins's paper was soon circulating among faculty and administration at both BYU and Ricks College, as well as television and radio stations, and newspapers throughout Utah and Idaho.[128]

The church's reaction was immediate. According to a social services counselor at BYU, Jenkins's paper caused "a real stir at BYU and in the Church -officials in both places are very touchy over it."[129] Allen Bergin, as director of the Values Institute, was directed by LDS Social Services and the BYU Comprehensive Clinic to prepare a rebuttal. This proved to be difficult, however, because Jenkins had made several "really good and undisputable points," his figures on the numbers of Gays at BYU were accurate, and, according to BYU's Executive Committee, he had used a "rather sophisticated pro-homosexuality platform."[130] Bergin finished his rebuttal on August 22, 1977 and titled it "A Reply to Unfounded Assertions Regarding Homosexuality." BYU's executive committee immediately hailed it as "an excellent paper refuting [the] major claims" of Jenkins.[131] Despite this initial optimism, one BYU professor said that Bergin's rebuttal on behalf of the church was so poorly written that "it was an embarrassment to all involved."[132] Word went out that "all copies be returned [to Bergin] as he hopes to rewrite his reply."[133] Apparently, Bergin did try to rewrite his response, without much success. Bergin's colleague, Victor L. Brown, Jr., also tried to rebut Prologue, but his response was so poorly done that it was never released to the public.[134]

When it became apparent that no authoritative response was forthcoming from the Values Institute, the church hierarchy decided to intervene personally. President Spencer Kimball asked Apostle Boyd K. Packer to "specifically address the local problem of homosexuality and to offer solutions" to BYU students. Packer at first balked at and declined the assignment, but when pressed again urgently by Kimball, he decided to speak to an assembly of BYU students in early March, 1978. At the same time, the Advocate, a national Gay news magazine, was also preparing to publish excerpts from Jenkins's paper. About three weeks prior to its 22 February publication, the news magazine sent out press packets to newspaper agencies across the United States. The religion editor of a newspaper in Oregon sent a copy of the Advocate's press packet to a Mormon friend, who forwarded it to Dallin H. Oaks at BYU. Oaks then drafted a letter to Packer, warning that "in view of this national publication, and the accusations it makes...your [upcoming] remarks are likely to get wide newspaper coverage and to be viewed by many against the background of this article and these charges."[135]

On March 5, 1978, Packer delivered his now-famous "To the One" speech during a twelve-stake fireside at BYU. Although the entire speech dealt with homosexuality, Packer used the word "homosexual" only once because he felt that Mormons "can very foolishly cause things we are trying to prevent by talking too much about them." This is not Packer's only theory about the causes of homosexuality - and causation was vital, because, for Packer, finding the cause was an "essential step in developing a cure." Packer theorized that the cause of homosexuality "will turn out to be a very typical form of selfishness."136 Two weeks after Packer's speech, a BYU counselor commented that Packer's "spiritual" approach to homosexuality had actually originated with the director of LDS Social Services who "was in charge of working with homosexuals in Church services."137

Response to Packer by members of the Utah Gay community was quick. Bob Waldrop, the Gay pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church in Salt Lake City (and an ex-Mormon), termed the speech "very offensive and highly inaccurate" and demanded that the PBS television station KBYU, which had broadcast Packer's sermon, give him equal air time. Bruce Christensen, KBYU general manager, denied Waldrop's request and told the media that KBYU "responsibility to cover all aspects of the gay rights issue and we believe we have done that with fairness."138

A BYU student in attendance at Packer's speech quickly wrote a rebuttal, which was published anonymously in the local Gay paper, the Salt Lake Open Door. The student criticized his approach as "some kind of pseudo-psycho-spiritual counsel which close analysis will prove to be a substantial assemblage of a profound lack of reason and education." However, he warned that Packer

"is clever. Packer's treatise on 'selfishness' zeros right in on the desperate attempt many have made in trying to attribute their sexuality to some personality characteristic or quality which is causing their homosexuality. If this quality can be changed (and it is usually some malleable trait - like selfishness), then the homosexuality will disappear. This approach also has the therapeutic return of displacing guilt. (A burden of guilt encouraged by the heterosexual moralist-theologian). The homosexual is thereby informed that he should be feeling guilty for being selfish - not for being homosexual. This helps ease his anguish and he experiences an instantaneous relief. He is well on his way to escaping into health, to optimistically denying his authentic nature, to psychological swindle. Even when he fails (which is inevitable), he comes back to focusing on his selfishness and not on his sexuality. It is much easier warring against an attribute like selfishness than challenging ones sexuality."

