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Homophobia as a Weapon of Patriarchy
1993 Affirmation Conference

By Cindy LeFevre

My remarks today are a serious consideration of the situation of gays and lesbians in our society by a radical Mormon feminist. Yes, I know that a "radical Mormon feminist" is a "oxyMormon," but it is, nevertheless, true. I've taken my title and my main thesis from a book by Susanne Farr who is a non-Mormon lesbian feminist, and I highly recommend her.

I've searched the Book of Mormon in vain for references condemning homosexuality. I've searched the Doctrine & Covenants in vain for references condemning homosexuality. Likewise, I have searched the Pearl of Great Price with the same results. The only place that I found in the scriptures, without actually reading the whole standard works cover to cover again, that condemns homosexuality is in the Bible, specifically, in the law of Moses found in Leviticus and in Paul's Epistle to the Romans.

Leviticus deals with the minute aspects of the law of Moses outlining in great detail rites of the priests in the tabernacles, the preparations of foods, burnt offerings for sacrifices, etc. According to this law, any man who curses God must be stoned to death. But any man who murders a slave has to pay the slave's owner for it. Handicapped people, the blind, the lame, etc., are unfit to enter the tabernacle. Now I found the part condemning homosexual acts right next to the part that forbids intercourse with a menstruating woman for fourteen days, declares it a sin to even so much as touch anything the menstruating woman has touched. Now I'm tempted at this point to ask all of the menstruating women in the audience here to stand up, because men in general and I suppose specifically gay men are very much unaware of the fact that at least one fourth of the women that they come in contact on a daily basis are menstruating. Whether you're talking about the receptionist on the telephone or the hotel desk clerk out here, or anybody and everybody in between. Your sisters, your mothers, your bosses are menstruating.

It also says in Leviticus that if a couple is caught in fornication where the woman is a bondmaid, she is to be scorched, he has to bring a ram as a trespass offering to the priest. So I think that we can just safely go ahead and throw out all the declarations in the Old Testament.

Now, just as a short digression here, as you go through this you see all of this about cleansing and purifying and all the things that are unclean, and I really wondered about it. It states specifically that any contamination with semen or blood requires immediate washing, and then I realised that this is God's way of getting them to take a bath once in a while.

Paul is also very clear in his condemnation of homosexuality. Paul is also clear in his pronouncements that women should not cut their hair, should keep their heads covered and should shut up in church. Paul was also the one apostle in the early church that never knew Jesus in the flesh and did not learn the gospel directly from him. I think of Paul as an early Bruce McConkie or Boyd Packer. You kind of have to take what they say with a grain of salt so, as McConkie once stated, they spoke with a limited understanding.

Additionally, nowhere could I find a pronouncement by Joseph Smith, nor a canonized pronouncement by a latter-day Prophet on the subject. In other words, the restored gospel says virtually nothing about homosexuality. In other words, the general authorities don't know diddly-squat what they're talking about, except whatever garbage they have carried over from their own cultural background, which is patriarchy.

Now before I get started, I want to get very clear about what I mean and what I do not mean when I say the word "patriarchy." Contrary to the church's definition, patriarchy is not God's benevolent plan for righteous rule and order in the world. Patriarchy existed full-blown long before the restoration. It existed full-blown long before Christ's incarnation. Now some historians use the word patriarchy to refer exclusively to the Hebrews of the Old Testament. I'm using the word patriarchy in its broadest definition. And you have to break down the word, of course. "Archy" meaning rule, as in monarchy, aristocracy, theocracy, anarchy, and "patri" meaning father. So patriarchy means "the rule of the fathers." This by definition explicitly excludes all women and a great many gay men. Now, I realise that obviously gay men can and do father children, but I think it's safe to say that generally straight men tend to be fathers more often than gay men do. But that's not the point. The point is the word patriarchy in its manifestation at large in the society is defined as a world-wide religion that maintains a system wherein a very few men have most of the money and control most of the resources, which gives them power over everybody else. Now this is the cultural garbage that the leaders and members of the church have carried over and incorporated into the church, incorporated being a very operative word here. I will assume here that you understand that I believe that anybody who believes that patriarchy is God's divinely inspired plan for righteousness in the world is doing some severe compartmentalization in his or her understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Patriarchy keeps a few not so good men in power at the expense of the well-being, wholeness and happiness of others. Misogynous sexism is the sustaining root of patriarchy. Sexism feeds and nourishes it, and allows it to grow and thrive. One of the major foods these sexist groups use to nourish patriarchy is the manure of homophobia. Since patriarchy flourishes in the church in a fine, grand form, the sexist roots are deep and we can be certain there is a great deal of this homophobic excrement in the church as well.

