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Church leadership post for an openly gay Mormon
Mitch Mayne, who is openly gay, hopes his newly assumed Mormon leadership position will increase understanding.
September 24th, 2011
10:00 PM ET

Church leadership post for an openly gay Mormon

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

(CNN) - Early on in life, Mitch Mayne knew exactly who he was.

He would race home from school to watch reruns of “Star Trek” and swoon over his crush, Captain Kirk. At 8, after his parents converted, he was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a faith he embraced. Even after he drifted away from the LDS Church following his parents’ divorce, he came back to Mormonism on his own in his mid-20s.

It is where he feels spiritually at home, irrespective of the fact that, for the past 10 years, he’s been openly gay.

“I’m a man that lives in two worlds that a lot of people don’t think intersect,” Mayne said. “Both sides of myself exist in me. It’s part of my DNA, part of my makeup.”

Actively Mormon and openly gay: It's the sort of combo that might leave people wondering. After all, the LDS Church teaches that homosexuality, specifically if same-sex attractions are acted upon, is a sin. And the church has actively backed measures to ban same-sex marriages.

Now, Mayne finds himself in the spotlight as he embarks on a journey he says “belongs to all of us.” In mid-August he was selected, or called (as Mormons say) by local church officials to serve in an LDS Church leadership position in San Francisco.

Mayne’s appointment may have generated attention, but he’s not the first gay Mormon to assume a leadership role in the church.

In Seattle, Washington, and Oakland, California, gay men have reportedly served in LDS Church leadership roles, Peggy Fletcher Stack wrote in her piece about Mayne in The Salt Lake Tribune. What makes Mayne unique, Stack said, is that he "may be the first local LDS leader to announce his orientation over the pulpit.”

Late last month, from the pulpit, Mayne revealed - to anyone who didn't already know - who he is:

"I am a gay Latter-day Saint.

"I don't want pity. To pity me is to make me a victim. I want understanding. To understand me is to love me as an equal.

"I don't want tolerance. If I am tolerated, I am disliked in some way. I want respect as a fellow striving child of God - an equal in his eyes.

"I don't want acceptance. To accept me is to graciously grant me the favor of your company. To accept me is to marginalize me with the assumption that I am less than you. I am your peer. I am neither above you nor below you."

Mayne shared these words during a farewell address to the Oakland ward he long attended, amid an announcement that he would be leaving because he had been named the executive secretary to the bishop of the Bay Ward. It is a role in which he'll offer administrative help but also take part in shaping congregational work.

“While that’s not a big accomplishment in and of itself,” Mayne said, “it is a remarkable accomplishment for the simple fact that maybe for the first time, a man was called to a priesthood leadership position not in spite of the fact that he is gay, but partly because he is gay.”

For those unfamiliar with LDS Church vernacular, a ward is essentially a congregation or, to use Catholic terminology, a parish. Various wards fall under the auspices of a stake, the rough equivalent of a diocese. In this case, the Bay Ward is one of three wards that make up the San Francisco Stake.

The LDS Church, which entrusts local leaders to determine local callings, does not pay clergy, nor does it send would-be bishops to seminary. So Mayne, like the bishop who called him to serve, is a volunteer who works for the church on top of his full-time corporate communications job.

Don Fletcher, an ophthalmologist, said that when he was called last month to serve as the bishop and leader of the Bay Ward he wanted to make sure every Latter-day Saint in his ward knew they were welcome, including the vast majority who weren't showing up. Of the 950 members on the books, only 150 were appearing in the pews.

Because the Bay Ward serves a geographic area in San Francisco that includes the famously gay, rainbow-flag-waving Castro neighborhood, it stands to reason that a segment of those not attending church are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

Among those who have been absent are members who grew up steeped in Mormonism, faithfully served as missionaries and have families still active in the church. For Fletcher, making members of the LGBT community feel comfortable enough to walk through his congregation's doors is personal.

Fletcher has a gay family member with AIDS and says he has seen firsthand how isolating that can be in the Mormon world.

“I love my church and have a lot of faith, but culturally we haven’t done a good job in dealing with people who are gay when they face life challenges,” whether that be coming out, depression or struggles with suicide or illness, Fletcher said. “I wanted to address it in the ward I live in.”

The response in his ward, and from other Mormons he has heard from, has been nothing but positive, "uniformly, no exception," the bishop said. And, he added with a laugh, in the past month he’s broadened his own knowledge – or, rather, his lingo base - learning about “the ‘Moho community,' Mormons who are homosexual. That was a new one to me.”

