It's been a shitty week in Mormonland. If you aren't Mormon and don't pay attention to Mormon crap, you might be one of the lucky people who didn't hear all about the horrible, horrible speech by nasty bully Boyd K. Packer, who is currently A) second in command at LDS Inc and B) so old that he can't stand behind his bully pulpit but instead has to be pushed up to it in a wheelchair. You can find out all about his speech on Main Street Plaza--I don't want to embed the video here, because that will mean that I have BKP's face on my blog.
It has been hard for me to parse why Packer's talk upset me so. It was just more of the same sort of mean-spirited rhetoric he has spouted for decades, delivered not in the thundering tones of a fire-and-brimstone preacher (even though that's what he really is) but in the ponderous, flat cadence cultivated by Mormon leaders. (note: that cadence is really weird. It's supposed to make them sound reasonable or something, I think, but it just makes them all sound formulaic and DULL.) It was as self-righteously ignorant and devoid of facts as his stuff usually is. There was the usual dose of paranoia. Etc.
All of which, of course, is supposed to be a message FROM God conveyed BY BKP. Yeah, that nasty old bully speaks for God--for a really nasty old bully God. I know that already. So why was this speech so awful?
Part of it was, as many people have pointed out, the timing. The talk was designed to make LGBTQ people feel shitty about themselves--at a point where suicides by queer youth are in the headlines. It followed a "heartfelt, still inadequate but at least a step in the right direction" apology from another Mormon leader about the pain caused by the church's involvement in Prop 8. Another part is that his obsession with gay sex is so EXTREME that you really have to wonder what his problem is. As I mentioned in the little FB story at the end of this post, I really don't like to rely on anything but clear statements about someone's orientation from someone in a position to be sure what it is, but this post discussing all the elements that suggest that BKP might be a big ol' closet case did make me go "huh."
And part of it is that this guy should just shut the fuck up already about current events. He's OLD. He's a goddamn dinosaur and he should just go play with his grandkids and deal with the fact that the world is not going to stay the way he wants it to be--not before he dies and certainly not after.
Why does he get to try to impose HIS will on the entire world? Why?
And why does he get to claim that his hateful speech is LOVE? The story after the speech is that he gave it because he "loves" LGBTQ people, and wants to help them "change." Why does he get to define bullying as love? Oh yeah: because he's a religious leader, and religious leaders get to tell people that their cruelty = love.