Peculiar People: Mormons and Same-Sex Orientation
Ron Schow, Wayne Schow and Marybeth Raynes, editors
Lowell L. Bennion, Foreword.
Paperback. 406 Pages. / 1-56085-046-9 / $19.95
AWARD FOR PUBLISHING EXCELLENCE, ASSOCIATION FOR MORMON LETTERS
Mormons embrace the term “peculiar people” as a badge of honor. To Latter-day Saints it represents their status as God’s people, with reference to the pride of their ancestors in being different—the persecution early Mormons endured for defending polygamy, new prophecy, and the political Kingdom. The ironic reference to individuality and group consciousness is equally applicable to gay and lesbian Mormons who experience misunderstanding, guilt, and derision, often at the hands of fellow Mormons for whom discrimination is now a distant memory.
In Peculiar People, a wealth of resources chronicles the successes and failures of contemporary LDS homosexuals. Those who have chosen celibacy are occasionally admitted into full church fellowship. Others, fearing censure and humiliation, conceal their orientation. But many, perhaps a majority, have decided that they “will not go where they are not welcome” and drift away from the Mormon community that once nurtured them.
The church calls same-sex intimacy sin and recommends repentence and a thorough change of heart, though stops short of advising homosexuals to marry heterosexuals. For some time now church clerics, social workers, theologians, and sociologists have been engaged in debate about what place such people should occupy in the church community and what remedies or consolations should be offered them. To this discussion, Ron and Wayne Schow and Marybeth Raynes contribute their wide professional experience and bring a range of resources, gearing this volume toward helping people become informed and toward providing a variety of perspectives and options. These include the findings of biologists, therapists, and religious scholars.
Ron Schow is a professor of audiology in the College of Health-Related Professions at Idaho State University. He is a co-author of Communication Disorders of the Aged: A Guide for Health Professionals and co-editor of Introduction to Audiologic Rehabilitation, as well as of Peculiar People: Mormons and Same-Sex Orientation, which had its genesis in his nephew’s death from AIDS. He and his family live in Pocatello.
H. Wayne Schow is chair of the Department of English and Philosophy at Idaho State University and is the author of Against the Wind: Stories by Martin A. Hansen and Remembering Brad: On the Loss of a Son to AIDS, about his own son. He is a co-editor of Peculiar People: Mormons and Same-Sex Orientation and has been published on this topic in Sunstone magazine and elsewhere. He lives in Pocatello, Idaho, with his wife.
Marybeth Raynes is an adjunct assistant professor in the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Utah, a marriage and family therapist, co-editor of Peculiar People: Mormons and Same-Sex Orientation, and a contributor to Multiply and Replenish: Mormon Essays on Sex and Family. She lives in Salt Lake City.