The LDS Church's top leadership, and by extension many Mormons sitting in pews, heavily supported the campaign behind Proposition 8, the 2008 California initiative to ban same-sex marriage, which is currently tied up in the state’s high court.

Church doctrine says members should avoid sexual relations until marriage, which only can exist between a man and a woman. But the church’s involvement in the Prop 8 battle, and the Mormons who financially fueled the effort, created rifts in wards, spawned protests outside LDS temples and pushed some members, likely already on the churchgoing fence, out the door.

The Oakland First Ward, which Mayne attended for more than a decade, held a series of meetings to help heal those post-Prop 8 wounds. He said he sees his new church position in San Francisco’s Bay Ward as an extension of such bridge-building and a positive evolution from where he once was. The appointment will allow him to do extensive outreach in the LGBT and Mormon communities.

“It’s been hard to be a gay Mormon,” Mayne said. In the course of his life, he said he came out "no less than three times to bishops and stake presidents, and each time I was pushed back into the closet. … This is an opportunity to take my own pain and challenges and make it an opportunity to help. How can I not do that?”

He and Fletcher have already seen dividends from Mayne's calling. On a recent Sunday, Fletcher said he looked out to see seven formerly absent members take their seats in the pews because Mayne is there.

“I talked to a couple that hadn’t been to church in 20 years,” Fletcher said. “I’m not reinventing doctrine. I’m just trying to put in place what Jesus Christ would have us doing. … Even if you’re in a gay relationship and have no interest in living all the commandments, you’re still welcome in church, by all means.”

The development has stirred up discussion far beyond California. In one week, Mayne said, his personal website, which links to a blog in which he writes openly about who he is, received 30,000 views from 67 countries.

“I’m not a lone wolf on this,” he said. “I just happen to be a face of it. … There is a place for everyone at our savior’s table.”

But not everyone is as confident that Mayne’s calling will make a difference.

“I’m conflicted about this,” said Eric Ethington of Salt Lake City, the founder of the LGBT blog PRIDEinUtah.

“On the one hand, I view this as a positive step forward for the church, a church that has a history of extreme persecutions against the LGBT community,” he said. “But on the other hand,  I worry about LGBT people … because the church teaches you that you cannot reach your full potential and have full acceptance in the church unless you marry someone of the opposite sex.”

Ethington was raised in the LDS Church and says he was kicked out of the house when he came out at 17. He later closeted himself and married a woman in an LDS temple, only to divorce a couple of years later after realizing he was kidding himself.

“I can’t share (Mitch’s) optimism, but I share his hope,” he said. “Whether the church is ever going to change its policies, that’s a question for (LDS Church President) Thomas Monson. But one thing I hope the church will do, and maybe Mitch can help with this, is educate local leadership. Some kids are gay. … And that’s OK.”

Ethington pointed out, though, that Mayne, who was in a longtime monogamous relationship until a year ago, was only able to get his church calling because he’s not currently with someone.

“If he falls in love again and wants to be with that man, he won’t be allowed to serve,” he said.

Matt Mosman, a high councilor with the San Francisco Stake, said that if Mayne were to find himself in another romantic relationship, there would be an expectation that he would step down.

But the expectation that Mayne will abstain from premarital sex while in a leadership role, Mosman added, is no different from what would be expected of a single man who is not gay.

“The idea that a gay man who is not currently active in a gay relationship could serve actively in a high-ranking calling – that is a policy in the Mormon church that you could argue has been around since the church’s inception,” said Mosman, who works in corporate development.

For now, Mayne looks forward to his service and to promoting conversations and understanding. He will not, however, commit to a life of celibacy and hopes, “for all my gay brothers and sisters,” that same-sex marriage will someday be an option.

“I’m not saying I have an intent to go out and sin,” he said. “Here’s where I am; I am able and willing to serve. But I don’t have a crystal ball and don’t know what the future holds.”

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Homosexuality • Mormonism • Same-sex marriage

soundoff (1,700 Responses)
  1. Tim M

    I am an athiest and I really hate religeon. What I dont hate is people. With that said, some of the nicest people I have met are mormon. Forget the theological specifics and silly things that some fundamentalist mormons practice. What Mormonisim is really about is being a good person, living with integrity, supporting your family, and helping out your neighbors and community. If you get caught up in the specifics about the LDS and espcially thier 19th century history, you may forget the overlaying principals of why people are drawn to the church. It works for some people. It doesnt for others (like me). If the silly specific beleifs about religeon bother you, then dont think about them. It clouds your judgement with anger and confusion. Think about the man behind them and what kind of man he is and wat he says about his neighbor. Is he the fake saint who gay bashes and does things to prohibit rights? or is he the saint who practices what the LDS is really all about, which is being a good neighbor and human. Look at the perosn and how they practice life in compraison to what they preach. Then make a judgement about them.