However, I don't want to give the impression that I believe the church has an exclusive claim on patriarchy. Quite the opposite is true. I'm basing my remarks here about how homophobia feeds sexism in patriarchy on the world as a whole. Unfortunately, the shoe fits in the church as well. I also want to state clearly that I don't think that the patriarchal viewpoint is held exclusively by men. Women can and do participate heavily in a patriarchal system, either by becoming exactly the type of women patriarchy encourages or by becoming junior men.

Before examining the role of homophobia in patriarchy, I must first explain how, why and by what rules patriarchy functions. So bear with me for just a minute while we get real clear on these issues. Patriarchy is consummately misogynist. There are many, many unspoken rules in this system, but the primary, main tenet of patriarchy is this: all men must dominate all women. This is not accidental nor incidental. It is absolutely essential for patriarchy's survival. And let me explain what this accomplishes:

  1. When all men dominate all women, it makes dominance over others normal and a part of everyone's daily life. It's a way of life that goes unquestioned. You are either dominating to or submissive to someone else. And significantly, this dominance and authority over others is not based on quality or worthiness or character or superior intellect or wisdom but it's based arbitrarily on a biological accident.

  2. When all men dominate all women, it makes dominance based on biology permanent and unchangeable. Transsexual surgery aside, we don't change our sex. Thus, being dominated by others is inevitable. It makes alternatives appear invisible, they cannot be envisioned or if they can, alternatives appear to be a hopeless cause.

  3. Men dominating women establishes the lowest rung of hierarchy, thus making hierarchy possible. This is very important. Hierarchy is the essential structure of patriarchy. In order to have a few men at the top, you must have a structure underneath them for support. Men dominating women convinces men that not only is hierarchy desirable, but it is essential to the well-being of the entire world. Hierarchy is used in every aspect of society and affects every personal life. We have hierarchy at home, at school, at work, at church, at play, in government, at the federal, state and local levels, in multi-billion dollar corporations and three person offices, in ivy league universities and elementary schools, in the AL and NL and Little Leagues, in "the great and spacious building" and in Beehive classes. This is especially true in the church where I have heard it preached from the General Conference pulpit that the husband is the presiding priesthood holder in the home and his wife is the first counselor and where children ought to have a PPI with their father once a month.

  4. It encourages blind obedience. In this system of dominance and hierarchy, obedience to authority, authority being defined as the person in the dominating position over you, is the highest law, but it allows for no responsibility or accountability. The person in the dominant position is only obeying the person in authority over him or her, who is also only obeying the orders from his or her boss, and so on up the line. It makes ultimate responsibility for one's own actions avoidable. "I was only doing my job," "I was just obeying orders," "I'm not the one in charge." This Nazi mentality flourishes everywhere. We have all had the experience of trying to deal with an insurance company or the civil service bureaucracy. In the church we have gone from the emphasis of "do what is right, let the consequence follow" and "find out for yourself" to "follow the brethren." In my particular stake, this mentality permeated the entire stake, was strongly encouraged by a stake president and half the high council, who were high-ranking Air Force officers stationed at a nearby Air Force base.

  5. If men dominate and control women, it reduces the number of people the men in power must control by half. Men will keep women in their place. Husbands will keep wives in line. Men in top positions of power are always quite willing to let others do their dirty work. Another main tenant of patriarchy is: men must be taught and encouraged to be violent. Men must be kept violent so they will be willing to kill to keep the few top men in power. Do we wonder why our society is so violent? We are taught to be violent. Rape, assault, murder are tolerated and maintained at acceptable levels. Especially rape is the unrecorded, unnoticed, invisible crime, because it accomplishes two objectives at once: it keeps men violent and dominating and controlling women. Rape is the subject of some of the most obvious and insidious patriarchal double-speak. Women are blamed for being victims because they were "there." There, meaning any public space, that is really male space. Jogging in "secluded areas," like public parks and roads, parking lots, bars at any time or any place after dark. Women are well aware that most public space is really "male space." Just watch a woman walk past a construction site or any group of men. They are usually subjected to ridicule in the form of cat calls and sexual objectification. Women are warned constantly to keep out of public space where they are likely to be assaulted, raped and/or murdered. The double-speak warning instructs women to stay within the "safety" of their own homes, where statistically they are most likely to be beaten, raped and murdered becoming a victim of male violence. Most beatings, rapes and murders of women are perpetuated by their husbands and/or male lovers. And as a quick aside here I would like to say that we have a right to be here. We do not deserve to be beaten, raped and murdered because we are here.

