Feel honoured to have achieved this accreditation. Appreciate all the tutors, students, and my supervisor, that I have studied and worked with, plus all the wonderful and amazing GSRD clients I have been privileged to work with over the past few years. Always more to learn and experience in this crucial field of counselling with clients who are part of LGBTQ+ community.
So last year I wrote a post “Is Reconciling Being Gay and Mormon possible?” following an article in Pink News that an openly gay man, a member of the LDS Church, had put on twitter how happy he was being married to a straight woman. More power to the couple, however long that lasts. See my post, linked above, for reasons I’m sceptical. Also, an older post.
So, now we have an article on The Church website, currently on the home page, written by another openly gay man, Arteh Odjidja – an award-winning portrait photographer and educator born and raised in London. A brief bio describes that Arteh “considers London to be his home and a place of inspiration for his work. He also draws much inspiration from his global travels and his focus on empowerment through the medium of portraiture.“
Some inspirational thoughts Arteh expresses in the article:
“I believe my purpose is to offer perspective to others through my words, my art, and my insights—to encourage compassion towards others. I don’t think my life is any more important than anyone else’s, but hopefully my perspective can offer others the peace I now feel about having a personal testimony of Jesus Christ and His purpose for our lives.“
“As an artist who captures human stories, I’ve become enlightened to the many hidden faces of humanity: the untold stories, the silent and silenced voices of suffering. It is important to me to inspire others to empathise with those we deem as “other,” as we are all brothers and sisters. Unfortunately, we have a long way to go before division, injustice, and prejudice are eradicated from people’s hearts. I know how integral it is to our collective progression to have charity in our hearts and to bear one another’s burdens.“
“I try to champion unheard voices because that’s the very least I can do to play my part and love as the Savior would.“
So what’s my objection to the article? Same as before, it portrays being gay and Mormon as compatible, that the two ways of being can be reconciled. As said before, I strongly believe, unless a person is asexual, the denial involved, required by The Church, for an LGBTQ+ person to be life long celibate, is cruel, heartless and not what God, however, whatever, you may consider her/him/them/it to be, wants or desires.
A lot of people I know may be offended by that last paragraph. Though, hopefully, a lot of my LGBTQ+/GSRD friends will understand my reasonings.
So is Arteh asexual? I have, of course, no idea. From the article he sounds a wonderful person. From the selected quotes in the previous couple of paragraphs he has some amazing qualities and ideals. I hope he can maintain his discipleship. Though I seriously wonder how long he will be able to maintain that, whilst being an openly gay member of The Church. He’s been a baptised member since April 2016. It’s now February 2021. Will this article still be on The Church website in a year’s time, 5 years time, 10 years time? Or will it disappear like many videos/stories from what used to be the Mormon and Gay part of The Church website, now renamed to same-sex attraction, which seems a further rejection of being being gay, putting more emphasis on sex, rather than on relationships.
Do “We All Have a Place in the Lord’s Church?” Until there is full acceptance of those who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer in anyway, my answer is, no.
There has been / is / will continue to be much debate about the recent Alabama change in the abortion law there. Whilst I’m in the UK, as many of those reading this blog, they may be a thought from some that it’s not relevant here to post about. I don’t full understand the American political process so I’m not going to comment directly on the law itself. Except from my limited experience, it seems crazy.
However, one of the causes of unwanted pregnancy, which is where the need for abortion often arises from, both in the US, the UK and in all other parts of the world is lack of sex education. There is often the idea that too detailed information will result in young people suddenly going out having sex. Not the case. If anything education demystifies everything, often removing the desire to do something not known about.
The YouTube video above by Dr Lindsey Doe explains the benefits of sex education. At the end it lists resources available in the US. Often it is thought that abstinence education is sufficient. Dr Doe’s swimming analogy resonates. If you tell someone they shouldn’t swim, that will never help them ever to swim! There are multiple aspects of sex education on her YouTube channel.
Below is a link to a UK site, run by Justin Hancock, giving loads of information about sex, that is very worthwhile and educational for those over 14. All with a UK perspective, taking account of UK laws, etc. Justin covers such topics as, well there are so many!! One topic that I’m very interested in is consent. Justin has several articles on this. Have a browse here.
Another site worth a visit, for slightly older folks is https://megjohnandjustin.com/.
As a counsellor if you have any questions that is something I can help with. Whatever your gender, sexuality or relationship I am here to help.