Buttered toast always lands buttered side down; cats always land on their feet. What would happen if you attached a buttered piece of toast to the back of a cat and tossed it over the side of a tall building?1 Does the cat land on its feet, or does the toast land buttered side down?
This is a case of the Buttered Cat paradox; two equally applicable yet logically incompatible laws are put at odds. The same is true when a Mormon is confronted with an openly gay person.
Law #1: Mormons are excruciatingly nice to everyone.
Law #2: Mormons shun sin, including but not limited to murder, drugs, alcohol, coffee, the word butt, the internet, and homosexuality.
Mormons, by universal law, have to be kind to people, yet they’re not allowed to associate with sin.2 What happens, then, when a person is the sin?3 I’m learning more and more about this,4 but by and large I see my LDS friends and family simply not address it. There may be some “hate the sin, not the sinner” and a little double-think,5 and then of course my favorite, “pray the gay away,” but the overwhelming reaction is nothing.
The church itself has an official standing on same sex attraction, but most everyday Mormons just don’t want to address the topic. I’ve gotten a “that’s gross” from one of my Mormon friends, and a couple people have asked “when did you decide to be gay?” but mostly they say nothing.
People are going to disagree on things, but there’s a difference between having an open discussion, and resolving to avoid an entire demographic of people. Gay people are not going to disappear, it’s not a phase, and the age of ignorance is coming to an end, so at some point every homophobic person of every denomination is going to have to talk about it.
1The world is rid of a disgusting beast.
2Obviously this is a major generalization used for emphasis. I’m not trying to say that all Mormons are identical or can be fit into tidy little demographics. I, after a fashion, would consider myself Mormon, and I’m just writing from personal experience.
3 For example, say, me.
4 Anecdotes to follow.
5 George Orwell 1984