Let Me See if I’ve Got This Straight


Image created by Grace Pool


For decades, the Church told people of African descent that they may be baptized, pay tithes and offerings, marry, have children and raise them in the faith, and otherwise participate in the sacrament rituals and church traditions, but that God forbade their ordination to the Priesthood and their saving ordinances of endowment or sealing in the temple.
In recent years, the Church has reiterated that celibate queer members may be baptized, pay tithes and offerings, attend the temple, be ordained, serve missions and in callings, but that God forbade their dating, romance, marriage, temple sealing ordinances, or enjoying the blessings of family life, unless they are in straight-passing relationships.
In both scenarios, the Church has strongly enforced that these groups of people are/were ineligible for the highest temple ordinances that lead to exaltation and salvation in the Celestial Kingdom based upon the circumstances of their births. These individuals are/were deemed unworthy from birth, and it’s been accepted as immutable fact by members both then and now. No action or inaction, no manner of righteous living can undo the predetermined judgment these unfortunate souls were born under, according to policies of the day.
“Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents.”
Lord have mercy on us all, our Church is compounding oppressions on its queer members in the name of God. There is no worse way that an entire religion takes the name of its God in vain than to blame the systemic, institutional oppressions it carries out against its members on its own deity. It’s a blasphemy to make God such a respecter of persons. Even worse, these same vanities unilaterally declare with absolutes as to who is deserving and eligible for Heaven based on the body they were born in.
Mormonism, you should be ashamed of yourself. These are not the works of God made manifest.


Violadiva is an oxymoron, a musician, a yogi, a Suzuki violin teacher, a late-night baker of sourdough breads, proud Mormon feminist, happy wife of Pianoman and lucky mother to three.

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7 Responses

  1. Bryan says:

    This is exactly what I’ve been feeling this week. Thank you for putting it so eloquently into words. How dare this church claim that Jesus Christ literally leads it while treating “the least of these” so horribly? Jesus wouldn’t act this way. He specifically taught us not to treat each other this way. I’m just so disappointed in our church right now.

  2. Lorie says:

    As for me and my house, we think God is better than this. Well said, as always, Carrie.

  3. bcsmom says:

    I am a bisexual who chose to be married in the temple, and I testify that the Holy Ghost continues to bless my marriage in ways I never thought possible because of that choice. My attraction to women is no stronger than my husband’s attraction to women, yet we both choose to be faithful and loyal to each other upholding the covenants we made in the temple. I have always been attracted to women. My body is designed this way for a reason. And because of my choices I have been blessed with the highest blessings heaven can give. Which is why I think it’s wrong to lump same gender attraction experience with that of those born of African descent. There is a choice for those of us attracted to our same gender. We can choose to have a marriage patterned after our Heavenly Parents or not. It is a simple decision but not an easy one. But one which will be blessed.

    • Jessie says:

      This feels disingenuous. Your choice to be a woman married to a man is only a satisfactory option because of being bisexual. What about homosexuals? That choice is not available to them at all,unless they place themselves in a relationship that is ultimately damaging to everyone involved. News flash-your experience is not universal.

    • Violadiva says:

      bcsmom, thanks for sharing your story here. I am so glad that you’ve found a place of joy and fulfillment in your marriage and in the church as a self-identifying queer woman. Not everyone is so lucky. Your lived experience is valid and unique to you, and I’m glad you’re at peace with your decisions.

      I hope you can see how your vantage point is quite different from many other queer members who may not be able to participate in a straight-passing monogamous marriage for any number of reasons. What seems like an obvious choice to you is not a solution that can be broadly applied to all gay, non-binary, lesbian, genderqueer, or trans individuals. In fact, the Church no longer encourages entering a mixed-orientation marriage as a “cure” for homosexuality.

      One assumed premise of my piece is that those who identify as queer in whatever way have come to earth that way as a measure of their identity at birth and that homosexuality is not a choice. It appears as though we depart on these grounds.

      If we’re talking about the specific oppression of exclusion from temple rites and ordinances perpetuated by the church toward people of African descent pre-1978 and the current way same-sex couples are also excluded from the same due to circumstances of their birth which are beyond their control to change, then I think the parallel is pretty accurate. I am not comparing other oppressions in history or broader society, but at the LDS-Specific exclusion of not being able to start an “eternal family” and therefore being automatically excluded from the highest degrees of glory in the Celestial Kingdom.

  4. Erin says:

    They really are taking the Lord’s name in vain when they invoke it to justify bigotry.

  5. Violadiva says:

    To be clear: Anti-Black racism in the church was not eliminated in 1978 and the work to undo the decades of damage done by racist dogmas perpetuated by leaders and members is ongoing. Not only should we avoid making claims that God hosts an exclusive Heaven, we must be persistently engaged in repairing the damage such claims create.


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