Violence is seen everywhere. Whether the television and movies are emulating the real world, or whether the real world is emulating the television violence does not matter. The point is that they reinforce and sustain each other. We are desensitized and virtually immune to the emotional affects of violence unless we become victims ourselves, which is becoming more likely every day.

Sports is another violence-enforcing activity in our patriarchal society. Sports keep up the blood lust and competitive drive. Men choose teams and then beat each other up just to see who can be more violent. This is called "fun entertainment." Or they do it by proxy via professional sports. Anyone who is going to argue with me that baseball isn't a violent sport hasn't paid very much attention lately. I'd like to rest my case on the front page picture of Nolan Ryan pounding the head of Robin Ventura over a dispute on the hit pitch. My teenage sons inform me that the message of male violence against women is rampant in the current popular music. What ever happened to "give peace a chance?"

WOMEN'S ROLES

So if the rules for men in the system are to dominate women and to kill to keep those few men in power, what are the rules for women? Women must be trained to take care of everyone, serve the refreshments and clean up the mess, literally as well as allegorically. If women will take care of the men, the men don't have to. Just as men dominating women halves the number of people those in power must control, women taking care of everyone means that they don't have to. And taking care of everyone, serving the refreshments and cleaning up the mess is a full-time job for women. They don't have the strength or energy or time to question or change the system. Women, especially in the church, but also everywhere else in society, are brainwashed into believing that providing slave labor for men is their God-given duty and special responsibility, and that if they neglect this work the entire world will fall apart. Of course, patriarchy is right. If women stop providing slave labor for men the patriarchal world will fall apart, which is exactly what these men are trying to prevent.

So where do homosexuals fit into all this? From a patriarchal viewpoint, obviously, homosexuals cannot be allowed to exist. Why? Because homosexuals break ranks. Homosexuals are not playing by the rules. Gay men cannot be trusted to dominate and control women. Lesbian women cannot be trusted to provide slave labor for men and stay in their "special" place. For this breaking of the ranks, not necessarily their sexual behaviour, they are feared and hated. I'd like first to discuss this breaking of the ranks and then come back to a discussion on a phobia over actual sexual behaviour.

First, my disclaimer: I have not done any controlled demographic polling or survey taking. My remarks here are based solely on personal observation, conversations with friends, relatives, neighbors, the media and general impressions on how our society functions. Generally, gay men see women as people, not sex objects. All women like that, both straight and lesbian women. Now why do women like being viewed as people? Pretty obvious! You know, there's such a thing as personal worth here. But there's also another equally valid answer that I want to make a point about. Women repeatedly say to me: I don't feel threatened by a gay man. The implications are enormous. It seems that at some level all women feel threatened by straight men. This is considered the normal state of affairs in our society. Let me repeat that. Women feel threatened by straight men. Why? Because violent male behaviour and male abuse of women is normal in our society. In fact, any straight man who is nonviolent and treats women as people is accused of being gay because of the definition of "normal" man is that he is violent and dominant over women. So gay men, in their personal lives, aren't perpetuating the patriarchal system by making women feel threatened. For this they are hated and vilified. They are breaking the primary rule of the system.

Why are lesbian women hated? Because they are living proof that things have gotten out of hand. Women are now able to be economically independent of men . . . barely, and thus are able to live a lesbian lifestyle. This has been true only within the last couple of decades. For millennia, most women had to marry in order to survive, and a lesbian life was not possible. Lesbians don't need a man. Women must be forced to "need" a man because men are justifiably afraid that they won't want a man because of the definition of the "normal" straight man. In their personal lives, lesbians fall outside male control and thus are breaking a primary rule of the system.

Hatred of homosexuals proves the maxim: the personal is political. Earlier I mentioned that the patriarchal system of hierarchy—obedience to authority—is paramount. In their personal lives, gays and lesbians are not obeying patriarchy's mandates on how life should be organized. So it's very clear why they're hated. But why are they so feared? Why the homophobia, and it's the fear that fuels the hatred. There's been this huge outcry over the issue of openly allowing gays and lesbians into the military. What is this all about? Let's analyse this for just a minute. It seems to me that the big fuss is that straight men are afraid that gay men will treat them the same way straight men treat women. Why are straight women afraid of lesbians? They are afraid that lesbian women will treat them the same way straight men treat them. Thus, phobias against gays and lesbians are based on the fear of normal straight male behaviour. Remember that we have previously defined normal straight male behaviour as threatening, domineering and violent. So on the surface this fear appears to be justified, since they cannot imagine or envision anything else. Sometimes this fear is obvious and apparent; sometimes it's very subconscious.

