When I say that I am a gay Mormon Fundamentalist, some people wrongly think I am joking about having multiple gay lovers. Perhaps it is for others to decide whether or not I have a sense of humour but I never had any doubts about my sexual orientation and could not be anything else than a Mormon of the Fundamentalist kind.
Yes, I am very aware that many Mormons—especially Fundamentalists—claim there is no such thing as ‘a gay Mormon’. Meanwhile, Gordon B. Hinckley, then President of the LDS (Mormon) Church, stated in general conference in 1998: “There is no such thing as a ‘Mormon Fundamentalist.’ It is a contradiction to use the two words together.” ¹
Well, I do exist. I am a gay Mormon. And I am a Mormon Fundamentalist. I am not some ‘wannabe Mormon’ fascinated by prairie dresses, frustrated Ru Paul’s Drag Race has yet to feature the category #FunDragentalist.
Some will imagine an angry and flamboyant activist set out to trash the religion he turned his back on. This may disappoint, but I am a modern gay man who converted to Mormonism 20 years ago (and became a Fundamentalist 5 years ago).
I understand that saying I am a gay Mormon Fundamentalist will conjure up all sorts of clichés and misconceptions. Some who will imagine a straight-acting closeted homosexual trapped in a religion he was born in and married to seven wives from the compound; others an angry and flamboyant gay activist set out to trash the religion he turned his back on.
This may disappoint, but I am a modern gay man, neither straight-acting or flamboyant (but sometimes feeling trapped and angry) who converted to Mormonism over 20 years ago. Because I believe in the Mormon religion as it was revealed, taught and practised by the early brethren, I was re-baptised and re-ordained to the Priesthood by Fundamentalists 5 years ago. I do believe, however, that Ru should feature the category #FunDragentalist on the next season of Ru Paul’s Drag Race.
So, how does that work?
Fundamentalists identify as ‘Mormons’, even though they never were members of the Mormon Church or were excommunicated from the Church. Because the eternal (Mormon) Priesthood restored the true Church of Christ on Earth in 1830, it is not the Church that governs the Priesthood, it is the Priesthood that governs the Church. They claim it is necessary to live the ‘fulness of the Gospel’—all those Mormon doctrines and practices that are ‘fundamental’ to salvation and exaltation, including those that the Church wrongly discarded or modified—through the ministration of the Priesthood, without the Church if necessary.
That is my position, and like all Fundamentalists I believe that a man’s standing before God does not depend on the approval of the Church (and like all Independent Fundamentalists, that it does not depend on any groups or individuals either), if that man lives the Gospel the best he knows how.
Beyond my own experience or personal inspiration, I sincerely believe that Mormon Scriptures, doctrine and history show that the validity of a man’s Priesthood, his salvation, and even his exaltation, are points that are far more complicated than many want them to be. If I dare call myself a ‘gay Mormon’ it is because the gay issue is not settled.
The Gay Mormon Fundamentalist wants to tell the story of a gay man who’s ‘out’ and who accepts his sexuality, but who also has always refused to let go of his religion, and has even chosen its Fundamentalist expression.
My objective is not to promote a lifestyle but to dispel myths about gays, about Mormons and about Fundamentalists. The aim of this blog is also to offer support to others in a similar situation.