    September 25, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • PeaceOut

      Thank you. Well-said.

      September 25, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  2. 1alan1

    Religious people hate me because I am atheist, so I would never go to a church. They hate you because you are a threat to them, stay away. Religion is evil in itself, its a control tool, they can't control you so they hate you.

    September 25, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      @ 1alan1

      1Cr 3:9 “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.”

      1Cr 3:16 "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"

      Luk 17:21 "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is inside/within you."

      1alan1, Jhn 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence."

      1alan1, We are but beings of the Celestial Plain of Cosmic Relativities. Inside our bodies lays the Real Plains of Cosmological Fruitedness of the Gods.

      September 25, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • Veritas

      @Richard S Kaiser: 1F23 Cr B15:12:16:77 "Thou shall shut the F up".

      September 25, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      @ Veritas

      Did my words hit a nerve? Or,,,, Are you just plain hateful of and find condemnations against the simpleness of Gospel scriptured word? Did I ever condemn you? I never knew you.

      September 25, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Reality

      Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Most contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospels being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/UTAH white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

      So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher man would do or say?

      September 25, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Alan, it's just the more fanatical christians. I have christian friends who are delightful human beings. It's all about mutual respect.

      September 25, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  3. Samsword

    To the Atheists— There is no substantial proof that there is no God. There's not even evidence. You have nothing to stand on. Furthermore, it's unwise to base your entire belief system on modern science, because most of what we "know" (or rather, what we think we know) will likely be proven wrong in the next century (For example: CERN just broke physics! http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/219419/20110925/particles-moving-faster-than-light-albert-einstein-subatomic-particle-opera-physics-faster-than-ligh.htm) But, I'm going to guess that when it really comes down to it. Your decision to be Atheist wasn't inspired by "reason and science." I'm going to say that for 99% of you, you became Atheist because: A) You got hurt. Something bad happened to you, or some religious person upset you. Or B) You're living a "free lifestyle," and you don't like the thought that you could ultimately be held responsible for all of your actions. So, I can respect your decision as a fellow person, but let's say it how it is: When all is said and done, you're decision is based of emotion, not so-called "facts."

    To Religionists— Just because something comes along and challenges your world-view, doesn't mean it's "wrong" and that you should reject it. Remember that Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Lao Tzu (or whomever you believe in) all challenged the popular world-view of their day. Could it be that our creation stories are more metaphorical that literal? (I mean nobody takes the book of Revelations to be literal...) Perhaps God, through science, is trying to teach His children the methods of creation. This in no way diminishes your religion.

    Science doesn't replace Religion, nor vise versa. Because their end goals are entirely different. Science seeks diligently to understand the "how" of the Universe. And faith seeks to answer the question "why." The "why" can never be answered through scientific reasoning alone. It's something we learn through reflection, study, pondering, meditation, and ultimately personal experience. Both Science and Religion are evolving and growing, and I believe that they will eventually come to support one another, as our understanding of the Universe develops.

    September 25, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • kimsland

      OMG so this is the atheists way, to try to ridicule religious people even further?
      Just tell them the truth. There is no god you idiots.

      September 25, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • D-man5005

      absence of evidence is not evidence of absence

      September 25, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • D-man5005

      @kimsland, way to use OMG while trying to say that there is no god. idiot

      September 25, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • kimsland

      D-man5005, just like when I say jesus fing christ.
      I use it as a swear word generally

      September 25, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Samsword It is precisely BECAUSE science is progressive and constantly improving that makes it a source of real knowledge. Although a religion, too, will tend to change over time, it will tend to change in whatever direction some powerful social force or other want it to change. There is no reality testing of received theological theory, no CERN experiments that show that something interestingly new appears to have been discovered that is sure, one way or other, to expand out understanding of the world. No, it's just another wave of people poring over the same old texts and deciding that THEY finally got it right, and all others wrong.

      September 25, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Veritas

      Actually, in practical terms fundamentalist religious people are going against science in denying evolution, the age of the earth, what fossils tell us, etc. Nobody knows why the universe was formed 13.7 billion years ago, but we are getting closer by the day to understanding what happened after the big bang, and religion has no role in that whatsoever.