Packer's assertion that "the cure" is something which "finally has to take place in the spiritual realm" was the most serious flaw in his theory, this student felt, because then "we don't have to talk about the realities here of sexual impulses when we can focus on the transcendent sacred dimension out there. When the [Gay] subject fails, then [Packer] simply declares...that the subject is somewhere in transgression of spiritual matters." In conclusion, he reiterated that "as appalling as it is, it is miles ahead of President Kimball....At least the subject of homosexuality seems to have finally come out of the closet - too bad Packer has dressed it in rags."139

In the meantime, church and BYU administrators were trying to find the anonymous author of Prologue to bring a law suit against him - for "the misleading representations in this publication [as] a violation of the postal laws and regulations." In a November 1978 report to LDS church commissioner of education Jeffrey R. Holland, Dallin Oaks summarized BYU's unsuccessful attempts to track down the author, and recommended that "it would be best for us now to let this [rest] because any direct action by the University against the publishers would be counterproductive, arousing greater public attention [than] any benefit to be gained."140

By late 1979, the Institute for Studies in Values and Human Behavior had not succeeded in achieving its goals. Bergin and Brown had not rebutted Jenkins's paper; Bergin's "scholarly objectivity" was challenged during professional conferences and his professional standing was being questioned; and President Dallin Oaks was annoyed at what he perceived to be an undermining of his own authority by members of the institute. On September 13, 1979 Oaks wrote to Apostle Thomas Monson to explain the problems of the "Bergin-Brown Book on Values" and to inform church officials that school administrators had become persuaded "that we cannot achieve the original objectives to the extent hoped" by having the book appear through the "independent popular publisher."141 By 1980, the institute had spent almost $150,000 in church funds trying to produce an anti-Gay manuscript. According to Oaks, general authorities were getting "squeamish" over the project. Pressure on the institute became too great for Bergin, who resigned as chair. Soon the manuscript project was scrapped and the institute was disbanded.142

Mormonism and Homosexuality Today

I have not dealt with the period after 1980 because AIDS, which first appeared in the United States around that year, has radically changed the face of Gay and Lesbian activism, bringing Gay and Lesbian issues to the national forefront like never before. The juxtaposition of sex, death, morality and politics (embodied in AIDS) has been such a complex and painful for both the Gay community and the Mormon church to negotiate that it would require its own indepth analysis, going far beyond the limited scope of this paper.

Suffice it to say that Mormon homophobic discourse has currently "softened," resorting to "love the sinner, hate the sin." But I find that is as difficult to believe as if I were to say that I love all Mormons, while hating Mormonism. Personally I cannot divorce who a person is from what a person believes or does. Despite attempts at a more "compassionate" response, anti-Gay rhetoric abounds today in Mormonism as never before. The church unofficially supports the Evergreen Foundation and its claim of success in "reorientation therapy."143 In 1992, the church published the homophobic booklet Understanding and Helping Those Who Have Homosexual Problems, never realizing that homophobia and heterosexism are the only "homosexual problems."144 The following year, Apostle Boyd Packer made it clear that the three greatest "dangers" to the modern church are "the gay-lesbian movement, the feminist movement, and the ever present challenge from the so-called scholars."145 Purges of Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals at BYU and elsewhere in the church continue unabated. To me, these are not acts of love, but of fear.