There's another fear that I have recently heard articulated by homophobic fanatics. They are vehemently opposed to allowing homosexuals to teach in the public schools because they are afraid, and I'm going to quote, "they'll teach our children to be queer." This is about as illogical as it gets. You cannot teach someone to be homosexual or heterosexual. The vast majority of homosexuals were taught by heterosexual people throughout their entire educational experience. The entire society is constructed around accepting, expecting and promoting a heterosexual lifestyle. Yet homosexuals remain unaffected. What on earth makes them think that a homosexual teacher can teach someone to be homosexual in a history, or a math or an English class? This is nonsense. They are not truly afraid that their children will become homosexual. What they are afraid of is that their children may learn tolerance for someone who is breaking the patriarchal rules, which will undermine the whole system. In fact, children will see homosexuals as people, people who can be kind and caring and good. If this happens, children may learn to not label people. Labeling is very important in the patriarchal system, which I'll discuss in just a minute. Also, the children may actually begin to question the entire patriarchal mentality and see some of its most glaring flaws, which would totally undermine the system. They might also see that it is possible to live outside the patriarchal system and may be tempted to break some of the rules in their own way. Obviously, patriarchy cannot allow this to happen.

LABELING

People are labeled so those in power will not have to deal with them on an individual level based in human values. One fears, hates, rejects, beats, kills the category, not the individual person. This is handy-dandy for keeping males willing to kill to maintain those in power. One is killing a Jap, or a Jew, or a nigger, or a gook, or a queer, or whatever. One is not killing an individual person. One's moral conscious need not be examined. This is Nazi mentality. This is KKK mentality. This is military mentality. This is patriarchal mentality. This is the mentality that convinced an entire society that it was good and right and necessary for the benefit of society to eliminate the Jews in Europe. This is the mentality that convinced otherwise normal young men to commit the My Lai massacre. This is the mentality behind the Rodney King beatings and the subsequent L.A. riots last year. And let's get very clear on this. The so-called "peace keeping" systems in our society, viz., the police and the military, are in place to maintain the patriarchal system, not to protect individuals. Have policemen or soldiers ever participated in the beating and killing of a "nigger?" Do policemen or soldiers ever participate in the beating or raping or killing of a "queer?" Do policemen ever walk away from a domestic situation where a women is clearly in danger? Do soldiers ever rape women? And lest we think that only soldiers from other countries rape women, let's remember that the Tailhook incident was not unique. The point is, labeling people into negative categories makes the job of keeping men violent to maintain those in power much easier.

Now, what would happen if men refused to be violent to keep those few in power? We are fortunate to have an incredibly striking example. About three years ago in the city of Kiev, twenty young men refused to kill. Factory workers were on strike, and soldiers had been called in to "resolve" the disturbance. They were ordered to fire on the workers. Those incredibly brave and wonderful twenty young men refused. They put their rifles on the floor and lay on top of them. And they said, "We will not kill to keep those men in power." What happened? What happened? The world changed virtually overnight. The entire structure of the Soviet Union fell apart. Just twenty young men who were not willing to obey and shoot people changed the world. Can you imagine what would happen if they all refused? Now granted there are still problems to be solved in the Soviet Union, mostly problems that are caused by a patriarchal mentality. To paraphrase Robert Fulgrum, can you imagine how wonderful it would be if those in power remembered the lessons they learned in kindergarten? If governments played fair, shared, waited their turn, didn't hit, and cleaned up their messes?

Now patriarchy and capitalism go hand-in-hand together. Again, I'm not naïve enough to think that other economic systems are free of patriarchy. I don't think that Marxism or socialism are any better than capitalism. But in our system the possession of property is a political issue. As a matter of fact, the phrase, "the pursuit of happiness" was substituted for the original word, "property" as proposed by the authors of our constitution. Originally, all states had property owning requirements (real estate) as a criterion for voting rights, and of course, only free white males could own property. The point that I want to make here is that in this system, if you can't own property then you are defined as being property. Women, children and blacks were defined as white men's property and were seen as a financial asset in a capitalistic system. Although this definition has changed ever so slightly in the last few decades, the ownership of property is still a major issue. Not only do they want to acquire property, but they also need property (children) to give their property to.