      September 25, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • SuRy

      I am an atheist. Looking back, there was no "magic moment" when I decided I was an atheist. I can recall sitting in bible school and church as a young child thinking "these are made up stories and ridiculous." As a young adult I revisited several churches just in case I was missing something. Funny think happened each time; I thought "these are made up stories and ridiculous." If any decision is based upon emotion it most certainly is a decision to believe in fantastic stories and beings that can not be seen or proven.

      September 25, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • David

      Not believing in god in NOT a 'belief system'. You just don't happen to believe there is a god. There's not an atheist church with anti-services. The whole religion thing is not taken seriously. To me, religion is a big waste of time and effort for a fantacy.

      September 25, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • Veritas

      Science is based on continuously expanding our knowledge by putting forth theories that can be proven or disproved. Religions are static and have basically gone from people believing that these ancient texts are literally true, to being increasingly watered down as "metaphors" as science and reason renders the religious texts irrelevant.

      September 25, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Veritas

      @David: We are all born atheists, and remain so until someone tells us what we must believe.

      September 25, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • YBP

      Sam, the section you wrote "to the atheists" makes you seem quite foolish. You have no credibility after that. You should have made that your last statement, not your opener. The onus is not on atheists to disprove your absurdity and ignorance. If that were the case, people could continually make up all kinds of outlandish "beliefs," that thinking people would have to disprove as false. Religion isn't off-limits for discussion anymore, as it interjects itself into politics. Religion is not above riducule and criticism, as it is absurd and obsolete, in ways that you probably cannot even contemplate. Nor is it above disdain, as it is itself hateful toward others, and has always been lethally dangerous when used as a weapon or a means by which to control others. Sam, you're a grown up. It's time to follow your leaders advice and "put away childish things," like magic, and the misguided psuedo-history of ancient tribal poets. And change your screen name to something abit less self-important.

      September 25, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Samsword. You would claim there is a god...we simply ask where is the evidence...what do you base your assumption on? what have you seen that proves god your exists. I am fully aware there is non evidence because there is no evidence in the first place to disprove. If I claim that it there are invisible unicorns running your life, it would be up to me to prove that "fact". God exists for you in the more safe parts of your life...if your life were in immediate danger, it would be human responses or technology that would save you. I absolutely do put my faith, as you call it, in science... of course things will be changed that is the nature of scientific investigation..When you fly away on vacation or to a religious event, the plane flies because of what Bernoulli understood,using science...not because of an ancient text, or prayer. Science is simply the best way that humans have found so far to explain their world, and it will forever be changing and adjusting the understanding we have. If god does exist, it will be science that finds it.

      September 25, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Veritas

      @Samsword: Your analysis of why people are agnostics/atheists is misguided and, I assume, distorted by a theist mindset. "Got hurt" or "living a free lifestyle"??? To me, not believing in supernatural gods is the default state until there is some compelling reason to start practicing worship in these invisible deities, and I see no reason at all. We are all born atheists until someone tells us what we must believe.

      September 25, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Norman

      samsword-funny-you do realize that there is NO proof that there is a god besides primtive people saying there was thousands of years ago, right? there is actually ample evidence that no god exists and man made god up because he fears death...so silly to argue that-its called faith for a reason, dumdum

      September 25, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Samsword

      I agree that I may have been unfair to the Atheists. Some of you follow that path simply because you felt it was true. My point was, that Atheism is a choice based ultimately on feelings. As far as "science being the better path" — I agree that in many terms, the objective view of science is superior. But I also refute the notion that "subjective experience" is always inferior. Sometimes I think personal experience has more input than an objective view can. There have been many who have claimed visions or divine experience. And while there certainly are many charlatans or simply psychopaths, I don't think it's fair to assume that all of them are. I have had experience with the Divine, that is so similar to others' experiences described, that for me, it seems to me that they are true. However, I cannot blame you for not believing what I believe. I'm simply asking an open mind. Science isn't on the side of "Atheists," it isn't on the side of anyone. That's the point. Science is objective; and as I said before, seeks the "how" not the "why."

      To answer another comment. It depends on the situation. If it were cancer, I would rely on the science given to us. If I were lost in the junge, I would take the advice of a tribal shaman over a botanist any day.

      I apologize for my unfair comments towards Atheists. I was simply pointing out that it comes down to one's feelings, not "logic."

      September 25, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Samsword Thanks for your latest post. I assure you that it is "more then a feeling" standing behind what we do and don't believe, but I actually concur that subjective feelings are inescapable and not necessarily irrational in the sense of inevitably leading one away from sound reason. Any honest researcher will tell you there is a real high associated with grabbing that truly explanatory insight, or suddenly amassing reams of data that really upset the old applecart.