For unmarried heterosexual Mormons and for Gays and Lesbians who choose celibacy to remain in Mormonism, heterogamy is still compulsory. In 1993 an unmarried Mormon over the age of thirty from Minnesota wrote to the church, questioning its current policy of not allowing older single people to "serve as ordinance workers" in Mormon temples. Apostle M. Russell questioned the sexual behavior by those over age thirty. Ballard counseled that rather than desiring to officiate in the temple, "perhaps it would be more wise that those who have not married and over the age of thirty, should seek to establish for themselves the full blessings of the atonement of Jesus Christ" by getting married. Ballard continued that heterogamy "is so paramount in the life of each individual member of the Church that every effort should be made by individuals to appropriately and according to their own wisdom find a companion wherewith they may receive the joys and blessings of an eternal family unit."146

While emphasizing the importance of marriage and the family, Mormon leaders can only sanction heterogamy and a family unit with a heterosexual couple as parents (following the paradigm of the divine, heterosexual couple who Mormons view as the Father and Mother in Heaven). This places Gay and Lesbian Mormons in a no-win situation where they are commanded to marry for eternal salvation, but are unable to marry the person of their choice. Furthermore, Mormon leaders move beyond the realm of theology and enter the political by clearly mandating that any alternative to this heterosexist family structure requires immediate societal and legal condemnation. A First Presidency statement issued to the church on February 13, 1994 explains that "the principles of the gospel and the sacred responsibilities given" to Mormons, require that the church "oppose any efforts to give legal authorization to marriage between persons of the same gender." The First Presidency further encourages "members to appeal to legislators, judges, and other government officials to preserve the purposes and sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, and to all efforts to give legal authorization or other official approval or support to marriages between persons of the same gender."147

Consequently, Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Mormons have responded to their religion's teachings on sexuality in three ways: (1) remain very "closeted" to conform to Mormon demands in appearance; (2) come out of the closet while remaining loyal to Mormonism in order to struggle for a voice from within the church; or (3) leave the church. For those who are closeted and trying to remain in Mormonism, their path is fraught with profound isolation and guilt - especially if they have started families which further causes them inner turmoil as they assume roles for which they are not meant.

For those Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Mormons who continue to struggle for a voice within the church, there are several organizations available to support them. Affirmation now has an international network of some thirty chapters and groups. There are also organizations for Gay BYU alumni and Gay returned missionaries, which meet monthly for their members to explore and find consolation in their common experiences. Periodicals, pamphlets, books, and symposia are also media through which the viewpoint of these people has recently been expressed. Others, like myself, have found Mormonism too rigid, too oppressive to remain within its structures and have chosen, instead, to continue our journey elsewhere. However, the common bond which all Lesbian and Gay Mormons share is the questioning of our lives within Mormonism - the values we learned from and the time and energy we devoted to it. We all struggle to make meaning out of the realization that, because the intensity and authenticity of our desire to love and be loved by someone of our own sex, to heterosexually "multiply and replenish" is not a realistic imperative for us. Our bruised and battered bodies, lying at the feet of the church, demand at the very least a thoughtful, inclusive, and loving response.


Footnotes
1. Throughout this essay, unless quoting others, I capitalize "Lesbian," "Gay," and "Bisexual," as one way of affirming my belief that we have constructed an ethnic identity: a social and cultural system which includes, but is not limited to, a history, a language, and a political sensibility, and which drastically differs in many ways from that of the "Straight" community.

2. Homophobia is literally an irrational, unfounded fear of homosexuals and homosexuality, while I define heterosexism as the assumption that all people are heterosexuals or ought to be. Both engender such practices as anti-Gay legislation, "reorientation" therapies, or passive, but debilitating silence.

3. By homosocial, I am referring to the spectrum of beliefs, attitudes, loci, signs, desires, and practices of the many aspects of Queerness. Homosocial specifically means the dynamic of a group of people of the same sex who socialize together. "Male bonding" is a form of homosociality. Other aspects of this "homo-continuum" include the homopolitical, homospiritual, homointellectual, homophysical, homoemotional, homophilic, homoerotic, and ultimately, the homosexual.

4. T. Eugene Shoemaker, "Human Sexuality in Mormonism: Reflections from the Bishop's Couch; an Essay on Understanding," submitted for publication to Sunstone Magazine Sunstone papers, b. 26, f. 20, no date, Special Collections, University of Utah Marriott Library.

