Mormon News, December 22–26

In the News

For roughly twenty-four hours, it looked as if a massive shift had taken place in the LDS Church and a major step forward had been made regarding LGBT equal rights. Sharp-eyed visitors to discovered a page saying the church supported non-discrimination laws to protect LGBT Americans. This would be a departure from recent rhetoric from the church, which has focused almost exclusively on protections for religious believers who might be expected to, say, bake a cake for a gay or lesbian wedding. After a flurry of online speculation and excitement, the LDS Church announced that they had made no change in their policies or beliefs and that the page was a beta (test) page only meant to express support for a 2009 Salt Lake City law that gave limited protections to LGBT residents.

A new television show slated to air on the TLC channel focuses on gay Mormon men who have opted to marry women in an attempt to stay true to church teachings and overcome their homosexual identities. “My Husband’s Not Gay” is set to debut in January and follows three married men and one single man (who would like to be married) living in Utah. Although the show appears to be a humorous and even flippant look at these relationships, concerns about gay men getting married to women within the Mormon faith remains a serious topic. Because of harsh LDS rhetoric around same-gender relationships, gay men have sought out heterosexual marriages in the hopes of vanquishing what they see as sinful feelings. Mormon writer Carol Lynn Pearson has asked before if Mormons really want gay men marrying and using their daughters as a way to fit in and feel normal.

In Books

A national Mormon mystery, The Bishop’s Wife, has garnered broad attention and favorable reviews. Publisher’s Weekly and the L.A. Times offered impressive praise. Mette Ivie Harrison, a Latter-day Saint living in Utah, has previously authored young adult fiction, but this book steps out of that genre and explores the doubts and faith challenges of women in the LDS Church who are expected to stand by priesthood holding husbands without question or complaint. The book is due out December 30.

News update by John Hatch, acquisitions editor