This weekend on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, Welton sits down with two activists connected to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to talk about the ways that LDS authorities have reacted to the increasing progressive activism and dissent within the church. He also talks with an independent journalist based in Boise, Idaho, about the impact of interreligious activism in what many disparagingly call “fly-over country.” Finally, Welton talks about “ex-gay therapy” peddlers, and the psychological and financial burden they place on vulnerable individuals and families.
From the Outside In: One Former Mormon’s Predictions of the Church’s Future
This week, State of Belief welcomes Bruce Bastian, a former Mormon, respected philanthropist and openly gay human rights activist. Bruce talks about his relationship with the LDS church and the impact that the excommunications of two fellow progressive Mormon activists, John Dehlin and Kate Kelly, will have on the church’s image as a more and more accepting institution. He also elaborates on the LDS church’s level of involvement in secular politics –reflecting on the significant effort the church mounted to pass Proposition 8 in California– and speculates on what its role in secular society might be in the future.
Excommunication, or How the LDS Church Deals With Dissent
Welton sits down with a veritable renaissance woman, Carol Lynn Pearson. An author, activist, poet, playwright and screenwriter, she shares her personal experience struggling both within and without the LDS Church. Carol talks about the LDS church’s threats to excommunicate John Dehlin and Kate Kelly, and the potentially harmful ways in which the church deals with dissent. These experiences make up the backdrop of Carol’s remarkable book, which she discusses with Welton, Goodbye, I Love You: The Story of a Wife, Her Homosexual Husband, and a Love Honored for Time and All Eternity. Finally, she shares how she engages on LGBT and women’s rights issues within the church, and how she manages the challenges facing women in the LDS community.
Boise, Idaho: A Center of Interreligious Activism? Yes, Says This Journalist.
Welton reconnects with independent journalist and activist Jody May-Chang to talk about the progressive interreligious movement in her hometown of Boise, Idaho. Jody talks about the work she’s done with the Interfaith Alliance of Idaho, specifically in response to the tragic situation for the LGBT population in Uganda. Finally, as someone who spends a lot of time writing about the troubles of the world, Jody shares her sources of hope – something that is beneficial, if not critical, for all of us to find.
Muddying the Waters: How “Pray the Gay Away” Proponents Promote Themselves
Finally, Welton talks about the ethics of the “pray the gay away” and “ex-gay therapy” movements within some elements of the religious right. It might be cynical to say it, but there is a profit motive to these emotionally harmful and destructive practices, which pry families apart in a cloud of false hope and pseudoscience. Fake cures for the “problem” of homosexuality cost significant amounts of money, with these snake oil salespeople preying on the vulnerable to help their own bottom line. LGBT people of faith should never be told that they’re not good enough in the eyes of God and that they have to change, especially if people are making a profit off of their pain.