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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : A Totally Gay Podcast » A Totally Gay Podcast

A Totally Gay Podcast

Rusty - March 30, 2009

Our resident gay Mormon blogger, Silus Grok, hasn’t posted a thing since Prop 8 passed. I originally thought it was because he was too busy pushing over old ladies and vandalizing Mormon temples, but as it turns out he’s just been busy with a 1,000-piece puzzle.

This is a podcast of me interviewing Silus about his experience coming out, his thoughts on Prop 8 and being an active gay Mormon. There could easily have been another two hours but we had to cut it down to 45-minutes. Enjoy!

Podcast (on Switchpod)

Podcast (on YouPublish)

Transcript (on YouPublish)

38 Comments »

  1. Silus, what a Saint you are. This is fascinating.

    Comment by Cynthia L. — March 30, 2009 @ 9:05 am

  2. I can’t thank Rusty enough for indulging me … I was absolutely paralyzed by Prop 8. And this interview really was a god-send.

    Comment by Silus Grok — March 30, 2009 @ 9:21 am

  3. Hmmm… it doesn’t seem to be working right now. Is that just an issue on my end?

    Comment by Latter-day Guy — March 30, 2009 @ 1:43 pm

  4. Seems to be working for me, LDG. Try right-clicking on the link and downloading it.

    Comment by Silus Grok — March 30, 2009 @ 2:02 pm

  5. Seems to me this is a podcast of Silus AND Rusty. Totally gay, folks?

    Comment by Steve Evans — March 30, 2009 @ 2:12 pm

  6. Excellent! Thanks so much for a candid and heartfelt podcast.

    Comment by mmiles — March 30, 2009 @ 2:20 pm

  7. @Steve … Totally. :)

    Comment by Silus Grok — March 30, 2009 @ 2:22 pm

  8. Loved it. Great job, guys.

    Comment by John Dehlin — March 30, 2009 @ 3:14 pm

  9. Fascinating. New perspective was gained on my end.

    Comment by Jaap — March 30, 2009 @ 3:46 pm

  10. @John: thank you. It means a lot to me that you loved it, considering all the work you do.

    Comment by Silus Grok — March 30, 2009 @ 4:03 pm

  11. I really liked the opportunity of getting to know Silas better, so thank you for that.

    As for the prop 8 discussion, I was very surprised by the position that Silas took. I wrongly (probably naively) assumed that all gay people lined up on the opposite side from the Church on prop 8. I was personally never completely comfortable with the Church’s position myself, from a legal standpoint, and I would agree that the Church doesn’t really have its ducks in a row, theologically, rhetorically, or legally on this issue.

    Thanks for a fascinating discussion. One question for Silas: does your SP know you’re gay? Because, if so, that seems to me a huge step forward for a local leader to be mentioning an openly gay member as a possibile candidate for a bishop.

    I generally pretend to be gay as a strategy for avoiding any leadership callings. I guess I’ll have to start mowing my lawn with my shirt off instead.

    Comment by MCQ — March 30, 2009 @ 4:08 pm

  12. Yes, my stake president knows … and I don’t think he was so much suggesting I’d be called, as correcting incorrect doctrine. We were talking about the quote from the brethren on how gay latter-day saints can enjoy the same blessings (and callings) as any other member. And I mentioned that it was true, except for not being able to be a bishop. Which was when he corrected me.

    Comment by Silus Grok — March 30, 2009 @ 4:15 pm

  13. Silus, Thanks for educating us. I’d love to hear your words more often around here – on any subject!

    Comment by CJ Douglass — March 31, 2009 @ 5:45 am

  14. Silas,

    Very fascinating! I’m glad my brother can do SOMEthing right every once in a while>:p Thank you always for the insights that always help me learn.

    Btw, the 1st Counselor in my Bishopric is Pres. Monson’s Home Teacher. You want me to send it his way? (April Fool’s!>:)

    Comment by Bret — March 31, 2009 @ 4:05 pm

  15. :)

    Comment by Silus Grok — March 31, 2009 @ 4:30 pm

  16. Thank you, Silus and Rusty. I very much appreciate not only the content but also the tone — I’ve never heard anyone discuss these issues this way. Thank you so much.

