A brief detour…
This was in the paper today:
LDS Church disciplines musician
Peter Danzig , A member of the orchestra at temple square, wrote a letter in support of Jeffery Nielsen. Nielsen wrote an editorial expressing his conscience regarding the LDS church’s opposition to marriage for gay couples and was subsequently let go from his job as a BYU professor (I’m honored to say I’ll probably see the man tonight, if history is a guide). Back to Danzig and his wife (from the article):
“Within a week, LDS officials contacted Danzig with concerns about the letter. They suspended him from the orchestra and for the next year, he and, ultimately his wife, defended their loyalty, faith and actions. No amount of persuasion or pleading could convince these ecclesiastical leaders they meant well. Ultimately, the Danzigs moved out of their Levan house and, in December, resigned their membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rather than face excommunication.”
“ Initially, Mary Danzig thought it was all a big misunderstanding. But soon, her own devotion to the church came into question. She, too, felt unwelcome in the orchestra. Her parents wrote letters to church authorities, begging for an audience or at least some understanding. They were unsuccessful. "I felt like my world had come crashing down when Peter told me he might be excommunicated," said Mary Danzig, at the time a member of the Primary Presidency in her ward. "What would happen to my family in the eternities, in our community, in our extended family? I found myself coming completely unglued every Sunday. I spent a great deal of time hiding in the bathroom crying with my little girls."
Sad, and disappointing to be sure.
I can’t help but contrast this with the guy I know in a similar position in the church but higher. He’s one of the wealthier men in the valley and he keeps and supports a wife, children, and a hot young boyfriend (who is also in the LDS church and has a wife and kids). Everyone who knows them knows the situation; they flaunt their affections in front of their wives (don’t care they?), and at the local gym they are all over each other for all to see. They’ve seemingly gone out of their way to make their situation clear and this has been going on for years, but have they ever been disciplined? Has he even been suspended from his position in the church? No, he’s still there, probably because he’s never outright said the words to a church leader (though he has to others), and he’s never said it in an editorial. He’s probably never expressed his conscience when his conscience said the LDS church has, like any other institution, made an occasional error. Heck, he’s probably never even thought the church could be wrong here and is just waiting for God to get rid of his "SSA" in the celestial kingdom, where his family and the family of his lover can just be good friends. I bet he’d even stay in line and stand against marriage for gay couples, and so he stays, but people like Danzig go.
Okay, I got heated :-). I began writing before I cooled down.
People like Nielsen and Danzig are rare in humanity, and they are bound to take bruises and bumps for it. Many people know what’s right, but they second guess, put things off; they don’t want to rock the boat, particularly if it’s the boat in which they float, such as their church. Most people are good cops, and, sure, that’s where I tend to fit too. But the others, like Danzig and Nielsen, these are the people who take the scrapes from clearing the path for change. Ironically, these folks in the church threatening them will likely be the guys who unintentionally encourage the rest of the congregation, those with a twitching conscience, to finally stand up and pave that same path, to eventually follow the full golden rule in equality for families such as mine.