Chapter Nine – God Doesn’t Love Gays

Cub Scouts was created to test my tenacity, perseverance, and courage. Whoever chose our leaders seemed to always look at who happened to be my biggest nemesis at the time and then select his mother to be our den mother. I was always doomed to spend one afternoon each week at the home of the biggest bully that delighted in endlessly tormenting me.

If I didn’t have to go to Nick’s home after spending all day listening to him mock my girl-like athletic abilities, I would have to go to TJ’s house. TJ was more of a physical than a verbal bully. He couldn’t get through a day without pushing, pinching, or punching somebody, and his mother didn’t know how to control his compulsions.

I am not sure why I endured attending cub scout meetings at those homes, but I did so silently. I never once complained to my parents about the abuse I had to endure. To tell you the truth, I just assumed that most of the boys had to put up with the same abuse, so I tolerated it as well. I figured that most boys that age were naturally mean to each other.

During my third year of cub scouts, we got a new den mother. A new boy, Wes, had moved into the neighborhood and ward, and his mother was called to be our new den mother. I was excited, because the new boy seemed nice—and cute—and it felt like we would finally attend our den meetings in a bully-free home.

Sister Hawkins, Wes’s mother, was a wonderful leader. She was aware of the bullying problems within our group of boys, and she knew how to put a stop to the problems in a stern but loving manner. Those afternoons in her home became a break from the verbal and physical abuse we had learned to endure during the school day.

One of the highlights of den meeting was always the treats at the end of our activities. We normally had a bucket that we would pass around and take turns bringing a refreshment. They were usually cookies, Rice Krispy squares, or candy bars. Our den mother would fill us up with sugar and then send us home.

I still remember that day we piled into the Hawkins’ car to get ice cream at Dan’s grocery store. This was a real treat because Dan’s always put a large scoop of ice cream in their cones. Somehow we managed to fit all twelve boys into the suburban and made our way to the market.

We all looked at the variety of ice cream choices as we waited for our turn to order. Once we got our cone, we browsed the magazine covers on display next to the ice cream counter. I was the last to get my ice cream, rainbow sherbet (how’s that for some symbolic foreshadowing?), and we piled back into the car.

There was some extra elbowing and pushing of shoulders as we rode back to the Hawkins’ home. Before we knew it, we were all teasing and calling each other names. The names seemed pretty innocent until Wes spoke.

“Stop touching me, fag!” he shouted.

Sister Hawkins pulled to the side of the road and slammed on the breaks.

“What did you just say?” She asked. Her eyes were narrow, and she did not have the normal, calm tone in her voice.

“Please stop touching me,” Wes corrected himself.

“No, Wesley James Hawkins. What was that ugly word you used?”

“Fag.” He looked down as he said it under his breath.

“I don’t want you to use that word ever again. Do you even know what that means?”

Homo,” he said in a little more than a whisper.

Nick had been trying to be quiet, but at that point, he let out a big laugh, and a few of the other boys joined him.

“I don’t ever want any of you using those words. Do you hear me? None of you boys are fags, homosexuals, or gay.”

“But God loves gays” Wes said a little bit louder.

“Where did you hear that?” Sister Hawkins asked.

“It said so on one of the magazines at the store.”

 “That’s nonsense,” she explained. The frustration levels in her voice were rising. “God does not love gays. They are immoral, degenerate, and are not worthy of his love.”

“But, why?” Wes asked.

“They just are, and I will not talk about it any more.”

We remained silent the rest of the way back. I think we were all thinking the same thing on the way home. Why doesn’t God love gays? I didn’t even know what gays were, but I wanted to make sure I never became one. After all, I admired everything Sister Hawkins stood for, and if she told us that God doesn’t love gays, it must be true.

Time for renewal

LDS General Conference Crowd Photography
LDS General Conference Crowd Photography (Photo credit: JeremyHall)

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”

It has been several months since I have posted on here. In the time that I have been away, a few interesting developments have happened within the various LDS church organizations and people within the church. Here are some of my favorites.

Time for healing within the LDS church

Last fall the LDS church made a new website available to the public. The purpose was to share their views on gays within the church organization. Many people complained that it was not enough. Personally, I feel that it is a great first step in the official organization building bridges that have been damaged over the years.

Unfortunately, too many people who consider themselves faithful members of the church still have unkind and unfair views toward their gay family and friends. I see the website as an important move to help people realize that we have the same dreams and spiritual needs that everyone else has.

Time for the Boy Scouts of America

I posted a little bit about some of my experiences in the Cub Scouts, and I will post some stories about my time with the Boy Scouts. It’s exciting to see that the BSA is considering a change in its policy about gay scouts and scout leaders. The opinions I read on various articles about the topic are pretty divisive, but it’s a discussion that we need to have.

Time for gay Mormons to let people know who we are

A few months ago Jimmy posted a video coming out to his friends and family. I first discovered it from a Facebook post his sister Jolie posted. I have known Jolie for years through the small LDS film circuit, and I am impressed with her work and love shown towards her brother.

Within weeks, Jimmy’s video went viral, and I saw it mentioned on different news programs. Overall, I think the public response has been positive and supportive. I wish him the best.

Time for General Conference

Believe it or not, I look forward to General Conference every six months. I happen to know a lot of other gay and lesbian members and former members of the church who also pay attention to this weekend. We want to know what the leaders are going to say. We hope and pray that our issues of being bullied and feeling excluded will finally be addressed. We feel left out.

I am not sure what will be taught at this conference, but I know it will be a time of spiritual renewal for millions of people across the globe. Please remember many of those seeking spiritual renewal are your gay brothers and sisters.