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — March 31, 2009 @ 7:55 pm

  17. It’s refreshing to hear such open and honest dialogue on the subject. I am an active Latter-Day-Saint who opposed prop 8 for essentially the same reason you were for it, because we simply don’t know enough to make a final decision and in my estimation it is unfair to put the civil liberties of others on hold while we figure it out. Besides, let the gay community call it what they want, gay marriage will never be in the same book for me as Celestial marriage – just as marrige solemnized by a Catholic Priest will never be the same – call ‘em what you want they just never will be the same to those who understand the difference. That brings me to two others points and then I’ll jump down from my soapbox. As I said, they will never be the same to those who understand. One of the argument for prop 8 was the children. That’s why the oneous is on us as parents and loving adults to teach the difference and for those who are not LDS all the more reason we should be doing missionary work and community outreach with, as Silas suggests, a well appointed rhetorical toolbox, so that the message resonates both spiritually and intellectually. Finally, I think there is a way to move forward in a mutually respectful manner; get the government out of the marriage business as is done in many countries around the world where Latter-Day-Saints live. Make sure that every couple who choses to commit to each other has the same rights in the eyes of the law via some form of recognized contract (civil union or some other form), then let them get married however they chose but with no governmental regulation. Under a canopy, by an Imam, to their gay partner on the beach, or sealed in the Temple. I’d love to see the church press for something like this. Perhaps even better, I’d love to see federal legislation proposed on the subject by a Mormon congressman. Wouldn’t that go a long way to reversing some of the inadvertant damage caused by the church’s involvement in the whole prop 8 mess?

    Comment by COH — March 31, 2009 @ 10:59 pm

  18. Silus,

    I thoroughly enjoyed this podcast, your viewpoints and insights about Prop 8 in particular. However, I feel it is highly unrealistic to expect that the Church will, at some point in the future, condone gay unions “for time”, as discussed in your interview.

    Church doctrine does not change based on the personality traits of a particular prophet. The Proclamation on the Family clearly states the Church’s standpoint. I don’t believe the brethren are fence-sitting or undecided on this doctrine. But thanks for a thought-provoking 45 minutes! I really enjoyed it.

    Comment by EAM — March 31, 2009 @ 11:05 pm

  19. Church doctrine does not change based on the personality traits of a particular prophet.

    This is an interesting issue you raise, EAM, perhaps it should be dedicated its own post or something. But historically in the Church different prophets (with different personalities) have emphasized different things and have been more or less likely to pray about certain things. For instance, a revelation about blacks and the priesthood was much more likely to come through someone like David O. McKay (who often prayed about it) and Spencer W. Kimball (who clearly prayed about it) than someone like Joseph Fielding Smith and Harold B. Lee (who, according to McKay’s biography, were against the idea in the first place). Of course then you get into questions of God putting prophets in place at certain times, etc., but it’s an interesting question nonetheless.

    Comment by Rusty — April 1, 2009 @ 7:26 am

  20. @COH, @EAM, such interesting comments! I’m just itching to respond … but can’t until this evening. I’m under water at work today. :(

    Comment by Silus Grok — April 1, 2009 @ 9:39 am

  21. However, I feel it is highly unrealistic to expect that the Church will, at some point in the future, condone gay unions “for time”, as discussed in your interview.

    EAM,
    I think Silus addressed this issue when he said, “when I was 8, I couldn’t imagine…” etc.

    An easy example: Brigham Young might not have been able to imagine a church without polygamy or a priesthood ban.

    As long as it doesn’t effect an individuals relationship with Jesus and His church, there’s nothing wrong with having a “heart of hearts” hope for the future. In fact, I think it would be very un-Mormon to do otherwise.

    We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

    Comment by CJ Douglass — April 1, 2009 @ 9:44 am

  22. Very interesting–thank you!

    McQ–just pretend to be a woman–that will do the job.

    Comment by ESO — April 1, 2009 @ 11:04 am

  23. I agree with CJ. There is certainly nothing wrong with hoping for a change in position on this point, and I think, based on our history, there is at least some reasonable basis for hope. After all, prior to 1978, there were a number of apostles who stated publicly that the priesthood ban had a firm doctrinal basis and that therefore black members would never hold the priesthood. One even published widely his statements to that effect. We all know what happened with that.

    Besides, I see nothing in the Proclamation that explicitly states that Silas’s hope is completely out of the question.

    Comment by MCQ — April 1, 2009 @ 12:38 pm

  24. ESO, if I were believable as a woman, that might be an option, but some of us just ain’t that pretty.

    Comment by MCQ — April 1, 2009 @ 12:39 pm

  25. I can’t thank everyone enough for their kind and encouraging words. The podcast did what I’d hoped: it let me get out a lot of my feelings on the issues — and it touched people I’d otherwise not have had the chance to reach.

    In fact, I got word today that a friend posted about the podcast on his Facebook page, then had a wonderful discussion about it with his YM group the next evening at YM/YW. I like what he said to me:

    “I don’t know whether any of my boys are gay. But at least they now know that it’s a safe topic of discussion.”

    I would love it if everyone with a Facebook page did the same, frankly.