      And being too sober minded can trip you up. I came up with a strange way of figuring out which nodes stand in a specific relationship to other nodes in a tree diagram that I thought nothing much of until I started showing it to people and they, serious linguists all (this is syntactic theory stuff) started to stare in wonder. SO I thought, oooh, maybe this is more important than I realized! Somehow, I had managed to have a significant insight without having that "aha!" experience and had to rely on OTHERS having it in my presence to alert me to the possible importance of what I had stumbled upon. So I would never ever denigrate the importance of feeling and emotion in the pursuit of insight and knowledge!

      September 25, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Sam, your belief in god is because of your emotions and what you were taught to believe. My lack of belief in god comes from looking at what is known about the universe, and by the fact that every culture has invented a god/gods. I used to believe, and it was kind of sad when I realized I didn't. But I believe in honesty and the truth is, there is not a single shred of evidence for any god.

      September 25, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • Adelbrain

      Sammy dear,
      One does not need evidence of a negative, nor will there ever be any. Try to get an education, honey. Then come back, and maybe you won't embarrass yourself so much. Your guesses about why people are atheists are all wet, and you are full of crap.

      September 25, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • Samsword

      I'd actually just like to thank some of you for your civil remarks. I've really enjoyed reading some of your responses, and would love to continue our discussion of differing viewpoints. I feel that I can hold an intelligent conversation with quite a few of you.

      Some of you others, I hope that you mature a little, and then we can discuss things civilly in the future. (Although I recognize that some on here are just trolls. It can't be avoided on a public blog.) @Adelbrain, judging on your other comments, it seems you suffer from a slight superiority complex. I assure you I am very well educated, and associate with brilliant men and women from various fields. Your condescending remarks are neither helpful nor do your position credit.

      I hope that none of you think that I hate Atheists. I have some great friends who are Atheist. (Even I considered it for quite a while.) I simply wished to express my thoughts in a hopefully insightful manner. I apologize if I failed to do so.

      September 25, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
    • Scott

      @Samsword: Here’s a fact. In several places the bible says if you believe and you pray for it you will get it (without any qualifiers, I will quote them for you if you wish). Never has an amputee regrown a missing limb, no matter how much he believed or how long and hard he and ever one else prayed.

      Here’s another point. The bible says jesus is the good shepherd that watches over his flock. In any disaster you’d care to examine you will find the christens do no better than anyone else.

      In the bible jesus said he would return within one lifetime, we are still waiting.

      In all of the scientific experiments done to date, everything observed is explainable without the need for supernatural intervention.

      As for CERN just “broke physics” , did you read the articles? At most they have found an imperfection in the theory of relativity just like Einstein found an imperfection in Newton’s laws of motion. But it’s just like a jesus freak to declare any discrepancy in science, no matter how small, as a proof of god; but, to deny all of the massive contradictions in the bible.

      As it happens I was brought up as a Christian and I finally chose to leave the faith when the contradictions between Christian dogma and demonstratable facts became too obvious to ignore.

      With some things like fossils, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence; but, for a mastodon in my living room or an omnipotent, omnipresent, omnibenevelent god, it is

      But you are right in one respect. “Science doesn’t replace Religion”, it completely obliterates it

      September 26, 2011 at 12:29 am |
  4. A Mormon

    I am a Mormon and I think it is just fine if he holds a church position. The gospel of Jesus Christ is all about bringing people together to help each other become better. You may disagree with LDS church doctrine, and that its fine, but the gospel of Jesus Christ is about putting of weaknesses and becoming Christlike which is what anyone can do. I do believe, like the article said, that if he starts a relationship with another man then it would be needful to step down from his position. But it doesn't mean he has to stop going to church or participating in church activities. It would just be no longer appropriate to have him in a church position.

    September 25, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • kimsland

      Now if that's not a hypocritical contradiction I don't know what is.
      Seriously re-read that, this is truly how the church feels.

      September 25, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • SuRy

      Right Kimsland. These people are incapable of recognizing their own hypocrisy. "The gospel of Jesus Christ is all about bringing people together". Apparently only certain people.

      September 25, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • Jazzy

      I don't agree with what you say your gospel is about. I live in Wyoming and have lived in Utah. I left Utah because of the Mormon church. There is NO seperation between state and the Mormon church. My 23 year old son is going with a Mormon. Her parents hate him just because he is not Mormon, has tattoos and piercings. He is awesome kid. He does not drink or do drugs. I think they would rather see her date a "Mormon" that abuses her then be with him. It makes me so angry. They have even threatened to disown her if their relationship continues.

