The Mormon social media world as well as realms beyond have been abuzz the last couple of days about a blog post written by "A Well-Behaved Mormon Woman" about the hidden gay agenda in Disney's Frozen.
My response to this woman, as well as to many, many other Mormons and conservative Christians is condensed from a post I wrote a year and a half ago. It is based on a well-known scripture that is very well-known within the Mormon community and that has unfortunately, like many other scriptures, been used as a weapon of hate and intolerance. Here is the scripture:
"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil;
that put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"
~ Isaiah 5:20
This scripture has often - many times - been used to condemn what are perceived as "wicked" practices and trends in society, as well as to defend LDS Church doctrine, policies and practices. Those who have different views from the Church - or from certain Church members - are perceived as calling evil good, of putting darkness for light and bitter for sweet.
On the other hand, those who criticize certain doctrine, policies and practices of the Church are perceived as calling good evil, of calling that which is light, darkness, and of calling that which is sweet, bitter.
These kinds of attitudes are deliberately fostered within the LDS Church (as well as in many other conservative Christian denominations) with respect to many issues and teachings. Mormons are taught to view themselves as both guardians of virtue and recipients of the mockery of the prideful world (e.g., in Lehi's Dream). This view tends to promote self-righteousness and a rigid, skewed and frankly uncharitable world view, justified by scriptures such as Isaiah 5:20.
But I'd like to turn this scripture around, looking at the Church's teachings about homosexuality and family. I'd like to suggest that it is the Church (through its doctrines, practices and policies that have in turn affected the attitudes of millions of Church members), that has called good, evil.
For most of its history, in fact until just recently, the Church taught that those who experience feelings of attraction to members of their own sex were depraved, in grave danger of hellfire. Men and women, but primarily men, were (and are) labeled and judged based on a single (but very important) characteristic - their sexual orientation.
Any other "redeeming" qualities of such persons that were/are "virtuous, lovely or of good report," were ignored. Such people were/are "evil," and it wouldn't do for them to be considered "good." They had to change from "evil" to "good." Any pronouncement that gays are just as good as other people (or just as bad), that homosexuality is not a moral issue, was calling evil, good; and any criticism leveled at the Church for its teachings on homosexuality was essentially calling good, evil.
The Church teaches and has always taught that "acting" on one's gay sexual orientation is a sin and bad. And this is not limited to actual sex. It applies to any other type of feelings or displays of affection that, with respect to a heterosexual relationship, would be considered healthy, appropriate and in no way a violation of the law of chastity - but with respect to a same-sex relationship is wrong. In fact, there is no such thing as a same-sex "relationship" in the Church - at least nothing that could be considered "good." Mormon gays are expected to be not only celibate sexually, but celibate emotionally as well.
And as to gay relationships, gay partnerships and gay marriage, the Church's stance was pretty well stated recently by Elder Boyd Packer when he referred to same-sex marriages and partnerships as "Satan's counterfeit for marriage." Any claim that such relationships were anything but bad was calling evil good, and any criticism of the Church's stance in this regard is calling good evil.
But I think it is time to turn Isaiah around. The Church - and most pointedly for present purposes, the Well-Behaved Mormon Woman - is calling something that is good, evil. It is labeling something that is full of light, darkness. It is claiming that something that is sweet, bitter.
Thankfully, more and more people are realizing that not only the LDS Church, but many other conservative Christian denominations, pundits and political groups are, I believe, under Isaiah's condemnation. More and more people are realizing that what they had taught to regard as evil is nothing of the sort; that their sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers are not the people that others would portray them to be; that these people's relationships are based on love, commitment and dignity - not depraved sexuality as they had been taught.
And when they see love for what it truly is, when they give themselves permission to act on the love they have for their gay family members, they in turn are blessed with that same love and are enabled to better view the world as a place of goodness, sweetness and light, rather than a vale of evil, bitterness and darkness.
"He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good;
and what doth the LORD require of thee,
but to do justly, and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with thy God?"
~ Micah 6:8