    Anyway … I do have a couple of comments, myself:

    @COH said:

    I … opposed prop 8 for essentially the same reason you were for it, because we simply don’t know enough to make a final decision and in my estimation it is unfair to put the civil liberties of others on hold while we figure it out.

    While I can appreciate the generosity of the sentiment, I simply can’t imagine letting others fundementally change the notion of marriage. Centuries of experience formed our current read on the marriage contract, and gay marriage is a fundemental shift in paradigm — one that may (will, I believe) have long term consequences. There are other options, besides marriage, available to gay couples seeking some semblance of safety net. There’s no reason to rush through the process.

    … get the government out of the marriage business as is done in many countries around the world where Latter-Day-Saints live. Make sure that every couple who choses to commit to each other has the same rights in the eyes of the law via some form of recognized contract (civil union or some other form), then let them get married however they chose but with no governmental regulation.

    I’ve heard this idea before — numerous times. But I could’t disagree more. Let’s be very clear: society has a profound interest in the institution of marriage — social costs of single parent homes, costs associated with STDs, issues of probate — all are issues at the very _core_ of what societies concern themselves with. Now, consider the added interest for any country who engages in the least amount of safety netting. Citizens who want any — ANY — form of safety net must allow government into their homes and private lives so that the government may limit its future liability. No. I’m sorry … the only way that the countries you mention are “out” of the marriage business is that they don’t perform the ceremony.

    @EAM said:

    I feel it is highly unrealistic to expect that the Church will, at some point in the future, condone gay unions “for time”, as discussed in your interview.

    Rusty, CJ, and MCQ all eloquently spoke to this point, but I’d still like to add my 2¢: I think that there is ample space, doctrinally, for a time-only accomodation for same-sex couples. A few principles are at play: the demystification of sex, and the currency of knowledge.

    The Demystification of Sex

    It wasn’t many years ago that the Church treated sex much in the same way that the Catholic Church does today — as an act thoroughly, irrevocably imbued with mystic power. Women, especially, were powerful vectors of sex and and sexuality, and were treated more like dangerous weapons than like daughters of God. In this mindset, those who had sex outside of marriage commited a sin “next to murder” … and those who had sex within the bonds of marriage were permanently altered — tainted. Divorce was not common because remarriage was nearly impossible. The church officially, stridently treated divorcés as sex offenders. Time passed, and divorce came to be a necessary evil. More time passed, and remarriage lost its wretched taint.

    (I’m describing a trend, not endorsing it.)

    The act of sex within marriage changed, too … not long ago, it wasn’t uncommon for couples to be lectured by their ecclesiastical leaders about the purpose of sex (to raise children unto the Lord) and the appropriate expressions it could take. Today, the general consensus appears to be that sex is an appropriate expression of romantic love in addition to being procreative. Moreover, sex in any form — so long as it’s respectful and mutually agreed upon — is considered to be the sole discretion of the couple.

    These related trends echo a more nuanced approach to sex — now seen less as a magical force and more as an act with myriad and profound consequences.

    The Currency of Knowledge

    In D&C 130: 18 & 19, we are taught that:

    Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more aknowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.

    I believe this wholeheartedly. I imagine most everyone reading this post does. Which brings me to an observation: when a man and a woman marry, they — by nothing more than getting married — enter into a new and elevated spiritual realm. A realm where they will thrive or perish based on their ability to see the world through the eyes and heart of their spouse. Moreover, when this same couple become parents, they graduate again to an even more elevated spiritual realm by virtue of having to see the world now through the eyes of their dependent. Good spouses or not, good parents or not, these people have spiritual avenues and information that those who are not married or parents can not possible attain to.

    Combined, I would suggest that by denying me — a spiritually, intellectually, and socially mature individual — an appropriate way to pursue these spiritual riches, I am being denied the chance to ring from this life all that I could.

    So I think there is plenty of room for the Brethren to say that for the spiritual (not to mention emotional and physical) health of their gay members, an accommodation (much like that made for divorce) will be made to allow for time-only “marriages” to be entered into and consumated.

    Church doctrine does not change based on the personality traits of a particular prophet.

    To believe this is to believe that the Lord strong-arms His prophets. It’s to no longer believe “knock and the door shall be opened”. Sure, there are rare instances where revelation comes unbidden. But they are the exceptions which prove the rule.

    The Proclamation on the Family clearly states the Church’s standpoint. I don’t believe the brethren are fence-sitting or undecided on this doctrine.

    A couple points, here: first … the Proclamation is not scripture — or, more accurately, is not canon — please don’t give it more than its due; second … I love the Proclamation, and consider it inspired, but I can find NOTHING in it to support your statement — nothing; third, I consider the Proclamation the embryo of a Mormon Theology of Life.