      September 25, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • Norman

      you do know your religion was made up right? the magic triangles? the underwear, the heresy of adding to teh bible...mormons only exist because poarents keep brainwashing their kids...its no more valid than scientology

      September 25, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  5. Bo

    @kimsland, is that really you spewing so much hate? I had no idea you were so hateful! I think it's a troll.

    September 25, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • kimsland

      No seriously Bo
      I find religious belief incredibly funny.
      Anyone with any sense would.

      September 25, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
  6. Rich

    Religion is delusion.

    September 25, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
  7. Pilfer

    @D-man5005 what about the Mountain Meadow Massacre, or the entire posture of the Mormon church towards outsiders during that era.

    The closed, private, unhospitible behavior of Utah Mormons is not new. In fact it is far less hostile and xenophobic than it was a century ago.

    Settlers crossing through Utah were routinely run out, arrested, and occasionally killed.

    The Massacre just happened to be a well publicized single event.

    I understand it was often a response to hostility and mistreatment Mormons were exposed to be Illinois and Missouri citizens, but the result was Mormon Extremism.

    September 25, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • D-man5005

      Thank you for bringing up a valid example. This is a good example of something that Mormons did which was terrible, but I'm not quite sure that it was Mormon extremism. In regard to your other comments though, (you did bring up this point), the Mormons were almost justified in trying to defend themselves from outsiders, who were for the most part at that time, trying to kill them. Nothing about this is Mormon extremism though. If it was, they would have been doing it in the name of religion, which they didn't. They were defending themselves.

      But I still ask the question, what is so terrible RIGHT NOW that makes the Mormon church so terrible?

      September 25, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  8. kimsland

    Die religion die

    September 25, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Godfrey

      Not gonna happen. Ever. We humans are programmed by evolution to believe this stuff. Very few of us are able to rise above it.

      September 25, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • kimsland

      Yes I understand, but I truly do feel the day will come.
      Atheists are on the up and up, this has happened most recently because the Internet has actually shown the world what these people actually believe in.
      Outrageous stuff

      September 25, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • With Love for Neighbor.

      False Reliegon is Babylon the Great.Revelation cap 17-18.. Her fall is coming!! Rev18;1-2 18 After these things I saw another angel descending from heaven, with great authority; and the earth was lighted up from his glory. 2 And he cried out with a strong voice, saying: “She has fallen! Babylon the Great has fallen

      September 25, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • Answer

      @Godfrey

      We're not programmed as much as just taught. Ultimately it is the individual that accepts what he/she has been taught that leads to one validating religion. Good education at the start – early on in life – will prevent religion's influence in one's mind.

      Religion is a deadly poison. I wholeheartedly wish for it to die. Every person that accepts religion will ultimately die off, but we can teach our children with knowledge to NOT accept it. That will be a few centuries from now.

      September 25, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  9. David G

    The LDS church says you can be gay but not a practicing gay. Yeah, they told me the same thing and when the church got so involved in prop 8 I sent in my resignation letter.

    September 25, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • D-man5005

      prop 8 was all about being an active gay. The church just upheld what it said

      September 25, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  10. rhymeskeema

    No one is "born" that way. people choose to be Mormon.

    September 25, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • MikeD

      You are absolutely right!! This life is about choosing good or evil, light or darkness, righteousness or sin.

      September 25, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Jazzy

      Or the parents choose it for them!

      September 25, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  11. Josie

    Having grown up in the church and all that...I can say in this area they do need a change. A change of view and of acceptance and hopefully this is the first step towards that. I know of many in-active members that have left or stopped going because they are gay and open about it. You shouldn't have to lie about who you are to be active and involved in major points of your religious/churches beliefs! For once I can say good job to this, I hope this ends up being a positive experience for both him and the members of the ward he is going to.

    September 25, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
  12. kimsland

    People be strong and leave the church.
    Your children will thank you

    September 25, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Kristina

      Choosing to become a Mormon is one of the things I am most grateful for in my life. If you can do nothing but post uninformed and hateful comments, I can't really respect your views.

      September 25, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • kimsland

      Kristina your idiocy is showing.
      And if you don't mind it's very funny.

      September 25, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Dan

      @Kristina. Don't expect people outside your cult to respect any of your views either considering all it's done to inject itself into politics and campaign to deny rights to others.