5. Richard S. Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy: A HistoryLake City: Signature Books, 1989), p. 56.

6. I understand that the Mormon Church recently modified the temple ritual, deleting the embrace at the veil. However, this deletion is minor, and if anything, supports my metaphor as being appropriate, bringing into question the reasons that church leaders were uncomfortable with the embrace at all.

7. Adrienne Rich, "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence," reprinted in The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader (New York: Routledge, 1993), pp. 239 and 242.

8. The term "sister-wife" interestingly combines two intensely sensual, emotional and personal concepts: conjugality and sorority.

9. Gail Farr Casterline, "Ellis R.Shipp," in Vicky Burgess-Olson, ed., Sister Saints(Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1978), p. 371.

10. Casterline, pp. 369-70.

11. Ibid., p. 371, italics in original.

12. Carol Lasser, "'Let Us Be Sisters Forever': The Sororal Model of Nineteenth Century Female Friendship" Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 1988, Vol. 1, no.1, p. 161.

13. "Louie B. Felt," Children's Friend, 18 (18 Dec. 1919): 410.

14. Ibid., 411.

15. "Mary and May," Children's Friend, 18 (18 Dec. 1919), p. 421.

16. While Aurelia Spencer Rogers actually founded the first Primary organization, Louie Felt organized the second branch of it a month later in September, 1879. On June 19, 1880, Felt became the first General President of the Primary, and in 1890, called her lover, May Anderson, to be the General Secretary. Anderson first suggested in 1893 that the Primary have its own church-sponsored publication, and in 1901, the Primary General Board finally received permission to begin publishing the Children's Friend with Anderson as editor. Felt and Anderson together conceived of the idea for the Primary Children's Hospital after seeing a disabled boy on the streets of Salt Lake City. In 1925, when Louie B. Felt was released as the Primary General President, May Anderson succeeded her in that position. For further details on the relationship and accomplishments of these two remarkable women, see their biographies in the following issues of the Children's Friend"Louie B. Felt," vol. 18 (December 18, 1919), pp. 404-417, "Mary and May," vol. 18 (December 18, 1919), pp. 418-422, "The New Presidency," vol. 24 (November 1925), pp. 21-23, "Louie B. Felt: A Tribute," vol. 24 (November 1925), pp. 422-425, and "A Friend of the Children," vol. 39 (April 1940), pp. 146-152; as well as Susan Staker Oman, "Nurturing LDS Primaries: Louie Felt and May Anderson, 1880-1940," Utah Historical Quarterly, Vol 49, no. 3, pp. 262-275.

17. "Mary and May," 420-1.

18. See I Samuel 18:1-4, and II Samuel 2:25-27. For discussions on David and Jonathan as historical signifiers of male-male desire and sexuality, see John Boswell, Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), 105, 238-39, 252, and 299; and Richard Dellamora, Masculine Desire: The Sexual Politics of Victorian Aestheticism University of North Carolina Press, 1990), p. 221.

19. Sarah E. Pearson, "Sister to Sister," see loose sheet in Kate Thomas Papers, Utah State Historical Society, manuscript collection B-88, box 1, folder 7.

20. "Veteran Worker in Primary Recalls History for Jubilee," Deseret News, 21 Apr. 1928.

21. For biographical information on Thomas, see "Biographical Notes" accompanying the register for the Kate Thomas papers, donated to the Utah State Historical Society by her brother, U.S. Senator Elbert Thomas (D-Utah). Included in the Kate Thomas papers is another biography written by LeNae Peavey for a university class, entitled "Kate Thomas (1871-1950). However, Ms. Peavey went to great lengths to avoid the Lesbian desire of Thomas's poetry.

22. "To _____________," Record Journal of Love Poems, Kate Thomas Papers, Box 3, (Folder 5, p. 34.)

23. "A Scarlet West," p. 36, Thomas Papers.

24. See commentary on the 1868 song, "Gay Young Clerk in the Dry Goods Store" in Jonathan Katz, Gay/Lesbian Almanac (Cambridg, MA: Harper and Row, 1983) 315. Male dry goods clerks were considered by Victorian America to be effeminate and what we might today call "homosexual."

25. Katz, Almanac

26. "Narcissus," p. 80.

