The following article reflects on the impact of LGBT-affirming stories featured in Deseret Digital Media outlets, owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While the intention may be to show support and understanding, these articles often fail to consider the perspectives of active members who experience same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria. In this piece, we explore the confusion and disconnect caused by adopting popular sexual ideologies without providing a faithful counterpoint. Additionally, we question the purpose of church-owned media if it simply echoes the messaging and values of the dominant culture.
Bridge Building or Misunderstanding?
A personal encounter with a stake presidency member who presented himself as an ally inadvertently highlighted the challenges faced by church-owned media. Despite good intentions, their LGBT-affirming stories often fail to understand and effectively support active members with diverse identities and experiences. This article aims to shed light on the concerns and conflicts faced by those living the gospel.
The Message in LGBT+ Focused Articles
In recent months, Deseret Digital Media outlets have published numerous articles on LGBT+ topics and political issues. The overarching message appears to be that hate is still prevalent in the state, and it is the responsibility of Latter-day Saint families to attend Pride festivities and celebrate LGBT+ causes. These articles emphasize the need for change in parenting and leadership practices and portray Utah as having passed “transphobic” legislation that oppresses and dehumanizes individuals.
Lack of Faithful Counterpoints
The articles often present quotes from activists without providing a faithful counterpoint, leaving readers to wonder if church-owned media truly understands the perspectives of active members who experience same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria. By failing to provide a balanced view, these articles can be confusing and alienating for those striving to live the gospel while facing opposition and isolation from the gay community.
Encouragement to Attend Pride Festivities
Some articles even encourage readers, both gay and straight, to attend Pride festivities, implying that it can be a life-changing experience. Live coverage of the Pride flag raising at Salt Lake City Hall is shared on KSL Twitter, further promoting the celebration. However, this approach fails to recognize the unique burdens and challenges faced by those who seek to remain faithful to their covenant path during Pride Month.
Reflecting Dominant Cultural Narratives
These LGBT-affirming stories in church-owned media echo the messaging and values of the surrounding culture. This raises the question: What purpose does church-owned media serve if it merely reflects the dominant cultural narrative? The desire to be seen as loving and inclusive may unintentionally compromise important aspects of faith and doctrine. This article urges church-owned media to critically examine dominant narratives and provide more balanced perspectives.
Importance of Balanced Reporting
Balanced reporting requires listening to alternative viewpoints and including voices of concern. The current articles often uncritically repeat public rhetoric, failing to provide an objective perspective. Including perspectives from legislators who sponsored bills, along with religious individuals expressing their concerns, would enrich the articles and provide a more nuanced view of the issues.
Using Prophetic Frameworks as Guidance
Prophet leaders have provided frameworks for navigating these complex issues, such as Love and Law and Fairness for All. These frameworks balance justice, mercy, and freedom to share religious beliefs while honoring the concerns of others. By incorporating these frameworks into reporting, church-owned media can provide more helpful and constructive content.
Recognizing Diversity within LGBT+ Voices
It is crucial to avoid painting the LGBT+ community as a monolithic group. Church-owned media should recognize the diversity of experiences and viewpoints within this community, especially regarding faith. Interviewing individuals both within and outside the Church would provide a more accurate representation and foster understanding among readers.
Deepening Connections with LGBT+ Members
There are numerous faithful members of the Church who experience same-sex attraction and desire to live the gospel. Building personal and professional connections with these individuals can provide valuable insights and enhance the quality and inclusivity of church-owned media content. Attending conferences like the North Star Conference, which features a diverse range of perspectives, can foster understanding and strengthen relationships.
Appeal to Deseret Digital Media Management
This article concludes with an appeal to the management of Deseret Digital Media. It acknowledges the pressures faced by writers and editors and suggests the need for additional training and adjustments to performance standards. Expanding the range of voices featured in articles and aligning incentives with the larger goals of the Church would significantly enhance the impact and relevance of church-owned media.
The inclusion of LGBT-affirming stories in church-owned media has the potential to alienate and confuse active members who experience same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria. By providing a more balanced perspective and incorporating prophetic frameworks, church-owned media could better support and strengthen the faith and relationships of its readers.