      September 25, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Answer

      @Kristina

      The sooner you die without fostering your views onto future generations the better. Die immediately.
      In fact tell all your friends! Be the cult leader and lead them off this earth to you defined heaven already.
      I highly encourage everyone who has religion deeply set in their heart to follow this suggestion immediately. After all you have your god's word that you are succored into his embrace already, so go ahead. You have my approval at least.
      Suicide is your best friend. Do it now.

      September 25, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • Ryan

      kimsland how is her idiocy showing? Just telling people they are dumb because you disagree does not prove anything. It takes effort to be involved in any religion. Mean while we are standing here effortlessly telling people that we're better for staying at home and commenting online while they are at church.

      September 25, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • Lin

      @Answer, since you like telling Mormons they should be dead or that they should go bump themselves off, you must be so bummed that you were not born about 180 years ago. There was a state – yes, a part of the U.S. – where the ex_termination of Mormons was ordered by the governor. Or maybe you would have preferred living in Germany in the 30s. Ex_terminating people was also popular there.

      September 25, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
  13. CelticHunter7

    Sounds like he is having feelings of guilt about being GªY, and is trying to wrap religion around his 'hurt' feelings. The truth is being GªY, is an abomination in the light of GºD.

    September 25, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • Thomas

      Sounds like you're an idiot. I love the way people like you only believe the parts of the Bible than enable your hate and bigotry.

      September 25, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Godfrey

      Exactly why your "god" is a piece of garbage.

      September 25, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • tom88

      Well put. God gives us free will. Its not for us to judge but in the end we all answer to God!

      September 25, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • marissastar

      I don't see where in this article you get the idea that he is experiencing guilt.

      September 25, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Godfrey

      "It's not for us to judge..."

      Well, someone hasn't been paying attention in Sunday school.

      What do you think religion is, if not an excuse to judge others? You people are so blind.

      September 25, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Dan

      He doesn't mention guilt at all. Project much?

      September 25, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
  14. With Love for Neighbor.

    thank you for picking on me.
    Acts 5;41 These, therefore, went their way from before the San′he‧drin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy to be dishonored in behalf of his name
    Thank you my faith is stronger

    September 25, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Another Christian holds a self pity party because people responded to their post with something other than hosannas. It's getting beyond pathetic.

      September 25, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  15. Bob

    Mormonism is just as wacky as scientology and the evangelical (so-called) christians. I wish these groups would just leave the country. America would then be able to turn itself around instead of being saddle with this dead weight of ignorance and hatred,

    September 25, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Thomas

      Oh, the irony.

      September 25, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • marissastar

      Ignorance (yours) is bliss, I guess. Educate yourself, you bigot.

      September 25, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • Not again

      You mean the Mormons have to leave the United States again? We tried that once, but you pulled us back in. 🙂 True charity comes in many shapes and sizes. We are exercising true charity when we can love the someone that is most difficult for us to love. That means loving someone because they are gay, religious, athiestic, or look different than us. When we can exercise true charity, we will have peace.

      September 25, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Christopher

      Those "wacky" believers that you refer to create the moral fabric of our communities and neighborhoods. They may think differently than you, but their ideals encouraged the governing laws and social standards of the country that you enjoy living in.

      The glass is half empty for some. To me, our diversity makes it incredibly full of life and tolerance.

      Way to go, Mitch! You are a good man for believing what you do and for not being ashamed of it.

      September 25, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Please stop deluding yourselves with this "moral fabric of the country" nonsense. There are plenty of mormons, catholics, jews, sihks and muslims sitting in prison, too.

      September 25, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  16. Carol

    Mayne's address to his church," I am a gay latter-day Saint", and his three' Don't wants' are exactly what all Gay men and women want, and very well explained. He could have any religious conviction and say the same enlightening thoughts. The trouble is it doesn't seem to have gotten through to some of these commentors. I hope the Mormons aren't just using this special man to pull the gay in San Francisco back into their Wards and do nothing constructive along the thoughts of Mitch Mayne for all GLBT in their Church and every other Church in the world.

    September 25, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • BilCat

      Well said Carol. I'm LDS and have been taught to believe and understand that we are ALL children of our Heavenly Father. As brothers and sisters we should treat each other with love and respect. This is a great article – Mitch did an excellent job of evenly and fairly presenting his place in the church.

      Oh that all Latter-day Saints would accept that we are all brothers and sisters.

      September 25, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  17. kimsland

    Mitch in a couple of years when you finally realize the church hates you, make sure to denounce your religion publicly, it will help others to get of these religious cults.
    I say we should have a, Save a child leave the church, day.