27. "A Gay Musician," p. 79.

28. "Biographical Notes," Kate Thomas Papers.

29. See Polk's Directory for Salt Lake City, 1923 and 1927, and for Ogden, Utah, 1919 and 1925; e-mails from Peter Kasius to author, May 7, and May 25, 1999; and my interview with L.H. ("Lesbian Historian" who wishes to remain anonymous and who interviewed Cora Kasius in 1979) on August 8, 1988, as well as my interview with J.B.B. (a bisexual woman who briefly knew Cora in Salt Lake) on January 7, 1990.

30. See George Chauncey’s indispensable book "Gay New York" for a lengthy discussion of same-sex boarding houses in New York as a fundamental component of establishing Queer urban spaces.

31. For biographical information on Cora Kasius, see "Utah Woman to Join Dutch Welfare Group," Deseret News 1945, as well as e-mails from Peter Kasius to author on May 7, May 25, and May 26, 1999, and e-mail from Juli Dulmage (another relative) on May 29, 1999 in which Ms. Dulmage reports that one evening in the 1960s, Cora was having dinner with her and started a sentence "along the lines of ‘The reason I never married was that....’ but then she never finished it. The lesbian possibility didn’t occur to me at the time, but it does seem a possibility...." This is apparently the closest Cora ever came to revealing her sexual orientation to any member of her family.

32. D. Michael Quinn identifies Fanny Fern as non-Mormon feminist Grata P. Willis Eldredge Parton and claims that this brief essay was originally published in the New York Ledger (see D. Michael Quinn, "Same-sex Dynamics among archaic19th-Century Mormons: A Social Context," p. 29 and footnote #81, rough draft of paper in my possession.) Coincidentally, "fern" is an archaic, somewhat derogatory word for a Gay man, similar to pansy or fairy.

33. See the December 31, 1877 letter from Alice Blackwell to her sister-in-law Kitty Blackwell for an almost identical description of the painfulness of manipulative "smashing" at an eastern women's college, in Katz, Almanac, p. 176. For another amazingly similar non-Mormon description of "smashing," see Yale University student newspaper of 1873, quoted in Nancy Salhi, "Smashing: Women's Relationships Before the Fall," Chrysalis (1979), 8:21.

34. "Women Lovers," Woman's Exponent, vol. 1, #22, April 15, 1873, p. 175.

35. Quinn, "Same-Sex Dynamics," p. 29.

36. For all information on John C. Bennett, I am indebted to the Sam Taylor Papers, ms. 50, (Special Collections, University of Utah Marriott Library.

37. Samuel Taylor papers, handwritten notes on typed page of rough draft of Nightfall at Nauvoo unnumbered first page of Chapter VII, "Every Species of Abomination," ms. 50, Box 29, Bk. 3.

38. Taylor to Lyon, February , 1969.

39. T. Edgar Lyon to Sam Taylor, Taylor papers, February 4, 1969, p. 2.

40. "Bennettiana: or the Microscope with Double Diamond Lenses," The Wasp, July 27,1842, on microfilm at the University of Utah Marriott Library, emphasis is in original.

41. Sam Taylor to Dr. T. Edgar Lyon, Sam Taylor papers, January 31, 1969.

42. William H. Holyoak to John Taylor, October 9, 1886, quoted in correspondence of Raymond W. Taylor to Samuel W. Taylor, 7 June 1972, 2-3, Taylor Family Papers, box 20, file 3.

43. Salt Lake Tribune, 2 Aug. 1886/

44. For Taylor's "excommunication" notice, see Deseret News, 28 Aug. 1886. For rumors published in the newspaper see "City and Neighborhood" column of the Salt Lake Tribune, 22, 24, 29 Aug., 2 Sep. 1886, and September 2, 1886.

45. Thomas Taylor to John Taylor, September 22, 1886, Taylor Family Papers, p. 5.

46. Rudger Clawson Journal, January 30, 1894, bk. 4, p. 83, Special Collections, Marriott Library.

47. Clawson Journal, bk. 4, p. 84.

48. Clawson Journal, bk. 4, p. 151.

49. Clawson Journal, bk. 5, pp. 30-31.

50. Salt Lake Tribune, 24 Dec. 1886, 4.

51. Taylor had three wives, and Hunsaker had two. Both lost plural wives in divorce proceedings immediately following revelations of their sexual contact with other men. Christopher Cramer, Salt Lake's "Pioneer Florist," was another polygamist who was also a "queer," as one elderly informant called him in an interview I conducted with C. E. B.