So, this brings us to another mandate of property: men must control women's reproduction. As we all well know, this is not a personal issue; it's a big political issue. The personal is very political. Why do men need to control women's reproduction? First of all, because for millennia children have been defined as men's property and men are continually trying to acquire property. Old habits die hard. How many men long for a son to pass along the family business to or to even just continue the family name? Secondly, women have traditionally been defined as men's property and therefore can be forced into doing what men wanted them to do. Old habits really die hard. I believe the issue over abortion is not a religious or a moral issue in the traditional sense but is a control issue within patriarchy.

Also, there are other economic considerations within patriarchal capitalism. Women must be forced to continually resupply them with a source of cheap or free labor, viz., women and their offspring. This is one of the main problems with lesbian women. They tend to only have children if they really want to. It generally doesn't happen by accident. Women who get pregnant and have children are effectively put on what the media calls "the mommy track." Child-bearing and child-rearing put tremendous strains on women's professional lives. Because there tend to be breaks in a woman's seniority due to the demands of motherhood, men justify keeping them in the lowest paid and lowest status jobs. Lesbians, on the other hand, who tend to have fewer children, may present serious competition for the better jobs. They are also feared because they have already demonstrated in their personal lives that they are unwilling to follow the rules of patriarchy that dictate that men must control and dominate women. Lesbians are uncontrollable, disobedient women. Nothing is feared more.

This is another argument that I have heard against homosexuals within the church itself. Homosexuals are condemned because their lifestyle doesn't produce children and they don't live in what my best friend calls, "faam-leez." Of course, this prejudice is not leveled against childless heterosexual couples, if they are truly trying to get pregnant and are spending enormous amounts of money and time and emotional distress in order to fulfill this requirement. If, however, a couple does not feel mentally or emotionally ready or capable of parenting, and makes a decision based on that, they are condemned as "selfish." If, however, a homosexual couple feels prepared to accept parenting responsibilities and tries to acquire a child, moral outrage and panic ensues! They're totally condemned. Apparently, the logic is that it is better that children should be raised by parents who don't want them than by parents that do. Typical patriarchal reasoning, viz., total double-think. Obviously, it doesn't make any sense at all if decent human values are applied. It only makes sense if one considers the issue from the dark place of true patriarchal values.

So forcing women to have unwanted children is a way of controlling women's economic opportunities and it is essential that the population keep growing. A large supply of cheap labor is necessary to maintain the system of patriarchy and capitalism where a few not so good men have most of the money and control most of the resources at the expense of others. What happens if there's not a large supply of cheap labor? Another history lesson is applicable here. During the middle ages, the European world was organized by feudalism and manorialism. The nobility owned the land, and the serfs and peasants did all the work to support them. Serfs and peasants were virtually slaves with no social or political rights. After the Black Death decimated the population of Europe in the 14th century, peasants and serfs gained a great deal of legal and civil rights because there was not an oversupply of laborers. Their labor was in demand and therefore they could bargain. The nobility lost some of their prerogatives. Serfs in western Europe gained their freedom and were no longer bound to the land. The idea that the law applied to everyone gained prominence and peasants and serfs were no longer at the physical and judicial mercy of their overlords.

SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR

Now that we've addressed the problem with homosexuals breaking of the ranks with patriarchal rules, I'd like to turn to the issue of actual sexual behaviour. What exactly is the system trying to accomplish by condemning homosexual behaviour? Patriarchy has always insisted on controlling women's sexual behaviour for reproduction because it was necessary for men to absolutely determine the paternity of children and therefore absolutely determine who had property rights over the child. But the issue is not that. The issue is one of control. In order for patriarchy to function, it must control everyone. Before this century, women in heterosexual relationships were at a significant disadvantage in the system because if they did not obey the monogamous sexual mandates they tended to get pregnant by men other than their husbands and the consequences could be fatal. But controlling reproduction and controlling sexual activity are not necessarily the same thing. Controlling homosexual behaviour is related to the reproduction mandates but it goes so much deeper. If you can completely control people's sexual lives, you can control them completely. It goes to personal levels that affects their outlook, their daily life. It goes deeper than if you were able to control their food, or their shelter, or their clothing, or their work, or their political structure, or anything else. It is controlling the very essence of their being, who they are inside. And that's what patriarchy wants to control.