    September 25, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • Kristina

      Seeing as he is an adult who has made a choice to be in the church most of his life, I'm not sure what "revelation" is finally going to come to him to help him to see the light that his church hates him. Maybe you can call and let him know, and I'm pretty sure he would find your comments ridiculous to say the least, sweetie.

      September 25, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
  18. Randal H

    So now the LDS church joins the growing ranks of denominations who warp their teachings in an effort to pull more people and money into the fold.

    Not surprising, considering how much of recorded history the LDS Church has to either ignore or warp to shambles simply to continue pawning the myth that the Book of Mormon is actual history of the American continent .

    I'm all for people finding what "feels right" for them, but people should also be on a quest for the truth. Truth is one thing you'll find very little of inside the LDS cult.

    September 25, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • BilCat

      Well Randal H, last I checked no, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has not changed its policy. Mitch is living the kind of life (righteous, chaste, Christ-like) that ALL Christians should be trying to live. Living that kind of life along with repenting daily for mistakes made makes any LDS adult male worthy to receive and serve in a Church calling. It doesn't matter whether it's in SF or NYC or Dallas – the moral and ethical requirements are the same.

      As far as your contention that there is very little truth in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that between you and our Father in Heaven. I know that Jesus Christ lives and is the head of this church. I know this through the influence of the Holy Ghost – the comforter that Christ promises His followers.

      September 25, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
  19. With Love for Neighbor.

    Mat 23;27-28 27 “Woe to YOU, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because YOU resemble whitewashed graves, which outwardly indeed appear beautiful but inside are full of dead men’s bones and of every sort of uncleanness. 28 In that way YOU also, outwardly indeed, appear righteous to men, but inside YOU are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness

    September 25, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • kimsland

      Recited from 2000 (or way less) years ago I hear?
      We live in the modern space age days now, with technology and intelligence, not your barbaric ignorant pathetic religious days.

      September 25, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • Bob

      kimsland with the smackdown, beautiful

      September 25, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • steve g

      technology and intelligence doesn't bode well for those in control are neither technological or intelligent. doesnt matter if a pile of sh** is given to cavemen or leading scientists.....its still a like of sh**

      and before you try to detour, no i am not religious or follow it at all, on the same note i am not atheist as well.

      September 25, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • Jason

      Congratulations, you've described 90% of Christians in America.

      September 25, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
  20. Hm.

    This idiot ruined my day at church. I had to leave early because I could not get the thought of a GAY MAN IN THIS CHURCH. Church has always been a safe place for me to get away from the outside world and all I believe to be wrong. Then this guy comes, and it just ruins it. Completely. Thanks.

    September 25, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • With Love for Neighbor.

      Mat 6;33
      “Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these [other] things will be added to YOU

      September 25, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • steve g

      then for someone who sounds devout you apparently do not have the strength enough to put thoughts of the outside away for the however many hours you attend....meh, it happens. unless he is in YOUR particular church it shouldn't bother you, plus he's probably not the first. he's not making decisions that in any way affect your daily life i'd assume?

      September 25, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • With Love for Neighbor.

      Mat 7;7 Keep on asking, and it will be given YOU; keep on seeking, and YOU will find; keep on knocking, and it will be opened to YOU

      September 25, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • WOW

      Get Christ Like much ?
      You are the reason churches are pools of hate and war mongering zealots.

      September 25, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • steve g

      @With Love for Neighbor

      anyone can pick out lines to quote. i could do the same thing to rival your quotes probably.

      September 25, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • Christopher

      I am really saddened by Mormons like you.

      September 25, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • BilCat

      HM – maybe you ought to try to remember that we are all brothers and sisters. Mitch is living a righteous life that his priesthood leaders agree make him worthy. Please ask our Heavenly Father for guidance on this matter.

      September 25, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • ironman1995

      IAM GLAD HE RUINED YOUR SUNDAY DAY, HOPEFULLY EVERY SINGLE SUNDAY TILL U DIE,THANKS FOR BEING

      September 25, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
    • ironman1995

      DEAR HM, SORRY HE RUINED YOUR DAY, IAM CRYING WITH YOU AS I WRITE THIS, WRONNNNNG,YOU NEED TO GO BACK IN TIME LIKE 1850, UTAH WITH BRIG YOUNG,YOU WOULD FIT IN JUST RIGHT,

      September 25, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
    • Adelbrain

      Yep. The first little crack appears. 10 years from now it will all crash down. You will wonder HOW you could have been so stupid. Moroni indeed.

      September 25, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.