52. Daniel Shellabarger, written comments on the Frederick Jones trial in my possession, April 23, 1994.

53. For accounts of the Jones trial and aftermath, see Salt Lake Daily Telegraph, "A Heavy Case," 27 Oct. 1864; "That Case," 28 Oct. 1864; "The Death of a Sodomite," 31 Oct. 1864; Daily Union Vedette, 1 Nov. 1864; and Deseret News, 2 Nov. 1864.

54. Deseret News 2 Nov. 1864.

55. Brigham Young to Daniel H. Wells and Brigham Young Jr., 18 November 1864, in "Correspondence," Latter-day Saints Millennial Star 27 (7 January 1865): 14, as quoted in Quinn, "Same-sex Dynamics."

56. "The Crime Against Nature," Compiled Laws of Utah, 1876, p. 598.

57. "The Crime Against Nature," Compiled Laws of the State of Utah, 1907, c. 28.

58. "The Crime Against Nature," Laws of the State of Utah, 1923, c. 13.

59. "Sodomy," Utah Code Annotated, 1953, 8B, title 76 (76-5-403).

60. For biographical information on these converts to Mormonism, see passenger lists for the Mormon emigrant ship "Horizon" (microfilm no. 025,691), International Genealogical Index entries for Lancashire, England (for Carter) and Sussex, England (for Edwards), and Family Group Sheets for their families, all at the Family History Library, Salt Lake City.

61. Josiah Rogerson memoirs, Salt Lake Tribune, 4 Jan. 1914.

62. Prior to beginning any research on Stephens, I had heard from four unrelated sources the oral tradition passed down through other Gay Mormons, that this famous Mormon was Gay.

63. "Evan Bach: A True Story for Little Folk, by a pioneer," Children's Friend 18 (October 1919) p. 387.

64. "Evan Bach," p. 389. See also the accompanying intimate photograph of the two young men, ca. 1875, when both were about 21years old, on p. 388.

65. Both are quoted in Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy 67 and 106, respectively.

66. United States Reports, Supreme Court, 98, pp. 166-68, as quoted in Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy, p. 110.

67. Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy, 133-139.

68.See advertisement in the Deseret News, 5, 6 Apr. 1882.

69. "Art Decoration: Oscar Wilde Enlightens a Large Audience on the Subject," Salt Lake Tribune, April 11, 1882.

70. Alfred Lambourne, A Play-House (Salt Lake City: n.p., n.d.) 28.

71. Helen L. Warner, "Oscar Wilde's Visit to Salt Lake City," Utah Historical Quarterly 55 (Fall 1987): 333-334.

72. Deseret News 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 11, 19, 24, 26, 30 April; 1, 3, 4, 7, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27 May 1895.

73. Dellamora, Masculine Desire, 301-302.

74. Tribune 15 Feb. 1885, quoted in Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy, 133.

75. George Albert Smith's journal indicates that the "Browning boy" might have been Archibald Robert Browning, the son of Archibald and Francis Ruth Browning, who was Gay and a neighbor of Joseph F. Smith's for several years. On the other hand, records dating from the 1950's in the First Presidency files indicate that the young man was Byram Dow Browning, the son of Lorenzo Dow and Ida Mae Browning. To complicate things further, Eldred G. Smith, who replaced Joseph F. Smith as Patriarch to the Church, claims that the young man was named Norville Service. George Albert Smith diary, 10 July and 16 Sept. 1946; Joseph F. Smith diary, 10 July 1946; J. Reuben Clark office diary, 30 July and 16 September 1946; typescripts in my possession.