    And, CJ Douglas, I must admit my love of the 13th Article of Faith:

    We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

    Emphasis mine.

    Comment by Silus Grok — April 2, 2009 @ 9:35 pm

  26. Great, fascinating podcast. Some excellent, thoughtful comments.

    The thread here raises an interesting question about continuing revelation in the LDS church. It may be true, as CJ says, that Brigham Young could never imagine a church without polygamy, even though he clearly believed in continuing revelation. But we, apparently, *can* imagine not only the policies, but even the teachings of the church on central issues being very different from what they are, and we can sort of live in anticipation and hope of them being changed. But this paradoxically leads us to bracket current light and knowledge because we hope or suspect, e.g. that it’s on a par with folktales about blacks and the pre-existence. So it’s not obvious to me that Brigham Young’s attitude to current teaching is the wrong one and ours the right one. The comment in the podcast on Catholic theology is important here–does the Church need to say, “We’re serious about this, and we’re not just muddling around here–look, we have a whole treatise on the subject”? That’s a mostly serious question, I think.

    This predicament isn’t without precedent. The blacks in the priesthood is the clear example–in our own telling, the revelation was hoped for before it came. Revelation isn’t just a way of God telling us things, but a way of us hoping that he’ll tell us something different in the future. This is all part of the package, I guess, but it troubles me, because it *is* sometimes hard to remain open to church teaching, to allow it to work on us and win us over. I don’t want to deny how hard that really is sometimes; but that’s exactly why things that allow us escape from that difficulty trouble me. On the other hand, being open to God doing a new thing in the world is a central part of being Mormon, too.

    Comment by Jeremiah J. — April 3, 2009 @ 11:17 pm

  27. Excellent points, Jeremiah. I don’t think a hope for new revelation on any subject ought to make us less willing or dedicated members when it comes to current teachings, but there is certainly some danger that it will.

    Comment by MCQ — April 4, 2009 @ 12:44 pm

  28. @Jeremiah … wonderful comment. And it’s so true: I can’t live in the future; _now_ is the time for me to work out my salvation.

    Comment by Silus Grok — April 4, 2009 @ 3:52 pm

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  31. A heads-up: a web/e-mail friendly transcript of the podcast is available at my YouPublish site: A Very Gay Transcript. It’s available (like the podcast itself) for anyone to use, under a Creative Commons license.

    Comment by Silus Grok — April 21, 2009 @ 1:33 pm

  32. Silus, I finally sat down and listened to this today. You have a sexy voice! (I can say that because you’re gay and you’re not going to show any interest in me.)

    Rusty, you do not have a sexy voice.

    Very interesting interview to listen to though. It’s not every day that you get to hear a perspective like this, and it’s really inspiring how you work to make your situation go with your faith and put your faith first.

    Hey, if a single (and possibly gay) guy can be a bishop, can a guy who is married to a non-member be a bishop? Not that I think my husband would make a good bishop, just curious.

    We may have covered this in the comments at 9M somewhere already, but I forget what the answer was.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — April 21, 2009 @ 10:44 pm

  33. Jack, The majority of the church does not have the luxury of these kinds of restrictions – thank goodness.

    Comment by CJ Douglass — April 22, 2009 @ 10:01 am

  34. Jack, I know of no reason why your husband could not be called as bishop. Culturally, the bishop’s wife is often seen as “the mother of the ward” but that is kind of silly when you think about it and there is no necessity that she actually be an active member of the Church. I suspect, however, that if you actually objected to him being a bishop or were not supportive of that calling, then it would not be extended to him.

    Comment by MCQ — April 22, 2009 @ 4:32 pm

  35. Hey Jack! Thank you — that’s so very kind.

    My take-away was that it’s the Stake President’s prerogative to send whomever they wish to the First Presidency to consider to be a bishop. Assuming they hold the Melchizedek priesthood and are otherwise worthy, they’re fair game.

    One clarification: my stake president knows I’m gay. :)

    Comment by Silus Grok — April 22, 2009 @ 9:30 pm

  36. Your Podcast link is broken. Is there a transcript?

    Comment by John Nebeker — August 12, 2009 @ 1:57 pm

  37. Hey John! … Not sure what’s happening over at Switchpod, but I’ve added links to the podcast and transcript — both at YouPublish.

    I hope this is helpful.

    Comment by Silus Grok — August 12, 2009 @ 3:18 pm

  38. John … could you please e-mail me?

    silus.grok@gmail.com

    Comment by Silus Grok — August 12, 2009 @ 3:52 pm

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