Now, what is the antithesis of homophobic patriarchy? True Christianity. In the records that we have, Christ never once said one word about homosexuality, or about sexuality in general, except to say to the woman caught in adultery, "Neither do I condemn thee." Did Christ preach vehement and violent homophobia? No. Did Christ preach dominance over others? No. In fact, Christ specifically condemned religious hierarchy. He preached about kindness and meekness and loving one's neighbor and all of those wonderful things. In contrast, the church leaders' position on homosexuality indicates that they believe that God wants us to be very particular and choosy about who we love . . . and very broad and general about the people we hate and reject. Every indication is that God wants just the opposite. Christ taught that we should be very broad and general about the people we love, and very particular and careful about the people we choose to hate. There is ample evidence that those few men in power within the hierarchy of the church understand virtually nothing about homosexuality and have no desire to learn. In his now infamous remarks last May, [Boyd] Packer referred to a gay man as someone who has a "gender disorientation." I was tempted here to ask, "OK, who's male, who's female, who's not sure?" He doesn't have a clue. He referred to a very sincere and intelligent letter received from a gay man offering to help bridge the impasse between the church and its homosexuals with some understanding and common sense. The offer was summarily rejected. Additionally, Packer stated that gender identity and heterosexuality are omnipresent in the preexistence, an idea that has no scriptural basis and is clearly apocryphal speculation.

What seems to me to be an absolute miracle is that this patriarchal system actually produces some very truly good men. My wonderful husband is a prime example. Especially in the church, I know at the local level many truly wonderful, honorable, good and loving men who are trying to live the gospel of Jesus Christ to the best of their ability in spite of the patriarchal obstacles in their way. The church also produces some very wonderful, loving, strong and capable women who are trying to live the gospel of Jesus Christ to the very best of their ability in spite of the patriarchal obstacles in their way. And some of these men and women are homosexuals, who ought to be as loved and accepted as all others in the church of Jesus Christ. I believe that this is possible by appealing to the core Christianity within the hearts of the members of the church. I'd like to use a personal example here. My in-laws are the epitome of narrow-minded Utah Mormons—the kind of Mormons that constantly nag us to move back to the land of Zion, who accept as gospel truth any utterance by a church leader in any position, who sent us a framed leaf from a tree in the Sacred Grove as a holy relic, and who are vehemently Republican and viciously homophobic. Several weeks ago during my Sunstone Symposium stay in Salt Lake, I was having my annual perm done by my sister-in-law. The conversation got around to this presentation, and the issues that were involved. She claimed to be righteously anti-homosexual and in complete agreement with her parents' and the church's vicious anti-homosexual position. And I said something like this, and I want you to bear in mind who my audience here is: I have to take a different viewpoint. "How so?," she said. Well, I said, there is a growing body of evidence indicating that homosexuality may be genetic and biological. Certainly every homosexual person I know has told me that his or her homosexuality was not a matter of choice, it is just the way they are. If this is true, then we as a church have to seriously reconsider our position on free agency and homosexuality. I really don't know the answer to these questions. I'm only certain of one thing. "What's that?", she asked. I replied, I am absolutely certain that I am totally unqualified to make a judgment about this issue. In the meantime, Christ has explicitly stated what is required of me. If there is anything to forgive, and I am not convinced this is the case, since no homosexual has ever harmed me or mine, but if it's a forgiveness issue, the Lord has said he will forgive whom he will forgive, but of me, it's required to forgive everyone. I'm willing to let the Lord be the judge. "Oh," she said. Ten days later, we're talking on the telephone. She thanked me for expressing my views, and said that it had completely changed the way she thought about the issue. I firmly believe that there are a good many, maybe even a majority, of good sisters and brothers in the church who would and could easily see the problem with their homophobia if only this simple message could be repeated throughout the church. Unfortunately, this would have to happen at the grass roots level, since correlation would never allow such a message in the lesson manuals or the Ensign. I am praying for the day when patriarchy will be replaced by the gospel of Jesus Christ in the church.

My purpose here has not been to propose definitive answers to these problems because I know of none. As my best friend once observed, my spiritual gift is not saintliness or genius, my spiritual gift is a built-in crap detector. My purpose has been to explain and clarify in what I hope is a way that will inspire more creative minds than mine to pursue avenues of peace, love and wholeness for everyone. I hope I've succeeded in just a small measure. May the Goddess bless you all.

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