76. See conference report in the Improvement Era, Nov. 1946, 685 and 708.

77. George F. Richards diary, December 6, 1947, typescript in my possession.

78. David O. McKay office diary, April 10, May 9, and July 10, 1957; First Presidency files, 1959; typescripts in my possession

79. J. Reuben Clark diary, September 11, 1950.

80. Clark, "Home and the Building of Home Life," Relief Society Magazine 39 (December 1952): 793-4.

81. Edward L. Kimball and Andrew E. Kimball, Jr., Spencer W. Kimball: Twelfth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1977), 381.

82.Spencer W. Kimball, "A Counselling Problem in the Church," July 10, 1964, LDS Church Archives. For arrests of homosexuals published in newspapers at that time, see "Suspect Held in Boys Morals Ring," Salt Lake Tribune. 13 Feb. 1958, and "Police Nab 23 in 27-Day Morals Drive," Salt Lake Tribune, 29 May 1958.

83. Kimball and Kimball, 383-384.

84. Spencer W. Kimball, "A Counselling Problem in the Church"; The Miracle of Forgiveness, (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969), Chapter Six, "The Crime Against Nature,"; "New Hope for Transgressors," 1970, "New Horizons for Homosexuals," 1971, and "A Letter to a Friend," 1978, all published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Minor works and speeches of Kimball against homosexuality include "Love versus Lust," January 5, 1965, LDS Church Archives; "Voices of the Past, of the Present, of the Future," Ensign, 1 (June 1971); "God Will Not Be Mocked," Ensign, 4 (Nov. 1974); "The Foundations of Righteousness," Ensign, 7 (Nov. 1977); and "President Kimball Speaks Out on Morality," Ensign, 10 (Nov. 1980).

85. Kimball, "Counselling," p. 12.

86. Life, 26 June 1964, and Medical World News, 5 June 1964.

87. John D'Emilio, Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983), 162.

88. Kimball, "Counselling," p. 13.

89. D'Emilio, Sexual Politics p. 164.

90. Kimball, "Counselling," p. 13.

91. Spencer W. Kimball, "Love versus Lust," BYU Speeches of the Year, 1964-1965 (Provo, UT: BYU Press, 1965), 1-30, esp. 24.

92. First Presidency Circular Letter, March 19, 1970, LDS Church Archives, typescript in my possession.

93. Priesthood Bulletin, Feb. 1973.

94. Homosexuality: Welfare Services Packet I (Salt Lake City: Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1973), n.p.

95. Interview with Bill Marshall, March 22, 1978. Copy of notes in my possession.

96. Boyd K. Packer, To Young Men Only (Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1976) n.p.

97."Relief Society Leader Hails Anita Bryant's Homosexual Stand," Salt Lake Tribune, June11, 1977.

98. "Unnatural, without excuse," Church News supplement of the Deseret News July 9, 1977.

99. "LDS Leader Hails Anti-Gay Stand," Salt Lake Tribune 5 Nov. 5, 1977.

100."Unnatural, without excuse," July 9, 1977, "The strong delusions," January 14, 1978, "On the safe side," February 4,1978, "Calling the kettle clean," March 18, 1978, "Is it a menace?," and "Sin is no excuse," July 29, 1979, all in the "Church News" section of the Deseret News.

101. Why Mormon Women Oppose the ERA (Salt Lake City: Relief Society, 1979) n. p. and The Church and the Proposed Equal Rights Amendment: A Moral Issue, (The Ensign Magazine 1980), 9 and 22.

102. "Standards of Morality and Fidelity," First Presidency Letter to All Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, November 14, 1991. Emphasis is mine.

103. Spencer W. Kimball, "New Horizons for Homosexuals," (Salt Lake City: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1971).

104. Kimball, Miracle of Forgiveness, 80-81.

105. Shoemaker, "Sexuality in Mormonism," pp. 5-6.

106. Duane E. Jeffrey interview with Victor L. Brown, Jr., December 21, 1977, p. 2, copy of notes in my possession.

107. Ibid., p. 2.

108. Wilkinson private journal, May 21, 1959, copy in my possession.

109. Ibid., September 12, 1962.

110. Deseret News, "Church News" supplement, November 13, 1965, p. 11. Emphasis is mine.

111. "Annual Report/Summary of Cases," BYU, 1 September 1967 to 31 August 1968, copy in my possession.

112. Brigham Young University Bulletin: Catalog of Courses 1968/70, 39-40.

113. K.A. Lauritzen to E.L. Wilkinson, June 18, 1969, copy in my possession.

114. My interview with Erick Myers, August 14, 1991.

115. Minutes, BYU Board of Trustees, May 2, 1973, copy in my possession.

116. Ibid., December 6, 1972.

117. Ibid., May 2, 1973.

118. Gary Bergera interview with Gerald Dye, February 1, 1978, pp. 1 and 2, copy of notes in my possession.

119. Bergera-Dye interview, p. 2.

120. Dean Huffaker, "Homosexuality at BYU," Seventh East Press, Apr. 1982; and Jerold and Sandra Tanner to the New York Times, Feb. 1975.

121. Interview with Sgt. Kal O. Farr, 3 February, 1978, copy of notes in my possession; Provo Daily Herald, 22 Mar. 1976.

122. Robert I. McQueen, Advocate, 13 Aug. 1975; and Vanguard, student newspaper at Portland State University, October 28, 1975.

123. Minutes, Combined Boards' Meeting, September 1, 1976, copy in my possession.

124. Dallin H. Oaks to Thomas S. Monson, September 13, 1979.

125. Ibid.; Victor L. Brown Jr. to Robert K. Thomas, November 14, 1978, p. 1, Dallin H. Oaks to J. Richard Clarke, March 7, 1979, and Victor L. Brown Jr. to Robert K. Thomas, September 11, 1979, copies of all in my possession.

126. Victor L. Brown Jr. to Robert K. Thomas, November 14, 1978, copy in my possession.

127. BYU Executive Committee Minutes, September 15, 1977, copy in my possession; Prologue: An Examination of Mormon Attitudes Towards Homosexuality, (n.c.: Prometheus Enterprises, 1978), reprinted by Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons.

128. The Open Door, Sept. 1977, Marriott Library, University of Utah.

129. Buerger-Marshall interview.

130. Ibid.; Dean Huffaker, "Homosexuality at BYU," pt. 2, Seventh East Press, April 1982, p. 12; and BYU Executive Committee Minutes, September 15, 1977.

131. BYU Executive Committee Minutes, September 15, 1977.

132. Huffaker, "Homosexuality at BYU," p. 12.

133. Anonymous, handwritten statement on frontispiece of one copy of Bergin's "Reply" in my possession.

134. Buerger-Marshall interview.

135. Dallin H. Oaks to Boyd K. Packer, February 14, 1978, copy in my possession; Advocate, February 22, 1978.

136. Boyd K. Packer, "To the One," (Salt Lake City: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1978), 5 Mar. 1978. Ironically, Plato took an opposite point of view, theorizing that selfishness causes homophobia, not homosexuality: "Thus whenever it is accepted that it is shameful to value same-sex lovers, this is due to malice in the legislature, selfishness in the rulers, and cowardice in the governed." Plato, Symposium 182-D, my translation).

137. Buerger-Marshall interview.

138. Salt Lake Open Door, Apr. 1978, 5.

139. Anonymous letter, Salt Lake Open Door, Apr. 1978, p. 11.

140. Dallin H. Oaks to Jeffrey R. Holland, November 9, 1978.

141. Oaks to Monson, September 13, 1979.

142. Gary James Bergera and Ronald Priddis, Brigham Young University: A House of Faith (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1985), 83-84.

143. "Evergreen International's Principles and Programs," (n.c.: n.p., 1993).

144. Understanding and Helping Those Who Have Homosexual Problems: Suggestions for Ecclesiastical Leaders, (Salt Lake City: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1992).

145. "Apostle Packer Says 'So-Called' Scholars, Gays, Feminists Are Leading LDS Astray," Salt Lake Tribune, July 24, 1993, p. B1.

146. M. Russell Ballard to Mike Triggs, August 10, 1993, copy in my possession.

147. First Presidency statement, February 13, 1994, copy in my possession.


© 1996, Rocky O'Donovan
Please do not copy without my express, written permission.
Comments: Rocky O'Donovan

© 1996-2001 Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons. All rights reserved.